A guy in one of my favourite forever movies put an ad in the paper trying to put a band together. As soon as each prospective band member showed up at his door, he’d ask, ‘Who are your influences?’
I think only God is capable of creating from absolute scratch, and all of us have influences on our creative processes, many, if not most of which lie outside of the ‘art world’ itself.
So I’m not here to talk about other artists (I already did that in my last post, lol) or movements, but the other things that might go into your ‘blender’, mainly by talking about what goes into mine.
Shiraz, Detail, 20.4724 x 28.3465" / 52 x 72 cm, Acrylic on Paper, 2014
Because of current goings on in the jillalife, I find myself returning to a subject I touched on two years ago~ how art is, in fact, a real job. As in, if you were to reply to someone who might tell an artist to get a real job.
By ‘real job’, I mean the kind that you might go to an office for, own a company for, or, get paid regularly for, or what a lot of people might call a ‘day job’.
28 Candles, Detail, 48 x 36” / 121.92 x 91.44 cm, Acrylic and Oil Pastel on Canvas, 2003
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Ang INK’s 30th anniversary exhibit opening which took place online. That was something special and I’m glad I was able to make it.
The opening made me think a bit about how ‘the current situation’ kind of ‘forced’ exhibits to go online ~ I mean, online exhibits were already starting to become a thing even before ‘the situation became current’ ^o^
With the world starting to open up again (or some of it, anyway) I can’t help wondering whether online exhibits will be here to stay (they’d better, since I’m going to have one next year ^o^**), and what people think of them. For what it’s worth, here’s what I think of them, having had one of my own already and participated in one or two.
One of the first things I ever did for Ang INK~ this is a postcard I made for the WWF and is watercolour and ink on paper. No idea what year, maybe 1997.
Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Illustrators for children), AKA Ang INK is an organisation of, well, children’s illustrators (not just books, anymore, although it started out that way, I think, there’s just so much more these days to illustrate for ^_^) based here in my country, the Philippines.
They’re celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, and every time I think of that I’m always struck by how I still remember being in their 10th anniversary show~not the first of their many, many exhibits I’d been privileged to be in.
Truth is, I legit can’t remember when I joined them, exactly! I think I was about 21 or 22 (definitely not 23), but now I just say I joined back in 1998 because that’s the only thing I can be sure of as far as my artist’s resume goes. (But if I was 21 or 22 it must’ve been in `96 or `97.)
A World Filled With Love, Detail, 36 x 48" (with frame) / 91.44 x 121.92 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2006
My posts seem to be a lot more, ‘reactionary’ these days—I understand being reactionary isn’t considered a good thing in general. In any case, this post comes as the result of the ‘happiness meeting’ we had at my nice new job last Thursday. That ‘happiness meeting’ is one where we get together and talk about stuff that made you happy over the last week.
Very briefly, in a previous post (and other posts since) I’ve spoken about how I’m also a writer (the kind that works in advertising and marketing). And very recently (eight working days ago, to be precise) I started another job that brings people together from literally all over the world on the internet.
Anyway, during that meeting, Erikka, one of my new co-workers (who’s the only other one of us from the Philippines) shared how she was currently country-hopping all over Europe. And one of my new bosses (who’s from Germany but is currently ‘digital nomadding’ all over South America) remarked on how, once we were able to meet, I could maybe do like a company painting out there or something.
Perry, Dot; 40 x 40” / 101.6 x 101.6 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 2019
You are what you are and there’s no denying that, really. I mean you know how people are so hung up on authenticity these days. I think that’s twice as crucial when you’re an artist.
Windy Day, Detail, 48 x 36" (with frame) /121.92 x 91.44 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2006
People who know me might laugh when they hear me say this, but I really have a hard time asking anybody for help, for anything.
Just this past week, for instance, at my other job, I was forced to realise that my backlog had grown to unmanageable proportions. Blame it on my bad time management or what you will, but blaming wasn’t going to get the tasks done. I was embarrassed to ask the others on my team to help out, because I was hyper aware that they had tasks of their own, too.
In the end, I asked for help, and hey, presto! The tasks were done in a day, when they had been sitting on my to-do list for weeks.
So I admit—I’m like that as an artist, too. But I guess now I’m having to recognise, formally, that asking for help with your practice isn’t a bad thing.
Sea Urchin, 24 x 36" / 60.96 x 91.44 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 2007
I’m not talking about the kind of comparison you do when you identify your work with a certain movement or philosophy, e.g. ‘My work is ______-ist, much like the work of _____’. I’m talking about the kind some artists do when they compare their work or their practice to those of others who seem to have achieved the level they want to be at, themselves.
You know, like ‘How come _____’s work is hanging at ______ and mine is still stuck in the studio _____ months/years/eras later?’
I’d be lying if I said I was never one of those artists. And I think this might be something that happens to a lot of artists at different stages of their careers, but most especially to artists who might’ve been practising for some time, and are feeling a little stuck.
For what it’s worth, coming from me in my humble capacity, this post is for you <3
Fly, Detail, 36 x 48” / 91.44 x 121.92 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2006
I tried writing this blog once before, and it turned into the ‘epic saga’ of my other career, lol. So this is me starting over focusing on just my art practice.
I’m pretty sure I’ve referred, in so many words, to the ‘double life’ I’ve led for a long, long time on the jillablog—there’s two people in me (and unfortunately, they’re both nuts XD), namely the artist and the writer.
Both of them have degrees; the writer got her degree first, and for years, the writer supported the artist in pretty much every way imaginable. Every cent the writer made went to buying paint and paying for classes, which eventually turned into paying for art school proper, and funding the practice. If Vincent had Theo, jillamonster had the jillawriter.
The writer wrote the artist’s proposals, press releases, social media posts (and this blog ^_^). The writer never seemed to have a problem with that, because that’s just the way it’s always been.
My Tallest, 22 x 30" / 55.88 x 76.2 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2005
How do you support an artist? Well, duh, you buy something ^o^;
No, seriously, I mean, of course, there’s that obvious way. And believe me (believe all of us painters, sculptors, printmakers and so on), there’s no such thing as ‘too much support’ ^_____^
But there are other forms of support, other ways to show artists that you believe in them and that you want them to keep going, even when the going gets tough. And believe us, again, when we say, the going does get tough—and not just for us, but for the people around us, as well.
So if I may make so bold, I’d say the other forms of support can be just as, if not more, valuable to an artist as the kind you shell out.
I guess there’s some sentiment sprinkled into the murky miasma of my current state of mind, but humour me:
This post goes out to everyone who knows an artist personally, and who’s kind enough to want to support that artist in some way. It also goes out to anyone who may not know an artist personally but admires the work of an artist enough to want to show some support. And it goes out to everyone here on earth who’s ever supported me as an artist <3