Architect Allan Prado recreates the Good Old Days through gel pens
13 Jan 2022
Architect Edwin Allan Prado often includes parol, arinola, banig, tumba-tumba, daster, etc. – objects from his childhood – in his artworks. His drawings reflect his personality as a simple and sentimental family man.
Presently working as the Assistant to the Director for Facilities Planning and Design at the Loyola Schools Office of Facilities and Sustainability, Prado plays a crucial role in upholding the sustainability initiatives of Ateneo de Manila. He is the artistic mind behind many of the sustainable innovations on campus, like the lighting fixtures made from aircon blowers; wood panels, and shelves in the MVP tambayan areas crafted from old wooden door jambs and plant boxes fashioned out of old lavatories and urinals. In addition, vintage office machines like typewriters have been transformed into unique pots for cacti and other succulents. These sustainable initiatives make the campus more beautiful, harness the creativity of Ateneans, and accentuate Ateneo's commitment to caring for the environment.
Prado says that his passion for the arts has helped him design the school's facilities while considering the role of sustainable architecture. This passion, he adds, stems from his happy childhood memories spent in the province – summers with his grandparents and cousins.
Growing up, his cousins would ask him to draw characters from the comic strips that they read.
"Sabi ng magulang ko, yung lola naming nung baby pa ako, naglagay siya ng papel at lapis doon sa tabi ko, sa crib. Kaya sabi nila kaya raw siguro ako nahilig sa paghawak sa lapis at pagdo-drawing (My parents said that my grandmother used to leave a pencil and pieces of paper in my crib. This was probably the reason I grew up interested in making illustrations)," he says, laughing. Growing up surrounded by people who were into the craft nurtured his love for the arts and inspired him to take up B.S. Architecture in college. He continued to draw even after graduation.
In 2020, when he was about to turn 55, he mustered the courage to create a YouTube channel. He named it ArtOdarp, a tribute to how his friends call him- Odrarp (a wordplay on his surname). He uploaded timelapse videos of his drawings on tissue papers; drawing on tissue papers was something he did whenever he would fetch his wife from work or come from her office building to meet him.
Prado wants to evoke a viewer's emotion and memory in every artwork: "It is not what they see, but what they feel when they see my drawings."
He readily admits that his heart flutters when he hears people tell him that his drawings remind them of their memories growing up. His rendition of the Christmas parol, for example, brings to mind the Filipino tradition of savoring Noche Buena with their loved ones. So every time people look at his drawings, Prado hopes they will remember the time they spent with their loved ones– the beautiful memories with the people they love.
Living in a time when the world is facing a pandemic, Prado stresses the importance of pursuing one's passion as means to relax, recharge, and rejuvenate. Prado used gel pens to scribble on tissue and Manila papers, but that did not stop him from expanding his medium. He picked up a paintbrush and realized that he could paint.
"Be patient with yourself" is the advice he wants to share. "Try new things and keep asking yourself what you love, and eventually, you will get there, and you will do what you're meant to do."
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