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Joselito E. Barcelona

The Man

Joselito Espeso Barcelona

Detailed look at the "Day's Blessings", Oil on canvas

1948. Born October 21 in Labo Camarines Norte, the fourth of the six children of Jose A. Barcelona, a painter-foreman with the Bureau of Public Highways who did portraits on the side, and Purita P. Espeso.

1954. Enrolled at the Labo Elementary School where he did some teaching materials and visual aids for his aunt Dionisia Espeso, a school teacher. Often asked by other teachers to write for them the lesson of the day on the blackboard.

1956. At age 8, begun to study the rudiments of art under the tutelage and guidance of his father. Observed his father do portraits of his friends for humble fees; the most unforgettable portrait done by his father was that of General Douglas MacArthur.

1960. Enrolled at the Camarines Norte Institute in Labo for his secondary education. Began to earn loose change on his own by doing signboards for the town's doctors, dentists, and accountants. Also helped produce campaign materials during elections.

1965. Began to earn regular income, with free passes thrown in, when hired by Mr. Luzarga to do cinema cartels for his moviehouse. During summers, he earned his allowances by helping his father do the signs for construction sites.

Detailed View from "Mother and Child"

1966. Left for Manila and stayed with his baptismal godfather, Ger Viterbo, Sr., who ran a painting shop in Tanduay, Quiapo. To augment his allowance from home, he helped in Viterbo's silkscreen contracts while he was attending fine arts classes at the pontifical university.

1969. Made it to the finals in the AAP Annual with a painting that made him realize that he could never be anything else but a realist painter.

1971. Graduated from UST and promptly took odd jobs in advertising, including farm-out assignments from J. Walter Thompson, courtesy of former advertising professor Larry Tronco.

1972. Introduced by artist friend Jaime Roque to Ely Gajo, whom he considered the finest exponent of the Wyeth school of realism in the
Philippines. Following Gajo's examples, he turned up paintings which he combined with those of Roque for a two-man exhibit at the Art and Antiques Center
in Mabini. The sales were encouraging.

1973. Hired by J. Romero & Associates, an advertising agency, upon the recommendation of Ger Viterbo, Jr. Stayed there for nearly four years during which time he met Nestor Leynes and Emmanuel Llado. Together with Viterbo and Roque they formed the group called the "Magic Realists." The group held their first show the same year at Sining Kamalig.


1974. Participated in the second Magic Realists group show at The Gallery, Hyatt Regency.

1975. Included in the Kulay Anyo ng Lahi, the "art-in-the-streets" program of First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, with Lily in the Valley, painted on the wall of the RCPI building on the corner of EDSA and New York Street in Quezon City.

1976. Transferred to Filcapital Development Corporation as art director.

Landed in the finals in the PNB 60th aniversary art competition.

Married September 19 to Rosanna P. Guerrero of Bulan, Sorsogon, with whom he has three children: Veronica, born 1977; Marilyn 1978; and Joselito 1986.

1977. Presented his first one-man show exhibition at the Gallery, from August 15 to 31, with Cherry Pie Lazatin and Elena H. Golez as guests of honer.

Opened the day after, August 16, a two-man exhibit with Vincent Ramos at the Hidalgo Gallery.

Moved to Jardine Davies, Inc. as art director.

1978. Participated in the 3rd Magic Realists group exhibition at the Buglas Gallery in

1979. Included in the Hong Kong group exhibition organized by Sining Kamalig.

A detailed view of men in "Bayanihan"

1981. Teamed up with Roque for another two-man show, this time at Mondragon's Garden Gallery.

1982. Invited to show with other realist painters at the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City.

Began a 3-year stint as consultant to the "Pag-ibig" Home Development Mutual Fund Company.

1984. Established a design studio called Conceptlab, Inc., which services pharmaceutical companies.

1985. Concentrated on Conceptlab and stayed out of the art scene until 1991.

1992. Put up a two-man show with Rodolfo Roa at the Micaller Art Gallery in Makati.

1993. Decided to resign from Conceptlab as vice-president and executive art director to devote full time to painting.