Success Bears No Limits © Copyright PLPG GLOBAL MEDIA 2023
Success Bears No Limits © Copyright PLPG GLOBAL MEDIA 2023 | Foto: Success Bears No Limits © Copyright PLPG GLOBAL MEDIA 2023

Success Bears No Limits

Por: Diego Cerón

23, February, 2023 en Business Concept

Success Bears No Limits
by Geraldine Zialcita

The relationship between a mentor and protégé is precious. Like a hidden diamond that needs exposure lies a protégé waiting for a mentor to discover his talent. Equipped with wisdom, skills, and experience, a mentor serves as a role model to the protégé, guiding, developing his skills, and increasing his confidence. The camaraderie between Mentor Janice Liuson-Young and her protégé Averil Paras was built on trust and has generated a successful outcome.

Success Bears No Limits © Copyright PLPG GLOBAL MEDIA 2023
Success Bears No Limits © Copyright PLPG GLOBAL MEDIA 2023

Janice Liuson-Young was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. As a child, Janice was fond of drawing faces and popular characters. She gave the illustrations to her friends, who admired her talent and creativity. As she grew older, Janice attended summer art workshops to explore and improve her craft. She graduated cum laude and valedictorian from the University of the Philippines in Diliman with a degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Visual Communications.

After graduating from college, Janice worked as an illustrator, designing clothes and toys for children. Shortly after getting married to Atty. Frederick Young, Janice concentrated on helping her in-laws run their bakeshop and tea business. After bearing and rearing four sons, however, Janice felt a strong compulsion to finally enter the art scene. Starting at thirty-five years old (far later than her peers) Janice took to paintbrush and canvas like a fish to water. “I felt so alive! It was like electricity running through my veins,” she shares.

During those early days, Janice would often visit various galleries. One fateful day, Janice passed by the Asia Art gallery, owned by Ong Le Pho, the brother of her church mate. Recognizing Janice’s talent, Ong Le Pho invited her to join the weekly art sessions at his gallery. “My usual theme then was mother and child, and I frequently exhibited paintings of my children and me,” Janice recalls.

Janice loves sketching human figures and faces on the spot. “I find it challenging to quickly get the likeness and character of the human subject, and at the same time, ending up with a balanced composition,” she explains. She points out how incorporating the intensity and disparity of light and shadows often makes the human subject come alive.

Her realistic paintings–as beautiful as they are simply as art–often have an underlying message and meaning that has deeper Biblical roots. “One of my paintings features a fresh and healthy flower, doubled with a ‘mirror-image’ of a withered and dried-up flower,” Janice informs. “It was meant to convey that life is fleeting, and death is everywhere, and that ultimately all reality is dependent on the grace and love of God.” Another set of her paintings show students jumping and imitating an eagle and a crow. “We all have choices on what or who to follow. Although superficially, most times what we do looks just the same, but our choices on what or who we follow really make a difference in the end.”

Success Bears No Limits © Copyright PLPG GLOBAL MEDIA 2023
Success Bears No Limits © Copyright PLPG GLOBAL MEDIA 2023

To date, she has been painting for around twenty-five years, showcasing her work in group and solo exhibits. Janice also does commissions of different subjects and portraits.

A few years ago, Janice engaged in abstract paintings, injecting excitement and a new flavor into her works. With acrylics as her medium, Janice conveys uniqueness with her strokes. “With abstract paintings, I have the freedom to produce my own artistic expression,” she relays.

Janice draws inspiration from renowned abstract local artists such as Romulo Olazo, Tiny Nuyda, Ramon Orlina, and Arturo Luz. Integrating passion and diligence has enabled Janice to discover her signature style. “I don’t believe in copying other people’s works. Artists are unique, and it’s essential to develop your own technique and vision that resonates with you,” she states.

It can take a few hours to several months for Janice to complete her work. “With abstract paintings, I can control the strokes and composition, yet to complete a painting requires a lot of concentration. If I’m not satisfied with the outcome, I often discard the canvas,” she briefs.

Janice believes art plays a significant role in people’s lives because it provides inspiration, relieves stress, and brings joy amidst chaos. “Art also makes you aware of diverse subjects, as well as historical and current events, although it is not purely informative. Art awakens, makes you wonder, makes you feel, and brings you to life,” she expresses.

