KNOxOUT Project EDSA: The Prologue

Working in Makati and living in Paranaque means passing through EDSA almost everyday. And one day, when I saw this enormous piece of wall art near the Magallanes flyover, I knew something was up.

It was not mere street art — well, Philippine street art anyway. Local street art is slowly getting more creative in the last few years. We see less of the gang signs and haphazard sprays on the walls of our Metro now; slowly but excitingly, street art in Manila is becoming more inspired.

After some digging, I found out that this is an ongoing project by Boysen KNOxOUT. The earth-friendly brand is the first and only air-cleaning paint available in the market. And instead of waxing poetic about its benefits, they’ve commissioned 1,000 square meters of EDSA to be painted into a large-scale public artwork to prove that it works!

I seriously wanted to go down EDSA to take a photo of this one, but hey, I ain’t about to be roadkill. I got in touch with Boysen and they were incredibly gracious enough to provide me with photos and information to share with you readers about Project: EDSA.

The first commissioned piece for this project is by local artist Jose Tence Ruiz. Bogie Ruiz, as he’s more popularly known, has been a multimedia artist for years. His works reflect his acute awareness of social and political issues.

He’s the first commissioned artist for Project: EDSA with this piece entitled Ganap. Every time I look at it, for about 3-15 seconds (depending on the traffic), I try to fathom what it actually is:

Is that bacteria?

Are those vines?

Why are there elements from the Internet in there? Could it be the artist’s interpretation of the Information Highway, cleverly painted beside Manila’s busiest highway?

Turns out, Ruiz’s inspiration for his piece is a collision of fractals and marine life; the former being an obsession and inspiration of his for years, and the latter being natural wonders Filipinos enjoy and coexist with.

Oh yeah! I think I see…starfish…coral…sea cucumbers…Spongebob Sqaurepants…

When thinking up this masterpiece, Ruiz was trying to delve deeper into artistic technique, seeking inspiration from how Masters from centuries before us were able to meld beauty and science. With Ganap, I personally feel that he was able to do this. Ruiz was able to form this one beautiful and complex piece that exhibit both the macrocosm of underwater life and microcosm of the shapes organically found in nature.

The artist at work

Out of 46 proposals Ruiz submitted for this project, I believe this one was chosen to come to life because his inspiration for this one perfectly mirrored what the product is for. KNOxOUT is paint — a medium for art — that goes a level above its chemical formulation to clean the air too!

Here’s the whole piece. Ain’t it grand? 🙂

And the absolute best part is: it’s art that everyone can see and enjoy! It’s art that breathes; art that can be touched; art that elicits reactions; art that doesn’t discriminate!

(L-R): MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Boysen’s Johnson Ongking, and artist Bogie Ruiz

I’m excited to announce that the people behind this amazing project allowed me to tag along when the next pieces will be painted! I could possibly POSSIBLY contribute a brushstroke in the next ones, just like VP Binay above! 2 of the 8 projects are up already, so watch out for my reports straight from EDSA when it happens!

In the meantime, I’ll be blogging about the second installation in my next entry, as well as tell you more about how paint can actually clean the air. And if you happen to pass by EDSA Southbound, just before the Magallanes flyover and hopefully when pesky buses don’t block your view, take the time to marvel at Ruiz’s beauty-meets-science masterpiece.

Full disclosure: I am in no way affiliated with Boysen or its agencies in any way. I actively sought out information from them, and they have graciously provided me with information for this and future related entries, all without asking for partiality in their favor. For this, I am thankful for their enthusiasm to share with me their materials — including photos and write-ups — for this entry.

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