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Your Mental Health is Important. Your Art Isn't Just a Hobby. It's a Passion. // On Art, Social Validation, and Creation

25 November 2017

Teen Art Council at the Museum? What I've Been Up To

Good morning, town! (Not pictured: me freezing in front of the entrance, forgetting where the side entrance was)

Walking along the busy streets! 

Or are they busy? Hmm...

Great news, everyone: I'm not dead! The reasons for my almost month long absence can be deduced as the usual status quo of school taking up most of my time, but while I was gone from the online world, my endeavors in the real world have taken quite an interesting turn all thanks to some events that transpired this past January.

Around the weekend of the Women's March, my brother and I decided to take a photography class at a museum in town. I remember pursuing on the museum's website and stumbling across a teen art council. The concept sounded amazing, working with other artists within a fifty mile radius and collaborating on projects towards the museum. The deadline for submissions into the program had surpassed, so I decided to table the opportunity until the upcoming school year rolled around. I entered into other programs, prepared my application, and fulfilled all of my requirements. There was an interview process involved with all of this, as a large application pool applied. The moment I got back from homecoming did I check my email and scheduled a time to interview the following week.

My experience with interviews have been lukewarm, since I had done them twice before: once, as a freshman who couldn't get the teen advisory board position at the library since I had been too young to drive, and twice, applying to Summit Media as an unpaid intern, although this one did not count as most of the interview was through email. Tuesday or Thursday afternoon, a car dropped me off and the interview process began.

The interview was not as daunting as I thought it would! The director of the program introduced herself, and we sat for twenty minutes discussing future plans after high school, alongside the various art forms we both immersed ourselves in and were willing to try out. It was mostly the two of us in the middle of the forum, flailing over the displays and referring to one another as "young grasshopper." I got thrown off for a bit because the director seemed a lot like Abbiee (by the way she talks and addresses everyone), so for the first several minutes I was thrown into a loop. The only part I worried over was the interviewer scribbling down some notes onto her clipboard, but it's common procedure, I suppose.


An image within an image within an image?

We have to just do two.

Why not try three? Why not go any further and try... Nine?

After the interview, I didn't hear back. 

I waited.

And waited some more.

I waited for two weeks, and I started to get a bit anxious that I didn't get in-- however, after emailing to check things back, it was official that I got in! There were three other Abby's in the program, and emailing all three of us got rather confusing.

A slight disclaimer: most of my art revolves around writing, alongside performance art, and while I've divulged into the visual arts, it's not a strong suit of mine. So, once we were instructed during one of our meetings that we would draw in pen and use a water brush for blending, the words somewhat mushed together. I tried my best to draw the birds in the museum the best I could, but they ended up looking discombobulated with strange proportions and awkward shading pages. Everyone else had gorgeous etches and discussed the properties of coquille paper so eloquently, it was hard to keep up. I remember leaving the first meeting feeling incredibly curious but also very daunted.

One of (three) pianos in the space. They've been played so much, some of the exterior white coating chipped off. They're also VERY out of tune.

I don't really know what the exhibit was for this piece, but it had something to do with a revisit of childhood, as much as I can tell...

Are those, gasp, CD-ROMS? Why yes, yes they are.

Old stage lights!

When I returned, however, our class got introduced to the neatest thing by a guest artist: fractals. Fractals are images that are constantly on repeat, such as a room surrounded by mirrors; the image never ceases. As probably guessed from the above images, we stacked old Mac computers on top of each other, and, through a series of wires and cameras, allowed for the images to produce on the screens. It was hilarious, as the director stepped in front of the projector and danced around.

"Hey!" I screamed. "This isn't a music video!"

"Or is it?" she replies. The room we were in, a large open studio in the middle of an art mall (yes, such a thing exists) was wide open and almost empty except for the stacks of miscellaneous theatre items from an art house I used to work with. The guest artist and the director let us traverse through the piles to discover items from three out of tune pianos all the way down to bicycles with a buggy and a radio attached to the front. Note to self: never honk the bicycle horn really loud unless you want everyone's attention on you.

What could a buggy be doing down here? None of us were really sure...

Radio on a bike? #thenewfuture


"Did the Narnian lamp post get uprooted again?"


Hawkins Middle AV, jealous, perhaps?

Cash register ft. miniature sticky notes inside the buttons.

You got to "C" all of these "CDs!" Gosh, that was such a cringey pun...

More open spaces.

Hello, ancient Apple computer I haven't used since elementary.

