Artist Profile: Edbon Sevilleno


While strolling the various booths at the recent Negros Trade Fair, I came upon Hacienda Crafts, a wonderful Cebu-based furniture company owned by lovely couple Joey and Ina Gaston. Aside from having some of the most beautiful lamps I’ve seen (which I will hopefully look into once we have our own home), I couldn’t help but appreciate some of the art work they had in their booth. Joey explained to me that the paintings I was appreciating were made by  Edbon Sevilleno, a Negrenese artist currently based in Dubai.

The Artist 2I loved how his paintings were often seen capturing a simple snippet of daily life and what especially intrigued me was how some of them were done using coffee and sugar, two of Negros’ favorite things. I hope you enjoy my little discussion with Edbon about taming watercolor, life in Negros, and when he’s most creative. If interested, he offers watercolor classes in Bacolod once a year. Learn more about this special class at the bottom of our talk.

Buena ManoCat JL: Hi Edbon, what exactly do you do?

Edbon Sevilleno:  I am a visual artist. I’ve been fiddling with paintings, illustrations, and have been working with design firms for almost 3 decades. But painting really is my passion. The reason why I’m working abroad is to support my art, as well as my family. Now I am a Creative Director in a branding firm in the Middle East affiliated with Interact London.

Kargada Series Studies 2How long have you been painting?

As far as I can remember, I started painting at a very early age. But only in my college years I started painting watercolors professionally and selling it. That was in the 80’s taking Fine Arts at LCC Bacolod.

Then after, I went to Manila to work with interior designer Josie Quema Puey, a supplier for Blim’s Fine Furniture. At that same time, I also contributed a comic strip: “ BORJOK” for a Malaya-owned tabloid. I also worked for Director Chito Roño’s Optifex animation company.  I also did children’s books for Phoenix Publishing. In the 1990’s, I decided to work abroad with the advertising agency Fortune Promoseven-affiliated with McCann Erickson Middle East.

Kargada Series Studies 1Most artists say watercolor is the hardest medium of all. But if you have the patience, it will be yours to tame. Although I can handle any medium, watercolor is my medium of choice. I believe that watercolor is the most versatile. It works fine with me, it soothes my mood. I can handle it with ease and confidence. It paints my heart and soul. I can say now that watercolor was a gelded phenotype for me to tame and now I can truly say, it is my stallion.

Timo-timo [Lunch breack]

Tig-palanyagaWhat is it about life in Negros that inspires you? How often do you get to go back?

Negros is where I grew up. Lots of memories!  My Negros watercolors are my diaries, it tells my stories and it is the spirit behind my works. My subjects are life within the sugarcane fields, the sabong aficcionado, and the landscapes of Negros. I usually go home twice a year, summer and late December. I would go around Negros, touring and hunting for subjects, either painting on the spot or taking pictures for an inspiration.


BunalHow often do you get to paint?

When inspirations splashes in my thoughts, I do a lot of scribbles, it’s a habit. I paint whenever I lay my hand on a brush. Painting to me is just playing a guitar to a musician, or writing a poem to a poet. It comes out naturally.

ByaheroWhen do you find yourself the most creative?

In the early mornings to start fresh.  I use to stroll in the country sides and coastal areas in Negros. I want to catch the early activities of people. Seeing their early catch, sakada’s going to sugarcane fields. I am also more creative when the sun goes down especially with a rum or whiskey, like other artists do. But it’s more of a talking among a circle of friends.

Sansalon nga DragonI understand that aside from water-colour you’ve also used ingredients like coffee and sugar to make your work, can you tell us about that?

Yes, it’s a medium related to watercolors. Its pigment is water-soluble that can be diluted with water easily. It works and behaves the same way as  watercolors. Muscovado is a type of unrefined brown sugar, promoting it as well as a product of Negros. Coffee stains has been used by other artists too. The combination of the two ingredients makes it more nostalgic because of its earth pigments like sepia shades that it offers.

Galing (Milling Season)Do you accept commissions? 

Yes I do, but not for now.  I don’t want these transactions to dictate my time. Maybe later and depends on who’s who. (laughs) But seriously, I will have time for everything in the future, just not for now.

Scrap GoldDo you have any upcoming exhibits/ workshops you would like to promote? 

All I do for now is a series of paintings and it would probably be for a future exhibit. I don’t give myself a deadline. I just keep painting, and when I reach a number of the best ones I have, then I set for an exhibition.  I have already made 8 one man shows and several group shows in the past.

I also post some online tutorials on my Facebook page for people or artists who wants to learn to draw. I specifically post online tutorials on drawing human anatomy.

I have this 3-day Watercolour Workshop in Bacolod which I called  “Tampisaw” ( means wading in water effortless. ). It happens on the first week of January during my annual vacation in Negros.  It is limited only for 20 to 25 students. One should book first through the Negros Museum.


If someone would like to start painting, what advice would you give them?

First, you must have the skill and the patience and the passion as well! Paint not what you see, but what you feel about the subject.

Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

As of now I’m doing a lot of projects aside from my usual painting. I am doing a series of comic book DA2 after our famous comic veteran illustrator Alex Niño. I am also doing my fantasy book “Engkanto” based on our own Filipino Mythology from the book “Philippine Lower Mythology” by Dr. Maximo Ramos. By the way, I did all the illustrations for that book. Recently at work we just won the Harvey Nichols Riyadh account against 3 international ad agencies!

Sa Pulo

Ga HulatCongratulations! How can people get in touch with you?

Anyone can get in-touch with me on my Edbon Sevilleno Facebook page, or simply email me at

Thank you for your time, Edbon!

It’s a pleasure and great honor for me to be featured on your site. Many thanks!