Benjamin F. Cruz, 62, winner of the Singapore 2015 UOB Painting of the Year (Established Artist category), is holding his first solo exhibition, Visions And Visionaries, at the UOB Art Gallery.
His realistic-abstract acrylic paintings engage viewers to explore fictional worlds. The exhibition is on till June 8 and the paintings displayed are on sale.
The Singapore-based Filipino artist lives with his wife and two sons in a five-room HDB flat in Hougang.
He has another son who is married and lives in Singapore as well.
Cruz has been living here for more than 20 years.
He was a graphic designer with The Business Times until he retired in 2005.
What is your typical weekend like?
I do not have regular weekends. If I have a project, I work through weekends to do research and experiment with different types of media, materials and colours.
When the 2015 UOB Painting of the Year competition was launched last year, I started on my painting a week after that.
I wanted to begin early so I would have time to refine my painting until I was satisfied with the concept and quality. It took me four weeks to complete it.
When you have a weekend free, what do you like to do?
On the rare occasion that I do, I like to catch up on sleep. When I am painting and the inspiration comes, I work continuously and allow myself to take a break only when I have captured the images in my mind on canvas.
What are your favourite haunts or restaurants and why?
I enjoy spending time with my family and prefer cooking at home and improving my culinary skills.
I enjoy experimenting with different recipes and cooking Singaporean favourites such as chilli crab and bak kut teh.
What do you do to relax?
I play tennis with my friends, followed by an ice-cold beer at the coffee shop.
Could you describe your perfect weekend?
The perfect weekend is one spent with my family, especially playing with my granddaughter, who is nine months old. She is such a joy.
Busy or free, how do you like your weekend? I prefer to be free during the weekend, to reflect, repair things around the house, spend time with my family and play a game of tennis.
If you could hang out with anybody, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would like to hang out with fellow artists.
I would be honoured to meet well-known artists such as Ong Kim Seng, to discuss art trends and art styles as well as expand my contact base.
I would also like to attend other artists' exhibitions, as I believe it is important for artists to support, honour and respect one another.