The Work Behind The Artwork: Im-possible Dream

I got an idea for this artwork after I read the book, Gravity by Tess Gerritsen. One line from the book resonated with me, “I won’t ever touch the stars, but I can be here to see the others do.”

I am fond of space. When I was kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. That dream was shattered when in highschool freshman, I researched how to become an astronaut and found out that I was not qualified because of my vision. Although now it is possible to have a 20/20 vision through surgery, I realize that designing experiences is what I wanted to do. Things do happen for a reason because if I had a perfect eye vision, I would had been taking up a science degree now.

I read Gravity when I was a senior in highschool. And when I read that line, suddenly a wave of nostalgic-ness splashed over me. I remembered my childhood dream and why I did not pursue it. And that led me to create an artwork.

As shown, the artwork is composed of two elements: eyeglasses & a rocket. I am looking at a rocket before it blasts off to the sky. I titled it as “Im-possible Dream” (yes, the dash is intentional). I previously thought that it was an impossible dream so, I did not pursue it at all but I figured that if I still want it so much then whatever the circumstances are, I will pursue it. I will make my dream possible.

Thoughts on Itaewon Class

[If you have not watched Itaewon Class yet, I recommend for you to watch it first before reading this. If you have, then read this and share your thoughts as well.]

I learned through my community- how important it is to have a sharing activity every after watching a movie together. What the person shares after watching the movie reveals a lot about who they are.

Thoughts

The reason why I loved Itaewon Class is that no character is perfect. Every leading character has undergo a character development (all great except for Jang Geun-won, who got more courageously bad). The one who went through a great character development was Jo Yiseo. During the first part of the drama, she spoke about the high possibility of her becoming a psychopath, which somehow justified her unethical actions and judgements, but through listening to their stories and learning how to treat people around her, not as objects in which she could use but as humans that should be listened to, loved, and cared for. She began to improve slowly.

The character who I feel for the most is Soo Ah. Soo Ah is the definition of strong and independent woman. It is really hard to do things that you do not love and to even work for the Chairman Jang, the person who became the primary reason why it took so long to give justice to Mr. Park’s death. For more than 10 years, she worked for Jangga Pub to repay for the money that Mr. Park gave for her to study in college. And when Yiseo went to Soo Ah’s restaurant and told her that she and Saeroyi is dating, Soo Ah was neither shocked nor even sad about it (ofc she knew that they will eventually date), she genuinely told her to take care of him. We stan a strong independent woman. Also, she truly knows what friends are for. Even though she worked for Jangga Pub, she never let Saeroyi down. Honestly I am so happy that she is now doing something what she truly wanted.

My favorite scene is when Ma Hyun Yi walked in the set of The Best Pub and the look of pride on Saeroyi’s face. I repeat, he was not shocked. He was proud. Saeroyi’s right, why would Hyunyi run away when she had not even done anything wrong? and Hyunyi does not have to prove herself to other people. But ofc being Hyunyi, she got up and continue to the competition even though she still did not feel great. Hyunyi continued to compete not because she had to prove something, but for the people who are counting on her. Noticed how in the whole scene Saeroyi neither looked down nor looked anywhere else. Like indirectly saying, “I do not care what all of you think about Hyunyi. I know her and I do not need your opinions.”

Ma Hyun-Yi’s line, “I worked at the best pub in Korea..” triggered a lot of thoughts in my head. I immediately remembered the One Piece crew, how they tell all pirates and marines that they encounter that, Luffy will become the Pirate King. They believed more than anyone else that Luffy will be the Pirate King, similar to the Danbam Pub crew, they believe that they work at the best pub in Korea. In order to achieve your dream, get people who believe in your dream.

One of the practical ways that you could take in the show is how Saeroyi indulge in resources about Jang Dae Hee. Even though they had opposing values, Saeroyi respected him so much. He studied his ways on how to operate a restaurant and how to cook, and turn those into something better, something Saeroyi style.

