What the earth is to the sun, is what a child is to his mother–indispensable and emanating beauty. My relationship with the sun began when I used to draw it on the top right corner of my artworks as a child and continued when I learned in astronomy club how it took eight minutes for the light from the sun to reach the earth’s surface. Our existence without this light and heat, I learnt, is next to impossible.
“Soak in that Vitamin D!”, we are told. Besides its medical benefits like enhancing our immune system, sunlight can also be used to create art. From sceneries of glorious sunrises and sunsets providing inspiration for stunning pictures, few artists use actual sunlight to create these pictures.
Philippines-based artist Jordan Mang-osan uses a magnifying glass to direct the power of sunlight to create strikingly beautiful pyrography paintings. Pyrography is an art form that creates images using heat. Mang-osan differentiates himself by directing natural light through a large-curved glass fastened to bamboo as a paint-brush to etch absolutely breathtaking images on wooden boards. He is a master of the controlled application of heat to burn and create wonderfully detailed paintings. It is after sketching a basic design on his wooden canvas that he concentrates these sun rays on select areas. This is a very tedious task requiring extreme precision and meticulous hands, thus bringing out Jordan’s patience and skill.
Jordan Mang-osan is an ethnic Igorot who hails from the Mountain Province of the Philippines, fondly called the eighth wonder of the world by the Filipinos. He started his artistic journey at the age of 19 with pieces depicting Cordilleran subjects using raw indigenous materials on acrylic on canvas, mixed media, pyrography and solar drawing on various surfaces such as handmade paper and wooden panel.
His pyrography paintings have a very indigenous feel to them, giving Mountain Province life on his wooden boards. A major area for agricultural productivity, the paintings also show Philippines’ beautiful rice terraces, Mang-Osan’s native people and scenes from their culture. They seem to show the world at peace and harmony with nature.
The nature of his medium, wood allows Jordan to use an off-shoot of pointillism to create figures and landscapes. He is also able to make detailed portraits this way. He can fill up entire wooden boards with dazzling native patterns.
Mang-Osan’s art has earned him numerous awards and international recognition ever since he started showcasing his unique technique across the globe. At present he is now the president of Chanum Foundation and heads the Tam – Awan Village Artists armed with the mission to bring art to a larger audience as well as become a haven for budding artists all over the region and the country.
Using light from the ball of gases, present light-years away with just a piece of glass, this is probably one of the most economical art techniques. With the depth and proportion in his impressionist pieces, the depicted scenes call out to a bigger audience as they provide a simply exotic treat to those urban eyes which have grown accustomed to Western industrialization.