Lovelier the Second Time Around

The artist himself, Perry Argel, offers layers of meaning into his eclectic journey of art assemblage, from ending wasteful consumerism to starting new shapes and stories.

Art can be lovelier the second time around. And for 65-year-old Negrense artist Perry Argel, taking this classic song lyric to heart has led him to an exquisite collection of thought-provoking assemblage pieces made from discarded items he has salvaged through the years. Using nothing but nylon strings and a few basic tools, he masterfully weaves together these found objects to create eye-catching abstract sculptures, breathing new life into these once-obsolete pieces. Now as art, they do look lovelier the second time around.

Perry’s assemblage piece in his home offers a delightful insight into the value of found objects when reinterpreted as art

Even his journey as artist has had a second breath. Though painting was his first love, Perry has found a deeper and more personal connection with found object assemblage. He describes entering his creative process to be like a daily ritual incorporated into his way of life. He always starts the day off by cleaning his house to clear his mind, running the daily errands while keeping a look out for things along the way that “speak” to him, maintaining his garden to calm his spirit, then burying himself in his work where he finds his peace.

The iconic silhouette of the classic Volkswagen beetle reminisces a utilitarian age when life was simpler and purposeful

Upon closer look at his installations, Perry explains how he conveys his current mood and emotion through his work. When under conditions where his mind feels free and harmonious, the strings which bind the pieces flow smooth and easy. When the strings on the other hand appear messy and dull, these signify a period of frustration during the creation of a certain piece. His home, which he refers to as his “Art Temple”, is also meticulously curated to reflect his personality and rise as an artist.

Being a full-time artist of over 40 years but mostly flying under the radar, so to speak, Perry has kept a significantly lower profile. Though he participated in a couple of exhibits in Germany during the nineties, followed by another at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2004, not much has been heard of Perry’s work since. 

Miniature assemblage piece attests to the artist’s meticulous attention to detail

But art can be lovelier the second time around. In 2020 Perry was reintroduced to the scene as the main feature of Art Fair Philippines, a prestigious annual art festival featuring four floors of exhibits. Suddenly, the art world once again caught a glimpse of Perry’s found object assemblage collection. After practically selling out at the end of the three-day event, it was clear that the underlying message in Perry’s work spoke volumes to an audience who felt trapped in a culture where it has become much easier to dispose than to create. If one man can find this much beauty in trash, does it then imply that we’re throwing away too much? 

After such a successful stint at Art Fair, the demand for Perry’s work has been insatiable. He is set to have exhibitions during the second half of 2023 where he hopes to inspire bigger audiences to find their own treasures in life. Perry spends most of his spare time nowadays developing a three-hectare property in Don Salvador Benedicto, the cool-weather mountain town of Negros Occidental, which he plans to move to in the near future.

Text by: Mayumi Espina
Photos by: Bem Cortez

Design and Architecture

Cultural Experience

Art and Craft