Errol C. Mendoza: The man endowed with creative gifts

Errol C. Mendoza

IF there’s somebody who passionately dares to thread a career path that’s rarely taken by like-minded professionals, Errol C.  Mendoza typifies this description.

Due  to the COVID-19 lockdown, Errol’s artistic mind or gift, has shifted to painting which is being noticed by the community and art critics alike. He is a self-taught painter. His paintings range from impressionist to abstract,which are digitally captured and translated on either oil or acrylic.

In fact, Cid Reyes, a Philippine-based author of more than 40 art books and doyen of Philippine Art Criticism, commented, “Mendoza’s quirky, zany and jazzy lines are best appreciated in works like ‘The Mountain Resort’ and as a bow to his country of origin, the Philippines, ‘The Vinta,’ those colorful sailboats in the tropical archipelago’s second largest island of Mindanao. All these works are an eyeful, leading one to think that Mendoza had taken lines out on a holiday.”

Reyes added, “The advantage of Mendoza is that he has not yet fallen into mannerisms, idiosyncrasies and eccentricities – alas, vices that are engendered and encouraged by newfound fame and fortune. For artists like Errol Mendoza for whom art-making is a joint venture with his instinct, visual intelligence and frisky imagination, abstraction can be generous, opening up the bliss of its arcadian realm.”

For those who know him, Errol is more identified as impresario, concert promoter, theater practitioner, artistic director, musical thespian, a successful stage actor, stage director and producer both at  the Cultural Center of the Philippines and in the United Kingdom.

What prompted him to take this most off-beaten professional path? His parents who are natives of La Union but early pioneers of Baguio City are not in this mold. His father was an affluent businessman and a well-known  public defender, politician as well as prominent civic leader in this Summer Capital of the Philippines. His mother was a teacher and businesswoman. His siblings are leaders and personalities in banking, nutrition, teaching profession and publishing  in both Baguio City,  Manila and the United States.

Errol is happily married to Mayette Esparrago Mendoza, a graduate of St. Scholastica’s College, Manila who was in the hospitality, telecommunications and healthcare professions. They are blessed with two children: Louise and Richard Kenneth.

Let me find the answers in his paths to these mostly unbeaten professions.  Born and raised in Baguio City and youngest of seven children, Errol C.  Mendoza, strangely enough was not inspired by anyone. He shared, “It was always seemingly a natural inclination for me to immerse in the arts, speech contests, dramatic arts or theatrical productions or even singing contests and involvement in the staging of musicals or opera. And now in the visual arts particularly in painting.”

As a snap shot, Mendoza was a dramatic and theater personality and also a radio broadcaster (DZWX, Baguio City) and high school teacher at the St. Louis University Boys High  where he was the adviser of its school publications, the “St. Louis Echo” and the “Louisian Yearbook” before hitting it big in Manila and abroad.

A consistent honor student, Mr. Mendoza obtained his Bachelor’s of Arts degree  in English and Philosophy also at St Louis University, Baguio.

No doubt, he got his leadership DNA from his parents. This achiever was a student leader as well as civic and religious youth leader in Baguio City. He garnered gold medals in speech  and oratorical contests, a university representative in an important and major nationwide seminar on “Youth and Social Change” sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

As fate would have it, the aspiring theater enthusiast was spotted by the President of De La Salle to teach at the prestigious high school, La Salle Green Hills. Mr. Mendoza eventually became the adviser of La Salle Green Hills Drama Club.

From here on, Errol’s ascent to world stage was unstoppable. He was discovered and was a lead of the premiere and critically acclaimed stage musical production of Dale Wasserman “Man of La Macha” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines where he played the role of Sancho Panza, the manservant of Don Quixote. Curiously enough, he played Don Quixote himself in two other amateur productions.

As his reward, he was awarded a scholarship by the CCP  to study drama in London at the British Theatre Association composed of the five leading Drama Schools in this European country. He was also awarded a scholarship grant in his post graduate studies in theatre at the Sherman Theatre at the  University of Wales. He earned his spurs in the best production and direction of Pirandello’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author” at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, United Kingdom.