Moreover, the poem stated in the drama is so good to be left unnoticed and unshared. The poem is in Korean but translated ofc

I’m a rock.
Go ahead and sear me.
I won’t budge an inch
because I’m a rock.
Go ahead and beat me up.
I’m a solid rock.
Go ahead and leave me in the darkness.
I’m a rock that will shine all alone.
I don’t break, I don’t burn,
nor do I decay, as I go
against nature’s way.
I survived.
I’m a diamond.

Saeroyi has left a lot of notable lines that made an impact to me and here they are:

“I want to live a life where I don’t have to be penalized for sticking to my convictions.”

“Studying? Doing physical labor or going deep-sea fishing? I’ll do all of them one by one. I’ll do what is necessary. Don’t judge my worth! This is only the beginning of my life!”

“Life may seem repetitive. But no one really knows what could happen tomorrow.”

I recommend Itaewon Class for everyone. It shows you that life is very very unpredictable and you had to be comfortable with uncertainty. For this day, you might be worrying about getting to a university but the next day, you might become a manager of a restaurant! Or you might be studying today in a university you do not feel to be in but tomorrow you might get an acceptance letter to the university you had always wanted to be in (this is me lol I hope I will get in). Itaewon Class is close to what reality is and I think that is what makes it loved by a lot of people (even to non-KDrama fans).

Walking Outside For The First Time In Months

I had been inside my home for more than 60 days. A few days ago, I walked outside for the first time. I lived in a little suburban area so I was able to walk around without police seizing me at any moment (I maintained proper social distancing measures and wore a face mask so don’t worry).

These past weeks inside our home, I devoured books about creativity and design. I came to a sudden realization that I was not observant as I thought I was. In the book Creative Confidence, Tom Kelley and David Kelley wrote, “Too often, we go through day-to-day life on cruise control, oblivious to huge swaths of our surroundings. To notice friction points- and therefore opportunities to do things better- it helps to see the world with fresh eyes. …. By adapting the eyes of a traveler and a beginner’s mindset, you will notice a lot of details that ypu normally might have overlooked. You put aside assumptions and are fully immersed in the world around you. In this receptive mode, you’re ready to start actively searching out inspiration.”

I decided that I do not want to be on cruise control. By fully activating receptive mode, I was able to notice subtle details that I had never saw before in our neighborhood.

● I noticed that one family used cute little glasses with geometric patterns and painted with bright colors as a plant box. They placed those on the shelves out on their porch.

● Two houses facing towards each other had gardens and they each had already grew a mini-tree that it sprouted towards the road, both forming an half arch that in hindsight, it looked like an arch made by a single tree.

● Our street appears as the least appealing among other streets. Other streets had families with gardens which made the street looked vibrant but if you had walked into our street, you would only see a couple of plants and one tree. But our street is the only one who has a vegetable garden courtesy of my dad. People are going to our house and asking if they could get edible leaves as well as a few vegetables.

● Our street has the flattest concrete pavement. It was easier to walk on because you would not suddenly trip off. #clearerandflatterpavements

● By giving people space outside of their homes, they are able to create a space that was not included in the common spaces that are inside a house. All houses in our area looked the same when people first bought it. Eventually, they renovated, repainted or added rooms in their houses to suit their needs. We all had a 3 meter setback in front of our homes. Some people used it for a livelihood (e.g. opening up a sari-sari store or a computer shop), some used it as a storage area, others used it as a garage, some had used it as a porch, others used it as a laundry area, some leave it unattended, and some extended the front room of their houses towards the end of the lot.

● There is also this one home that had a flower garden and I am so amazed. The people who created this must have really took great care of the garden to be able to grew various species of flowers in such a small space. And there were lots of them. Their home appeared really homey due to the bright colors that the flowers exhibited.

