Gel Jamlang is a Filipino illustrator and visual artist who studied at the University of Philippines, College of Fine Arts before working for 12 years in Interior Design. Gel Jamlang got her first artistic break when she exhibited at the Philippine consulate in New York. Shortly thereafter Gel moved to Baltimore, Maryland, USA to focus on her own artistic career. Gel joined the independent arts organisation RAW (rawartists.org) first showcasing in July 2012 and by December 2012, Gel had won the national title of RAW Visual Artist of the Year 2012.
Gel’s main artistic expression comes in the form of surreal portraits using watercolours. These pieces are portraits in distorted realities, Gel herself sees these as not just a portrait done with watercolours but rather an interpretation of the subject’s personality, drawing inspiration from the realm beyond what is seen an interpreted through the visual sense. To this end, Gel chooses her colours and imagery more on feel rather than pure visual aesthetic and enjoys the blending of colour and images until a final form is realised and made manifest through her own unique, experimental technique.
Jamlang wants to try many different mediums such as acrylic, gouache, watercolour etc and continue her journey of artistic expression, and as an outlet for her artistic creativity. In her December 2012 interview for RAW, Gel mentions her anticipation of change, to a transition in her work over the next 5 years, and although she is not sure what it will be yet she is eager to try different mediums and forms of expression, and to ultimately see where her path takes her. Gel contemplates the fact that she doesn’t know what to expect from her work and in some ways this in itself is the aspiration for growth and development as an artist.
The majority of Gel’s illustrations are surreal portraits of human faces and bodies, sometimes political figures, with the odd feline as accompaniment. These depictions merge surrealism with figurativism in a free-flowing and boundary-less expression of personality. Gel’s subdued 60’s-style palette reinforces the lack of boundaries through the spilling over of one image into another or through the mirroring of the subject to create a playful contrast of ideas and imagination.