In Farley Del Rosario’s newest collection, iconic characters play out the virtues of taking proactive steps to shape one’s reality, making intentional choices, and pursuing fulfillment—living by example as “Masters of their Universe”.

Drawing scenarios from his imagination and lived reality, the artist emphasizes that while we can’t control everything that happens to us, we have the power to control our responses, attitudes, and actions. To master one’s universe, as Del Rosario playfully illustrates, is to navigate complexity, take ownership of one’s life, and contribute meaningfully to oneself and a changing world.

As he continues to push the boundaries of his artistic creativity, Del Rosario experiments with found objects. Multicolored pipes run along the works, completing a panoramic collection of other-worldly, outlandish scenes. In them, a motley cast of characters come together in fanciful situations and unlikely encounters, thrust into Del Rosario’s imaginative world. A pioneer of low-brow, whimsical pop art in the country, Del Rosario is a notable favorite among collectors, drawing viewers with his unconventional, faux naïf style and creative process that melds various pop culture icons and symbols.

Ben Cab, Abdulmari Imao, Kidlat Tahimik, Elmer Borlongan, Yeo Kaa, Reen Barrera, Distort Monsters—momentous figures roaming the country’s art landscape among many others—are rendered in Del Rosario’s signature style and placed in familiar scenes from art, whether fine or vernacular. Each still markedly a master of their unique universes, these most unexpected of meetings and combinations bend time, cut across borders, and sidestep genres. Together they epitomize the wider landscape of art history that is ever evolving and expanding, if only for their pluck and mettle to redefine it themselves. And at the center of it, Del Rosario plays the game with his own set of rules.

A testament to personal empowerment and self determination, the playful homages foster a perspective that emphasizes our potential to shape our realities and experiences: that we can make our mark by simply remaining true to ourselves.

Text by Gabrielle Gonzales