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.

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??