woke in slumberland

...but you were part of my dream, too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Of Postcards and Statements

Wawi Navarroza writes in the most curious, delightful, almost archaic fashion, even in her emails. I received the loveliest missive from her, one no less endearing for being projected on an electronic screen. It began by thanking me for my postcard:

It was a very beautiful moment, the exact instance i saw the postcard lying on the console table waiting for me as i entered the front door when I arrived home, just now. I walked to it, sizing it up almost slowly from a distance then, closer, I was captivated by the image and I knew it was meant for me even without holding it up to discover who sent it. I really liked it so much. I thought the person who sent this is far away and is someone who knows my heart's delights, surely must be someone dear.


Such a profuse thank-you for such a little thing; it leaves a wonderful feeling. And, certainly, it made me want to send her more postcards!

Today i've been trying to write an artistic statement--because, when you're trying to get into a residency program, it's not enough to say that you're an artist. You have to justify yourself--which means, i suppose, that you have to prove that there's a point to what you're doing.

What i do is take photos and play with them digitally. I'm not sure that there's any point to it, except that it's what i love to do. I see my works as art, because they are objects that came from me. Without me they would not exist. These images carry the impress of my soul.

They are personal works. And the ones that are most precious to me are often the ones which are less striking or less visually perfect. Some of them are hardly more than snapshots. Yet i find them beautiful and fascinating because they capture a moment that is psychologically interesting. It's like the flicker of a storyline whose whole you can only imagine. Never mind that there are all sorts of messy details that detract from the cleanness and focus of the photographic image. They are pictures of the real world. They were not taken in a studio.

That is my statement, i suppose.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Obon Festival in Little Tokyo

Bon Odori at Higashi Honganji Obon Festival


Mascots & girls doing the Bon Odori

More photos: [ link ]

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Comic-Con 2005


It's been several days since my quick trip to the San Diego Comic-Con 2005. I've been exhausted. It was an adventure in equal parts fun and frustrating.

To begin with, i didn't even know about the Comic Con until saturday. And i decided, on the spur of the moment, to just jump on a train and go! After all, San Diego was mere hours away....

But i had a lunch i couldn't cancel. And i needed a ride to the station. That's how it is around here, you're dead without a car. It was mid-afternoon when i got to the train station and worse, my train was late....

When i arrived at San Diego station, i rushed out with no idea of where i was going. I saw a teenage girl and boy hopping on and off a bench. I asked them what bus i could take, and the boy pointed one out. As i turned to catch it, they called me back. The girl's handing me one of their Comic Con badges. The name on the badge is "Marco."

So thanks to that wonderful pair, i had a free ticket to the Comic Con. I got on the bus and as it sped about i got a sweeping glimpse of downtown San Diego. It was a city i'd never really thought about before, and i was amazed to find it one of the most beautiful i'd ever seen. It has a lively, friendly air to it--young, hip, bohemian, fashionable.

The bus slowed as we approached the convention center, as a great geek horde was spilling out the lanes and driveways, creating a kind of human swamp that took over ten minutes for us to cross. I was very amused to see Batman and Robin striding down a crosswalk--especially since the Dark Knight was ludicrously shorter than his Boy Wonder companion!

Once at the Comic-Con, i spent nearly all my time taking pictures of people in costume... and lining up. The lines were humongous and moved with glacial slowness. I made friends with a lovely young couple, Sam and Leticia. I watched the Masquerade Ball on the large screen and quite enjoyed it. It had an amateur-hour feel to it, but you never tired of seeing what amazing costume and silly skit would be next--from a giant cuttlefish to a sassy troupe of Disney princesses to an acrobatic duel between Nightcrawler and Lara Croft!

