Visual Artists

Steve Acerden: “Working Without Thinking.”

A 60 year old veteran visual artist, Steve Acerden is one of the most well known surrealists in Tacloban City. His very own signature in surrealism is recognizable across his work. It was in 1995 when Waray-warays started to notice his art through his participation in various group exhibits. In July 8, 2016, he had his very first one-man exhibit as Kbox Studios’ first featured artist.
Kbox sat with Steve to know more about him and his work.
Kbox:  Who is Steve Acerden?
Steve:  My Name is Steve Acerden from Tacloban city, born on January 21, 1956. I started painting seriously in 1982 and I had my first exhibit with other artists in 1995. In 1956, I had a group called SAHO (Surrealist at Home Organization). I have always been in a group exhibit until now. This will be my first solo exhibit.
Kbox:  As an artist, who are your influences?
Steve: There are only two artists who had great influence in my work, they are Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. While both artists greatly inspired my work, in 1996, I started to develop my own style, moving away from Picasso and Dali. They were my guide in becoming a good painter.
Kbox: You mentioned earlier that anyone can paint but we all know that your painting is different. What is the secret behind your painting?
Steve:  It’s simple. What I feel, I paint. Whatever comes from my heart, I express it through my work. That is my only secret.
Kbox: What makes you different from other artists?
Steve: I have my own style. When I see that I have seen it, I do not repeat or copy it. Just like a movie, when you have already seen it, you do not want to see it again. So, I have to do my own style.
Kbox: Did you start painting as a kid?
Steve: That’s what my mother said, but I was too young to remember. I only became aware of me having the talent for visual arts when I was already in high school, when I studied drafting at LIT (Leyte Institute of Technology). That’s when I realized I could draw. I started with portraiture.  
Kbox: What advice can you give to other aspiring artists?
Steve: My advice to them is never lose hope, just keep going. Whatever their dreams are, “padayon la” (just keep going). As they say, “art lamang ini, waray hini naprepreso” (this is art, nobody goes to jail because of it) so long as you deliver your expression well.
Kbox: Personal quote as an artist.
Steve: Sometimes, I create; sometimes, I destroy. Artists are moody. There are times when I cannot create what I want to and those times, I scream. I scream so I can let it out.  
Even after getting a mild stroke 2 years ago, Steve found no reason to forbid himself from pursuing his love for art. He allows his hand to move and do the job. “That is working without thinking”, he quoted. Aside from painting, this veteran artist also has a collection of self-made sculptures.