“I love the raw feel of collage and the idea of making/composing something out of what already is existing,” says 23-year old artist Dina Gadia whose juxtapositions of personal drawings and cut-out images from comic books have earned a quiet following in the art circle. While, like every kid, she was exposed to comic books when she was younger, it was her boyfriend, the artist Allan Balisi, who gave her a pretty serious crash course on the slam-pow-splat world of Marvel et al. “He's the one really collecting comics and comix. I still have a lot to learn (to) catch up. I'm fascinated with how the creators of comics draw and tell stories, lalo na pag nalaman kung kelan ginawa yun, parang, ‘Ay ang galing, 1940s pa pala to?!’” Dina only started growing her own collection recently when she started working.
For Dina, the comic books are both medium and inspiration. “I use the artworks or images of previous generations as conceptual and formal techniques in order to create a new one by making fun of the images, twisting it and injecting humorous juxtapositions," she says. "To be ugly in some way. Like a cult film, I choose my work to remain in the 'so bad it’s good' variety. I want it raw, bad, and tough yet funny.”
A graduate of the Fine Arts course at the Far Eastern University (her major is Advertising). Dina is originally from Pangasinan. She grew up with her aunt, and once in a while gets to visit her family who lives just a boat ride away. “Real quiet place. Ang source ng tubig ay nanggagaling sa balon, livelihood ay farming at fishing, simpleng mga tao, cell phone ang latest technology. In other words, hindi pa sya masyadong civilized.” She now lives in Manila and just recently got her own studio space. “Madaming monsters sa studio ko. Andyan si King Kong, Godzilla, Homer Simpson at mga crustacean na kalaban ni Ultraman, cheap Halloween masks, toys, books at mags. Medyo makalat pa.”
Easily, one imagines the characters in Dina’s studio showing up in her works for the "Paper Panic" show (it’s a two-man-show with Mark Salvatus) which opens this Wednesday at 20Square. She started working on this exhibition since early December. “I work on my stuff pag-uwi galing trabaho at weekends.” She says the images come from books, comics, magazines. It breaks her heart, of course, when she has to cut up an image from a beloved comic book for a work. “Nakakapanghinayang pa rin lalo na minsan pag magaganda ang images. Nagiging attached kasi ako sa mga ganung bagay. Tinatago ko yung mga gusto kong images. Pag kailangan ko talaga gamitin, I take a picture of it at save na lang sa computer.”JG