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Arts & Culture: How an adman turned a billboard on EDSA into the Philippines’ largest abstract painting

MANDALUYONG CITY, PHILIPPINES – Just a few days before the holiday known as the EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary, a Filipino artist kicked off a different kind of revolution in terms of creating his art.

If one were an adman with a Fine Arts background who also dabbled in out-of-home media or outdoor advertising, how would one celebrate the Philippines’ National Arts Month?

Well, one could create a massive abstract artwork, 62 feet high and 40 feet wide, and since it’s too big to fit in a gallery, one could install it on a huge billboard frame in the most central of locations on the Metro Manila’s major thoroughfare, EDSA.


And because one would want the work to be revolutionary, one would just have to locate it right where the two EDSA Revolutions happened many years ago.

Lloyd Tronco, adman/artist.

Advertising guy and artist Lloyd Tronco did exactly that. In keeping with Presidential Proclamation No. 663 (signed in 1991) wherein the “disciplines of theatre, dance, music, visual arts, architecture, literature, media arts, and film need to be preserved, enriched” every month of February, Lloyd installed his ginormous artwork titled “Alab ng Sining” along EDSA-Ortigas near the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Building, Barangay Wack-Wack, Greenhills East, Mandaluyong City.

With a surface area of 230 square meters, it required 10 gallons of acrylic paint, with the assistance of 4 people to spread his vinyl canvas and eventually 8 people to install his acrylic-on-vinyl artwork. While the actual implementation and execution was achieved in about a week, the planning and logistical strategy took several months.

Lloyd, in an online interview, says that “the idea though of doing something like this has been in the back of my mind for years because I have been in the outdoor advertising business for the longest time.” Lloyd’s Bacolod City-based family-owned Tronco Advertising Co., Inc. has been dabbling in billboards for the past 45 years.

Doing large works is not something new to the artist.  “When I was 16 and about to graduate from the Philippine Science High School, our art appreciation teacher gave me a task to create a mural on the school’s grandstand.  That was the backdrop for the commencement exercises”, said the artist.

“This is a personal project,” Lloyd admits. “I have been an artist by training, as I studied initially at the UP College of Architecture for one semester in 1985. Then, the untimely demise of my dad (who was once a professor at the University of Sto. Tomas in Fine Arts) compelled me to help my mom in the billboard business serving the Visayas and Mindanao. From Architecture, I shifted to Fine Arts at the La Consolacion College of Bacolod.”

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