Garapata Continues To Infest The Art Scene

Check out this exclusive FreebieMNL interview with Garapata where he mentions who the real art parasites are.

“Happy and high living the life soberly” is how Dex Fernandez aka Garapata envision his life right as of the moment. You might happen to bump around a multi-legged street art character when you’ve attended gigs, exhibitions, and events. Around in the scene for more than 16 years He also gave us a sneak peak of his latest effort with the aim to fuse art and nature.

In an exclusive FreebieMNL interview, he stressed that he has achieved what he wanted  to be and that he has nothing to prove since he has already infested the art scene.

As of the moment, this multi legged art mascot who aims to infest the art scene with his statement, dives deep down into the waters of Bataan. According to him his newest piece involves an artificial reef for an underwater museum. This effort is to create an environmental art, in which he was invited to create an artificial reef for an underwater museum. 

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Photo from Garapata Facebook 

Garapata also said that at his age, he felt that it was time to tackle the environmental situation, and that his work has become in a way serious.

Recently gumawa ako ng project with Playa La Coleta Resort in Bataan along with their art director Migs Camacho. Parang ang aim nila is more on environmental art, so ininvite nila ako to make an artificial reef for their underwater museum. So, dun ko na-feel, na in my age, to tackle the environmental situation. So medyo naging seryoso in a way.

(Recently I made a project with Playa La Coleta Resort along with their art director Migs Camacho in Bataan. Their aim is more of environmental art. So, they invited me to make an artificial reef for their underwater museum. So, that’s when I felt to tackle the environmental situation. So it became more serious, In a way.

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Photo from Garapata Facebook

Feeling ko I’m living the life. Feeling ko na-infest ko naman na yung eksena. So wala na akong kailangang patunayan pa. Kasi na-achieve ko na yung gusto ko mangyari. 

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Photo from Garapata Facebook 


Giving us a quick trip, this indie staple, he said that the concept developed due to the ticks that infested their house when he was a kid. He then realized that it can be applied to street art, like spreading things that you want to show people. Or a statement that there’s an infestation anywhere or any space.

As he matured, he realized that it has transcended to more than just street art but a movement in a way that can be injected into any scene or field.  

Kaya ko na ipasok yung Garapata. Like infestation. Yun lang naman yung pinaka message naman nung trabaho ko.

(Like an infestation. That’s the main message of my works.)

Sixteen years after deciding to be a full time artist, he said that even though he has created tons of artworks, there are still ideas that goes by into his head far from his regular works.

Ang dami ko na ring nagawa. I mean tuloy-tuloy pa rin naman yung ideas na pumapasok sa akin na malayo na doon sa Garapata.

(I have done a lot. I mean, ideas still continue to form in my head.)

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Photo from Garapata Facebook 

From street art Dex also added that from something shallow he was able to give a deeper context to the pieces  that he crafted via fashion and merch. However, he still sticks to street art since it has a lot of categories.

Sewing his way to fashion, he expressed that ever since he started as an artist his endeavors with fashion have never changed. He also added that fashion does not impose any gender into it, and that it only happened that it became more feminine, but these days it does not have any sexual barriers.

Ever since naman into fashion ako. Ang fashion naman walang gender yan eh. It happens lang na mas feminine… pero jusko sa panahon ngayon wala na yan. Wala nang barrier. Parang ngayon nagka-clash na together yung mga bagay-bagay.

(I have always been into fashion. Fashion doesn’t have any gender. It has that it is more feminine. But these days it is nothing. There’s no more barrier with gender. And that everything clashes together.)

As an artist, Fernandez said that he was able to live along his persona and apply it in his daily life. Even though he thought that Garapata would just stick into the urban art, specifically grafitti, it flourished into different art outlets.

Pwede ko ring sabihin lifestyle. naging lifestyle na rin siya e. Kasi ako as an artist, naapply ko siya sa lahat ng larangan… so mas naging versatile yung project ko.

(I can also say that it is a lifestyle. It has become a lifestyle because I am an artist and I have applied it to my field. So my projects become more versatile.)

Art by Garapata/ Dex Fernandez

Business Art 

Sharing the artists that he look up to, Garapata said that Andy Warhol was his most favorite dubbing it as “Siya yung Diyos” (He is God). Along with the business art advocate, his pieces are also influenced by the likes of Keith Harring and Jean-Michael Basquiat.

Ang laki din kasi ng influence ni Andy Warhol kay Basquiat, and kay Keith Haring. Like for him Business Art.

(Andy Warhol played a huge role with Basquiat and Keith Haring. For him Business Art)

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Photo from Garapata Facebook 

Applying the business art ethic as an artist and individual, he said that we all need to have profits, and that at the same time we need to sell something that is from our own culture. Even though he has this foresight, he said that every artist has their own approach. It just happens that he is leaning towards commercial arts.

Everyday kailangan nating makabenta at the same time maibebenta natin yung [galing sa] kultura natin. Iba-iba naman ang atake ng mga artists eh. Nagkataon lang like tayo doon papunta yung direksyon. Why do we do commercial arts? Kasi sino ba yung gusto nating bentahan?

In his views art has a very elitist approach to its viewers. He also stressed that normal people and society should benefit with art. However, there are a lot of museum shows that are very selective, only selects intellectual people.

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Photo via Garapata/ Dex Fernandez

Of course yung art naman very elitista. Bakit hindi mo ito ibigay sa mga normal people. Yung art. Yung creativity mo. Parang feeling ko nga yung dapat mag -benefit eh. Yung society.Pero andaming mga gallery and museum shows na very selective. Pinipili lang nila yung mga intellectual people.

(Of course, art is very elitist. Why don’t we give art to normal people. Your creativity. I feel that they are the ones who should benefit from it–society. However there are a lot of gallery and museum shows that are very selective. They only pick intellectual people.)

Real Art Parasites

We were able to ask Garapata of what he thinks about the art mafia, and confirm if it was real. He simply said Panggulo sila ,yes nage-exist yun. (Yes they exist and they cause trouble).He also stressed that they are the real parasites in the art scene since they take advantage of people, and that they only benefit with it. He also emphasized that artists become mediums for them.

Sila yung parasite, actually. Sila yung nagte-take advantage sa eksena. Tapos sila rin yung nagbe-benifit. tapos yung artist nagiging medium for them. Sa mga artist ibang usapan na yan. Medyo subjective ‘to. May ibang agenda rin sila. Ako halimbawa gusto ko ng pera. Sinong may ayaw ng pera. Magbebenta pa rin ako. So, may merch ako… Pero diyan sa mafia mafia na yan. Wala akong masabi sa kanila.

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Art by Garapata/ Dex Fernandez

(They are the parasites, actually. Since they take advantage of the scene. And they are the ones who will benefit from it leaving the artists to be just mediums for them. For artists there )

He then ended his statement saying that he cannot judge them since in a way they help the industry.

If you want to check his art works or snag his products, you can follow Garapata on Facebook. You can follow him at his Instagram accounts at @garapata_ and @dexfernandez.

Featured Image by Daniella Sison

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