Childhood exhibition, part two?

Immerse yourself in art.

After returning back to the museum, our group huddled inside the auditorium and learned about how to set up fractals digitally through a long-haul coding process. One funny thing that happened was when the guest artist asked everyone what images they wanted as a fractal overlay, and everyone screamed to go with Tiny Kitchen videos. And I kid you not, a fractal featuring a Tiny Kitchen video on how to make lasagna projected itself onto the board.

The next meeting isn't for another month, which I'm absolutely heartbroken over, but several events, such as an local and state film festival are taking place, but I'm incredibly excited to see what happens next! As long as I don't have too much paint on my clothes...

Projector fractals!

Oh, we did more than just using triangle shapes for these... although they awfully remind one of the 

Projector lights just because.

Isn't the museum hallway pretty?

Aren't fractals pretty? If you were under the tutelage of the museum, what kinds of art forms would you like to explore? Have you ever done interviews (and are they scary? Or not)? Let me know in the comments below!

28 October 2017

Your Art Isn't Just a Hobby. It's a Passion. // On Art, Social Validation, & Creation

One of the most irksome comments arising in conversations regarding art is someone's easy dismissal of my writing as "just a hobby," and I'm sure many artists who aspire to make a career out of it, whether in film or painting or whatever medium used, have encountered this at one time or another. There's a sense of belittlement and tinged awkwardness behind their expressions staring back, yet all one can do is nod politely and continue on.

It's frustrating to encounter these kinds of comments for one reason: it derives a person's artistic ability and presuming there isn't any way to become successful. Yes, the art world is known for it's plethora of individuals trying to make a name for themselves and make a living out of their work. Outside the art sphere, an even greater populace looks down condescendingly, thinking artists, the "doomed and starving," don't contribute anything to society, which is a red flag.

Art provides light, insight, imagination, perspective, causing those who immerse themselves into it to have a better understanding. Art transcends into tangible silk with numerous facets. Art is traversal, subversive, and visceral, getting voices out there who feel the need to express it when they can't vocally do it themselves.

Most importantly, art is whatever a person wants it to be.

The thoughts kept resonating in my head as my family and I drove back from The Homey Boardwalk Town and the future of senior year laid impending on my shoulders. The greater fear of life after high school just paralyzes me. Now, I know for some bloggers, their parents allow them to live with them right after graduating high school to pursue their passions, and they are incredibly lucky to have that chance. For numerous reasons I can't elaborate on, it's not an option for me. My parents did give me a choice to support me in my future writing endeavors including potentially studying it somewhat in at the post-secondary level as long as I have a job that would help sustain me.

Does this mean I'm giving up my dreams as a successful published author? Not at all. I do understand where my parents do come from and how much of a struggle it was to move over here as a first generation Filipino-American where back where my place of birth had only a fourth of the opportunities I have here, and I am going to study something I'm incredibly passionate about doing. Going this route doesn't mean I'm giving up on my dreams. Going to university to major in something that isn't writing based doesn't make me less of a writer.

On that same token, just because someone is ahead of you in the art world, bulked up by accolades and publishing deals, does not mean that you are any less of an artist capable of success. I have writing friends who have won competitions and have been endowed some of the highest levels of national awards there is for those under eighteen, whereas I've only been acknowledged for a couple awards at the regional level. Of course, they started much before I did be regardless, the lack of success now does not define that I stink. Comparison is an ugly poison, dear friend. Over the years I've learned focusing on one's own progress instead of comparison, however tempting it may be to succumb to its clutches, help make tremendous bounds in spirit and progress.

The key to success isn't a MFA in Creative Writing, or becoming a Poet Laureate, my friends, but passion. Passion is the key to all things: to dreams, to relationships (both platonic and otherwise), the drive towards success despite the hardships enveloping when all you want to do is lay in your bed and weep. There are days when the winds howl salt scalding into open wounds and all a person can hear are painful howls coming from their mouth, days when the darkness takes toll and convinces this dream won't be fulfilled. The art world is a hard business, friend. It's one of the most brutal because it takes something so dear to one's heart and opens it up for all the world to see and people may not like it.

So keep going. Keep creating. Keep smiling and laughing and crying and feeling. Keep going during this NaNoWriMo, during this time of college applications. Our passions are the most draining things, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, but like the feeling of satisfaction that rolls over in the end, it's always worth it.

Have you had similar thoughts? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? Also, sign up for the Blogger Yearbook! Submissions are due by November 16th!