He also won a scholarship to study under the tutelage of BBC and ITV at the Catholic Radio and TV Center in Middlesex.

Because of his prodigious gifts, he was selected from numerous applicants to undertake  Art Administration by the Arts Council of Great Britain which he had to incorporate in his theatre studies at the Sherman Theatre.

Not everything was a bed of roses for Mendoza. There were challenges that affected his theatrical pursuits in England for almost eight years. There were obstacles such as cultural shock as well as priorities in the limited positions in drama and theatre courses meant for Commonwealth countries and UK residents.  He was advised to seek further studies in the U.S. Undaunted, he asserted to give him a chance because UK is known for drama and theater institutions.

At this juncture of his struggles,  he invoked the lyrics of the song which summarized his noble quest, “The Impossible Dream” from the musical, “Man of La Mancha”: “To fight the unbeatable foe, to bear the unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go…this is my quest, to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far.”

Upon returning from the UK, he was appointed to be a staff member and eventually the executive assistant to the president and artistic director, Lucrecia Kasilag, the National Artist in Music at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and CCP Complex. When I ribbed him if he had adopted the British twang, he could still mimic in an amusement and entertaining way.

At the CCP,, he directed the multi-awarded-production of the musical, “Oliver.” In the U.S. Mendoza became an associate director of the prestigious opera company, The Ambassadors of Opera with stars from the New York Metropolitan Opera.

Although theatre and arts are his passion and just dabble in them on the side, Mr. Mendoza had to eke out a living in a more conventional way for his family’s sake. He got involved in multi-level marketing in Los Angeles and car salesman in Cerritos, California and Arizona.

Like a proverbial “everything he touches turn into gold,” Mr. Mendoza was awarded  “Salesman of the Year” for four years as well as 50 times “Salesman of the Month.”

With all his accolades in the arts and theatre, Mendoza’s affection and involvement for his community did not wane. He is a recipient of numerous awards like  Community Leadership Award from the Federation of Filipino American Association, the County of Los Angeles for Recognition for his Dedicated Service to the Affairs  of the Community and Civic Pride,  Certificate of Recognition for his leadership, distinguished achievements and extensive service to the community from the City of Long Beach,  Certificate of Recognition by the United States House of Representatives from Congressman Alan Lowenthal for Community Leadership Award, won 4 First Places; 1 Second Place; and 2 Third Places at Glendale Art Association Art Shows.

Now that Errol C. Mendoza has found a new adventure in the visual arts, will he realize another impossible dream come true? It may really come true, for indeed due to the demand for his art, he has become immersed full time in sharing his art to the public at large.

He is currently on the drawing board with several organizations that benefit the disadvantaged children and adults  in ameliorating their health, social and  educational needs.

A few quoted reviews reveal the magnetism of Mendoza’s  arts works:

As Gail Dubenbaum, former New York metropolitan opera singer and creative director of the Phoenix Metropolitan Opera has recently said: “Mendoza’s intensely striking  vivid abstracts are full of evocative  and sensual  movement creating drama and passion. His eclectic style is imaginative, intense, vivid evocative and sensual and his juxtaposing color and shapes  playfully capture fluidity and motion.”

John Massaro, American conductor and composer has said, “I love Errol’s work — his eclectic style , his use of color and motion, his ability  to see beyond  the surface of an object  and reveal its true nature. Every connoisseur of real art should want one of these pieces.”

And Michael Gordon, a British poet summarizes his review: “Errol C. Mendoza is a wonderful and varied artist with an innate color sense and a basic abstract approach to his work. Abstract painting is an escape from reality that at best, can give us some sense  of meaning from the feelings  it generates within ourselves. Many artists, however, use abstract painting as a means of self indulgence and posturing Mr Mendoza is not. A visit  to his website  will open a wonderful experience.”

For those interested, you can call him at  (818) 583-7717 or e-mail him at ec7mendoza@gmail.com. His website is: ecmendoza.com.

**The author can be reached at denino1951@gmail.com. 

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