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Jericho Windsor Magnaye
"A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. The further you reach, the farther you will go."
Everyone of us is in a continuous state of travel. Be it a physical destination or a goal or dream in mind, such is the world of the artist Jericho Windsor Magnaye. He was named after a great biblical city where some of the greatest miracles were performed by Jesus. He is fascinated by the idea of constant travel, like a nomad in an immense desert looking for an oasis or anything that could spell relief and rest from a day’s travel. Traveling could also be an opportunity to observe, to meet people, to enjoy God’s countless creations, and to learn.
His artistic journey started when he was in school. He was much more interested in the world outside the window than paying attention to his teacher. He draws what he sees, sometimes filling his notebooks with doodles and improving on mediocre illustrations in his books, copying or improving on them. He continuously developed his skills as a painter, which landed him a degree in Fine Arts with a Major in Advertising at Batangas State University. This cemented his career and calling as an artist.
To Jericho, painting is just like magic, which he also does. The moment of enchantment starts as you weave your brush with paint on a blank canvas. The magic unfolds as you weave colors and patterns into a painting until you reach completion. Just like being a magician, constant practice develops his self-confidence and mastery of the craft. Performing magic tricks allows him to be in constant attention with people and to keep an eye on perfection. In both painting and magic, you have to amuse your audience. Art, like magic, is an escape from reality at times.
Magnaye recounts that he enjoys painting streets and the stories and mysteries behind them. To him, there is joy in discovering any busy street in the metropolis. While others are busy with their daily lives, the artist Jericho sits back, relaxes, and takes (the street activity) in the moment, observing, listening, and learning. He further says that "people in the streets have different stories to tell. You would never run out of subjects to paint". He further states that "Art allows him to travel to far and unknown places." He enjoys the serendipity of travel and doesn’t mind where it leads him. To him, there is always an element of surprise or the unexpected.
He calls his oeuvres Kalye, or street art, because that’s the story he wants to tell. He sees beauty in chaos and disorganization. One of his favorite subjects is the tricycle, which makes travel for him and for everyone else faster and more accessible. It also acts as his mental transport to imaginary places he’s never been.
Jericho sees art as his lifeblood and lifeline. It is a means to provide for his family. It is synonymous with life. It is the living blood that flows from his veins. His somewhat pixelated art style of the streets reminds us how to look at art from a different perspective. He says, "sometimes you look too close that you fail to see the whole picture". There is a story evolving in the streets at any time of the day.
There is magic to one’s existence, and the essence of life starts when we explore and journey to places we’ve never been to. There is a sense of wonder, of the unexpected, and of stories and people that are intertwined in our lives. Magnaye develops his art as he continues to travel to different places in reality or in his mind. The restless traveler in him never tires of improving his skills and finding ways to rediscover his life and give meaning to it.
Armed with magic and his cape of confidence, he could easily enchant an audience and tell them stories of his journeys as they unfolded on his canvases. As long as his feet can travel to near and faraway places, so long will he paint. Because art is the blood that nurtures his creative life, he will continue to live and die as a painter and a magician.