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Artist Showcase: Chito Seno

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Four brothers, two sisters, and Chito Seno—a large family by any standard. It’s not hard to imagine dinner time and birthdays (or any event, for that matter) easily leading to sibling bloodshed. Think of it: there’s food, parental affection, and time in the bathroom all split seven ways. Are you seeing the potential for a throwdown?

For young Chito, a budding artist, rallying support (financial or otherwise) for his unpopular pastime was a frustrating challenge. He grew up in the Cebu province of the Philippines with big dreams of one day being a successful artist. Things looked promising in those early years. School notebooks became portfolios, students were parting with milk money to have him draw portraits for them, and Chito saw a fine arts college in his future.

Now if you’ve read just about any other artist showcase, you can probably guess what happened next. As is so often the case, Chito’s parents stepped in with a soul-crushing dose of reality. Chito was informed that families weren’t fed on an artist’s salary and that he should find a career that paid in more than smiles and good feelings. 

Chito chose to study engineering, and in his parents’ defense, he’s truly grateful for their insight. After graduation he landed a good job and was able to support his own large family. In 2001 a software company in California hired Chito, and he moved his family to the United States, where he currently resides. 

The transition, as well as the stresses of raising a family, kept Chito away from his art for about 12 years. However, after settling into life in California and finding his stride once again, Chito picked up his pencils and has been making up for lost time over the past few years. His family members are all supportive of his art. “We are a family of artists,” says Chito. “My wife is musically talented and is the music director at our church. Our kids can sing, and some can play piano or guitar. One of our sons even made it to the Top 48 of America's Got Talent in 2010.”

Chito doesn’t regret his decision to study engineering. In fact, he’s grateful for the opportunities his trade has afforded him. He is not only able to chase his own artistic dreams now, but he has also been able to raise an entire family of budding artists. “Fortunately for me, a couple of our kids can also draw,” says Chito, “and I always tell them to follow their dreams. Come what may—just follow your dreams.”

If you would like to see more of Chito’s “making up for lost time,” be sure to check out his profile at 5pmc.com

And be sure to check out the site for his tribute to fallen soldiers at www.facesofthefallen.us

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