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Jaime Gubaton: Creating ‘Chaos and Awe’

The artist creates a trajectory from anxiety to hope



In Jaime Gubaton’s exhibit “Chaos and Awe,” consisting mostly of realistic and 3D-like portraits of women, a painting of a man stands out. This man, with his face in profile and mouth closed, will look at you directly in the eye, his face framed with waves, sea creatures, and ships. 

Titled Troubled Waters, this 4 x 6 feet painting was shortlisted at the 2019 Philippine Art Awards. It depicts the lives of local fishermen in West Philippine Sea who try to earn a living and continue to brave the dangers of working in contested waters, in view of Chinese coast guards.

Jaime Gubaton

“It is about the disputed territory claimed by China and the Philippines,” shares Gubaton. “The ideas came from the common issues we are dealing with that may affect many people in our society. I wanted to address the precariousness of the world and how we may respond to it. I created the paintings longing for a positive mindset.”

Organized by Altro Mondo Gallery, “Chaos and Awe” was born of the artist’s yearning for more optimism in this chaotic world. One of the great strengths of the collection is the artist’s use of color that makes the viewer feel at ease and calm, even as it encourages them to be critical thinkers by way of the elements used.

Glossy words

“Art is created to communicate and inspire other people to act and think. Although social issues were the subject, I presented them with a positive approach. The way I rendered my subjects and the use of colors lead my viewers to feel comfortable. I like my viewers to be in “awe” when looking at my works even when the subjects are sometimes “chaotic,” he says. 

Gubaton’s interest in drawing began in grade school when he would draw superheroes at the back of his notebooks. He then started joining poster making competitions in high school where he would consistently win, until he became the school’s representative to various art competitions. 

Troubled waters

He first used paint brush while he was in college, where majored in advertising in his fine arts course at the University of the East Caloocan. There, his professors introduced him to different mediums and techniques. Art competitions became his training ground and his passion continued to grow. 

Among the competitions he has joined are the PLDT-DPC National Cover Art Contest, Art Petron National Student Art Competition, Shell National Student Art Competition, Department of Agrarian Reform On-The-Spot Painting Competition, and Metrobank Arts & Design Excellence Painting Category. 

‘I wanted to address the precariousness of the world and how we may respond to it. I created the paintings longing for a positive mindset.’

Gubaton focused his art works on realism, where the subject of the painting looks much like the real things with its solid colors and defined and detailed brush strokes. 

“I’ve tried various mediums in painting,” he shares. “I am happy I’ve already explored different styles of painting and eventually, I come back to what I love doing. So I see how I develop. What’s important is that you know and study the basics. Creating your personal style is a wonderful achievement. It took years to find mine and even now I am still at an exploratory phase because of the new things I discover every time I create art.” 


During the quarantine, Gubaton had been able to develop a style unique to him—and yet he still has his own struggles because of the pandemic. 

“Artists like me are used to being holed up inside the studio,” he says. “The creating process during pandemic helped me cope with the quarantine. There was a time I ran out of art materials so I really struggled. It’s better for me to have a few high-quality artworks instead of less valuable versions. You never want to rush the creation stage.”

Chaos and awe

When Gubaton is not painting, he is gardening or watching movies with his children. Every day, they would watch the sun set on their rooftop. He shares that he never paints eight hours a day because he wants to create balance between his art and the time he spends with his family. 

“Chaos and Awe” runs until Nov. 8 at Altro Mondo Creative Space, 1159 Chino RocesAvenue,. San Antonio Village, Makati City. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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