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Top 6 Things You Should Know About Artist Chati Coronel


It was such a pleasure chatting with artist Chati Coronel. Her easy manner and all-smiles attitude made me feel like I was talking to a good friend, even though it was our first time meeting the artist. 

Chati has been in the art scene for twenty years now, and is well known for her multi-layered paintings, with its raw strokes, rugged lines, and soft colors.




Her works touch on many subjects--fairy tales, Buddhism, poetry, and the divine nature of creating artistic works. She’ll be having a solo exhibit at Silverlens Gallery in Makati this February 2018.

Coronel was a recipient of the Freeman Asian Fellowship Grant, a one-month artist residency at The Vermont Studio Center in 2000. Among her recent notable exhibits is The First Kiss on Earth exhibition in Singapore, which was listed in Artnet’s Top Ten International Summer Shows of 2014.




The artist is set to take the art scene by storm this 2018, so here’s a little primer about Chati:


1. She started painting on t-shirts. The artist shared that she started light, and began painting on t-shirts, to give away to friends. “I grew up with my grandmother, who was an art teacher. We always had little art projects growing up, so I had a sort of a painting homeschool back then.” 


2. She studied architecture. Chati never thought she’d become a full-time painter, despite growing up in an art teacher’s home. She studied architecture at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and thought little of becoming an artist, until…


3. Seeing a Van Gogh painting made her want to become a painter. “I never really thought that I’d be a painter. I really loved architecture.” For her undergrad thesis in architecture, she planned to design a library for the arts. She read a lot of art books to prepare her presentation. In one of these books, she discovered a photo reproduction of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”. “It made me cry. I felt the person’s suffering and sadness through the strokes of the painting. At that point, I decided to be a painter."

4. She enrolled in UP Fine Arts, but dropped out after a month. "As a new artist, I was feeling this magical force within me, and going to school for it, felt like we were dissecting this thing. I wanted it (art) to retain its mystery for me. I didn’t want to know how it was happening, I didn’t want to think about it with my logical mind. It wouldn’t be so exciting anymore.”

5. Her pieces have an average of 5-7 layers of paint. Chati’s works are now renowned for their intricately layered paintings. Each layer is a piece of Chati’s stream-of-consciousness-like visual storytelling. “It’s like buying five paintings in one,” jokes Chati.

6. She was one of five artists chosen to participate in Louis Vuitton’s 20th Anniversary Exhibit in Manila. Chati’s work was one of the pieces highlighted at an exclusive Louis Vuitton exhibit in Greenbelt 4 last 2013. The exhibit was entitled “Tribute to Heroines”, and the exclusive brand chose Chati’s piece, “Neck,” as one of the works to be featured. 


Photographs by Ronan Capili