Sevi Agregado has barely been painting for five years, but he has already shown his work among art luminaries both locally and internationally.
A 10-year-old youngster with autism is featured in a crypto art exhibition this month, alongside pioneering crypto artists from the Philippines and Singapore. Sevi Agregado is the only child among the artists who include acclaimed illustrator and crypto entrepreneur Luis Buenaventura, photographer, musician, and visual artist Raymond Lauchengco, graphic designer and illustrator AJ Dimarucot, and painter and CryptoartPh co-founder Jopet Arias.
Sevi will be exhibiting four of his paintings at Galeria Paloma’s “1/1” (read: one of one) exhibition, which will be displayed in Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, Makati from September 30 to October 4, and online on NFT art platform Foundation beginning September 23. The event is co-located with the largest regional crypto art festival.
Sevi’s rise in the art world has been nothing short of miraculous. Since he began painting five years ago, his work has been included in a number of onsite and online shows. Last year, the child held his first virtual display at Art Fair Philippines. His NFTs were presented in physical venues in Singapore and Chicago for Crypto Art Week Asia 2021, as well as at Times Square in New York last June for NFT.NYC. His talent drew the notice of Vogue Singapore and The Straits Times Singapore. Sevi, the country’s first and youngest known crypto artist, has sold several of his physical paintings, commissioned works, and NFTs on the metaverse.
“We never expected that these virtual activities would be so beneficial to Sevi’s progress.”
“These virtual events have been absolutely fantastic for Sevi’s growth because we never imagined that his art would reach all over the world,” says Sevi’s mother, April, who still can’t believe her son’s achievements. To think that only eight years ago, she and her husband, Johncy, had no idea what the future held for their son.
Sevi, the second of four children, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. “Doc, how come Sevi isn’t talking more?” ” April recalls consulting with the family’s pediatrician. During that checkup, the doctor discovered potential signs of developmental delay and advised them to see a developmental pediatrician for additional evaluation.
The Agregados followed the doctor’s recommendations, and preliminary studies revealed that Sevi has a speech issue. However, following a thorough examination, they discovered that the boy’s illness was more than just a developmental delay. “The doctor placed a box of Kleenex beside me, which was a hint that the news was not good,” April says.
Sevi is diagnosed with autism as well as global developmental delay, which means he has delays in numerous areas of development (a developmental disorder affecting physical, social, and language skills).
“It was difficult for me and my hubby at first,” April tells ANCX. Because she was receiving medication for gestational diabetes, she had a lot of questions: “Did I do something that caused it? Was it anything I ingested? Did I ingest something by accident? Did I fail to take proper care of myself? ”
“There was a lot of that guilt at first,” she recalls. “There was sorrow.”
However, once they learned of their son’s condition, the Agregados wasted no time in giving the essential interventions. Sevi began going to therapy at the age of two, and at the age of five, he was enrolled in painting lessons at the therapy center. “We also enrolled him in gymnastics and football, and his teachers were extremely pleased with his progress.” “But Sevi merely wanted to continue with art,” April explains.
Sevi tells us in our interview that he enjoys art because “it’s exciting” and “you can make anything.”
“Art, in my opinion, is something that a person with neurodevelopmental difficulties may accomplish without having any expectations about the outcome.” In contrast to speech or any other topic in school, there is an expected outcome or expected answer. If you think about it, you can do whatever you want with art. “It’s also your method of expressing yourself,” April says.
Sevi’s first piece of art was of a tree in a field. He was obsessed with Angry Birds at the moment and insisted on putting a red angry bird on the picture. “We were like, ‘OK, it’s cute,'” April says, smiling. However, as the weeks passed, Johncy and April were pleasantly pleased by the changes in their son’s works. “Wow, siya has a lot of potential,” they thought.
Normally, Sevi would paint whatever piqued his attention at the time, whether it was an image from a TV show he watched, a game on his device, or a topic that piqued his interest at school. “There was a point when he was really into this Netflix cartoon called ‘Grizzy and the Lemings,’ and he wanted to paint a bear,” says the author.
Sevi’s creative approach begins with a simple concept, such as an animal. April will hunt for sources, while Sevi will put his own twist on the matter. “He’s been producing a lot of colorful pieces lately,” April observes, “and they’re usually put against a dark background.” Examples include his work on the Times Square billboard, which depicted a lion, and his pieces on display at the Galeria Paloma event this month.
Sevi says he likes to paint “anything and anything—sea creatures and nonliving things,” and at the time of our interview, he says he wants to paint a zebra. Acrylic on canvas is his primary medium.
Once a week, the young artist attends two-hour art therapy workshops at a gallery in Kapitolyo, Pasig. He can usually finish a piece in one sitting. However, he occasionally performs complex compositions that require two or three periods to complete. “If it’s a subject he really enjoys or is very excited about, he can complete it in an hour and a half or less, because he’s hyperfocused,” April explains.
Sevi’s teachers let him do his thing while offering assistance and reminders when needed. They would warn him not to get the canvas too wet or to use too much paint, for example. “Sevi’s instructors are really proud of him because he is a stroke survivor.” “Ayaw ni Sevi na someone else is touching the artwork,” April explains. “After the teacher showed one or two strokes, Sevi said, ‘Okay, let me try.’ Unlike others who needed to waken their hands, Sevi was able to do so. He’s quite quick at it.”