● I discovered a neighbor that makes and sells different kinds of ricecakes!!! AAAHHHH! #supportlocalproducts

Walking had never been this fun. I feel like I was an explorer (Dora ka, ghurl?). I never had the problem of always on a lookout for cars because its early in the morning plus, we are still in quarantine. So I was able to explore fully. Since we had all been given the same type of houses, one could say that exploring might be boring but if you looked around, most of the people here contains clues of what types of people lived inside their houses.

An example is the laundry area. Most people placed their washing machines outside of their houses (on the 3 meter setback). However, in our home, my father designed an area inside our house where the mashing machine can be placed. He made that area a little lower, put an inch barrier around it and placed a water drain in order for the water, that will be coming out of the washing machine, to not overflow into the main floor area. This gives a clue that my father is a designer and an observant one as well.

This post serves as an encouragement for people to walk even just a few meters outside of their homes. No adventure is the same. We just need to have a traveler’s eyes and a beginner’s mind and we can make extraordinary discoveries out of the ordinary things.

Ordinary + Extra Attention = Extraordinary
*Stealed from Austin Kleon

The Work Behind The Artwork: Keep The Grit

Originally posted last August 2019 from my previous domain

Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals (Duckworth et al., 2007). With the continuous advancement of technology, most people are struggling to commit to something for a long time.

Finishing this cross-stitch was more than hard. It takes a great deal of patience and strenuous effort to complete this. I first started this thinking that, “I would never even finish this, so why start it?” But having read Angela Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Perseverance, I look back to this then, unfinished cross stitch artwork, I told myself that, “I want to finish everything that I started. Even if it takes a long time. I will start commiting to everything I do.” And so, everyday I try to make small goals to complete this art. For example, this day, I’ll complete this leaf. Next day, another leaf. In that way, I’ll still have time for other commitments and at the end of the day, I can say that, “I accomplish something for today. I made a progress.”

Throughout the whole process, I realize that commitment has a lot to say about a person’s strength of character. The japanese has a term for it, Kaizen. It is a japanese term for continuously improving by making small improvements.

We always think about doing a one big action but it’s actually doing small actions constantly that matters the most.

I got the The Work Behind The Artwork idea from the book, Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon. Check out his works at austinkleon.com

Rediscovering the Familiar: Vertical Lines Found in Lids

Rediscovering the Familiar is a series (I hope!) that focuses on the objects we see mostly in our daily lives. This series aims to share that although, there are objects that are badly designed, most things are designed with intention in mind.

Rediscovering the familiar is a powerful example of how looking at something closely can affect what you see.
– from the book, “Creative Confidence” by David Kelley and Tom Kelley

I started drawing everyday objects and I found something interesting.

First, I drew the Nutella container, followed by the Peanut Butter container. As I drew them, I discovered that both of their lids have vertical lines on them. Then, I looked for other objects that had vertical lines as well and I drew them too.

All of them have vertical lines, mostly on the lids. We can infer that the vertical lines has something to do with making it easier for us to open the container. So why are there containers that has no existing vertical lines on their lids? (e.g. Stick-O container) Although Ecco Food Corp, the one who manufactures Stick-O, added a smaller circular elevation on top of the main lid to make it easier for people to open it and to hold it.

As of the moment, I had found neither a research nor an article to support my claim that vertical lines has something to do with making it easier for people to open the container (but I will definitely edit this once I found a reference). But this is an interesting thing that I had found and would love to talk more on this when I finally meet professional product designers.

“The more you draw, the more you will really begin to see the fascinating details in the real world around you.”- from the book, “You Can Draw in 30 Days” by Mark Kistler

This whole new discovery made ordinary objects seem extraordinary to me. They are like treasure chests waiting to be seen and opened.

I Took a Step and Joined an Artwork Contest

aA few days ago, I am guilty of spending a lot of hours worrying over unnecessary things.

