Nicolas Salcedo is a multitalented visual artist. I first met him in December 2017 at Liceo de Cagayan University Senior High School along Paseo del Rio. He was one of my grade 11 students in theater. I knew right there and then that he was more talented than he claimed to be.

The following school year, Nico proved me right when he wrote the script and songs of the original musical play, Binhi, which was their grand production for their major subjects (theater, music, dance, and visual arts).

That year, he also became a part of our production of The Vagina Monologues, where he performed Eve Ensler’s “They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy”, a monologue that he performed with four other actors. He also helped with the makeup for the show. Nico has since performed several times with Oro Teatro Bulawanon, but he never stopped creating visual masterpieces – like makeup transformations, drawings, and sketches. He also creates wigs, and we’ve used some of them in our shows.

For this feature, I asked Nico to do several Halloween-themed transformations. I also requested him to answer some questions that will help you get to know him better. So, here we go….

1.How were you as a child? Were you already painting or into the arts?

When I was a child I, always asked myself what I was capable of, what my real purpose was, and what I was good at. At the age six, I began to doodle and created imaginary characters and made them move in my mind. Even a little artwork was enough to make me smile.

2. Did you always want to be an artist?

Yes. Being an artist is my soul, my life, and my reflection.

3. What (and when) was your first major art project/performance? The one that first put you in the spotlight?

Of all the art projects I had, the most memorable is my performance for our Kampo Juan play entitled ‘Ang Paglaya’; because I showcased both my makeup and acting skills. Also, I met a new family who trusts me and supports whatever I do.

Nicolas Salcedo im Ang Paglaya
Nico as Mr. Diwa, a look based on Jack Skellington.
(Photo by Jay Abcede)

4. What’s your favorite/What are your favorite works?

My favorite visual artwork is the Kdrama Boys Love series. It shows my original characters in traditional Korean clothing traditions. As for makeup, my favorite works are The Witch and Veronica: The Victorian Dracula.

Kdrama Boys Love Series

5. What is your dream project?

My ultimate dream project is to integrate makeup, photography, and setting into a living painting.

6. Who is Nico the person (not the artist)?

I’m a serious type of person, but I have no problem when it comes to hanging out with friends. I also love sharing my visual ideas with friends, especially my co-OTB members. I’m a vivid dreamer; meaning, my dreams are like stories, complete with dialogue and elaborate costumes.

7. Aside from painting, what else do you like to do? Any hobbies? Sports?

Aside from painting, I do makeup transformations. I do glam, drag, sfx (special effects) makeup. And speaking of transformations, I sometimes make wigs. I also write stories and script for our plays.

Nicolas Salcedo Glam Makeup
One of Nico’s glam makeup transformations.

8. Who are the artists you look up to?

Most of the artists I idolize are the people behind globally famous paintings like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Pablo Picasso, and, my favorite, Vincent Van Gogh.

9. Do you follow a routine when you paint? What about specific brands or items you prefer to use?

Yes, I do follow a routine every time I paint or do makeup. It depends on the theme or concept. As for brands, in makeup, I always trust Maybelline products, Nichido, BYS, and Beauty Glaze. In visual arts, I like using Faber Castell pencils, and Prang watercolors.

Nicolas Salcedo Glam - Wig
Another glam makeup transformation. Nico made the wig he is wearing in this photo.

10. How are you coping with the Covid-19 new normal?

For the past few months, I have finally learned to become independent and resourceful in all things. The new normal does affect me a lot, but at the same time, several opportunities have come my way and, of course, I grabbed them – and I am thankful.

11. What are your plans post-Covid-19? Any current or upcoming projects? An exhibit, perhaps?

Yes, we will be having an art exhibit at Xavier University’s Museo de Oro. We will be exhibiting our quarantine artworks – and more. As for theater, we were supposed to have three plays this year, but we had to postpone them because of Covid. Hopefully, we can stage them next year. I’m also writing two stories for theater.

12. What message would you like to impart to aspiring artists, especially in these difficult times?

“Do what you want to do because you are the one who defines yourself and shapes your future.” Keep in mind that a person who creates art is a great world treasure and considered A LIVING MASTERPIECE.

You can follow Nico on Facebook and Instagram.

Here are Nico’s Halloween-themed special effects makeup transformations:

Nicolas Salcedo Halloween Makeup Special Effects
Minerva. Inspired by Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Nicolas Salcedo Halloween Makeup Special Effects
Veronica: The Victorian Dracula, Bearer of the Curse
Veronica: The Victorian Dracula ? Bearer of the Curse
Nightmare by Nicolas Salcedo

(All photos except Mr. Diwa – by Nicolas Salcedo. Mr. Diwa photo by Jay Abcede.)

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