An artist who loves the natural world

By Ancel Marie B. Mondia

Observing birds and bees doing their everyday activities makes him happy. Looking at textures and patterns on the leaf and the hips of a palm tree astounds him. He is an artist. He is Marrz Capanang.

“It is so magical how life works inside us all. How we grow. Evolve. And being part of the whole,” Capanang says.

When he was seven years old, with his family for Sunday church, he looked at the stained glass where sunlight refracted like music.

“It was the time I realized that I could not connect with religion but with how nature expresses love for us, like how we experience what is beautiful or phenomenal. That led me to the pursuit of the roots of all religion – animism or harmony with nature,” he says.

During his childhood he used his imagination when he played with his friends, in their little adventures and while sharing stories.

“Because of imagination I was able to create this mirror self whom I share my personal questions about life and he is part of all my decisions I have taken. Sometimes I create bond with him and that promise is always absolute,” he says.

However, when he was 10 years old, he and his two friends were caught by their teachers stealing in a mall.

“In total we stole a sum of approximate P3,000 worth of stuff and by the time, 1997, it was already big. We got caught because we sold it half the price to our classmates that is why. However, it changed me as a person. I promised to become better and slowly I became more truthful to the words I say and do,” he says.

Capanang discovered his talent when he was a kid. He imitated his brother’s drawings and he became addicted to it.

“Plus, I am not a reader and I barely finish a page or two. What I did with the books was I scanned and only looked at images or pictures. That was how I saved it in my memory bank, well, it aided me pretty well in all my drawings until today. To be honest, practice is the key even there is no pencil equipped in my hands. I have my imagination to fill the infinite canvas inside my brain. It helps from planning, to stereotyping and to finalizing,” he says.

He was schooled in Special Program for the Arts wherein his appreciation with art as a whole, dance, creative writing, music and theater, expanded.

“When I got into college my skills, perception, views, understanding of Visual Arts developed exponentially. Now, I am more open-minded than my older self. This has strengthened my empathy,” he says.

When he was in college, he took up Architecture, then Fine Arts.

“I took Fine Arts because my personality fits. But before that I took Architecture, I love designing but technical stuff is just too stiff for me. Fine Arts was a good choice, I learned a lot and it improved my level of artistry,” he says.

He learned from his mentors: Mister Shielo Duterte, Miss Yannie Rose Noble, Mister Liby Limoso, Mister Eric Divinagracia, and Mister PG Zoluaga.

“They influenced me in different levels, from artistry to organizational skills to people-related skills and advocacy-driven mindset,” he says.

In 2012, as a volunteer to the project called, Out of the Box Art Workshop, in Barotac Viejo, Capanang met Kristine Buenavista.

“I drastically improved as a person, the way I think about life, about people, about community, about the magic that surrounds the world, everything,” he says.

“I and my girlfriend Tin (Kristine Buenavista) love to connect with communities. For us, this is the heart of humanity and sanity. Right now we have a community-based social enterprise called Alima Community, every item hand-made and every artist empowered. We work with artists from the rural. Even this surprised us, it’s safe to say that we became accidental social entrepreneurs,” he adds.

When asked what does he think is the greatest lesson of his life, he says, “I may sound like a healer, a guru, a scientist, a crazy liar, or what-the-heck, for me the greatest lesson in my life or I would say in our lives is our, supposedly, harmony with the world. What I mean of the world is the world where we get our resources and inspiration from: the ocean, the forests, the mountains, the animals, the earth, the air, and all natural. These elements are all connected. Imagine the air we breathe, it is the same air the people breathe from other side of the world. Imagine the water we drink or where we take a bath, it is the same water flowing above and beneath the ground. Imagine the earth where we stood upon, it is only one if water is absent. These are the forces that affect our history, our culture, our genes, our food, our energy, our thinking and our life on Earth. Why is there imprint of a thunder in our body? Look at your veins. It also resembles the pattern on the leaf. Notice how your hair grows? And how the hair grows in mammals? You think it is coincidence? No. We are part of the bigger force that makes us all go round and round. We live in full bloom and decay, it is a cycle.”

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