Captivating Portraits: Interview with Bahrain-based artist, Carlo Rico

Bahrain Confidential explores the mind of Bahrain-based artist, Carlo Rico.

Did you study art formally? Tell us about your education and training.

I spent three years in the College of Architecture at Mapua Institute of Technology in the Philippines. Soon after, I realized that I’m not enjoying it anymore so I continued at University of Santo Tomas’ College of Fine Arts where I got my degree in Fine Arts major in Advertising. After a while, I moved to Saipan, USA as a graphic artist in 1993 then travelled back and forth to Guam. These countries immersed me and brought me into art exposure.

What do you remember as your first work of art?

When I was 12 years old, I did my first mural on a 4×8 wood panel. The painting was a depiction of Philippine history using enamel paint; acrylic was not a famous medium at that time.

Can you describe your painting process, how do you know that your painting is finished, how long does it take?

My process always depends on circumstances like competitions, exhibitions or commissions. Nevertheless, I always keep my style unique and enhance each piece with different collaborations of mediums. In competitions, the process is faster so acting fast is required. For exhibitions and commissions, proper planning and time management are needed to meet the deadline.

I can tell when my artworks are finished based on my inner feelings and satisfaction. There were times I made my paintings sit for a while. I study my work based on what needs to be done, what needs to be included and what needs to be rectified. 

How have your roots as a Filipino influence your artworks?

Filipinos by nature have strong skills for art. As a Filipino, I was really influenced by the masters; one of them is Fernando Amorsolo who captivated me with his realistic paintings mixed with impressionism. Juan Luna and his famous “Spoliarium” also inspired me. Somehow, I want to keep their traits as an artist. However, I must nail my own identity of how passionate and how diligently I can work with my pieces.

What’s inspires you as an artist?

I would like to define myself as an artist and as a mentor. What really inspires me as an artist is being a Filipino. Since childhood, it has always been my dream to bring pride not only for my family but also for my country. I want to contribute somehow in uplifting the morals of my own countrymen specially when I am staying in a foreign land. Hearing “Pinoy ‘yan!” or “Proud to be Pinoy” gives me a good feeling, really. As a mentor, my students inspire me. They drive me to gain more knowledge that I can share with them.

For more information: |IG: @crico025