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While You Were Not Looking: John Lloyd Cruz Just Became An Artist

The artist Valeria Cavestany splashed glitters onto the “Flesh Avenue” poster. Romeo Lee put his signature ghoul and his own image for the poster of “Impaktita.” Robert Langenegger took a stab on the poster of “Hubo Sa Dilim” by replacing the image of a young Maria Isabel Lopez with that of an aging sex symbol complete with sagging breasts and battered nipples. And John Lloyd Cruz did mixed media, filling a canvas with pouches of spaghetti sauce, boxes of Quickmelt cheese, and Purefoods hotdog to reinterpret the poster of the 1988 monster hit “Tiyanak.”


Reinterpretations of Vic Delotavo's movie posters. Clockwise from top left: Romeo Lee's version of the "Impaktita" poster; Valeria Cavestany's "Flesh Avenue"; Cecile Zamora's poster for "Bulaklak ng City Jail"; Cavestany's "Hubo Sa Dilim"; and another "Tiyanak" poster interpretation, this time by Dranreb Belleza


The original newspaper poster for "Tiyanak."  


Yes, while you were not looking, John Lloyd, now 34 and on indefinite leave from his actor life, has reinvented himself and become an artist. Or at least that’s what it looked like at Tuesday’s opening of the pocket event to Vargas Museum’s ongoing “Delotavo: Posters for Philippine Cinema.” The main exhibition displayed Mr. Delotavo’s body of work in a very prolific career making movie posters during the 1980s and 1990s. Archivo Gallery, who greatly helped put the show together, orchestrated a smaller event to drum up interest for the show, asking several artists to reinterpret select pieces by Delotavo.


Cruz's friend, the artist Romeo Lee presenting his works


The show at the second floor landing of the Vargas Museum in UP?


Echoing Andy Warhol’s popular paintings of Campbell’s Soup cans, a statement on consumerist culture, John Lloyd's eye-catching effort was arranged like a sari-sari store display crammed with ingredients for Pinoy-style spaghetti; with the image of the tiyanak, the baby that turns into a monster, peeking from behind. One might say all that ketchup and red sauce is a wink to all the fake blood shed in the Peque Gallaga-Lore Reyes film. But the work might as well be a statement on Philippine cinema—the world John Lloyd is shying away from at the moment—and its devotion to formula, carved-in-stone ingredients to what makes a blockbuster. The work’s title: “Fuck Morals Give Me Your Money.”


John Lloyd Cruz's mixed media work entitled "Fuck Morals Give Me Your Money"


John Lloyd, who lists his name in the exhibition as Idan Cruz (Idan is how family and close friends call him), will be the last person to offer any explanation for his work. In fact, he refused to be interviewed by ABS-CBN reporter Mario Dumaual. Throughout the afternoon, he was hanging out with artists and guests of the exhibition, sporting a blue summer shirt and a new hairstyle—a buzzcut that was thin on the sides and thick at the center— care of his girlfriend Ellen Adarna. He even stepped away from taking part in selfies, jokingly saying—or maybe just half-joking—that that (the spotlight? The celeb life?) is no longer his world.


John Lloyd's new look: a buzzcut from girlfriend Ellen Adarna


Photos from ABS-CBN News