The day before that, I joined an artwork contest about Earth Day. I asked the organizer to conceal my name into initials if ever they will post my work publicly. The next day, they uploaded all artworks in their Facebook page that are submitted including mine. I asked my family to share my work (apparently, there is a people’s choice award). My friend, who is a friend of my mother in Facebook, is quickwitted, immediately concluding that it was me just by the initials stated and immediately shared my artwork to our group of friends. My efforts to obscure my name to the public is useless. Although, I am grateful that he genuinely shared my artwork, not to make me a laughing stock but he wants me to win. I am really grateful for a friend like him who supports uwu.

But like what I had written in the first sentence, I spend almost half of the day, worrying so much about what other people think. I completely had no confidence over my work.

I woke up 2 AM the next day. I cannot go back to sleep, so I decided to watch videos from Urban and Transportation docus to Unjaded Jade’s vlogs. As I watched Unjaded Jade’s latest vlog, in the scene where she just stopped running-slash-walking and sat down in the middle of an empty field, she spoke out a thought. Jade said, “Why do I get stressed about really unnecessary things in life? Why does Jade overthink so much? Because in moments like this, when you are on an empty field and you can just look at the sky, like everything is so inconsequential, like nothing matters. It’s just I’m like a random speck in this huge earth where like every single person is probably worrying about their own lives too.. like the irony of it is just… why worry?”

Oh gohds. It’s a video that I just needed. Her words put everything into perspective. And you know what? By the time, I finished watching her video, sunlight has finally invaded our bedroom. I believe that eveything is a God-incidence moment. You are in that place, in that specific moment because God wants you to hear something, learn something, see something, feel something, or taste something. Ever since the start of quarantine, I never woke up around 2AM and then I just did.

I swear if that sunlight is a human and speaks, his/her words will be like, “Get up. Today is a new day.”

After watching her vlog, I went back to what happened on the previous day and reflected on my actions.

● First, I am grateful that I had the courage to step out of my comfort zone. Joining these contests are included in my steps of gaining courage. So now that its a brand new day, the worries and overthinking are out of my mind and instead all I feel now is gratefulness, that I am able to send out my entry and I did not let my fear completely took over me.

● Second, although I am guilty of spending time worrying instead of living my best life, I have to accept that it happened in the past, and I have been given more 24 hours to live. So I will live. Its all part of the process. I am still just in the beginning and I am not planning on giving up.

● Third, I am grateful that I am surrounded by good people. I overthinked so much and worried that they would think badly of my artwork. But they did not (I think). Well, although I do not care now about what other people think, I know that my friends will support me. And I am so so grateful for them.

● Finally, I am grateful that I am applying the things that I had learned from reading the book, Creative Confidence written by Tom Kelley and David Kelley. In one chapter, they wrote about Prof. Albert Bandura and his famous guided mastery on how people can overcome their deepest fears and phobias.

I did not win the contest. Everyone sent a either a digital media artwork or a painting/sketching/drawing/poster artwork. And I was the only one who sent an unconventional artwork- crochet bag. So, I am grateful that I did not try to fit in into the common types of artworks but instead, I let myself define what an artwork is.

“Failure sucks, but it instructs.”

Truly, it really sucks but it instructs. I wonder if I would have wrote all these things or even suddenly waking up at 2AM if I would had won.

Like what I have read in the book, The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, nothing really is an obstacle. Let’s imagine ourselves like we are fires. And everything that is on our way are fuel for us- to make us better and stronger. We are like a speck of dust in this whole universe and yet we are all so different and skilled and talented?? Why worry??

Crochet Bag Made Out of Plastic

Start Date: April 2, 2020
Finished: April 16, 2020

It took me two weeks to finish the crochet bag I made from the used plastics we had at our sari-sari store.

The idea of creating a crochet bag from used plastics came from the moment I realized that yarn is not a sustainable material. My last craft is making a poncho using all the yarns I found while cleaning our bedroom (somehow, I crochet-ed in a sustainable way). Another reason is I want to try out various materials which involve finding a way into what to do to trashes to make them into something of value.

I found out that the DIY community in Youtube use the term ‘plarn’ for the words plastic yarn. Moreover, I am grateful for Trashform art on Youtube for sharing how to cut the plastic into one long plarn.

