Mr. James Onglepho--one of the most well known veteran artists in the Philippines shares to us his life passion and dedication for the fine arts.
Mr. Onglepho had always dreamt of becoming a painter since he was still young. Born in China during a troublesome period in that nation's history, he was forced to evacuate and move to the Philippines. Growing up in the Philippines during his most formative years, Mr. Onglepho had identified himself as Filipino-Chinese with artistic influences from both Western and Eastern cultures. By 1954, he studied in University of Sto. Tomas School of Fine Arts, where he was also given the privilege to teach up to this day. After graduating, he pursued his career as an artist along with other emerging artists at that time, many of whom he considers good friends to this day: Mr. Ang Kiukok, Mr. Cesar Legaspi, Mr. Romulo Olazo, Mr. Ong Bungian, and Mr. Malang Santos, to name a few.
Right after studying, collectors started to notice and admire his works. By 1959, he was able to hold his first One Man or Solo Exhibit at China Art Gallery in Manila. By 1982. After being able to share his passion and artworks locally and being able to make a name for himself at that time, he figured to share his work outside of his country - which was his first One Man Exhibit abroad that happened at Print Makers Art Gallery in Taipei, Taiwan. He had been having One Man Exhibits up to 2012 for a total of 33 One Man Exhibits. Aside from his solo exhibits, Group Exhibits was also happening for Mr. Ongelpho. While he was still studying in UST, he was invited to join the Shell 5th National Student Art Exhibit in 1955 in which he placed on the top 3 best paintings of that exhibit. Not only was he joining local Group Exhibits, he was also being invited to join exhibits at Taiwan with his first Group Exhibit there on 1959 which was the Philippines-Chinese Artist League Art Exhibit Tour at Taipei, Taiwan. Group Exhibits lasted til 2005 with the last one called the "Birthday Exhibit" joined by Mr. James Onglepho, Mr. Malang Santos, and Mr. Cris Cruz.
During the time that was he joining and being invited to exhibits, he was also publishing books--with his first book "The Art of Lin-Nan Group" published in 1983 at Taiwan. Now, not only was he making waves locally, but also collectors outside of the country are starting to collect his paintings. With books being published to the present day, people will still be able to appreciate and know the amazing works Mr. Onglepho has created over the years.
In 1980, a few years before he published his first book, he was awarded and honored by the Art Association of the Philippines as a Lifetime Member which solidified his name locally. The complete list of awards and distinctions of Mr. Onglepho follows:
- 1980 - Honored by Art Association of the Philippines as Lifetime Member
- 1983 - Lotus Oil Painting Collection by the National Museum of the Philippines
- 1989 - Overseas Literary Workers Award, Taiwan
- 1990 - Chung-Hsing Literary Award, Taiwan
- 1993 - Writings, Brochure of Art Works, Photos and Other Information were kept by World VIP Centre, China
- 1994 - Personal Biography included in "The Dictionary of International Biography", England
- 1994 - Personal Biography included in "International Who's Who of Intellectuals", England
- 1994 - Man of the Year 1994 by American Biography Institute, United States of America
- 1995 - Who's Who in International Art, Switzerland
- 1996 - World Lifetime Achievement Award, USA
- 1997 - 2000 Outstanding People of the 20th Century, England
Aside from all the awards and distinctions, his works has been featured numerous times all through out from 1951 to 2012. Mr. Onglepho is indeed a man of greatness and a deep passion and creativity for art. He is blessed with a unique art style, incredible depth and knowledge in art, and a great passion for what he loves.