Cranial Downloads with Rom Villaseran
Written by: Jasper Freudsteen All Images courtesy of Rom Villaseran

Rom Villaseran is a brutally honest artist that downloads images from his head onto the canvas primarily to stay sane.  These images are causing havoc in his mind and his catharsis is our pleasure.  It is such a joy to be able to interact with the actual cranial innards of an artistic innovator.  Rom has a keen sense of what it takes to be alive and understands that what you can do now cannot be done at another moment.  He lives feverishly in the “now” and does not need critique or compliments to substantiate his creativity.  ‘Art’ gives Rom a place to roam free in his own imagination with no armor.  His only defense is his deep sense of evolution and adaptation, and from his creations, it is vividly apparent that is all he needs.

“Growing up in an extremely macho and religious country, I used to think that I knew …”

Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child/now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?

I grew up in Manila. Like other kids, I drew a lot. In fact, I always felt more comfortable drawing than learning how to write and spell. Maybe it was because writing or spelling in English had way too many rules and exceptions. There were no rules in drawing when I was a kid. The only limit to drawing was your own imagination. I remember one time as a kid, my mom asked me to draw a robot. I drew a circular blob. When asked why I didn’t draw a robot, I proclaimed that I did: it was a robot that melted. 

How do you describe your form of art?

I like many forms of art making. My favorite would still be drawing and painting. When I was younger, I would take inspiration from my life experiences. Now that I am older, I find myself constantly turning to the natural world and the universe for ideas. The figures and elements in my work are constantly evolving. It has more to do with my maturity as a human being.

What does your art mean to you?

What you are always looking at when you look at my work is the universe in my head. Creating it greatly improves my wellbeing.

Your art tends to have a surreal sense of intensity and your use of color and detail is extremely vivid  – Is this your goal? What tools do you use for the creation of your work and how did you create your personal art style?

Not all of my work has vivid colors or fine details. Some of them have very little detail or have very neutral or dead colors on them. My main goal when working on a piece is to get as much of what is in my head down onto a canvas. So it’s important for me to have a whole array of different skills and styles in drawing and painting. It enables me to express myself better. Once in a while mistakes and accidents will occur on my canvas. I wait for these moments for they open new venues that help improve my work.

What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment that you have received about your work?

I’m not keen on what compliments or critiques my work gets. Those two things seem to bear very little weight on how or what I choose to produce. It’s enough that I have the opportunity to share my work with people. 

Which artist/s do you look up to the most?

Ian Miller, Kent Williams, Dave McKean. I like artists that have both skill and creativity. 

Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. do you think define a man?

I can still hear my father saying, “Let’s turn you into a man and cut that foreskin of your penis.” Growing up in an extremely macho and religious country, I used to think that I knew the answer to this question. As an adult, I’ve met men who claim that wearing dresses and make up in public doesn’t make them feel any less of a man. There are men who have lost their penises and remain attracted to women. Your walk, the things you can afford, your ability to keep your word does not make you a man, because women can also do them. Often times they do it better. We are born at a time when brute force, instead of logic, is still used as the main method for creating order. We are the main cause for mayhem and suffering for women and children on this planet. So whenever I am confronted with the question, “What defines a man?” I really don’t know how to respond other than “I wish we were more evolved men.”

What is your personal life philosophy?

Now is the only time in history I’ll ever get to participate and experience things.

Who dead or alive, celebrity or not, artist or not, would you like to go on a two week road trip with and why?

Dave Grohl. I love the Foo Fighters. 

What is your favorite movie of all time and why?

I don’t know why I’m tempted to say “The Room”. But I’ll go with “Fight Club” for this one.

How can people learn more about your current and upcoming works?

For this year, I have a solo show in November at Kashima-Arts in Tokyo.  It will run for two weeks. You can visit my site at or follow me on Facebook or Instagram (@romvillaseran).

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