Filipino-American visual artist John Magnus

‘Set the Weirdos Free’ art exhibit opens at The Art District

Filipino-American visual artist John Magnus

The “Set The Weirdos Free,” the first solo exhibition in the Philippines of Filipino-American visual artist John Magnus and curated by John Nieto, opened on April 20, 2023 at The Art Distric (TAD).

The exhibition features a curation of expressionistic, hybridized collage, with references to street art, on wooden panels and canvas that illustrates the artist’s musings on the theory of the universe through interpretations of Hermetica or ancient texts on the relationship between human beings, the cosmos, and God, a subject matter that has taken the artist by obsession.

His first-ever solo exhibition is also autobiographical, revealing multifaceted imagery referencing urban life, socio-cultural dynamics, and the esoteric; and in the process, presenting truths that he has discovered through a layering of images and sometimes text, on wooden panels. Also unique to his paintings are verses repeatedly hand-drawn on his works – like the magical chants of a healer found on an artwork that he calls a sensory-deprivation chamber for healing.

His style draws inspiration from influences like Banksy and Basquiat, and modernists like Kandinsky and Pollock, who used their art to make a statement or challenge the status quo.

On top of everything, “Set the Weirdos Free” is Magnus’ way of embracing the strange and beautiful parts of himself, of all the questions and feelings that he has inside, which ultimately gives him a feeling of emancipation.

TAD is a new contemporary gallery inside Calvo Building, an old 1938 structure on Escolta Street in Binondo, Manila. The gallery is open Mondays through Saturdays (closed on Sundays) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit will run until May 20, 2023. For more information, contact Lucas at mobile no. 0917-3261003 or email