Limbless artist Alexander Pastrana Musni was born in Bayabas, a town in Sablan, Benguet. Known to many as Alex, he describes his childhood as generally happy owing it to friends he played street games with.
He spent his formative years in Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, a rehabilitation and skills training center in Cainta, Rizal that provides special education to persons with disabilities.
His father entrusted him to the care of the center as he needed to go back to Benguet where his work needed him to be. At the center, Alex struggled with homesickness and boredom. “The adjustment phase was difficult. There were times when I would cry, but I understood the situation,” he shares.
Now, at 30 years old, he lives with his parents in La Trinidad, Benguet’s capital town, which is a short ride away from Baguio City.
Alex didn’t take any formal art courses. He likes to think that he took after his father who’s also good at drawing. “But he didn’t actually teach me how to draw. I taught myself,” he clarifies.
He started with drawing anime images, but he got bored with it because, he quips, “I found it easy to do.” He went on to sketching people.
2014 was the year he started painting. He shares, “Blending colors was something I struggled with, but I learned a lot by watching guide videos on YouTube. In the process, I discovered depth and dimension.”
Alex prefers landscape painting over portraits. He especially loves painting beaches because, he reveals, “I’ve never been to one. I just imagine the sea and somehow, I’m able bring it to life in my works.”
Alex says that he got into painting mainly because he couldn’t get any job. He finished a Computer Secretarial course only to find out that no company was willing to hire him. Determined to make a living, he started painting and learned how to sell his paintings on Facebook. His father helps him ship orders to areas outside of Baguio city.
He’s had his own art exhibit, entitled Visions, at the Pop and Mac Café on December 20, 2016. Seven of his works are now on display at the quaint café located at the Laperal basement along Diego Silang Street in Baguio City.
Alex shares that when he’s not painting, he likes tinkering with his mobile phone and listening to the likes of Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars. His favorite TV shows are Game of Thrones, Stranger Things and Walking Dead. Asked what his favorite movie is, he’s quick to say, “The Fast and the Furious, especially the last one (Fate of the Furious, 2017). It’s amazing!”
His advice to aspiring artists – “Learn about different art styles, believe in yourself and remember, practice makes perfect.”
If you’d like to check out more of his works, visit his Facebook page here.