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In This Studio, Tracie Anglo-Dizon Mulls Over Female Beauty And Its Stages

Metro.Style visits the artist in her Pasay atelier, where she shared a peek into her creative process


In an idyllic Pasay compound, where a long gravel driveway leads to one of the storied Post-War American homes in this piece of quiet within the city, is Tracie Anglo-Dizon’s studio.  Metro.Style visited her in this space before the opening of her show, Living up To My Blue China,  at the Art Cube Gallery, on view through May 27.


“It was such a gift to have this space because I used to just paint in a little room in my house, so what a gift.  Seriously,” the artist reveals.  



On the pristine second floor of one of these homes is where Anglo-Dizon makes art.  The mom of two reflects on the boon of having a space dedicated to creativity, one that has come to her via interior designer, Eric Paras.


“It’s interesting.  I’m a mom.  I have two children, and they said, ‘Can you be home when we’re home?’  My day works with their schedule.  I start in the morning, and I try to be home after lunch.  It works for me because of the light.  I like that there’s beautiful light.  But it gets dark around the afternoon.  It’s a discipline, so I always follow this rhythm [that] really helps me. Coming to somewhere.  Even if I just sit there.  Even if one day, it’s ‘Oh, I really don’t have any ideas.  I really don’t know how to make this painting go forward.’  It’s okay.  There are those days,” she shares.


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It was in this space where the artist conceived the work that is currently on view at Art Cube Gallery.   For Living up To My Blue China, the artist painted a series of vases and plates that she uses as a metaphor for the female.  Upon close inspection, a language of symbolism alluding to ornamentation and female artifice is revealed within these objects of beauty.


“Embracing such multiple points of view, these objects are vessels imbued with knowledge, a repository of lived history. Pursued with creative insight, Anglo Dizon adds a whimsical flair over tradition by putting a twist over the design’s given narrative. Surrealist in manner that collide orthodox motifs with the unexpected, and following the inspired phrase by the French writer, Isidore Ducasse, otherwise known as the Comte de Lautréamont, “Beautiful as the accidental encounter, on a dissecting table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella,” the detourned objects of beauty here present shock to the norm that paves the way in dislodging ordinary reception in pursuit of other alternative consciousness and in opening newer paths of dialogue and thought. Elements of storytelling in Anglo Dizon’s work become springboards to the imagination that inspire creative growth and intuitive inquiries exposing fixed agendas,” Arvin Flores writes in his exhibition notes.



Part of the show are drawings of beauty queens captured at their most glorious.  Juxtaposed with the vases and plates in Anglo-Dizon’s oeuvre, they represent fleeting moments in the feminine’s story, the artist’s way of saying that beauty has its stages, each one to be embraced and welcomed.


“I isolated the beauty queens’ face.  It’s [capturing] a moment in time.  Our beauty is just a moment.  You know what I mean?  You age.  It’s about loving yourself and accepting.  Those jars have [elements rendered in white], a reference to white hair [that every woman eventually contends with]… Everything [in this show] is inspired by female accoutrements.  There’s a scunci.  There’s a corset.  I have this corset theme going on, where it’s a snake [masquerading as a] corset, [representing] the waist.  The belt.  We’re always trying to constrict ourselves like a snake, [but] beauty should be celebrated.  I like artifice.  I like fixing myself.  It’s about that.  I am embracing it.”  



Anglo-Dizon uses fragile blue and white china, prized for their delicate nature, originally painted in different shades of blue and decorated in motifs such as flowers, birds and branches, much like an ink painting, as medium of discourse for the stages of physical refinement in a woman’s life.  Completing her whimsical vocabulary on the feminine are depictions of flowers, the creation of which the artist likens to floral arrangement.


“[Historically] still lives and flowers get a lot of flack.  In the totem pole of art, they’re at the bottom, but when I was doing this, it was like flower arranging… but on canvas!  It’s my own version of a still life,” she explains.


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Whereas the vases are juxtaposed with moments in a beauty queen’s victory, her paintings of plates are also a play on the word “plait,” recalling that phase in almost every girl’s life where they start to explore ornamentation by wearing braids, a time of awakening to her ability to enhance her natural beauty.


“[These paintings were] inspired by my daughter who has a braid gang.  They go to school in braids every Thursday… It’s about ornamentation and artifice and accoutrements.  It’s interesting to see my daughter who is eleven, and it’s forming.  The female ornamentation, the vanity.  It’s all about this whole female beauty,” the artist shares.



Anglo-Dizon’s studio resides in close proximity to Talyer 15, an artist-run space she founded with Manuel Ocampo, Gerry Tan and Maria Cruz.  Within these venues, she is supported by her community.  She recalls a piece of advice imparted on her by Gerry Tan.  “Gerry said to me, ‘Tracie huwag kang magmadali.  Don’t rush.  Just take your time.  It’s a journey.  And I really took it to heart.  He said, ‘It took me so long, and I’m still at it.’  He also taught me the importance of perseverance because there are going to be dark days.  It’s terrifying, but also gratifying… but then, I get by with a little help from my friends even if I can just count them with one hand.  I am grateful for that,” Tracie Anglo-Dizon, the artist, tells Metro.Style.


View Tracie Anglo-Dizon’s Living Up To My Blue China at the Art Cube Gallery, OPVI Centre, Unit 104 G/F Building 3, OPVI Centre, 2295 Chino Roces Ave, Makati through May 27.  Visit https://www.artcubephilippines.com/.  


Also view Kain Na Ta! A Melding Of Visual Flavors at the ILOMOCA where Anglo-Dizon is showing her work with a roster of 42 contemporary Filipino artists to celebrate food as a metaphor for cultural consumption and community.  The exhibition is on view through August 2023.


Photographs by Paola Aseron