As the Cradle of Philippine Art, the province of Rizal’s cultural heritage goes back to pre-historic times, as evidenced by the rock engravings in the Petroglyphs in Binangonan. Dating back to 3000 BC, this is said to be the most ancient Filipino work of art.
Angono in Rizal, the Art Capital of the Philippines, is like one big gallery itself with its numerous artworks. It is also said to have more artists per square meter than any other place in the world.
It was here that Jose “Pitok” Blanco, who is known for his mural size paintings depicting the joyous celebrations in his hometown, worked and raised his family.
Art, of course, was central to the Blanco family, but one other thing they also liked doing together was shopping at SM for art supplies, shoes, and clothes in what was then SM Makati and Cubao.
While it is said that Blanco never forced his seven children – Glenn, Noel, Michael, Joy, Jan, Gay, and Peter Paul – to be involved in the arts, they are now all practicing visual artists whose canvasses represent Filipino culture and tradition in their realistic style. And they collaborate with SM’s cultural programs through exhibits and workshops in the SM malls.
Michael, the third child, discovered his creative inclinations at the age of ten. He has since immersed himself in portrait, genre and landscape painting, through which he precisely captures rural folks and their daily lives.
Joy, Blanco’s fourth child and eldest daughter, is known for her very photographic and realistic paintings, similar to her father’s style. Her works celebrate culture, reflecting the festive spirit Filipinos are known for.
Gay, Blanco’s youngest daughter, started drawing before she even learned to write. Her artworks tackle family life, usually featuring motherly love and caring among siblings.
Peter Paul, the youngest of the Blanco family, is the family’s favorite subject and can be seen in most of their artworks. He developed his craft at an early age, and was only two when he painted his Christmas Tree work. Since that time, he has explored different subjects including animals and scenes from the community he grew up in.
The family had their first painting exhibition in 1978 at the National Museum, and were invited to exhibit their works in Xiamen, China. Known as the Blanco Family of Artists, their most notable collective work is the Risen Christ, a rich Eastern mural that hangs in the Holy Cross Parish in Valenzuela.
With their incredible creativity, the Blancos have held several family exhibits around the country, and were likewise invited to mount family exhibits in China, the United States, and in Europe.
The family’s goal is to record the Filipino’s way of life, our culture and traditions, and flora and fauna, and have traveled extensively in the Philippines for this. The Blancos paint and record our country in its light and freshness, and move actively to showcase art in the community.