Jerry Tirado is a forty year old family man living outside the loop of Iloilo city, in the locality of Tigbauan. Jerry is a woodcutter and sometimes a carpenter, who does sculpture because he feels like doing so. Unlike other sculptors, Jerry does carving just to entertain himself and decorate his own house with his works. In other words, his works are made out of love for his craft and with the self-fulfillment he acquires from his art. His works are so adorable considering that they were created by someone who did not undergo any formal education in the art of sculpting. We daresay, it was purely innate talent. You know, that unique inborn gift each of us is blessed with.
It all started when Jerry saw a piece of log after a heavy rain, he picked it up, removed the moist bark so for the phloem or xylem (a part of a trunk that is suitable for carving) be visible and shaped it in a good cylindrical form. Using a pencil, he started sketching an image of the Virgin Mary using a picture as a model. After sketching, using an ordinary, well-used chisel and knife, he began carving and consequently the figure starts to form. When the perfectly made sculpture, in relief technique, was finished, he polished it with sand paper, and painted with shellac, he then tucked the work on their bedroom door.
The wooden sculptures Jerry makes are very neat and precise and so beautifully carved. The moment we saw and experience his art we drastically drop our jaws. And a never-ending string of questions suddenly pop up into our minds from, “Why did he not build a business out of his talent?”, “Why on earth hasn’t he become rich yet? He could have earned big proceeds from his art.” to “How come he is able to carve such intricate details?”
As we took a look into the details of his works, we began to ask him, “Manong Jerry, bakit hindi po kayo magtrabaho sa mga furniture shops? May talent naman kyo, mas malaki ang kikitain niyo doon.” He sadly replied to us saying, “Hindi ako nakapag-aral, at isa pa nahihiya ako, malamang hindi sila tatangap ng gaya ko.” With that answer, we then ask him, “Manong bakit hindi mo gawing negosyo yang talent mo, pwedeng rin na tumanggap ka ng mga order ng mga customer dito mismo sa bahay mo.” With a smile, he began sharing to us one of his experiences.
That he once had an order to make from one of his friends in their neighborhood. He is to make an accessory of a gun that is made of wood. After he finished working with the piece, his friend got it, and then the man sold it, with Jerry having no subsidy from the sale. He was not angry neither was he happy with what had happened. He stopped thinking about it, since the man was his friend and so life must go on. Jerry still doesn’t have orders from customers and still a woodcutter.
Jerry’s house is filled with his own marvelous works and even their chairs and tables were designed by his skillful hands. Though his works weren’t gaining recognition it is worthy of, he continuous to make sculptures proving that an artist inside him wanted to express and let itself out.
The Philippines is cramped with so much talent we often find brilliant skills common. We are blessed with so much gifts- gifts we will indeed adore, and from which find the beauty of being a human who knows art, art such as those made /from logs found after a heavy rain.