The other day we were listening to a Filipino rapper flexing about his Lambo and my friend laughed, joking that there’s probably only one Lamborghini in the Philippines and there’s nowhere to drive it. So when “Jeepney” popped up in the feed the next day, it was a reminder that rappers could highlight more accessible local lifestyles. Cebuano rapper Suez and Japanese rapper Farmhouse of Sushiboys recently dropped the colorful visuals for the track, featuring a bright yellow jeep, a fully stocked ukay ukay store, and a few local island clothing brands.
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.