No more nightmares.

CANVAS-Karapatan

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I’ll be part of this year’s CANVAS Looking for Juan outdoor banner project. The topic, human rights, is a pertinent matter in our country right now, God help us all.

My fellow Ang INK members and I made pieces specifically about children’s rights. Mine is about the child’s right to rehabilitation.

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A peek of my work and the mess. It’s been such a long time since I’ve painted an acrylic piece this big, and there was definitely a strong sense of fulfillment after I finished it and delivered it to the gallery. I enjoyed the process a lot, though, and I hope to learn more about painting bigger pieces in this medium.

The project and exhibits open on June 20. The banners will be installed in around the UP Diliman oval.


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View photos from the opening reception of Camouflage and Wanderlust here.

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My work, Long Way From Home, is also available to purchase as prints from the Light Grey Art Lab online shop. The original artwork is 9×12 inches, handmade watercolor on cold press paper.

shop

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Tada!
My little online shop is open.

I’ve been planning for this for the longest time and I’m happy it’s up. I figured that there aren’t always craft fairs to join and I still have a lot of items in stock. I really want to get my work out there, too! The shop currently holds some prints, postcards, and a button pin set.

I’ve gone through several e-commerce platforms and BigCartel is the one I’m most comfortable with right now. Since I’m still new at this, for now I only ship within Metro Manila and I’m only accepting checkout via Paypal. BUT! You can email me for special orders or payment requests (bank deposit), or if you’re ordering outside Metro Manila or from another country.

One thing that pushed me to finally make time for this was listening to (actually more like obsessing over) Sam Weber’s Your Dreams My Nightmares podcast interviews, specifically those of Hannah K. Lee and Leah Goren. It’s inspiring how they really make the time and go the extra mile to share their work and create their own venues for their work to be seen, rather than just wait for others to come to them with offers. I felt better about putting up the shop because there’s this notion of selling out when you commodify art, when really I just love making things and I want to open up my work for others to share in, too. To hang on their walls or give as presents or collect or something. So there. Happy dance goes here!

EDIT, Jan 19.
I made an alternate order form HERE for provincial and international orders, and for those who prefer to pay via bank deposit.

On books

A bit of toasty news in the middle of the crazy weather we’re having.

Ang INK’s 23rd annual exhibit opens on Friday, Dec 12, 4PM, at the CANVAS Gallery and Gardens. Hopefully, the storm is gone by then, and we can all see you there. Our exhibit poster is by Abi Dayacap.

All works are based on our favorite books, or stories we really like, even the ones that aren’t for kids!

Here’s a peek of my work. It’s from This Really, Really, Really Old and Influential Book haha. Surprise.

Ok, the story I picked has a special place in my heart, but I have to admit that it isn’t my super ultimate favorite story. I was supposed to do Light is Like Water, from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Strange Pilgrims. I kept reading and re-reading it, and every time I found it beautiful still, but I also found that I wasn’t in the mood? Disposition. Whatever. To draw anything about it. It’s so beautifully written and I couldn’t make my drawings work enough to match how I felt for the story.

The exhibit being about books sounds easy for someone who really likes to read, but I found it difficult to choose a book mostly because I didn’t want to illustrate any of my favorites.

A few months back I got tagged on Instagram and on Facebook to do this meme on listing ten books that have stayed with me. I figured that if these special books have really stayed with me and deeply affected me in some way, I can name them from the top of my head, no hesitations, no need to look at the book shelf. Right now I can name four, and maybe these are all that stayed. Out of all the books I have ever read in my 26 years on this earth since I was what, 5?

1. You Shall Know Our Velocity, Dave Eggers
2. White Oleander, Janet Fitch
3. Strange Pilgrims, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. and an obscure children’s book called The Day The Clocks Stopped. I had it when I was little. It’s part of the Reader’s Digest early readers series, and it’s about a town where all the clocks stop and all the people fall asleep at the same time. It’s well out of print, and I haven’t seen it in a long time, but I remember even how the illustrations look like.

