Welcome to our exclusive artist interview series, where we delve into the creative minds behind captivating works of art. In these insightful conversations, we uncover the inspirations, techniques, and personal stories that shape each artist's unique artistic journey. Join us as we explore the diverse perspectives and artistic visions of renowned creators from around the world. WORLD ART MEDIA With ARTIST EDCEL CABALAN



7/4/20234 min read


You didn’t come this far to stop.

EDCEL LA ROSA CABALAN, a Visual Arts Awardee for Harvest of Honors (Ani ng Dangal 2022) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts under the Office of the Philippine President, and a Dubai-based Filipino architect. His artistry goes beyond the scope of architecture. He is also invested in photography and has been given several local and international recognitions in the photography society. Among his awards include the International Photography Awards, Buildings (IPA-PH), Sultan Bin Zayed Photography Competition, The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers UK, Xposure International Competition, A Falcon& Shadow (Best of the Emirates), and many others.

WA: As an artist and architect, how do you navigate the intersection between these two disciplines? How does each field influence and inspire the other in your work?

EDCEL: Being an architect provided me with the advantage of identifying the proportions and balance of my subjects, especially cityscapes, and vistas. Being an artist enabled me to develop my artistic side by applying different methods of tones and shades to my perspectives.

WA: Dubai is known for its striking architectural wonders. How has the city's unique architectural landscape influenced your artistic vision and practice?

EDCEL: Dubai provided me with the edge in terms of modernization and technology. It enables me to develop my knowledge in engineering development and acquire more useful information that I can apply to my design.

WA: Your artwork often combines various mediums and techniques. Could you tell us about your creative process and how you decide which medium best expresses your artistic intent? Art has the power to evoke emotions and provoke thought. What messages or themes do you aim to convey through your work, particularly in the context of Dubai's cultural diversity and rapid urbanization?

EDCEL: I do combine and explore mediums that would best suit my proposed and desired art output and theme. First, I always tried to have my sketch in the correct proportions and scale, as well as the correct vanishing point, to acquire a perfect view. I have given myself ample time to precisely do the pencilling first before applying colors. My primary medium is watercolour until I do a coffee painting that would give the best result for Dubai heritage as well as Arabic buildings. The hue and tint of coffee provided the subtle tones of cultural buildings.

WA: The fusion of art and architecture can create immersive and transformative experiences. Have you had any opportunities to collaborate on architectural projects that incorporate artistic elements? If so, could you share an example and describe the impact it had on the space?

EDCEL: So far, art impacted some of my architectural designs, especially the tone of building colors and interiors, where I tried to adapt the concept of warm colors and some dramatic approaches.

WA: Dubai has become a hub for cultural and artistic expression, with events like Art Dubai and Dubai Design Week attracting international attention. How has the city's thriving art scene influenced your artistic growth, and how do you see it evolving in the future?

EDCEL: Dubai has provided me with an extended arena to showcase my capabilities as an artist. By joining most of the international art exhibitions, I learned a lot of mediums, and somewhat influenced me to grow as an artist. The warm reception of intricately detailed watercolors and coffee paintings enabled me to pursue this kind of art style. The discussions and criticism from fellow artists and curators alike help me grow as an all-around artist.

WA: Technology and innovation play a significant role in both art and architecture. How do you incorporate technology into your creative process, and how do you see it shaping the future of art and architectural design in Dubai?

EDCEL: Technology somehow enhances your capability as an artist and architect by simplifying your task through various innovative tools. It somehow provided me with the basic tools to technically achieve the required output through the available template and possible outlook.

WA: Dubai's rapid urban development often focuses on grandeur and opulence. How do you balance the pursuit of grand architectural projects with the need for sustainability and environmental protection?consciousness in your work?

EDCEL: Design should always consider basic sustainability and environmental requirements. Maximizing natural resources by utilizing existing natural ventilation as well will be a big factor in the concept of designing.

WA: The pandemic has brought about significant challenges for the arts and culture sector globally. How has it impacted your artistic practice, and what adaptations have you made to continue creating and engaging with your audience during these times?

EDCEL: But just like the rest of us, the current pandemic has taken his life’s normal course, including the flexibility to get creative in his ideal open-field photography arena. Rather than cave to the confinement and leave artistry at rest, the momentary Lazaretto unlocked doors to extend his craft beyond the realm of photography. From still imagery in pixels to brushstrokes, the transition to watercolor painting as his newfound creative outlet did not come as herculean as he thought it would. During this time, I was able to rediscover my creative inner-self, and who would have thought that might be possible?

WA: Looking ahead, what projects or aspirations do you have for the future? How do you envision using the boundaries of art and architecture further, both personally and in the context of Dubai's evolving landscape?

EDCEL: Looking ahead, I might not even be in Dubai, but I would see myself continuing this passion for watercolour paintings and architecture. Always go side by side, the skills I acquired from my academic experience in architecture here in the UAE will always be my guide and basic tools in achieving the best vistas and cityscape paintings. I always do imagine seeing myself even in my golden age.

EDCEL: “I paint to make up the gaps that language just can't fill.” ― Efrat Cybulkiewicz

The Old Souk
The Old Souk
The Grand Canal .Dubai
The Grand Canal .Dubai