In the words of acclaimed film director Erik Matti, if Richard Somes went on a ship because he graduated a seaman, the latter might not have become a film director. If he listened to what his teachers said as a kid that he can only draw nipa huts, suns, and clouds, then Somes would not have painted what’s on his mind now.
“As a production designer and director for films, Richard Somes is a master of textures. If Pantera and Nine Inch Nails formed a band, the music that will come out of it would be like a Somes set design: gritty, theatrical, chaotic, metallic, in your face and uber gaudy with a double wink at humor only he and the ones who know him can fully understand,” Matti said of Somes in a curated remark.
Matti is considered by Somes as his best friend, which is kind of expected since they are related by blood and they are in the same industry. Somes once worked as an assistant to Matti when he was just starting out.
“The films he directed give us a peek of what’s in that creative mind of his. No matter how he pulls all the strings from his creative bag, we don’t really see its full unrestrained potential. We all know how the popular medium of film or tv can be limited by what the resources can provide and what the audience can accept. As a director, he is constricted by the norms of economics and business,” Matti carried on.
Somes, best remembered for his works like Yanggaw (2008), Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang (2012), El Peste (2018), We Will Not Die Tonight (2018), and Ang Panday (2009, taught himself how to paint which eventually led him to sideline as a tattoo artist. He became a production designer and a film director with 24 directorial credits to his name.
Now, the TV and film director returns to visual art by having his first solo exhibit in a move he calls a fulfillment of his childhood dream and a way for him to cope with the pandemic.
“When the pandemic struck in 2020 and the entertainment industry locked down, I took up painting to cope with anxiety and depression. I used it as a way to relax, to escape from the horror and trauma of COVID-19,” the director shared in a virtual junket.
Entitled Inside the Mind of Richard V. Somes, the exhibit that featured 10 of his works, was on view at the Secret Fresh Gallery at the Ronac Art Center in San Juan City.
Alluding to the theme of the exhibit, Somes described it as his homage to women.
“I just find women very fascinating, and I’m very proud to say it. I guess it’s also a reflection of how I was raised,” he shared.
Somes believes that his paintings also serve as a reflection of his films.
“The set design, the colors, the texture, the emotion, and even the chaos. Every component is present. But while in making movies there are a lot of restraints in terms of economics, I’m free to do anything with my canvas. I can share what’s really inside my head,” he ended.