Phillip Martin Art

The Asia Collection

After four years in Africa, I moved on to Asia.  And, I thought the perfect place for someone named Phillip was the Philippines.  Yes, I was lured to a country with more than seven thousand islands, rice terraces, pristine beaches and beautiful people.  And then, there was the flip side of that coin with my first typhoon, a couple of earth quakes and some of the worst traffic congestion I'd ever seen.  It was never dull in the Philippines.

I taught at an international school in the capital.  There are so many opportunities that present themselves when you move around in the circles of international schools that never would have come my way if I stayed in the United States. I was always so amazed how connected the people at the school were to the movers and shakers in Manila.  The president's wife worked at the school!  When International School Manila celebrated its 75th anniversary, two Filipino postage stamps were designed to honor the occasion.  Remember what I said about opportunities?  I designed both of those postage stamps.

I lived in the Philippines for five years.  It was an incredible opportunity to explore Southeast Asia.  I guess part of that reason was due to the traffic congestion in Manila.  On holiday weekends, the traffic was so great that it could take 15 hours to get out of the city.  It's impossible to even comprehend that unless you are trapped in the middle of that experience.  It was truly easier to just fly to another country.  And, Bangkok and Hong Kong were easy weekend destinations.

South East Asia was a jewel to explore.  I loved the color.  I loved the history.  I loved how genuinely wonderful the people were when you left the crowded cities and explored the countryside.  I hope these portraits, and their accompanying stories, give you a taste of the experience.

Girl from Angkor Wat

To be honest, this is one of my most favorite portraits. If you really look at that scarf, you’ll see the tedious detail. You can't imagine the amount of time it took to draw. When I completed it, I seriously considered stopping with the portraits. Perhaps I did my best one here? Not sure, but I’m glad I didn’t quit.

The girl is wearing a Khmer scarf called a “krama”. Traditionally red and white, they can also be used as bandanas to cover the face or even carry a baby. I took this photo as she worked at one of the archaeological sites at Angkor Wat.

I visited Angkor Wat before Angelina Jolie / Lara Croft, tomb raider, found her way there. Tourism changed at Angkor Wat after that movie. So, where I visited with a few hundred people, now days you are likely to visit with thousands. It might not be the same experience, but it is still worth it to view this Hindu/Buddhist complex that is the largest religious monument in the world as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Center.

Continue on to Asia Image 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 or back to the Portraits Home Page.