by Noreen Tormis
Govinda Jean Marquesto is fast becoming one of the Philippines’ most sought-after artists. In a short span of time since he started painting full time, he has been busy doing commissioned works for big brands and high-profile executives from the capital, not to mention earning recognition in the international art scene.
He was recently awarded for his watercolor paintings in Taipei, Taiwan. With this recognition, he then was endorsed to do exhibit and sell his works by the art consultants of Taiwan for the Art Revolution Taipei.
Govinda started drawing and painting at an early age. At the age of five his mother would often get mad at him for doing sketches, telling him it’s a waste of time and that nobody got rich by doing art. Afraid of being reprimanded, he would secretly draw and hid them between pages of books until one day he just let go of this passion and focused on his studies.
One time when he was already in college, he accidentally found one of his childhood drawings between the pages of a biology book and rediscovered his love for drawing. But somehow it didn’t rekindle his passion in creating artwork instead he shifted his interest into creating music and formed the band Kadangyan together with his friend, Mitra who he met during a school event at the University of the Visayas.
Kadangyan was dedicated to creating ethnic music and seemed to have given birth to a unique genre and a rebirth of Filipino music and culture. They were then getting invitations to perform in different parts of the country and abroad and was a regular at almost every art and cultural events.
In October of 2013, he decided to try painting again. This time for a cause. He painted three pieces and were put on display in a gallery where the proceeds were donated to the victims of the Bohol earthquake.
The following month, Typhoon Yolanda ravaged Tacloban City, his best friend and Kadangyan bassist, Jonas “Agit” Sustento was one of the casualties. It devastated Govinda and made him take a break from the music scene.
He started working on his artwork full time and got his biggest break in 2015 through Manila FAME, an event organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
His stint with the Manila FAME opened a lot of opportunities for him. He started getting offers from international hotel brands to do commissioned works.
He was asked to do 20 artworks for Raffles Hotel and one special piece placed at the boardroom of Zobel Ayala in the hotel.
His other commissioned works for famous brands – wire art pieces for Dusit Thani Hotel and Resorts in Davao, Anya Resorts in Tagaytay and Dean and Deluca Café in Makati City.
Govinda has created predominantly multimedia pieces about animals, landscapes and flowers as his favourite subjects that captured the narrative of romanticism with nature. He manages to effortlessly combine the tricky combination of creating masterpieces using thread and nails, wires and soon to explore on the use of screws which will be featured in a benefit auction in December.
Indeed, a self-taught artist without the restrictions of an art degree, he has fully able to express his art that has made him carve a niche in the local and international art scene.
Apart from being a musician and a painter, Govinda is also an actor, a chef and an entrepreneur. He did television, stage plays and film acting and is also the brand ambassador for Draven shoes.
For collaborations, commissioned works and to check his masterpieces, you may reach out to him through Govinda Jean’s Facebook page.