Austria-based artist Tommy Aquino is pictured here with his family when he won a songwriting contest held in Vienna in 2013.  

Global online marketplace Etsy, an established shop site for handmade, vintage, and collectible items, has partnered with Filipino artist Tommy Aquino with the recent launch of limited edition-clothing, bags, and more that showcase his award-winning artwork “Mother and Child.”

The online collaboration is a milestone for the pure Pinoy painter who relocated to Vienna, Austria more than 20 years ago. He has been making a name for himself in the art community, having done exhibits at the UN Vienna International Center and toured the world over with his artworks. His obras  had been lauded by art collectors in popular cities like London, Shanghai, and Busan. He had been hailed by some quarters as a Pablo Picasso renaissance.   

“Sa mga Pinoy po na nakakakilala sa akin at masaya sa aking tagumpay, salamat po. Nais ko pong makasama ang bawat Pilipino sa aking golden journey,” he expressed in seemingly poetic terms.      

Some of the Tommy Aquino artwork-designed items posted for sale on the said site include the following: men’s tee, men’s rash guard, small tote bag, youth swimsuit, dress variants, crop tee, towel, unisex top tank, minimalist backpack, among others.

One of his friends, Ronnie Castillo, mused, “Pag suot mo Tommy Aquino, aba! Bongga ka talaga!”

Another supporter, Wilmer Gentolia, praised Tommy’s work in deeper detail: “The Mother and Child of Tommy ‘Picasso’ elevates the collective consciousness towards a high value of human existence.”

Among Tommy Aquino’s most revered paintings are “The Blond Hair Woman,” “Sunflowers Field,” and “The Heart, Body, and Soul.”

The e-commerce specialist upped the items last June 26. Another compatriot expressed on social media, addressing the artist who takes pride in being a philanthropist, “Oorder ako sa ETSY kasi ipinagmamalaki ko ang isang Pinoy Picasso na tulad mo!”  

Singing Pinoy artist in Europe

Tommy Aquino, looking groovy in his early 60s, used to go around the Manila gig circuit as a young folk singer. Upon the invitation of a friend, he moved to Vienna, found love, raised his own family, and continued playing his music through live performances. He met his singer-wife Kathy in the Vienna music scene.

The internationally recognized visual artist, with his guitar and fedora hat, impressed audiences in Vienna and in some cities he went to promote his artworks. Having started writing songs at age 10, Tommy submitted his composition “Kay Sarap Mamuhay Sa Sariling Bayan” in a 2013” songwriting competition held in the capital city of Austria, which is culturally among the most admired in all of Europe. The song won.

Tommy’s competent originals and classic covers like his take of Jim Croce’s “Time In A Bottle” and Michael Johnson’s “I’ll Always Love You” provide his character extra bite and charm. In one of his YouTube videos, he played the world-famous folk favorite “Anak” on his guitar spot-on.

Sounding always down-to-earth and approachable, he implied, “If you are a Filipino musician, just enjoy and share your craft. Bonus na if magustuhan ka ng audience mo. Never ever feel frustrated if hindi nakikilala ang gawa mo kasi you have something good to offer. Kailangan lang ng taimtim na dasal and you will eventually be discovered.”    

That’s coming from a Pinoy whose work quietly won the admiration of the world. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (