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LasallianAdman shifts gears to create the Philippines’ largest abstract painting

For a few weeks now, motorists crossing the EDSA-Ortigas flyover near La Salle Greenhills have been turning their attention to a billboard by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Building at the EDSA-Ortigas extension. No, it is not a new advertisement for the latest cellphone or skin whitener. It is in fact the Philippines' largest abstract painting.

Layout by Khazel Jacob

“Alab ng Sining” on the right, measures 62 feet high by 40 feet wide and is located at Barangay Wack Wack Greenhills East, Mandaluyong.

Seen on the southbound lane coming from Santolan to Megamall is a vibrantly colored work of art which is a painting created by advertising man, Lloyd Tronco.  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 POEA Building, Barangay Wack-Wack, Greenhills East, Mandaluyong City.

As a Lasallian in grade school, Lloyd first studied in La Salle Green Hills in his early years and then moved to La Salle Bacolod where his family settled in the 1970s.  Even in his early years, Lloyd showed much attention to the arts being raised by a father who was a former professor in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Sto. Tomas. 

With a surface area of 230 square meters, it required the artist 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.

As for the artwork itself, Lloyd says that this is a “personal, un-sponsored project,” brought about by years of wanting to go into art full-time. The current pandemic has somehow brought the artist to a point wherein he had to evaluate his current business in outdoor advertising and thought of crossing over into art full-time.  “Alab ng Sining” is his start.  “In a way, you could say that I wanted to start being a full-time artist with a statement. Aside from its size, a lot of people told me that the picture I created looked very optimistic, what with its rich colors, even if it was painted on a black background,” he says.

Why use a billboard?

Lloyd Tronco (in black) in the initial hours of working on “Alab ng Sining”.

“The idea though of doing something like this, art on a billboard, has been on the back of my mind for years because I have been in the outdoor advertising business for the longest time,” says the 53-year-old Lloyd. Aside from running his out-of-home media company, he also grew up as part of the Bacolod City-based, family-owned Tronco Advertising Co., Inc., which has been dabbling in billboards for the past 45 years.  He was also once a Media Strategist for McCann-Erickson in the early 2000s handling the billboards and outdoor media of Coke, Globe, Philip Morris and other clients.

Lloyd says that “In both art and in my profession in advertising, billboards are my main medium”. The artist also says that using a billboard really pushes the boundaries of what art should really be.  In most cases, artists use a frame to showcase their work, but Lloyd wants to think out-of-the-box, or more literally “out-of-the-frame” and place it in a billboard instead.

Asked if the artwork was for sale, Tronco says, “I have partnered with Kalipay Negrense Foundation to be the beneficiary of half of the sale of the artwork.”

Kalipay Negrense Foundation Inc. is a nonprofit foundation working for the causes of disadvantaged children—the homeless, abandoned, neglected, malnourished, physically and sexually abused, victims of child labor and trafficking, and foundlings. For Tronco, whose other artworks delve on themes of peace, hope and positivity, this installation signals his transition into being a full-time artist.

“Alab ng Sining” teems with life in a celebratory display of colors despite the dark background.

This display of outdoor art could only be the beginning. So if you see a brightly colored abstract painting on a billboard, there is a large possibility that it is a painting by Lloyd Tronco.

Lloyd Tronco signs his work.


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