Of Blobs and Potatoes
Viva le kalabaw! Viva il kalesa!, Detail, 42.75 x 34.25" / 108.585 x 86.995 cm, Acrylic and Oil Pastel on Paper, 2016
“Cookie cutter people.”
“Amoebas with hair.”
“Why don’t they have fingers?”
These are a few of things I’ve heard about my work over the long years I’ve depicted what I just call blobs in my art. I remember trying to, explain myself once or twice in a couple of those descriptions of your work that you put in the exhibit proposals you give to a gallery. But I guess I never, you know. Explained myself properly ^_^;
On the cusp of my second exclusively online show, half of which comprises blobs, I thought now might be a good time to, ‘explain’ how and why I draw and paint this way. And since the other half comprises what I just call potatoes, which one might say evolved out of the blobs, I thought I might take the opportunity to explain those, too.
Not that I feel I need to explain anything to anyone, of course. Just on the off chance anyone might be interested or even mildly curious, or something ^o^;
Equuleus, 24 x 11.75" / 60.96 x 29.845 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 2018
Back in a past life (as a copywriter), I’d heard tales of agencies that let their creatives play video games on office time. These agencies had a Playstation on the premises because they encouraged creative downtime.
I understand how it might be tough to rationalise creative downtime for the beancounters and human resource humans. Heck, I remember some of them had trouble enough understanding why the creatives (and some super trooper account execs) needed ‘flexitime’ to pull all-nighters to get ready for a pitch.
Seriously though. Turns out there is a thing to what looks like (but doesn’t actually amount to) ‘slacking off’ in order to, enhance one’s creativity, and even productivity.
How does art become therapy?
Rhapsody in Blue, Detail, 30 x 43" / 76.2 x 109.22 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2006
I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about this ~ about how art isn’t just something they might do for fun, or as a hobby, but something they sort of have to do because, well, it makes them feel better.
I’m no psychology major or anything like that, and I’m not even going to pretend I’m any sort of qualified to talk about trauma or therapy and stuff.
I guess what I’d like to go into in this jillablog post is how art has helped me to, you know. ‘Feel better’ or just get through, I suppose, whatever I needed to get through ~ some, unpleasantness or painful thing.
I’m not sharing any secrets or sordid specifics or anything ~ just sharing some ways my ‘scribbling and bibbling’ has helped me, personally.
Because you see at the outset I actually also had this idea of sharing a few suggestions for how you might do art as therapy, but you have to be certified and stuff to do that and I don’t want to do anything illegal or something.
But maybe my own experiences might give you a glimpse of how it might be helpful in case you or someone you know is looking for something to, you know. Help you feel better ^_^
Sammy, Detail, Oil on canvas, 24 x 36” / 60.96 x 91.44 cm, ca 2003
The ‘sensitive artiste’ is a meme, almost, a trope, a joke ~ if I say something along the lines of ‘but it’s true, though’ ~ that just adds liquor to the flambé doesn’t it XD
But anyway, my objectives for writing this post are to maybe
1. Help you understand artists more If you’re not an artist (but have to live with one or more of them, or work with them, e.g. you’re an account manager at an ad agency and you have to deal with graphic designers)
2. Help you understand yourself or your fellow artists more if you are an artist (but somehow I get the feeling you already do anyway ^^; )
3. Also maybe help myself / indulge in a little self-therapy (because now that some time has elapsed since I went in for some actual therapy, I now know that no one can help me, actually, except myself).
Because in keeping with the recent trend on the jillablog, this post comes in the wake of what’s happened to me in the past few weeks since the last jillapost.
Ja~in the words of J Worthington Foulfellow, ‘On to the theatre!’ XD
An Artist’s Best Friend
First of a series illustrating a story told to me by a co-worker way back when,
Oil pastel on paper, approximately 8 x 8” / 20.32 x 20.32 cm, ca 2005
Today, I was hanging out with my beloved cousin, my most beloved sister and my future brother-in-law, and we were having coffee at this fancy coffee place. They were connoisseurs, and me, I couldn't tell the difference between a bottled Starbucks frap and a five-buck 3-in-1 ^_^
Unlike aficionados like Junes, Bassints and Chito-kun, I regard coffee as a means to an end, not the end ^_^
JillA's BrillAs, Detail, 44.5 x 18" / 113.03 x 45.72 cm, Acrylic on Paper, 2017
Well, why do you think Vincent had his yellow house? (Guess he thought it was a good idea at the time, lol.)
Artists’ communities have been around for like, forever~speaking of Van Gogh, they say he didn’t much care for the one he left behind in Paris; point is, they were there.
Come to think of it, I guess you could say all the movements were communities, which I’ll define rather loosely here as a bunch of like-minded artists hanging out and working together. Like the folks at St Ives, for instance.
Of course, it’ll be a cold day in hell before we ever even begin to run out of artists’ communities over here: there’s the Saturday Group, the folks at Tam-Awan, pretty much everyone at Angono, Ang INK, and bajillions of others.
I’ve never really been a ‘community’ type, so, this is a bit awkward for me to write, honestly. I’m thinking this was brought on following my first online co-working studio session with an artist based over in the States, which I felt compelled to document because I’d never really done anything like that before ^^;
So in this post I’m just doing a little surface-level reflection on the importance of being part of an artists’ community, why I’ve never really been in one, and how being in one can really be a great idea.
What influences your art making?
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’.
On the Level with Online Exhibits
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.
Memoirs of an Inactive Inkie
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.)