When a ’90s kid looks at artist Darel Javier’s paintings, they will be reminded of a certain Disney movie and the times they would cut out colorful letters from glossy magazines and paste them onto paper, forming different words. What seems to be pop art is a reflection of Javier, the feelings he was experiencing at the time he was making the pieces.

Darel Javier

These self-portraits are a chronicle of the emotions that this pandemic has stirred in him. “Most of my new art is a self-portrait during this pandemic, something that will remind us of what we’ve been through in this life,” says Javier. “I want my art to be comforting and calming. I want it to be playful, but a little bit disturbing.”

Javier created symbolic meanings in his portraits, like in Resist or Obey where, wearing a face mask, he is surrounded by various terrors. In Don’t Blink, we see a tired worker, hair disheveled, with no time to rest.  In most of his works, there is a rat that seems to scuttle from one painting to the next. “My artwork is an expression of what I feel inside of me. I have a lot of inspirations behind my art, like the people who believe in me and my talent,” he says. 

Don’t Blink

For this painter, who hails from Bacolod, finishing and starting a painting all over again is a measure of excitement. His mentor in the world of art is his father, a visual artist and a muralist and his inspiration. 

“My dad is my first teacher in art, even though he did not really teach me. Seeing him do his artwork made a big impact on me to become an artist, too. As long as I can remember, I’d liked to draw. Ever since we were kids, my siblings and I used to draw on our walls and in every corner. Our house was our big canvas,” says Javier. 

‘I want my art to be comforting and calming. I want it to be playful, but a little bit disturbing.’

As he grew older, he learned how to use the sketchpad and eventually he adapted to using his mobile phone to start his sketches before transferring it to canvas. He uses acrylic and oil for finishing to bring his art to life. Now, he is living his dream of becoming a fulltime artist, exploring different art styles.


“My art style before was graphical surrealism,” says Javier. “Then in 2017, it evolved into a person with tattoos against a darker background. In the pandemic, it changed again into collage style. My present artwork style is a collage, but it’s not a collage, it’s a painting. It’s different from the rest because I often paint my face as my subject.” 

After a hard day’s work, Javier loves seeing his wife watching movies on Netflix and his son playing on the computer. As his studio is getting smaller, his world gets bigger with his paintings. He believes in hard work, like Flik, the main character in A Bug’s Life, an ant that symbolizes hard work, he is now reaping the fruits of a life spent in pursuit of art.  


“Flik is an ant. I bought him in the US 20 years ago and I like that, to this day, it is still in my studio. Ant is the symbol of hard work for me,” ends Javier.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/02/02/the-many-faces-of-darel-javier/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-many-faces-of-darel-javier)