Aside from being a wife, mother, and artist, Janice holds another feather in her cap and has been the Associate Dean and Art Educator of the School of Fine Arts at FEATI University for the past seventeen years. “I was part of a painting group called Guhit, and in 2005, my mentor, Dr. Araceli Limcaco-Dans invited me to serve in this position. When she asked me to become an art educator, I felt intimidated and resisted for six months before accepting the position. But she guided me, being an educator herself for many years at the Ateneo and PWU. The goal was to revamp the whole department, wherein the old buildings were torn down and renovated. We will soon fill the new chapel (still under construction) with artworks. I used to teach figure drawing and Portraiture, but my role now has evolved to hiring faculty and complying with the curriculum standards,” she conveys.

Part of Janice’s responsibilities as an educator is to discover emerging talent and help them sharpen their craft. She has encouraged her students to join art competitions to raise awareness and obtain successful results. One of the most promising students in Janice’s figure drawing class was Averil Paras (aside from others such as Randalf Dilla, Chas Maratas, Andrew Tan, Wilbert Custodio, etc.) who exuded immense talent and conviction. “Averil became my apprentice when I needed help in my studio. Recognizing his talents and capability wasn’t difficult, because his work and profound elements stood out. I knew instantly that he would be prestigious in his career. My role was to teach him to paint larger artwork and increase his confidence. Like each student in my class, some of them were intimidated to share their creations with the public, anticipating they will be scrutinized. Therefore, the mentor’s goal is to guide and prepare them to face the audience and not be afraid because each of us is blessed with gifts and talents that need to be recognized,” she imparts.

Janice deems that mentorship is important because an artist should be generous in passing on their knowledge, skills, and best practices. “Art is subjective, and some people can discourage or envy an artist. Other students refuse to unveil their work due to copycats. My goal is to inspire and encourage aspiring artists to be original and follow their instincts in pursuing their craft,” she says.

For now, Janice aims to continue to explore and create more abstract compositions. She concludes her story with a tad of wisdom. “Results are derived from years of hard work. Start from the basics and practice. Learn from failure. Never give up.”

Through her minimalist calligraphic and innovative brush strokes and compositions, Janice Liuson-Young expresses her voice to stimulate the senses, pique one’s curiosity, and create a powerful statement.

Following in his mentor’s footsteps, Averil Paras believes that a strong foundation mixed with passion and dedication are the keys to success. His childhood dream was to become an architect and design houses and buildings. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Commercial Design at FEATI University School of Fine Arts in Manila, Averil continued to pursue his passion for art and has been a full-time artist for twelve years. “I always knew from the very start that this would be my career. I love what I’m doing, I’m happy doing it, and with God’s grace, this is all I ever wanted for the rest of my life,” he shares.

Averil draws inspiration from Pablo Picasso, a Spanish artist known for Cubism paintings, and Spanish Surrealist artist Salvador Dali. “Their works influenced me to create my own style. My concepts consist of positive and happy subjects. I want my works to inspire, provide hope, and appreciate the beauty of life,” he relays.

Success Bears No Limits © Copyright PLPG GLOBAL MEDIA 2023
Success Bears No Limits © Copyright PLPG GLOBAL MEDIA 2023

Derived from his imagination, Averil’s artwork connotes fiction, and instead of following the trend, he prefers to add a personal touch to his pieces. “My art is broad and has a range of influences from surrealism, graphic design, mid-century modernism, and Victorian imagery. My canvases are a collage with various patterns, mosaics, and cubism,” he narrates.

Averil’s keen eye, attention to detail, and intuitive perception are his strong traits in defining the remarkable artist that he is. He unleashes his creative expression using his personal method. “Most of my paintings are composed in my mind, enabling me to sketch them directly on the canvas. There is a long turn-around time to finish my paintings, including several revisions until I am finally satisfied with the outcome,” he divulges.

Since every artist is unique and has their own style, Averil has developed a signature pattern in how he paints his artwork. “I paint in a very traditional way and prefer doing my own canvas. I sketch directly and perform under-paint using thin layers of earth tones with turpentine. After drying my work, I overpaint with colors, add detail and conclude with the finishing touches. Normally, it takes three layers of paint to complete the task,” he says.

