Billy Burgos: Calgary’s Most Versatile Illustrator


Billy BurgosI googled my friend Billy Burgos’ name and these are what I found attached to it:

“Calgary’s most versatile illustrator.  One of the most versatile illustrators in North America.  An excellent and perceptive interpreter. His strength lies in his ability to translate half-formed ideas and instructions into beautifully rendered illustrations.”

One article says, among other things, “Billy’s heart and art are of a true Filipino.”

He graduated from Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila after which he worked in the Philippines as an artist, an industrial designer,  and an illustrator.  He moved to Calgary in 1978 where his skills were sought after by major advertising agencies. Billy has been with Karo as the in-house illustrator since 1985. There’s only one thing that can take him away from painting – and that’s traveling.

I  met Billy at Sunridge Mall with his wife and a group of their friends who dropped by the mall to relax after their morning exercise. When I learned that he’s a visual artist, I informed him that the mall was running a visual arts contest for all categories,  and he submitted an amazing entry.  That was the beginning of my friendship with Billy and his wife. But I haven’t the slightest idea that my new friend is a “top gun” in the field of arts and famous, not only in Calgary but in North America.

In one of the times that we hang out, Billy asked me to draw  – though I risked being laughed at by a professional illustrator, I sketched some women’s faces and I got the best compliment ever for my sketches. I owe Billy Burgos my short stint as a member of FPAE… and the opportunity of getting to know world-class Filipino Visual Artists.

Let me end this article with these lines:

“His art reflects vivid, colorful, warm, and very personal Filipino themes; most rendered from memory and insight yet rich in reality. One could almost feel the passion, the vigor, the colors, and the aroma of Philippine life within the four corners of his paintings. His paintings make Filipino homes on North America truly Filipino.”

View Billy Burgos’ Photostream


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