While in the process of crocheting, I spent a large amount of time completing this project than my past crochet projects because I still have to cut my own yarn. Honestly, I found this new massive respect to indigenous tribes who have no machineries to mass produce yarn so they cut and create their own yarns and threads. I’ll keep in mind to proactively search for opportunities where I could learn how to weave traditoonally.

I’m not sure if this happens to other asian countries but I do know Filipino families do this- they store any plastic they used instead of throwing them away. My mom saw what I was doing and she got mad because I am using up all the plastics we have lol. Well, we use these used plastics in our sari-sari store to wrap the items that our customer bought and my mom do not buy any plastic. Thus, if I ended up using all plastics that we have in store, she’ll have to buy one. Good thing, I did not finish it all. I only used 5 transparent plastic bags.

IMG_20200409_213112

Moreover, when the initial excitement of doing something new has faded, I got into this thinking of, ‘I will never finish this. This will take forever to finish.’ And this thinking is something that I have encountered years ago when I am starting this big cross stitch artwork, which resulted to me leaving the whole cross-stitch artwork unfinished and no progress for months. But now, I have learned. I now understand that there are no gentle paths to the stars from the Earth (yes, Seneca.). No good will ever come out if I continued to let my emotions control me. If you think you can or can’t, you’re right. And I can. I started this and I will finish it even if it will take days or weeks.

And after two weeks, I accomplished it. My older sister suggested that I should paint it since it looked too plain. I actually thought that it was already okay but I realized that I thought that way because I was scared that I would ruin due to my lack of skills in painting.

I still decided to paint it- I need to apply the theoretical knowledge I learned in Visual Techniques class. I will risk it.

According to research, our eyes gravitate more to warmer and brighter colors so I chose ROY and I left a bit of the upper portion of the bag unpainted. The white will act as neutral color.

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And that’s it. A crochet bag made out of plarn weighing 0.15 kg. Making something from trash to something valuable and usable. This craft project proved that there are sustainable ways to crochet and that yarn isn’t the only material that you can use.

Doubts in one’s creative ability can be cured by guiding people through a series of small successes. And the experience can have a powerful effect on the rest of their lives. -Tom Kelley & David Kelley, Creative Confidence

I observed that I am putting myself into harder-than-the-latest craft projects and since I spent a lot of time in crocheting this, I had a lot of time into brainstorming what can I crochet next. This whole experience opened a new perspective for me that I can crochet using A LOT of different materials other than yarn and I CAN CREATE THINGS without a pattern from the internet.

That combination of thought and action defines creative confidence: the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out. -Tom Kelley & David Kelley, Creative Confidence

Having the courage to act on my ideas is not something that I had overnight. For years, I always follow a certain pattern made by someone which is something that I am grateful for. But I need to learn to create something of my own. Now I had done it and with a new material. Every new project is a result of all craft projects I had done previously. And I am so excited to what more I could discover.

First Poncho I Made Out of Used Yarn

The first poncho I ever created but definitely not the last.

Creating this poncho was special for me in a way. Last month, I joined my group of friends into organizing a clothing swap party for Earth Day 2020 (unfortunately, it was postponed due to COVID-19). In organizing the event, I discovered that I do not actually look at my clothes as something special. Like if you would ask me then, what clothing I had right now that is memorable to me, I would have answered, none. Seeing all those stories from my friends, on how they attended clothing swap parties before, I realized that clothes do have stories.

I made this poncho for supposedly the clothing swap party but it was postponed. Regardless, I am proud of my work.

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The story? Here it is.

Upon having the epiphany that ‘clothes do hold stories’, I sought out to make a clothing through crochet (one of my eclectic skills). I only had 2 plys of yarns in stock so good thing, while I was rummaging my stuff, I found a box full of unused yarn from high school so I decided to use all of them into making this poncho.

