was 28 years ago when Paul walked out of the university with nothing but dreams
of pursuing his craft. Chasing after his dream was no easy feat. Under the
terrible heat of the sun, he carried his paintings around Manila and went in
and out of banks to sell it. To earn money, he focused more on liturgical arts
and made paintings, murals, sculptures and stained glass designs for churches
across the country. He also went to Mountain Province to live with the Ifugaos
and immersed himself with their culture to complete a project with the
Veterans' Museum. His projects kept on coming but he still wasn't able to live
a comfortable life.
2002, Paul married his highschool sweetheart and migrated to Chicago, USA with
just $5 on his pocket. He worked as a waiter, forklift operator, and mailman to
provide for his family. Even if he was busy as a husband to his wife and a
father to his children, he never turned his back from the blank canvasses that
are waiting for him to put colour on. Every after work, he goes to a park and
stay for hours just to paint. After 4 years of juggling his work, family, and
passion, he was able to finish his 18 x 24 feet painting where he interpreted
the Philippine National Anthem. This paved way for a more colourful life as his
art pieces made waves across the U.S. He was supported by the Philippine
Historical Society in the U.S. and his painting was featured in places like the
Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., and Consulate General of the
Philippines in Chicago.
His stint as an artist
continues as Paul was encouraged by her wife to join the Artistic Infusion
Program of the U.S. Mint in 2008. It is an exclusive artistic pool that
consists of designers, engravers, sculptors, painters and other visual artists
that are contracted to create and submit coin and medal designs for the Mint.
Paul was happy when he was given a spot in the program. He didn't expect to be
chosen because he knows to himself that this was not his line of work, but so
was waiting tables and working in the mailroom. Paul went all over the States
to immerse himself with the place and the culture and draw as much designs he
could. Every year, the Mint opens numerous projects for artists like Paul to
join in. Coin and medal designs of the artists will undergo rigorous screening
and evaluation before being chosen. Most of the time, Paul's work are included
in the shortlists like his PACEM design in the Japanese Mint's International
Coin Design Competition in 2012. At the year 2013, his Statue of Liberty
award-winning design for the National Humanities Medal was recognized and
unveiled by the former President Barack Obama in an annual White House
ceremony. In 2015, he was recognized for his obverse and reverse designs for
the Code Talkers Recognition Congressional Medals Programs, for his gold
reverse design in the U.S. Marshals Service 225th Anniversary
Commemorative Coin Program, and for his silver obverse design in the March of
Dimes Silver Dollar Commemorative Coin. In 2016, he was acknowledged for his
reverse coin design in the American Eagle Platinum Proof Coin Program. His
reverse coin design for America the Beautiful Quarters Program was also given
recognition in 2018. This 2019, his designs for the $5 reverse gold coin and $1
obverse silver coin were chosen for commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of
the American Legion. The said one dollar and five dollar coin are in active
circulation this year.
When he's not drawing designs for coins, he paints and sculpts in his
free time. Over the years, he has created 30 paintings and 4 bronze sculptures
that were showcased in an exhibit last December 2018 at the RE Vision Art
Gallery in Wisconsin, USA.
is living the dream he pursued for almost three decades. The boy who walked out
of the university with nothing is almost unrecognizable, but the memories he
had from the institution is still like a vivid picture in his heart and mind.
"Yung determinasyon, yung mga natutunan ko sa mga
propesor ko, yung pagiging matiyaga at pagiging dedikado sa aming trabaho... Natutunan ko lahat sa UST," says Paul.
determination, the teachings of my professors, and the perseverance... I've
learned it all from UST.]
is currently working on a few designs for the US Mint and is collaborating with
a writer for the book of his Philippine National Anthem painting. He is also
working with the Office of Alumni Relations for the new design of the Thomasian
Alumni Jubilarian medals that would be unveiled later this year.