Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Ernesto Maranan, originally from the Philippines. I came to England in late summer of 1973 to join my sister and worked in a hospital in Oxford. I worked as a waiter for fourty years in Central London and am non semi-retired.
When and how did you first become interested in art? How long have you been doing art?
Since the early age of seven I started drawing, mainly human figures. I drew on sand, sheets of papers and even on my school notebooks. There was a fascination in fashion. I copied models from magazines and there came a time when I had a notebook full of fashion drawings I created. I have since painted several paintings in oils, watercolours and created several sculptures in clay and chicken wire and cloths, drift wood and used materials like old newspapers.
What are your artistic influences?
Primarily works by Michelangelo and other classical masters like Raphael or Carravagio. At the tender age of 7 I had this fascination with the Nativity Scene on Christmas cards, books and magazines. I became captivated by it. So I started creating my own Nativity scene. I copied them on boards or white cardboards and coloured with watercolours, cut them out and assembled to give it a 3D effect. As I developed into an artist, all these experiences in my early age remain with me. Up until now, I always pay a visit to the National Portrait Gallery at Trafalgar Square.
Does anyone in your family make art?
None from my siblings. But one of my niece is quite artistic. I’ve seen some of her works displayed in their house.
What art do you most identify with?
Classical arts-natural, realistic colours heightened with drama.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
Painting. I enjoy painting human figures, landscape and mythological figures scene.
What themes do you pursue?
Rural and Urban themes. People in particular scene, the drama in the ordinary. I also love mythology.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
There are as many talented artists out there from different generations. It inspired me looking at their works or watching them live creating and producing works of out.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I’ve done hairdressing, worked as a health care assistant for 5 years. Then worked in hospitality trade for 4 decades.
It runs in my vein. It’s in me, that’s why I love art. To me, it means effort or attempt, expression of your own mind and feeling.
What project are you working on now?
I had just finished a project, a little version of Michaelangelic Lybyan Sybyl – one of his finest of Sisting ceiling. The figure captured my imagination; the tiniest pore, the physique and strength. The drama of it all! It is a mixture of oils on canvas and textured with layers of tissue paper. As you can see, I love and I am passionate about mythology.
What else do you do besides making art?
I love gardening and going out and visiting friends, relatives and galleries.
What is your dream project?
Something very different. I’m still working on it.