By Yolanda Perdomo, CBS Digital Producer
CHICAGO (CBS) — For Janno Juguilon, 26, the idea of expanding on building projects he created as a child, gives him a chance to capture spectacular structures with paper, both as paintings and sculptures.
“Ever since I was little, I always wanted to know if I could build stuff out of paper, not just with wooden blocks and stuff,” said Janno. He and his brother R.J. are professional artists and work in a supportive space where they’re able to create individually, collaboratively and sometimes with a guiding staff.
“When I work here, I like to admire everybody’s work here,” said R.J. “That way I can communicate with them well and hopefully we might share something in common.”
Their artistic oasis is Project Onward, a studio for adults with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses. The brothers have been coming to the art studio since 2013.
This month, their works are being showcased as of Project Onward’s newest exhibition “The Brothers Juguilon: Palaces Around the World.” Their paintings, drawings and sculptures are inspired by everything from France’s Notre Dame to historic castles seen throughout the Bavarian landscape.
R.J Juguilon said capturing intricate lines from world famous buildings is part of the fun of painting familiar images seen in everything from history books to tour guides.
“I put a lot of effort in being patient for my piece,” said R.J. “Maybe sometime in the future I would like to travel to take a picture of my own to enjoy my own picture that I took from.”
Robyn Jablonski is the studio manager at Project Onward.
“(The brothers) have very much the same level of technical skill and they’ve grown up in a very similar environment, which you see this small skew of perspective that I find very interesting,” Jablonski said.
While the brothers’ inspiration comes from famous buildings, others who work at Project Onward look to pop culture, sports figures, even CTA and Pace buses.
“Our artists use multimedia works. Some of them are painters. Some of them draw. Some of them sculpt. Some of them use found material, kind of discarded objects and they make them into sculpture or they use them in different ways in their paintings or drawings,” Jablonski said.
They are working artists compensated for their creations. The prices range anywhere from a few dollars for watercolors on postcard-size cardboard to large canvasses costing thousands of dollars.
The artist will get 50% and the rest goes back into the program, now in its 15th year.
“We know our population that we work with, which is artists with disabilities. But they are professional artists so the focus is on their art,” Jablonski said. “We can talk to the artist and help them refocus on their artwork.”
The works coming from the Project Onward artists have made their way to galleries and art fairs throughout the area. The artists have their works displayed in Google Chicago, in the Fulton Market District and will be showcased in the WNDR Museum in December.
Project Onward artists have also participated in the New York Outsider Art Fair. The goal is to get more eyes on their works, coupled with an understanding of their work space and mission.
For the brothers Juguilon, the chance to showcase their paintings and sculptures is part of the fun of creating. The other part is knowing they’re in a space with artists others like themselves.
“It’s a nice studio for artists. They can work on whatever they like.”
Project Onward presents a special exhibition of “The Brothers Juguilon: Palaces Around The World” at its third Friday open house event on Friday November 15 from 6;00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Visit the Project Onward site for more information.