Artist Jevijoe Vitug is so adept at communicating cross-culturally, he’s able to hurdle barriers of difference—social, political and cultural—often by incorporating those very differences directly into his work.
For his new exhibit, How To’s at the Winchester Cultural Center, Vitug combines elements of traditional Asian art with how-to illustrations, a collection that serves as a humorous and satirical survival guide for immigrants in Las Vegas. The paintings offer advice, give warnings and share personal narratives through ornate Asian design, religious motifs, Southwestern architecture and corporate branding. Global issues, climate change and the financial crisis also play a role in the works, resulting in a story so much larger than any one perspective. You could even argue that they paint a perfect portrait of present-day Las Vegas.
- How To's
A fan of electronic dance music, Vitug plays the role of visual DJ in this exhibit, remixing visual styles to come up with a new language. The painting “How to Build a Sustainable Home” is patterned like a Persian rug, ornate and symmetrically balanced, with a center design composed of an arrangement of Vegas-style homes and a solid border featuring bank logos. “How to Survive an Avalanche of Waste” illustrates the best way to tumble though “global excess,” including the detritus of flashy Strip advertising.
Going with the flow, Vitug says, is “very Las Vegas” in the way that change is the only constant here. The Philippines native, who has lived here since 2007, often deals with poverty, globalization and the environment in his work. He’s a skilled illustrator and one of few artists who can take inspiration from Persian manuscripts, Mongolian paintings and pre-colonial Philippine art to successfully create works that are both light-hearted and serious while offering colorful commentary.