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Mikey: A Man of any Colours

By: Ali Sanderson Posted: July-16-2008 in
Ali Sanderson

Not afraid to take risks in his professional life, in 2006 Michael Santiago packed up his belongings and set off from Manila to come to Cambodia after being offered a job with a renowned advertising agency in Phnom Penh. Subsequently, much to his disillusionment, this job fell through but nonetheless, Mikey, determined to prove his talents, persevered and now works as an art designer at Bassac Orchid advertising agency.

Creative director Paul Regan, who has worked with Mikey over the past 2 years, became aware of Mikey's artistic forte in painting and decided to help Mikey exhibit his art in Phnom Penh. There are plans for an exclusive and glamorous art event featuring Mikey's work in the near future.

This, yet to be titled event, will be Mikey's second solo exhibition, with the first one, a sold out show, titled 'My mother is a Baker' which he showed in the Manila in 2006, inspired by his mother and his childhood. This second exhibition at Huxley's will be a continuation of this, also using watercolors, but will mostly be derived from his own feelings about spirituality, and his sexuality- a homosexual man and his context in the world.

Growing up in the Philippines, Mikey was brought up being taught very Catholic values. He has been drawing the human figure since he was a child and one of the most significant but unsettling memories of this was when, at the age of 8, his father caught him drawing naked men and branded him "the son of the devil". This didn't prevent him experimenting in art or his own important decisions in life and in 1990 Mikey left the provinces and moved to Manilla where he studied at the College of Fine arts. During this time he also worked at a radio station as a voice talent (alias 'Esmeralda') ,worked with the gay and lesbian community in Manila with which he co-founded the first gay pride march in the country and later joined forces with the progressive socialist and democratic movement where he designed banners and protest art.

Apart from this diverse and sundry background Mikey has an affable and gregarious disposition, he loves his three pet dogs and, he is also, it seems, a natural performer.

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