Jeff Salon: Painting Out Loud


With much of modern-day distractions plaguing our fast-paced lives, 28 year-old Jeff Salon is relieved to have experienced happy childhood to survive his daily struggles as visual artist. With children still as his artistic focus, Salon waxes sentimental this time, shifting inward in Dream a Dream reminiscing deep about what it meant to be a boy charting his destinies in a small town. Surging loose to what these memories may evoke, he thrives to actuate their fateful occurrences on these canvases.

More subdued in his tone than in his previous output, mixing brown and gray he realizes his subjects by accenting them with metallic tint to connote his strength on his memories. This mixture of the earth’s hues shines brightest when light translates them to the viewer.

Soul Rise Melodies, Oil on Canvas, 2014

Soul Rise Melodies not only reflects Salon’s other passion—music–but how he uses the kind of determination he espouses. Not even an explosion of influences and the pull of temptations or material disturbance as represented behind him can take Salon out of his zone whether he is painting or whatever he is listening to.

Growing up in Camarines Sur, Salon was resourceful enough to make his own toys like carving boats from wood, flying kites in their unique art forms, and drawing unique images on sand. He would go to his secret haunts or to scenic spots where his slippers would take him no matter how far they were or little money he had.

Endless Bliss, Oil on Canvas, 2014

By the time he was painting these scenes, fun-filled moments came rushing in. How Salon missed his friends in Endless Bliss seeking to capture the ties that bound them in friendship. A typical work for Salon is children at play like this. He captures their movement to the point that some of their physical appearances vanish as the whiff of appears. Their laughter hid their fears, what did not scare them made them stronger. We are what we were then only to go our own separate ways. We just grew taller, grew bigger and maybe wiser.

Touch of Innocence, Oil on Canvas, 2014

With more brown than gray, Salon’s paintings refer to memorable moments or personal glories. Teaching us what course of action to take or how appropriate we live and what we could learn from their memories. Salon’s brilliance is in the details like letting some of his paint freely drip, usually green or any color so one can see the contrast. He splats on some of his pieces giving it fresh feel of the paint.

Another visual style is using graphic patterns like flowers, stars, or even birds on the images signifying the character of the images. These are reminders of his habit of spending time on the roof of their house when he was a kid, they has become his signatures to his art. Ever the good son, these are things from home he always takes with him. 

Touch of Innocence it is purity personified. When things don’t go our way we look back to a time when we were innocent and carefree. We always knew what pure happiness meant and how it felt. As children mature at an early age they lose their childhood and being child-like forever.

Summer Love, Oil on Canvas, 2014

Every promdi knows the story of Summer Love. Long before the advent of internet and mobile phones, the image brings you back to that embrace of a playmate you spent most of your summertime with. Like the younger sister you never had, you would get her that lone ripe fruit up the tree she was begging or she held your hand when you confronted the bullies in the neighborhood. However when the rainy days pour in, flooding the fields of your friendship, you would learn from your mother that her parents sent her to Manila for better education.   

Clash of Fierce welcomes us to the complex jungle that parallels the contemporary art scene. Packed with wolves, in case of tigers and horses. Paved with as many artists as fierce as these animals willing to contribute a style, an icon or two. With the event of local auction houses and new independent art spaces one still finds a lot of practicing artists searching for their respective places in the community. Some like hanging up the tree, submerged in the swamp or roaming in the expanse of land. Some resort to copying the masters or even outwitting a competitor for a particular creative perspective or commercial brushstrokes in order to survive. Not all is sad though and not all have the monopoly of images as Salon claims. All artists have a stake whatever claims they have. However not the strong but only the fittest survives.

In this tabula rasa, Salon continues to assert his own distinction by advocating the causes of children and in keeping alive the child in his sepia-to-almost bronze tint. His realism is dynamic that your eyes are led to move, rather than stare in the static. With Dream a Dream, Salon believes that his realities are fulfilled because he never stopped dreaming about it. So can you.  

Clash of the Fierce, Oil on Canvas, 2014

Dream a Dream is Jeff Salon’s 2nd Solo Exhibition ongoing at the Art Center, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.