Friday’s 10 Happy Things

Welcome to Friday’s 10 Happy Things where I/we list ten things that made us smile this week so that we can start the weekend on an even more positive note!

Finally gave in to this “Friday’s 10 Happy Things”. It’s actually on good timing as I am pretty much swamped with work and just need a little breather here and there.

Here’s the list this week, keeping it short as I might, like most of the time (if not always), overshare:

1. I can now drive decently! I can drive from house to work to boyfriend’s place and some other places. I can drive up and down a curved ramp. I rarely get bullied by larger vehicles. I now drive calmly with a few cuss words every now and then. LOL One thing though, I need to practice parking. Heee!

2. Boyfriend bought around one kilo of homemade BACON from his colleague and we are very excited for a bacon cookfest this weekend! Anyway, even if bacon was just fried or baked or whatever, I’d already be happy. That’s a lot of bacon, you know.

3. Projects are slowly slowly materializing. I mean it’s really in a very slow pace (Gawd! did I ever mention SLOW?) but it’s getting there, getting there. Still keeping my fingers crossed it will turn out great though.

4. Someone from the other side of the office is playing Damien Rice’s Cannonball and I was like “Goodness! I used to cry every time I listen to that song circa 2009!” Kind of glad it no longer elicits as much ~feels~ as it did before. But yeah, I believe my sister when she said it gives a lovesick feeling.

5. Pet bunnies are growing up healthy and fast. Open to willing parents, we’ve got an unbelievably cute pair! One’s brown and the other’s white with grey streaks. Both are perky and smart, they got their Daddy Clyde’s genes.

6.Boyfriend surprised me with a copy of Eleanor and Park! Now I know when he gives me books that are no longer wrapped, it’s because he has already written sweet and short notes on it. Works every freaking time though. *wink*

Also excited for the spare time this weekend so I can start to devour this one.

7. Got one of my first molars removed just yesterday. I have very very low tolerance with pain so I was just like asdfjkl;! It reminded me of the last time I went to the dentist to have a tooth removed and I can only feel thankful and #blessed it’s not as painful as the last one. Well, I’m struggling to eat, but it’s a lame excuse for a ~diet~.

8. Discovered this parking alternative in Valero area whenever the office building falls short of parking spaces. I can even leave my keys with the guard so he can adjust parking when one car gets off the space.

9. This Phonto App I used to create this Featured Image. Forgive me if it’s not as cute/artistic or whatever it should be yet. I’m still on the experimental phase. Also, it makes me font-happy.

10. And lastly, because it’s a Friday and August (long weekends!!!) is just around the corner!

Woes on Art Writing

When people ask me: “Do you write about art?”

I reply in a flash: “I used to. I used to write criticisms based on history and theory in college.”

Then I realize how pathetic my answer is. I can actually reply with a simple yes or no, but why should I insist on such explanation.

I have been trained to write academically about art. I have been taught to write in layers and degree of criticism. I have been reminded every now and then of describing without using the words: beautiful and ugly, good and bad, but to incorporate aesthetics and words that could vividly depict an image in one’s imagination. I have been instructed to at least provide a frame when writing, perhaps use Barthes, Said, Karp, Berger in my articles and simplify them and make them speak to common people. I miss conversing that way. I miss being all theoretical yet simplistic when I write.

I remember initiating a writing project for myself once since an art magazine editor wanted me to write for her. I browsed through the publication and found feature articles about art. I thought it was going to be an easy task. But hell, it wasn’t. I started with the formalistic approach, but as I moved on, I could not help but criticize and point out what I found interesting and problematic which leaned more towards the theoretical side. Think: History, Anthropology, Cultural Studies. I always get trapped in the academic/theoretical way of writing/appreciating art. I feared my article would sound intimidating that only people involved in the art world might appreciate or at least read it. Thus, I never finished it and considered feature art writing not my strength at all.

Now I can only congratulate those writers who can write features for art. I never imagined myself saying this, but yes, somehow, I do wish I could write like you people.

Stephen Hawking on My Behalf

Theregoes my spokesperson

To whom it may concern,

This is perhaps the reason why I keep my mouth shut. I do not need to defend myself because the obvious need not be elaborated. You should have noticed everything in the first place. I never begged for flattery nor for approval from anyone. I know my worth, and I know it’s enormous. Reason why I work silently, because silence speaks a lot louder – only the wise can take heed.

FYI, you failed to.

Too bad.


...Words of love along the wires

I do not know how to describe yesterday. Awful would be too much and so-so would be an understatement.

I blame it on our Collection show opening on Friday. I’ve been curating, writing, lay-outing, budgeting, and running errands aka courier mode. Collection shows always have these exhausting horrors, but let’s just say it’s part of the job.

I was all tired and whiny when I got home. I have been complaining to almost everyone. Even Mr. Snooze, who was some distance away, was my rant repository of sorts. I have told him about the delayed flight, the unbearable traffic, and the whole system (or lack of) of the Philippines. It was a relief he called. Half the time we spoke of our our pet bunny and our day at work, the other half, he spent snoring. Simple things like that saves the day.


PS. I have been drafting for our curatorial note for N days since Monday. Only now did my boss furnish us his curatorial idea of sorts which I need to edit and expound on. It’s entirely different from the one I have been working on, I’d rather shut up now or I might give a little bit of criticism. Makes me think of posting my curatorial note here or sending it to an art magazine instead. LOL

Dear Quarter Life Crisis,

I used to believe I have gone past through you sometime in college when I was dying and all that for my thesis and for the organization’s what-not’s. I’ve spent moments thinking about random matters which I am not even certain of whether to deem important or not. Lately, I feel like going through you again – minus the thesis and org issues of course.

