Illustration is often the most literal of the arts. Along with political cartoons, it’s rare that visual art comments so directly on contemporary issues. Cebuano artist Bastinuod makes good on that tradition, covering some hard-hitting local circumstances like election violence and land rights struggles. He expands on those topics to include the likes of domestic violence and traditional folklore. And he’s not preoccupied with negativity either, often broaching the area of future tribalism.
He finds his style through mixed media, often combining painting on canvas with printmaking techniques and digital art. It’s a blend of freehand characters and comic book color tones. And it’s an effective one too, one that’s both familiar and challenging. Folded paper marks bring to mind childhood comics while also creating tension and distress. Inkblots tether anger to nostalgia.
Recently Bastinoud tackled the elections with dueling pieces. One features stacked and bloody boxes of ballots, representing the bloodshed that occurs every election year. Another depicts the Philippines’ ubiquitous campaign signage in a state of disrepair. In a separate series, various characters are waylaid in bed, victims of attacks by those close to them. But his work aspires towards progress as well, combining traditional cultures like tattooing and body paint with modern accessories like mobile phones and silk-screened tees. It’s a powerful mix on many levels, one we’re left fiending for more of.