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College classmates hold group exhibit

Natalio Alob Jr., Dennis Valenciano, Gene Belza and Michael Martinez (l-r)*

Four college classmates have reunited for a group art exhibit titled “Affirmations” at the AAB-N Gallery+Cafe that will run from January 14 to February 4.

The exhibit showcases the works of Gene Belza, Natalio Alob, Jr., Michael Martinez, and Dennis Valenciano, who are all graduates of the La Consolacion College-Bacolod ARFIEN Department.

Belza’s story, though unheard by most people – even from his own neighborhood, tells the unique making of a natural artist. Since childhood, his inclination to art was evidenced by his hobby and craft on impressing his imaginations through drawing and painting. His work and style have turned mature to prove his worth. He believes that “art is the expression of the beautiful in man’s works and its only enemy is ignorance.”

Alob is a versatile artist who has gone from humble beginnings to grabbing numerous awards in prestigious national art competitions. Hailing from Bacolod, his passion found him an opportunity to be a book illustrator for Darnoon Publishing House, which was founded by a Saudi Arabian princess whose literary writings came to vivid life through his creative interpretations. He creates art whether in sculpture, painting, digital graphics design, illustrations and mixed media with a twist. Sculpture is his main visual art tool that has transformed his award-winning ideas to tangible outputs while digital illustration had been the bread and butter of this family man based overseas.

His penchant for intricate details, human figures, and stylized touch introduced him to a signature style he can call his own. Subjects involving OFW’s, national development and current social situations to name a few inspired him to interpret them into awe-inspiring masterpieces that many people from all walks of life can relate to.

Gene Belza’s abstract painting; middle, Natalio Slib Jr.’s art piece; Dennis Valenciano painting in coffee*
Michael Martinez’s artwork*

Martinez is the son of Rodney Martinez, one of the pilar artists in Negros.  He graduated his Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Advertising Arts at La Consolacion College School of Architecture and Fine Arts.  He won Best in Creative Spot FA-Advertising Arts during the year 2000 Thesis Deliberation held at La Consolacion College ARFIEN department Bacolod City.  He was also chosen as one of the finalists for the 1999/2000 Nokia Arts Awards presented at Glorietta Makati City. He is an active member of Association of Negros Producers ANP, AAB-Negros (Art Association of Bacolod – Negros). He participated in several national group exhibitions and at a group show in Tanglin Club, Singapore. As an abstract artist he uses rich tones that oils provide to give his paintings a strong physical presence.

Valenciano is the grandson of the late Benjamin D. Valenciano Sr. (sculpture-artist of the famous St. Joseph The Worker Parish/The Church of Angry Christ). He graduated his Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Advertising Arts from the College of Architecture and Fine Arts of La Consolacion College – Bacolod in 2000 and worked as NLE-Editor/Video Graphics for ABS-CBN – Bacolod.  His mediums are oil, colored pencil, watercolor, acrylic and the newly found coffee. His specialty is in watercolor and coffee. He had his exhibits in different malls, museums and galleries and his international exhibits are in Tanglin Club, Singapore, IWS BXH Gallery in Kosovo, and IWS Carota Café Tehran – Iran.

In May 2020 Dennis was among the top 10 winners out of the 580 entries of the IWS (International Watercolor Society) London Café Gallery & IWS British Isles first international online coffee painting contest. He is one of the three Asians included among the top 10 winners. In April 2021, Dennis was again among the top 8 winners of the 3rd International Coffee Painting contest hosted by International Watercolor Society – Carota Café Tehran– Iran. In May 18, 2020, Dennis was also among the top 20 winners out of 66 entries nationwide in the Art Show Philippines online competition entitled The Filipino: Self-Portrait.*

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