An architect follows the artist’s arc: Mark Weigh pursues pop

The ever-smiling, always game Mark Weigh would seem easily capable of attracting plenty of labels.

“Fitness buff” would be one. “Licensed architect” would be another. Perhaps, even “gym bunny” might be apt. But, “struggling artist”?

It’s 2024, and this year might be a good one to jumpstart the artistic career of architect Mark Weigh. Over at Gallery.sort.of., Weigh’s solo show, “Me Time,” has just premiered, and an initial 16 canvasses deemed worthy (by him) of public viewing have been unveiled.  

Combining color and calm

Comprised of colorful depictions of Maroo, Weigh’s ubiquitous protagonist, the paintings tackle a variety of typical scenarios faced by the single gay guy.  Whether it’s an obsession with gadgets or body shaving for personal care (or other more salacious) reasons, Weigh captures intimate slices of life that allow us glimpses of the Pinoy Gen X/millennial.

Comprised of colorful depictions of Maroo, Weigh’s ubiquitous protagonist, the paintings in “Me Time” tackle a variety of typical scenarios faced by the single gay guy.

In doing so, Weigh employs color—lots of it.  As the curatorial notes to his exhibit observe, “Is it possible to combine color and calm? Do pulsating penumbras land one into a zen zone? Mark Weigh proposes just that.” His show, “Me Time,” is a “recognition that paying attention to one’s self is a valid choice.  And part of that choice is to immerse one’s self in the warmth of glorious, gorgeous colors.”

A dose of wry humor

As Weigh honestly acknowledges on his Instagram account, art saved his life.  “…during my existential crisis back in 2015, I started sketching to manage my anxiety…I looked back [at] my life when I was in a slump, it was just gray, sad and full of regrets. I wanted to revisit that part of my life, learn from it, and make it colorful. Therefore, living life unapologetically.”

But not just color, though. Weigh is too complex to rely on just this formula. There is wry humor mixed in there as well, with disguised references to sexuality or the travails of living in a third world country.  

“Soda Explosions,” for example, shows Maroo surrounded by giant plastic bottles of soda. Perhaps, it is an indictment of relying too much on colas for hydration, which his contemporaries in the bikes and trails might just be tempted to do. Maroo clutches one such bottle, his startled gaze triggered by simultaneous carbonated explosions. A warning, then?

His “Booze and Blooms,” in turn, depicts Maroo in a pretty grid-tiled chamber, humming along while recycling wine or beer bottles into flower vases. The petals are falling off and Weigh has pasted googly eyes on several buds. A typical Zillennial pastime?

More pointed is “Out of Service,” in which Maroo fumbles around in the toilet with a comb and a razor while roaches roam around in relative freedom. Maroo’s polka-dotted bathrobe has been fastened with pink clothespins—a statement on the perils of surviving on the income of a starving artist?

Turning the spotlight on living alone

Whatever his rationale, Weigh turns his spotlight on living alone. For a person with so much energy, his day packed with fun runs, CrossFit sessions, exhibit openings, game board nights, and other social commitments, as is so evident in his social media posts, Weigh sees fit to focus on what occurs outside those public fora, when one has separated from the frenzy of friends, and opened the door to one’s own space.

No, what’s inside isn’t depressing. It’s not sad. It’s single life, in all its colorful, memorable, and yes, treasured, moments. 

Art therapy to pop artist. Quite the journey there. And we are glad to share part of it.

“Me Time” is Mark’s debut solo exhibition. The show opened last Jan. 28 and will run for three weeks.

Gallery. Sort of. is located at 37 Camaro St., Fairview Park, Quezon City.

The new lifestyle.