Pride and passion: How the drybrush Gallery founders are democratizing the art market while showcasing Filipino talent

Monique Tolentino

Principle-based and passion-based decisions are what led husband and wife Jojo and Joweeh Liao to start drybrush Gallery ( Originally from the IT and finance industries, the couple share a deep love for art and have been long-time collectors.

As his family’s breadwinner, Dennis Salazar of Cabuyao, Laguna needed to find ways to put food on the table especially as the pandemic started to take a toll on everyone’s finances and well-being last year. Dennis worked as an electrician, but he was an artist, too. He created commissioned portraits in exchange for rice.

These days, Dennis’ beautiful graphite pieces are available online at the drybrush Gallery and sell for as much as P48,000. With the money he earns from his paintings, Dennis can now buy more than a sack of rice.

Founded by husband and wife, Jojo and Joweeh Liao, drybrush Gallery supports artists pursuing their passion during this difficult time. The Liaos combined their expertise in IT and love for art to create a digital platform that will help artists continue and pursue their passion of creating art.

Before launching drybrush Gallery in November 2020, the Liaos were focused on their IT and software company, CoreProc Inc. They provide end-to-end service delivery from ideation, to launching, to operating and maintaining production servers and software for MNCs, SMEs, conglomerates, start-ups and government.

The Liaos have been long-time art collectors.

“We saw first-hand how artists struggled to survive during this pandemic,” Jojo said.

Today, drybrush Gallery has over a hundred artists, painters, sculptors, plate decorators, and photographers make up the roster of talented personalities in the digital gallery.

With the goal of making art accessible to the general public and less intimidating for those who show interest in being new collectors, drybrush hosts a wide range of artists with as many styles as possible.

“The core principle of drybrush Gallery is always to help Filipino artists, especially during a time when physical galleries and exhibits have been shut down,” Mariel Yulo, Curator and Digital Gallery Assistant for drybrush Gallery, said.

drybrush Gallery features work from artists who are also fishermen, farmers, and electricians like Dennis who just need a vehicle to show and sell their pieces. Among them, as described in their drybrush bios:

“Junelito M. Pamat, a 38-year-old resident of Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur. A teacher by profession at Nazareth Elementary School, Pagadian City, he used to be a trainer/coach in poster making/painting and editorial cartooning. His passion for arts started in his childhood days and as he finished his tertiary level, his interest and love for the world of arts grew bigger and deeper. He explores and exercises various media by using acrylics and oil paints.”

“Paul Anthony Gustilo, an Iloilo native who came to Manila armed with nothing but his talent and sheer determination. His style is definitive, distinctive, and adventurous. The texture of his brushstrokes and energetic color palette creates an illusion of stained glass. His unique technique and vision are what make his works stand out. An admirer of Van Gogh, Paul has mastered the style of the Dutch legend while infusing Filipino flavor. With a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, Paul was able to make it through in the art industry. He has successfully held 22 solo exhibitions and over a hundred group exhibits. His works have been exhibited internationally, in Singapore, China, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.”

The gallery also focuses on helping people choose, what to look for, and how to purchase art that would suit their taste and budget with works of art selling for as low as P2,500.

drybrush’s Facebook and Instagram pages even feature video tutorials on how to appreciate abstract art, what is art, and how to look at the mindset of an artist. The gallery also provides artist highlights detailing the artist’s creative process, profile, styles, and background so potential buyers can fully understand each piece.

“We want to democratize art and make it available for everyone,” Jojo said.

Mariel added: “There have been customers who have sent us photos of the wall or space they want to fill up with art in their homes and we help them find the best piece for them in a way that becomes a more personal experience.”

drybrush offers free delivery within the Philippines. Their website is easy to navigate with filters that help you select what style of painting you want, your budget, preferred size, or genre.

Creating the digital platform wasn’t a smooth ride for Jojo and Joweeh, but their pride and passion in the Filipino talent guided them to their goal.

“Nothing worth doing is easy. At one point, I was losing weekends from putting up drybrush and I would ask myself why am I doing this? I would always go back to the passion of helping artists and introducing art to people who are unaware of how much joy you can get from owning a work of art,” Joweeh said.

She also emphasized how being able to connect an artist with a collector “will always be enough to keep us going.”

For the Liaos, success and satisfaction in the gallery will always be linked to helping Filipino artists flourish. Their guiding principle as an art gallery, they said, is to choose whatever is in the best interest of the Filipino artist.

“Your passion is actually your North Star. For us, as long as it helps the Filipino artist, that’s the direction we’ll go,” Jojo said.

You may visit drybrush Gallery at the website:

Published date:
June 11, 2021
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