What’s your favorite album cover? The one that doesn’t escape you that upon first glance, you can almost hear and taste the music? For sure, album covers go hand in hand with the songs themselves. For sure it’s a bit different now where album covers are so small from your Spotify players or too big because of the vinyl resurgence.

Garden Gnome acrylic on canvas 17.78 x 20.32 cm 2015

But there was a time when the challenge was to create imagery onto cassette tapes and CDs which is more challenging because of the size constraints. That and you actually have to attract your target audience to BUY the albums off the shelves.

Rom Villaseran is behind most of these heavy iconic albums. If you’re into the hard and heavy music of Queso, Greyhoundz and Slapshock, then you probably own an album or two.

Little King acrylic on canvas 40.64 x 60.96 cm 2015

Of course, coming from a music standpoint, he will be recognized for that but you know what? Rom Villaseran is more than that!

His works, aside from being the stuff of heavy music legend, are purely different and engaging. They are visual escapades that are open to interpretation. Dark, brooding, and thought-provoking, Rom doesn’t rest on his album cover accolades alone. He’s still at it.

Ladies and Gents, please welcome the almighty Rom Villaseran for This Is Hype…

First off, how did you start out as an artist?

I always just felt that creating things would be a good way to live a life. I was 9.

Tsukai Messenger acrylic on canvas 152.4 x 121.92 cm 2017

What genre of art would you believe your works to be in?

I used to think that my work fell under fantasy. But now I’m not sure. To be honest, I have lost interest in trying to label my work. It’s basically a timestamp or a diary of where I am mentally at certain points.

Nursery acrylic and graphite on canvas 223.52 x 121.92 cm 2016

Many people see you as the guy who created Pinoy Rap Metal imagery for the Big 3, (Queso, Houndz, Slap) how did that happen?

I don’t think I am all that, but I do have many memories with these guys. We had all cut our teeth together at the starting line. It was Yagi Olagera (COG vocalist), Eric Perlas (TOD), and Paolo Pineda who brought me to Music Hall in Green Hills to watch the four brother bands some 20+ years ago. I was hooked after that night. Each of these three bands have a unique relationship with me. During those days, we all became very close hanging out in each other’s studio trying to figure out what to create. Queso was the very first collaboration. You never forget the first.

Cheese – Self Titled
Greyhoundz – Self Titled
Slapshock – 4th Degree Burn
Slapshock – Headtrip
Cheese – Pilipinas

 

How does Rom go about a piece? Can you share with us your design process?

There are many ways to go about creating artworks. One of my favorites would be to create chaos. I look at the random things on the canvas. Then I string them all together to make something cohesive. There is no greater pleasure than figuring something out in a sea of chaos.

What kind of music gets you in full art mode?

I’m 46 years old. It took a while to get here, but I can honestly say that I love most genres now. When I work, I find that Tool or any low bass trip-hop selection goes a long way.

Who are your top influences when it comes to your art?

When I was starting out, I looked at Dave Mckean and Kent Williams for inspiration. It was a good starting point for me. Their work led me to mine. When I found my voice, I began to shed myself of these influences.

Luna in the Bath acrylic on canvas 121.92 x 121.92 cm 2015

How does the new normal situation affect a visual artist like you? How did you deal with the changes?

It’s difficult for most of us. We have to work twice as hard and there are so many rules that we have to follow. But this is where we are. We have to take care of each other by following these rules so that all of us can move forward. Not just the few.

Both Of Me acrylic on canvas 121.92 x 121.92 cm 2016

Name some of your most definitive Rom Villaseran pieces. The ones that really speak for your art style.

All of my works have pieces of me in them. But non have taken more than the piece Sibol.

Sibol acrylic on canvas 121.92 x 152.4 cm 2016

Thank you! Got stuff to promote? Etc.

Actually, I do have something in the pipeline. But it’s not ready yet. I should get back to you when it is. Thank you for this conversation, Rogel. I really appreciate it. I look forward to listening to more of your work.

Speaking of art, you should get to know Niko Pelaez’ Project 7 to 1 collab here!  

 

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