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This Palawan-Based Eco Artist Turns Tin Cans Into Miniature Cycles

JC Enon's one-of-a-kind creations are part of his environmental advocacy
by John Paulo Aguilera | Sep 26, 2018
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In recent years, many have found peace and gratification in living the island life—just ask these guys and gals. Turns out, settling down somewhere a little quieter can have a significant impact on a person.

JC Enon, who is based in picturesque Puerto Princesa, Palawan, found instant fame outside of online art collectives after his miniature motorcycles went viral. His realistic artwork, which can be seen on his Facebook page MOTO INCAN, look as meticulously detailed as those die-cast models being sold in hobby shops. The only difference is that he doesn't need high-end materials to create his two-wheeled masterpieces.

His low-cost medium of choice? Tin cans.

The idea that gave Enon social media acclaim was actually born of necessity. Earlier this year, he needed extra money for his wife Danelle, who was about to give birth to their first child. He was drinking from a can when he had a lightbulb moment. After some cutting and folding, the same tin was turned into a mini-bicycle, which he immediately sold for cash.

No wonder his partner is his number one supporter. He says, "She's so happy and amazed. She has always believed in my capacity as an artist."

From bicycles and motorcycles, Enon has innovated his craft and can now come up with small, tin can versions of other modes of transport (Palawan tricycles, jeepneys, dioramas) and human sculptures—each one created to be unique. Sourcing the empty containers has also become easier. Once he ran out of tin cans at home, restaurants and food stalls have been gracious enough to provide, in exchange for some art work.

"Eventually, I posted inquiries online, to which my friends responded," he shares. "That way, I raise environmental awareness and encourage them to upcycle."

Enon's locale—dubbed as a "biodiversity hotspot" by the World Wildlife Fund—may have played a huge part in him being an advocate for waste reduction. He reveals that aside from local laws and individual efforts by citizens to uphold environmental protection, locals grew up with a green mindset, as simple as keeping candy wrappers in their pockets. "Minsan nga mas marami pang basura kaysa pera pag naglalaba yung misis ko, ha ha!" Now, he even shares his talent to the younger generation through art workshops.

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His philosophy as a conservationist is also aligned with his principles of creativity. Eco artists like him follow a four-step process that adheres to both perspectives: collect, clean, cut, and create. He explains, "Collect and segregate. Clean the tin cans at the same time your surroundings. Cut them into raw materials and sort them. Create. Your imagination is your limit."

In his own way, Enon owns the tin can medium because he understands what it takes to be a non-traditional artist. He believes that a creative should never be satisfied with his or her work and should always strive to improve. For him, this means taking risks and trying new things.

Some say there is no money in art. We asked the miniature motorcycle maker if he is living the artist life to the fullest.

"No doubt! Not only does it sustain my family's needs, but I also genuinely like what I'm doing. It's a part of me. Just do what you love and don't mind what others think."

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