Through my Visual Techniques class, I learned about the Prang System color wheel and the color theories. So, I applied those in this poncho. If you would look closely, there are a lot of irregularities in terms of the color layers due to, like I had written, the yarns I used.

I am really proud of this because this is the first clothing that I had made and I did not allow constraints such as lack of yarn or even irregularities to discourage me to complete this. Also, I completely felt like I was in the flow while making this. Time seems to flow and I was on my own crocheting. This project ended quite quickly and when I wrote ‘ended’ it means that I had used up all the yarn (that’s why the poncho is quite short).

What do you think are the reasons why many students dislike mathematics?

[Due to the pandemic, we took our final exam in Calculus via Google Classroom. The exam is a mixed of problems and essay questions. One of the essay questions is, What do you think are the reasons why many students dislike Mathematics?. And this is my answer.]

First, because ever since we are kids, most adults have led us to believe that mathematics is hard. Yes, everything is hard. However, our minds are powerful that whatever we think of translates to our actions. That is why, most kids, until they are adults, believe this idea that, “Mathematics is hard. So, I would not put an effort into it.” 

Second, I observed that most students who dislike mathematics, do not want mathematics because they do not have basic foundation in math. I have seen blocmates and classmates in highschool who wants to like math but they just cannot understand it that they opted to disliking it. I concluded that they just did not have a proper foundation to be able to understand the current lesson but if given a chance to retake earlier math lessons, they would be able to love it and keep up with the current lessons.

Lastly, I think it also falls on primary school educators, kids do not grew up hating math, I think that it all starts on how they are taught with math during their elementary years. If somehow, elementary school teachers failed to teach foundational concepts of math to students, they would grew up thinking that they just are not ‘intelligent’ and would just dislike math. On the other side, it may also be a lack of effort from the student’s side, yes, they lack resources, but practicing everyday is still a progress in understanding math.

Would You Support Humane Prison Design In Your Own Country? Why or Why Not?

Well, why not? I am absolutely shocked that there is even a word or words, “Humane Prison” because I believe that in general, prisons must be humane because humans live there. Its devastating to see how people  go to prison as a punishment for their crimes and not as a way of rehabilitating their lives.

 

Stated in the Section 2 of the Revised IRR of RA 10575 aka The Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013, “It is the policy of the State to promote the general welfare and safeguard the basic rights of every prisoner incarcerated in our national penitentiary by promoting and ensuring their reformation and social reintegration creating an environment conducive to rehabilitation and compliant with the UNSMRTP.” Now as stated, the prison should be “an environment conducive to rehabilitation”. Look at our prisons, I have not been there but seeing how our prisons are packed with people more than its maximum population, that is not an environment conducive to rehabilitation.

 

There are people who says that this type of environment for prisoners could enable them more to commit crimes in order to live there. But data says otherwise. Norway has the most ‘humane prisons’ in the world (I really hate writing the word humane prisons but I will be patient as I think of what word/s I could replace it with) and yet, they also have one of the lowest recidivism rates in the whole world at 20%. People underestimate the feeling of losing liberty because they have not even been to one. This is what I call, Influencing People Through Design. I believe that designers could influence how people live through designing their experience.

 

Gudrun Molden, the architect of Halden Prison (considered as the most ‘humane prison’), said, “Its so important to have a human behaviour towards people, so they are not so angry.” She spoke the truth- the truth about how are prisons are currently designed; the prisons are not built with love for humans nor even empathy.

 

Also, I don’t think building ‘humane’ prisons are even a waste of money at all. Its an investment for the country. Each and every single citizen is important and its important for everyone to be given a chance. And like whats mentioned in RA10575, what they need is an “environment conducive to rehabilitation’.

 

Once we start taking care of every single citizen in our country, may it be PWDs, homeless people, people from all kinds of jobs, kids, adults, senior citizens, and crime offendora, by designing inclusive and ‘humane’ places. Then, we could see change. Being imprisoned is the punishment- the architecture doesn’t have to be.