Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper BrandedUp Hello! Create with us Privacy Policy

Ed Lantin’s interior monologues in oil

By IGAN D'BAYAN, The Philippine Star Published Mar 11, 2024 5:00 am

There are method actors, Stanislavski-ing their way to embody acting roles—but, imagine if you will, a method painter.

Edgardo “Ed” Lantin, a Filipino painter currently based in Vancouver, Canada, is highly regarded as a portraitist, having done portraits of two late presidents, Corazon Aquino and Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. The former was a gift from the Filipino community to the beloved Cory; the latter was officially commissioned and hangs alongside official portraits at the Malacañang Reception Hall. Unable to have a sit-down session with PNoy, Lantin—who was encouraged to go into portraiture by Sofronio “SYM” Mendoza—watched hours upon hours of videotape, studied photographs, and read whatever was available online. Lantin believes that a true portrait artist must go beyond outward appearances.

“If you only capture the physical features, that’s a very shallow understanding of the person,” explains Ed. “You need to have a dialogue with the subject—dun mo makukuha personality ng tao.” At times, even after completing a portrait that accurately captures the sitter’s likeness, Lantin senses a certain soullessness or an absence in the artwork.

Artist Ed Lantin goes from portraits to places in his latest show at Crucible Gallery.

“Something’s missing—so, tinatalikod ko muna sa dinging ’yung portrait (laughs). But once I rest my eyes, look at the work again, and then later on apply several strokes…. it’s there, done, complete.” 

The job of the artist is truly to deepen the mystery. Ed remembers a painting he did of Jessica Magsaysay Brimo, who has an extensive collection of antique pocket saints, porcelain jars, vases, and other curios. The artist situated her in an off-center pose, with those objects in the background. Must have been quite a mad undertaking to paint those little albeit essential details that somehow define her.

Lobby, Manila Peninsula

What are the indications that a specific work is an Ed Lantin?

His answer: It's in the mannerism, which is developed through the years. “Every painter has a set of mannerisms. For me, (I always value) the elements of design, orchestration, the handling of the soft and hard edges, the focal point.”

The living room of Dr. William Chua’s house

It has been quite a journey for this UST alumnus; Lipa, Batangas hardcourt point guard; Agent Canada graphic artist; Art Student League in New York scholar; Dimasalang III art group member; and now a full-time practitioner who is a go-to portraitist of prominent individuals, but also someone who makes stunning landscapes, seascapes and nature studies.

Lantin reveals the method and the maddening details that went into his current suite of paintings for an exhibition titled “Interior Series” at Crucible Gallery, which is set to open on March 12.

Manila Hotel

When his cousins from Seattle visited the Philippines in late 2019, Ed took them to Manila Hotel for lunch and was promptly struck by the visual delights of the hotel lobby.

“The reflection and contrast of the cool colors against the warm colors, the ambience, the energy of the room. In March 2020 (when COVID hit) ’di na ko makabalik ng Canada, so I painted and painted.”


During the pandemic, he realized the crushing weight of living in a box. “Na-confine tayo sa small space, hindi tayo makalabas. So, each of us was thinking, ‘Once this COVID is over, maybe I should go out and eat, explore, go back to normalcy.” He hopes that his paintings of interiors —teeming with people, stunning with colors, brimming with energy—will invoke in viewers the ideas of “resiliency, hope and positivity.”

He stressed, “Humanity can never be defeated.”

A painting of Antonio’s at PGA Cars by Ed Lantin

When Ed was doing research for his “Interior” paintings, Sari Ortiga of The Crucible took him to prospective spots: Manila Pen, Sofitel, Manila Hotel. The photographs and sketches of the spaces, as well as mental notes about these places, became part of Lantin’s arsenal of images. A visit to James Coyiuto at PGA Cars in Ortigas led to the artist taking a peek at the upstairs Antonio’s restaurant. He was promptly inspired.

A waiter lighting a candle (Antonio’s), chefs preparing their steamed delights (Sofitel), people hanging out in a hotel lobby under a sculpted sun (Manila Pen), a doctor and his wife gazing lovingly at a painting in their lovely abode. To some observers, these compositions can be categorized as postcards of the mundane or vignettes of the every day. But for Ed Lantin who skillfully rendered these scenes, it took all of us a lifetime just to get back to these places, an epic journey in between spaces. Same interiors in terms of physical terrain, but with our inner lives very much altered yet undefeated.

The artist concludes, “It’s a triumph of human existence.”

* * *

Ed Lantin’s “Interior Series” opens on March 12, 6 p.m., at Crucible Gallery, Fourth Floor, SM Megamall A, Mandaluyong City. The show is on view until March 24. For information, visit Crucible Gallery on social media.