Averil embraces the challenge of creating a story through his canvas. “I love the idea of not knowing what my painting is going to look like and enjoy the process of creation. The outcome and transformation always excite me. The authenticity integrated with the freedom to paint what I want is truly rewarding.” He smiles.

Averil’s career has been instrumental in his outlook and has helped him become more positive about his perspective on life. “Every time I look at my canvas, I feel like I am widening my horizons with endless possibilities. I can do anything and there are no rules. I have no boss besides myself. I am the director of my own film,” he affirms.

During the process of becoming a professional artist, Averil has spent countless hours, and sleepless nights, with lots of frustrations, and financial matters that concerned him, yet he has continued to live his passion. “There are days when I don’t feel compelled to paint. To regain my momentum, I listen to music to help refresh my mind. I spend eight to nine hours at the studio from Mondays to Fridays. Saturday is a rest day and family day as well. While Sunday is worship day,” he voices out.

Acquiring more knowledge and sharpening his skills have helped Averil evolve as an artist. He has searched for key discoveries from a wide variety of sources. “I learned that to paint well there are lots of things to consider. You have to trust the process and most especially to have faith in God,” he says.

Averil sold out all his paintings during his first solo exhibit and believes that his purpose is not just to create a work of art but to provide inspiration and educate the community about the importance and value of art in our life. With his astounding talent, Averil’s artwork has been featured in solo and group shows at different galleries.

Success Bears No Limits © Copyright PLPG GLOBAL MEDIA 2023
Success Bears No Limits © Copyright PLPG GLOBAL MEDIA 2023

Having Janice as his mentor helped Averil develop his craft and increase his confidence. “Mrs. Janice was a professor and the dean of the fine arts department at FEATI University when I first met her during my student years. She was my professor in our anatomy class, and when I found out that she would be teaching one of the most challenging courses in fine arts, my classmates and I were both anxious and delighted. She was the best instructor in figure drawing, and we were thrilled to learn from her. On the other hand, we were also anxious because we knew she was tough in class and was known for being serious and a perfectionist. But as we got to know her better, we discovered that Mrs. Janice is an excellent mentor and motivator. She was more than simply our lecturer; both inside and outside of the classroom, she took on the role of being a mother to us,” he informs.

Averil acknowledges that mentorship is important and appreciates the opportunity of being mentored by Janice. “Mrs. Janice will always be a big part of my career. She taught us everything that she knows about art, which is one of the reasons that my classmates and I will always be grateful to her. She allowed me to be her apprentice in the studio as a working student. During my free time, I would help her and this is where I acquired a good work ethic, various procedures, techniques, and the art-making process. She frequently gave me advice on how to succeed as an artist, stressing the need for hard work, perseverance, and, most importantly, faith in God. Additionally, she would invite me to accompany her to different art exhibitions and encourage me to participate in painting competitions to gain exposure in the art scene. These are just a few of the factors that have given me additional motivation to keep creating art. And no matter what my status is now or the direction I go, Mrs. Janice’s teachings and advice will always play a significant role in my life. I am very grateful and honored to have her as my mentor and pleased to be her protégé.” He smiles.

As Averil evolves in his career, his goal is to create more beautiful artwork, and looks forward to more solo exhibits not only in the Philippines but internationally. “I want to cultivate, learn, and explore my artistic journey through an artist residency abroad,” he concludes.

In his quest for meaning, Averil Paras develops his artwork to create a strong impression, expel beauty, and breathe some magic.

Mentor Janice Liuson-Young identified prime talent in her protégé, Averil Paras, acknowledging his potential, capability, and performance. Through her dedication and commitment to motivating and giving back, Janice established the foundation for Averil. In return, Averil didn’t cease to impress his mentor and audience, confirming his ability to shine knowing success bears no limits.


AVERIL PARAS @averilparas

Writer: GERALDINE ZIALCITA @geraldineauthor
MUA for Ms. Janice:
Copy Editor: KIEDO VILLANUEVA @kei_villanueva
Art Director: NIGEL JOHN DEL MUNDO @nigeldelmundo
Photographer Assistant: JERIC MARK AYALA @jecjecayala
Photographer: VINCENT GOTTI @vinniegotti
Shoot Location: AYALA MUSEUM, Makati Philiipines @ayalamuseum