Text by Marz Aglipay | Photos courtesy of the artist
These works look like any other watercolor painting at first glance. What you don’t know is that these paintings are made using squid ink.
Marvin Tiberio is a pastor and artist from Mati, Davao Oriental who makes organic paintings. Tiberio tells Art+ in an interview how he discovered organic painting: “[It was] curiosity. [I] tested whatever organic materials I can find particularly plant juices, different types of ink inducing sea creatures like squid, octopus, cuttlefish.” “I attempted to study fine arts, but I quit. The tools are too expensive and very consumable, I even skip lunch in order to buy materials. But the main reason for quitting is that God called me for pastoral ministry. Since then I didn’t think of painting again… it was not until 2013 when a missionary visitor encouraged me to paint again.”
His discovery of organic inks encouraged him to continue painting. He shares on his social media how finding natural sources of ink can help artists keep their practice, a piece of advice that comes in handy particularly during this time when access to art shops and material comes with difficulty.
One may wonder if organic pigments stains well and lasts on paper. He demonstrates on his Youtube channel just how durable these pigments are on paper even if they are washed with water or bleach. In addition, he often gets asked whether his works give off a strong scent to which he says is not that noticeable unless you are really close to it.
Apart from squid ink, he uses other natural materials such as asuete (Annatto), blue ternate flower, and turmeric powder. “My main medium is squid inks because of its strong inking quality” he says. “I am still on quest of other natural colorants. I want to make it sure it will last and will not fade or oxidize.”
See more of his works on his page SKWID
Quotes have been edited for clarity and brevity