I don’t know about you, but 2023 was a real banner year for me ~ not. Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, life kicks you in the sleeping bag and finds another way to make you remember your place in the universe, i.e. an insignificant, infinitesimal speck.
But while it’s easier to see inkblots on a clean page, it’s just as easy to see stars against the deep blackness of space. That’s what the Potatostars above are all about ~ finding even the smallest points of light in the darkness all around us (and even within ourselves) ~ and being able to draw even a little happiness from them.
As the year draws to a close, I’m going to focus on the latter and pick out just 10 (because there were more!) of the good things I can be thankful for from this past year, specifically those relating to my art practice.
1. I made a pelican and a peahen.
Photos courtesy of Gen Gamposilao
I am grateful for having been invited to take part in Substance, an all-girl group show held last March at Fifty One Collective, to whom I am indebted for much of all the good that happened to me this year. These canvases were the first things I completed this year and were meant to be interpretations of what the *substance* of a woman was.
I thought being a woman was all about self-sacrifice (my Pelicorn) and about being beautiful in your own right, even when you’re not next to a (more beautiful) male of your species (my Pavonicorn) ~ at least, that was what I was going for.
2. I got to join a *high tech* exhibit.
I am grateful that Rainbow Mosho invited me to apply for a spot in Women in Tech, which was an online exhibit held in an amazing online space in Spatial. I very much regret not being able to make something new for this show, but I was just so thankful to have been able to participate! This was the most beautiful online gallery (also in terms of UI/UX) I have seen to date.
3. I got to be in one last exhibit with a legend.
Photo courtesy of Joymi Posadas
I am grateful that I was able to join an Ang INK exhibit called At Home, which was adorable because all the works in it were shaped like houses. The piece I made records how my Mom was taking care of me when I got sick this year, which was the upside of one of this year’s downsides ~ not the least of which was the passing of a fellow Inkie whom I will always admire and respect.
I know I’m meant to focus on this year’s *stars* rather than the *inkblots* but, I found out a lot later than everyone else and like everyone else I was hit real hard. I really am grateful to have been able to be in the same show as he was one last time </3
4. I got to give a horsey to one of my idols.
I am grateful that I was able to give a horsey to Itatate_uma, whom I’ve followed avidly ever since I discovered him on Instagram (because, yeah). You know how you fangirl someone like the people who throw teddy bears at the lead singer on stage? It’s kind of like that, and I was tickled pink when he was kind enough to post my horsey, too.
5. I got to give a horsey to another legend.
I am grateful that I was also able to give a horsey to one of my art school professors for the exact same reasons as numbers three and four. I was just grateful he remembered me at all (it’s not like I was a star pupil or anything lol). Given a chance I would’ve liked to have made him something nicer but this was (almost) the horsey in question.
6. I had my Rogues.
I know it doesn’t look it, but it wasn’t easy *giving birth* to 18 monsters even if they were relatively small ones. Thank God that in spite of everything, I was able to finish them all in time, and that they were presentable when opening day came. I am so grateful to Mr Christian Regis and Miss Marigrace Felicia and everyone at Fifty One Collective for the chance to exhibit my Rogues this year.
7. I got to show my work overseas.
Photo courtesy of Fifty One Collective
I am also grateful to Fifty One Collective for including my work in their collection for Art Penang, and grateful that I was able to somehow squeeze out my female tikbalang and my spongy moth. I was on my last legs at the time (*stars* not *inkblots*, Jill) and I hadn’t had the chance to recuperate (I know, but if you think about it, I never got it lol).
8. I got to show my work in a place that’s special to me.
Photo courtesy of Fifty One Collective
I am again grateful to Fifty One Collective for including my work in their collection for the Visayas Art Fair. I have fond memories of my trip down there a few years back (and of the friend who took me to Forest Camp) so taking part held not a little significance for me. I really do regret not having been able to make something new for this show; it’s been that kind of a year.
9. I made a baby minnow and a baby bird.
I am grateful to Miss Flor Baradi for inviting me to take part in a show called Reboot at the Arte Pintura Gallery (and for not forgetting about me after I had contacted her over a year ago). Like Silahis and Wanderer, baby monsters have been on my back burner for forever (like I was hoping to turn them into a series, someday), and now I had finally been able to hatch a couple!
10. I got to take part in opening a new gallery.
Photo courtesy of Mr Posadas (second from left)
I am grateful yet again to Mr Regis and Miss Felicia for including me in the opening exhibit for the 29 Kapitolyo Art Space, a beautiful new gallery with a wonderfully high ceiling. I do wish I had been able to make new work for this show; as it is, they very kindly allowed me to share some of my Romps from way back when.
Before I end with a couple of passages from one of my forever favourite books, I’d like to invite you to list 10 things you can be thankful for from 2023.
If you’re a fellow artist, you can put all of the work you’ve done on the list ~ every piece, especially the completed ones, is empirical evidence of your courage and perseverance as well as your creativity. That’s gotta be something you can take pride in as well as be grateful for.
If you’re not an artist and/or you’re having a little trouble putting things on the list, here’s a video I found recently that might help.
Now if you can list more than 10, then by all means, go for it! Because if there’s one thing I learned from this past year, it’s that no matter how bad things get, they can always get worse hahahahahaha jk jk jk ~ you know what I mean (I hope)!
There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die…that we may appreciate the enjoyments of living.
…Never forget that until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words -- `Wait and hope.'
* Interested in any of the pieces in this post?
Drop me a line to let me know
and I'll let you know if it's still available,
or how soon I can make something similar just for you.