> ARTIST BIO
Errol Balcos, a visual artist based in Cagayan de Oro city, was born in Valencia City, Mindanao, Philippines. He spent some of his growing years with his grandparents in Cagayan de Oro, and it was his grandfather who encouraged him to hone up his skills in art. The suburb where his grandparents lived was situated in a lush green valley far from the bustling city, and nature became Balcos’s first inspiration. But this idyllic environment did not shelter him from the harsh realities of life. At an early age, he was already exploring the streets, even trying his hand at selling vegetables. Years later, these experiences would serve him well when he finally decided to focus on art. He developed a keen social awareness and a quick photographic eye for the details of life in the streets.
Balcos studied architectural drafting at Mindanao University of Science and Technology in 1994-1997. Although he has attended workshops, he is largely a self-taught artist in the areas of printmaking, mixed media, sculpture, installation art, conceptual art, and his primary pursuit – painting.
The development of his style and philosophy in art accelerated when he joined the Oro Art Guild in 1996. The organization opened doors to a wider network of artists and cultural workers, giving him the chance to engage in more art activities with the community.
In 2000, Oro Art Guild opened Sibay Art Space, a venue for exhibits, art production, cultural activities, and a place to stay for Mindanao culture and arts transients. Balcos was chosen as manager and curator. The space became a bright, albeit small, beacon for the arts in Mindanao. Artists and performers from other cities would almost always include it in their itinerary when they visited the city.
Balcos was the first artist to be awarded a residency through the Layag Art Residency program of the Visual Arts Committee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), with the Neo-Angono Artists Collective, the recipient of the grant, as his host.
His most recent achievement is the Regional Finalist prize in the 2007 Philippine Art Awards Regional Competition and the Juror’s Choice Award of Merit in the 2008 Philippine Art Awards National Competition.
He has shown his works in two solo exhibitions and in numerous group exhibits around the Philippines. Like the child of his past, he is constantly ambulant, searching for new experiences. The variety of his themes mirrors the richness of his travel experiences: poverty, anger, hate, love, peace and freedom.
Balcos’ art has taken him to places, and these places have taken him to his art.