Gelo Zarsuelo: Coloring Queer Narratives

Hailing from Kalibo, Gelo Zarsuelo is a queer artist behind artworks that explore the politics of individual bodies and the intimacy of queer relationships. His story started with humble beginnings. 

“One day, I decided to stop schooling and pursue becoming a full-time artist, and I have been professionally doing it for three years now,” Zarsuelo said.

To follow or turn his back on his dream is a choice that Gelo Zarsuelo had to make. Following his dream was a risk into the unknown. Aware of how society perceives queer people, he communicates his narrative and struggles through bold colors with muted tones. 

There are few queer artists in his locality. Zarsuelo encourages more of them to come out and paint their stories by pursuing his passion.

“As a queer artist, the main struggles and challenges that I encounter are the lack of avenues and platforms for art,” Gelo explained. For him, the younger people who feel and identify themselves as different needed someone to prove to them that they can succeed in a creative space.

“The IMBF was a great opportunity for me to meet people in person and talk to them. They can also see my artwork in real life instead of just seeing it on social media,” the artist expressed his gratitude to the organizers and team behind IMBF for helping him further his platform.

“You will get through it. It’s a struggle at the beginning of your career, and I’m still struggling, but you will find your people,” Gelo advised aspiring local artists, emphasizing that having a support system in the local art community is an essential aspect of creating. 


This article is part of a series highlighting the artists featured in the Iloilo Mega Book Fair 2023’s “Artist Village” submitted by Chia Camille Guillen from West Visayas State University with assistance from writer Noel Galon de Leon of Kasingkasing Press.

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