So it was a fun experience, overall, although later i couldn't find a hotel room and had to sleep in the train station--which is why i was beat up for a day afterwards. The bad parts of the trip all had to do with taking public transportation, which is simply horrible here in LA and Orange County. Never have i missed my own car more.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Jedi Phone Home

Friday, July 15, 2005

Chicas


i met 3 mexican girls during the downtown artwalk
their names were andrea, mariana & ximena
they were fun & it was good to have friends
even if it was just for a little while
coz i've been lonely....

pics: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Thursday, July 14, 2005

You're a Good Man, C.B.... But Nice Guys Finish Last

This morning i saw the most beautiful girl in the world. She was a black girl who had stopped to help an old black lady get her metro ticket from the machine. Slim, dressed all in black, wearing a plain sleeveless top, her long hair delicately and tastefully braided, she had the face of a modern Nefertiti, or Cleopatra (only softer, less imperious). She stood a few meters away from me in the metrorail, and i wished i could go up to her, and just smile and talk together about so many little nothings.

But i couldn't do it, anymore than Charlie Brown could ever cross the schoolyard to speak to the little red-haired girl.

There's a little Charlie Brown in all of us.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Meeting Melody

Me and Melody del Mundo

I finally met up with my old friend Wendy in Fountain Valley, CA. With her friend Kai driving, we went to a club where a bunch of Pinoy bands were playing, including Stella's Notch, fronted by the former Sugar Hiccup singer Melody del Mundo. Her new band doesn't sound like Sugar Hiccup--they rock a bit harder, though Melody's dreamy vocals still deliver that ethereal vibe.

Outside in the parking lot, afterwards, I was freezing in the intense cold as Wendy walked endless circles talking on the phone with her mom. At the far end of the lot, a little boy and girl were kicking around a soccer ball. A couple of grown-ups were watching over them. One of them, i soon realized, was Melody. I came over and said hi. We talked about music of course, and i mentioned that i did photography, and she said maybe i could do a shoot with them... that would be very cool if it happens. I met her husband and learned that the soccer players were her kids.

Melody's kids

Check out the pictures i took that night: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Thursday, July 07, 2005

An Art Attack


View: Photos taken at the Getty Center


Today i went to the Getty Center to see the exhibit of Rembrandt's Late Religious Paintings. I found them to be marvelous works, but i was not as awed by them as i expected to be. I was merely... well, admiring.

I found true delight in the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites, the Impressionists, and Post-Impressionists. I saw Van Gogh's Irises, and paintings by Gauguin, Monet, Munch, and my favorite painter, Degas. But to my surprise, i found the greatest pleasure in the works of Claude Monet--the original Impressionist--and Paul Cezanne.

If you go through the whole collection from ancient to Renaissance art, and then encounter Monet's Sunrise, you will truly understand why his art was shocking for its time. The hazy daubs and the mingled palette of colors that obscure all outlines--nothing like that had ever been seen before! Viewing the actual paintings, instead of mere prints, i was enraptured by their radical power, which forces you to look at art in a new way. Monet's style has now been copied the world over, but no mere follower will ever achieve anything as passionate and stunning.

Cezanne's paintings were a revelation. Previously i'd only seen his works in books and posters; the actual paintings struck me rapt in amazement and delight. That's something, because the paintings were still lifes, which have never interested me. But Cezanne's crude forms of fruits and jugs were somehow beautiful beyond all understanding. His art shows how even the most humble objects are possessed of a miraculous design. I have to say, from seeing this paintings, that Cezanne was the greatest painter of his time (even over Van Gogh, whose dramatic life doubtlessly contributed to massive popularity today).

Monday, July 04, 2005

A Whole New World

Today i stepped out into a muggy morning in La Mirada, CA and felt myself in an alien world. To most of you it would just be an ordinary scene, rows of plain houses in an American suburb. But i've just arrived from Manila, a place that is tropical, chaotic, and in a word, unwashed. Now i find myself in a world that seems uncannily scrubbed-clean and television-show surreal.

A journey to an unknown land. Millions have done it ahead of me, but until you do it yourself, it's a huge, scary, impossible thing. And now here it is, right in front of me, and i have no idea what's coming next.

All i can pray is that somehow, i'll find my way.