That’s about it. Most are melancholic stories. Who knows when my list will change? ~Nobody~

Also, I know I raved about Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch after I read it, and I honestly really liked it, but after I read Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See, I realized how whiny Theo Decker is, and maybe he is the new Holden Caulfield, who knows. It’s not that the book wasn’t good, though. This is just me comparing.

I know I say I like a lot of books. Generally, I think I’m easy to please, and I say that a lot of the books I read, across different genres, are okay. However! I realized that even though I genuinely like a lot of books, not all of them stay.

Here are some that I really like that also kind of stayed with me but not as strongly as the list above:

1. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
2. Eric, from Shaun Tan’s Tales From Outer Suburbia
3. The Principles of Uncertainty, Maira Kalman
4. Jessica Zafra’s Twisted series, which I read a lot of in highschool, and for a while I tried to “write like her” to channel my teenage whatnot, even if the actual writing only existed in my journals haha.
5. All Paul’s letters in the Bible. I even wrote a song about this in college haha! I’m not goody two-shoes but I really do like going to church, and Bible stories, and God. A lot of people find it corny, but I’m happy I can say that I do believe in God out of my own belief, and not because someone told me to.

I wish I had more Filipino favorite books. Also I wish I could read in Filipino as easily as I can read in English. It’s not that English is my first language, even. I’m just used to writing and reading in English. I didn’t grow up reading a lot of local books which is very sad if you think about it! And I know it’s a shame that up to now I don’t read enough local books, BUT I can say that I have really been trying to do so, especially these past few years, and also especially because somehow I’m part of the literature industry now, being a book illustrator.

Some of the local writers I really like are Benilda Santos and Gian Lao who write very beautiful poems, and Eliza Victoria. FH Batacan, also, for Smaller and Smaller Circles. Looking at my shelf, I see that a lot of my local books are anthologies. Twisted books, Fast Food Fiction, Daisy Nueve, Very Short Stories for Harried Readers, and even one of my latest purchases, Querida. The rest are easy Bob Ong reads and Kikomachine books.

On that note, if you have local book recos, comment away! :D

So there! I was only supposed to share with you our upcoming exhibit but here we are.

It feels indulgent to post about my favorite books while the storm is raging on and I feel a little sorry. I hope the storm clears out soon and it’ll be easier to help those in the affected provinces. I hope you guys are safe and dry wherever you’re reading this from.

The Lover’s Pictionary

As a personal exercise of sorts, I have taken to making quick little drawings of some of my favorite words from ‘The Lover’s Dictionary’ by David Levithan. Here are the first three, from the letter A.

abyss, n.

There are times when I doubt everything. When I regret everything you’ve taken from me, everything I’ve given to you, and the waste of all the time I’ve spent on us.

***

an excerpt from
anthem
, n.

It was our sixth (maybe seventh) date. I had cooked and you had insisted on doing the dishes. You wouldn’t even let me dry. Then, when you were done, smelling of suds, you sat back down and I poured you another glass of cheapish wine. You put your legs in my lap and slouched as if we’d just had a feast for thousands and you’d been the only chambermaid on duty to clean it up.

There was a pause. I was still scared by every gap in our conversation, fearing this was it, the point where we had nothing left to say. I was still trying to impress you, and I still wanted to be impressed by you, so I could pass along pieces of your impressiveness in stories to my friends, convincing myself this was possible.

“If you were a country,” I said, “what would your national athem be?”

I meant a pre-existing song — “What a Wonderful World” or “Que Sera, Sera” or something to make it a joke, like “Hey, Ya!” (“I would like, more than anything else, for my nation to be shaken like a Polaroid picture.”)

But instead you said, “It would have to be a blues song.” …

***

aloof, adj.

It has always been my habit, ever since junior high school, to ask that question:

“What are you thinking?”

It is always an act of desperation, and I keep on asking, even though I know it will never work the way I want it to.

***

I really like the book and it’s been rather therapeutic drawing from it. All drawings are acrylic on paper. More soon! If you want to keep track of my little project, the drawings are in  The Lover’s Pictionary album on my Flickr. : )

All excerpts are from The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
Copyright © 2011 by David Levithan. All rights reserved.