Gabriel Tiongson’s manner as a visual artist belies his traditional, quiet upbringing. Born in the 80s in sleepy Iloilo City, Philippines, his interests ran the gamut of video games, cartoons, and Western pop culture. Initially drawing from these early influences, Tiongson’s art came to resemble funhouse mirror images of iconic cartoon characters.
His early work of free-hand, black and white illustrations expanded to include the use of fluorescent technicolor, slapstick, off-kilter character proportions, and distorted referrences to human anatomy. Marrying elements of innocence, childhood, and the grotesque.
Tiongson completed his Visual Arts degree and Masters in Creative Practice in Unitec Institute of Technology. Formal study shifted his art practice from primarily ink on paper to mixed media on canvas. He paints to construct and deconstruct his paintings to further feed into future work. Formal study also allowed him to criticize and reflect on his loss of identity and culture. This turmoil turned to opportunity when he was able to embrace his hybrid nature. His works are charged by his childhood affinities and presented through his experience of various cultures.