BIOGRAPHY OF MARICAR REYES BARBA OR “RICA BARBA”
MARICAR REYES BARBA’s ambition had always been to be an artist, but under family pressure because she was a consistent honor student as class Valedictorian since elementary and high school, she attended school at the West Visayas State University in Iloilo City and graduated B.S. Psychology. Born December 01, 1976, she spent her childhood in Estancia, Iloilo, northern part of Iloilo City and known as the “Little Alaska of the Philippines” because of the town’s reputation of fresh, bountiful fish/seafood catch.
A self-taught visual artist, she did not receive any sort of artistic training. Maybe she inherited her artistic genes from her grandparents. She has very rich historical ancestors. Her great grandfather Anastacio Montero was the very first “Cabesa de Barangay” known today as the town Mayor and her great grandmother was the very first teacher of their town. But her artistic side was discovered by her late grandfather who also was her very first art teacher, Rev. Restituto Ortigas, a name Central Philippine University (CPU) of Iloilo City considered as an icon. He was an author of the book: Diksionario sa biblia / translator-editor in Hiligaynon text which is now at the National Library of the Philippines. He was also the father of Iloilo freedom fighter hero, Virgil Ortigas; and Fluellen Ortigas, awarded most outstanding student of the Philippines 1968-1969 also a freedom fighter and former legislative aide and chief liaison of the late Ninoy Aquino. She said, he was her great art influence and the one that provided her books with rich and vibrant colours which enhanced her art visions at an early age. Since then she made paintings in oil and acrylic, experimenting with other mediums and later find her niche doing three dimensional digital artworks that she signed with pseudonym “RICA BARBA”.
She began her art career when she moved from her hometown last 2009 to Muntinlupa City where she currently resides and lands a job as Sales Coordinator in Prime Sales Incorporated of Prime Group of Companies in Taguig City. She became involved with the Admin and Finance, later she was promoted as the company President’s secretary. She worked and managed to have group exhibitions, multitasking job and art.
A freak accident happened last 2014 where she had a severe patellar knee dislocation and a lumbar and spinal disc fracture which affected her mobility, thus forced her to resign from work. Difficult months followed where she can’t even stand up without assistance. She underwent operation and was on cast for almost six months and underwent therapy. When cast was removed her left knee was deformed and she can’t walk without a cane. That disability made a negative impact, thus made her withdraw from public eye and made seclusion on the four corners of her room; that made her very depressed. Losing a long time job, having disability, financially stressed, turns her world upside down and take a tool to her emotional state. She took professional help and diagnosed with depression and anxiety which brings stigma and rocked her self-confidence.
She turned to God, gained strength from her artworks .Her disability that almost crippled her became her inspiration and gave her strong will and faith to do her craft again.
HOW DOES RICA BARBA RELATE HER ART TO THE PUBLIC
During my dark days, I struggled to relate my art to the people. It seems like I was in a jungle in which psychiatrists hunt for wolves of fears and snakes of anxiety. But I never gave up my art. I fought my biggest enemy, none other than MYSELF. I made my art as my refuge, wherein I definitely see my digital works and paintings as my means of communication. Social media became my channel of expression. I am a “CONCEPTUAL FUTURIST”, a term I used because it offers a hint of the scope of my abilities. My biomechanical and futuristic digital artworks and paintings are notable for the grace and proportion of the human and non-human creatures; from my biomechanical androids, cyborgs, and robots to my other fantasy aliens, which inhibits them. They are my visions of ecstasy, enthrallment and transformation, depicting worlds which often have the dreamlike qualities of nightmares or secret longings fulfilled. In all of them, there’s a concern for the beauty of naked human – form, a beauty sometimes enhanced by my “liquefied chrome”, my translucent “narrative fractal” outer space background and skin. It created three dimensional depth and light. My “steampunk” and “biomechanical” out of these world creatures was the realm of my senses. My art came to me as an expression. Allowing the “free expression” of both exotic and erotic imagery which would not easy to combine.
For me, my works of art is instinctive, and my only conscious aim is to create some sort of visual impact whose interpretation is to be left to the viewer.
Ideas for my artworks will sometimes come to me when I am half- asleep, though some of them are full blooded products of my dreams and imagination. My art deals in the unusual or bizarre.
As for me my private obsession coupled with raw talent and my determination to master the technicalities of the craft are what make me more creative; these also what make me in the end as a unique artist.
I AM A VISUAL ARTIST THAT THINKS THREE DIMENSIONAL
To create my digital artworks I have to think digitally. Obviously talent, practice and artistic training will stand an artist in good stead, but if we have no experience or understanding of software, computers and their peripherals I’m sure soon, we find ourselves mixed in a confusing mass of jargon, unfamiliar terms and time wasting activities. So, I self-study through on-line free tutorials and bought art self-help books and explore computer graphics and find myself obsessed in fantasy digital art. I myself was amazed with the outcome of my finished artworks.
THINKING IN 3D
I used 3D software and start to think in three dimensions. That’s hard as it sounds, but before I give up, I remember that this is the way we view the world- not in flat surfaces but with depth. It’s really just the case of thinking digitally. 3D applications provide me polygon tools that manipulate simple shapes into one that are multi-faceted. Using such techniques as extrusion- literally pulling the shape out of its base points to create a model.
Thinking in three dimensions also being aware that the canvas I am using is based on the world around me. Objects in it needs to be lit, shadowed, colored, and defined just as they are in the real world. In creating a real world or out of this world from a simple collection of individual objects, it is necessary to apply texture and lighting which is called rendering.