Jayson Vicente: Strokes of life

He was just 12 years old when Jayson Vicente started driving a tricycle as an ice delivery boy for his family business. Born to business owner and photographer Quirino R. Vicente and homemaker Lilia M. Vicente, he learned the value of life and importance of family while growing up in a modest home in Olongapo City.

Art became his outlet and passion while studying at St. Joseph School in Olongapo. It was the secondary school where he cradled and showcased his artistic skills and talents by joining in lantern-making, photojournalism and poster-making competitions.

Supported by an academic scholarship from the Philippine Veterans Office, Jayson pursued Industrial Design at Mapua Institute of Technology. When he took higher studies, he taught drawing to fellow students.

Jayson tried various jobs — from serving food and brewing coffee, to bartending and being a call center agent — to support his education and family.

It was only in 2009, at age 23, after he graduated that he came out with his sexuality. The same year, he met the famed fashion, advertising and entertainment photographer Raymund Isaac.

At Portfolio Studio, their partnership transcended from personal to professional, as Jayson rekindled his love for painting in that creative environment

On 15 July 2021, Jayson and Raymund took their vows in Las Vegas.

Shortly after their intimate wedding, Jayson’s long-time partner for 12 years succumbed to a severe case of Covid-19, passing away in San Francisco.

“You’re the best thing that happened to my life,” Raymund’s last message to Jayson, two days before he was intubated, said.

“He was such a baby boy. He wanted to be taken care of, he wanted to be pampered,” Jayson fondly recalled during his TribuneNOW Spotlight interview with Chingkee Mangcucang and Kim Sancha recently.

“I’m definitely okay. I cannot say that I’m in a better place. I am more positive in life now. I’m getting better,” Jayson said, adding that Raymund helped him to be more positive and productive.

“There’s no such thing as problem; there’s only situation,” is Raymund’s famous line. From him, Jayson learned to find solutions and have a clear mind in making decisions. This was the approach he used to transform his story of love, loss and faith into art.

At the nearby St. Patrick Church, during Raymund’s 43 days of confinement, Jayson made it a habit to pray at the altars where various saints stood such as the “Nazareno,” “Divine Mercy,” “Padre Pio,” “Guadalupe” and “St. Expedite.”

Upon returning to the home that he and Raymund once shared, Jayson took up painting once more to cope and deal with his pain. He now leads Cafeteria Studio by Raymund Isaac, a tribute to his late husband’s legacy and a platform for his artistic journey.

“I found comfort in painting during those challenging times. It became a way for me to process my emotions and channel my grief in a healthy way. I believe that art has the power to heal and unite, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my journey through my work,” Jayson shared.

A manifestation of devotion at his lowest points brought out something in him that he didn’t know was there: His faith. His artistic debut is an art collection entitled “Fidem,” the Latin translation for faith. It will be on view until Thursday, 10 October, at the Admiral Hotel Manila.

His works, which are mostly acrylic on canvas and wood, are named after the image or idol he commemorated.

Being able to share this with the world is a nod to his incredible journey from the lens to the canvas, and is also a testament to the power of creativity in the face of adversity.

Some of the art pieces will be on sale and proceeds will be donated to Positive Action Foundation Philippines Incorporated, which is dedicated to empowering and helping people living with HIV Philippines and AIDS.