I joined linkedin some months ago as my boss was telling me to start building professional connections. I believe he persuaded me to do so, not only for the growth of our gallery’s contact list, but for my career as well. The site says my profile is only 40% complete. I have not been updating my CV for two years now. I believe there are necessary bullets to add, but I’m a little hesitant of putting them into the list. I don’t even know why am I bothered by this or should I even wonder why.

I have been on the same job for two years. I’ve been doing the same things and I’m starting to feel that this job is becoming a routine, which I fear may become boring. I have tried to weigh recent events, for maybe, I am just frustrated that some projects failed to launch. But regardless of what happened in the recent shows, here I am stuck at the office facing an LCD monitor which for many times I wished was a closet leading to Narnia.

I would like to believe that I am just torn between my adventurous random self and the serious career-oriented me. I would like to think that I need to try on other things before settling down in a field. But I am not sure whether I’d like to take such risk when the Arts is already pulling me towards their plane. Also, I feel like I’m not good at anything now. I am stuck in a lifetime of heavy traffic.

I’m having enough of my rants. So, tell me dear, have I been deceived? Is this the real deal?

And please, grant me the long weekend. I’ll be negotiating with you after then.

On Conversational Art Writing

This is the first time my writing will be published for an exhibition. I have not engaged in that sort of writing for I actually have issues regarding writing for commercially-oriented institutions. Thus, I have continually questioned my position being a Gallerist and an Art Writer at the same time.

But this time, I gave it a shot. I wrote for the Tam-awan Village Artists’ show at our gallery. I have persuaded myself to write for the show since it’s a way of showing my gratefulness to them with all their help for my undergraduate thesis and it has become my advocacy to promote and proliferate the awareness of the Cordillera culture. Also, I would not be marketing or selling the show in any way through my writing.

It was a little nostalgic writing about these artists. I even used my thesis as an extra literary source. I was still just as inspired and enthusiastic in writing about them. Only, I opted not to be highly-theoretical of their show. I must assume that not everyone who is going to read the article is knowledgeable of art and all its complexities.

In this kind of writing, I must be able to discuss the works, the artists and the exhibit in the simplest way possible. I must speak of everything in a conversational manner. I must forget quoting Roland Barthes, Suzanne Seriff and Jean Dubuffet, but must not forget to relay their ideas in blunt and comprehensible language.

Yes, I wrote in a very conversational way. Not in any way similar to my writings before. It was not even close to my answers in my college exams. But I did not deem it mediocre, it was really part of this job that I have to adjust with the spectators. So I have realized, this must be a way of galleries in educating viewers. I just hope that was pretty effective.

That. Only that, because I found this task relatively nouvelle. And I’m thinking of posting the article here. What do you think? Should I? or Shouldn’t I?

Hospital Hostility

There was not even a single instance I fell in love with hospitals. Not even those hotel-looking ones. There’s no feeling at all, not even a bit.

Hospitals equate sad memories. I have concluded early on that it is a place of irony. It is where hope and despair exists at the same time, where there’s both too much and nothing to feel, where tears are either of joy or grief, and where life and death co-exists.

I have acknowledged these ironies years back, but I still have trouble understanding how these ideas exist together as if it is normal, as if it is life’s only and remaining plot. It is as if the only colors visible through the eyes are white, grey and black – where gray is no longer an interesting space where dark and light collide, but a dimension of confusion and uncertainty.

It is simply where dark clouds always hover.

Trapped in Bubble Plastic

Froilan Calayag's bubble plastic art at the Tutok Soena 2010 at MC

Too many times I have confessed about my love-hate relationship with my job. Today*, I went back to the confessionary.

I love mummifying unicorns, hearts, elves, and gnomes. I love talking to people about ideas and theories even, in art. I love how the rush of putting up shows turn into a crimson red labor.

Must be the overwhelming PR jobs this week that landed me a position in the rant highlights. I never really liked drafting PR’s. I’d rather prepare coffee for the guests (kidding here, for the sake of expressing my utter dislike of that job) than bring together fancy words (though I put in academic terms at times) to create a real beautiful image and impression of a show. It doesn’t hurt that much actually. It’s like curating in words, putting resonance and wonder into print (which I guess is also one tough job). Only if the artworks are not subject to sale…

Honestly, I do not feel the same about art writing as I did some two years ago. I feel like I cannot write with the same zest and yeah, knowledge perhaps (please note the lack of confidence here). Somehow I blame PR-writing. I feel like it’s the shallow and general orientation of the short article that has limited me in writing further sensible stuff about art.

On the way to the hotel this evening, a friend told me that I am one of the people most likely to write about art in an academic/scholarly manner. I might even end up in Art magazines/publications, she said. That is certainly what I want to do (add writing curatorial notes here). Consider my thesis as Exhibit A. Problem is, I write in layers. I never wrote in a formalist (this is how it looks like) manner alone. Moreover, I go beyond looking. I look beneath the surface. I critique. I look into different perspectives and tap into Art Gods and Godesses.

I’ve tried writing for the gallery. But I ended up criticizing the shows anyway. Questioning this and that, laying down ideologies and theories, which is basically, too much of a reading. But yeah, I was trained for that. Hello Art History, Art Theory and Art Criticism classes.

I remember our former Project Manager. She’s an artist, or yeah, was an artist. She now calls herself a “retired” artist. She found it a little too problematic to work for a gallery while working as an artist. She left January 2010 with the simple reason: “Conflict of Interest”. Now, I understand her.

And to further explain this rant post (for the lack of better term), you can check my one of my art woes here. It dates back Manila Art Fair 2010, but I’ve got real same sentiments there, minus the PR writing hatred, that is.

So, this makes me look forward to next week to finally free myself from the PR’s. On a serious note, this makes me reconsider going back to school. Hello summer, please give me enough time to decide.

*post dates back Friday, 1 April.