Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Steal Like an Artist

The day I realized I wanted to become an artist was the day I started blogging, approximately 3 years ago. It wasn’t so much the writing that got to me. Honestly I didn’t write all that much back then. It was the blogs that I had stumbled across. I felt like I uncovered some deep dark secret treasure. I couldn’t believe how many young and contemporary artists were out there! I’ve always liked art, and have always been inclined to it as a kid, but I never knew many artists. And the art I knew were along the lines of drawing basically, and coloring, and crafts. In here, I saw quite clearly for the first time, color and patterns and design and illustration and just mind-blowing art. I would spend my nights in front of my laptop, poring over art blogs one after the other, admiring different works from different artists. Some from professionals, some from mere amateurs, which were all the more intriguing. I was so amazed by it all. I thought, wow! How clever they must be to think up such unique ideas. I was seeing them for the first time, so to me, they were downright brilliant, and original. And then I wondered. The Earth has a human population of about 7 billion, out of which, (I’m just guessing here) probably about 10% are artists. And I’m not just referring to professional ones who make a living by creating expensive aesthetic pieces that get shown on galleries. I mean illustrators, web designers, graphic designers, interior decorators, costume designers, even amateurs and students. These people think of new ideas everyday. And so I thought, will there come a time, when everyone has finally run out of ideas to come up with? When there isn’t a single design that no one has ever thought of before? And if that happens, then what?

I suppose my question then was largely on originality. Of course, this was a question from a person who has had no experience whatsoever, and who has absolutely no clue on what she was doing.

Fast forward to today. Me, just as frustrated as ever, beginning to get the hang of this art thing, nonetheless frustrated. I was browsing through Brain Pickings when I read about Austin Kleon’s book, Steal Like an Artist. The title is intriguing enough, so I head over to his blog and watch a video of his talk with some students, and voila! I found the answer to a question I asked myself 3 years ago that I have almost forgotten.

It’s funny how I never realized it before. I’ve always wondered about it as a future possibility, I’ve never thought of it as currently occurring. Everything those artists I came across in the beginning had made, had probably been done before, more than once I bet. But done in a different way. Because that’s just how it works. Nothing comes from nothing. People have to get ideas somewhere. Those new ideas, they aren’t actually new. They have been thought of before.

Back then, whenever I saw something I really liked, like a picture or a painting or a design, I would want to express it in my own way. So, I’d sit in my desk, open my watercolor pad, and try my hardest to paint something as nice as the thing I saw. And I would just try to come up with something from the top of my head. I would stop myself from opening my laptop and going through the internet for fear that I might ‘copy’ what I would see. I wanted to create something ‘original’. I guess you can see that I never really understood the word.

Often times, I end up staring at my blank pad for 20 minutes before closing it again. And then I’d wonder (out loud often), where do other artists get inspiration?

Silly me.

Austin Kleon hit the bull’s eye when he said, ”Steal!” Woody Allen has said it, David Bowie has said it, even Steve Jobs has said it. I guess I need not worry about those great ideas running out then, since there are plenty to steal from. Great artists steal. And so shall I! ^^,

With that said, I’m “ripping off” Austin Kleon and made my own black out poem. Taking my cue from his blog, here’s what I’ve come up with.

Philosophy enables eternity.
Embrace fresh movement.
Take faith,
courageous champions!

I didn't use newspaper. I used study material from one of our Buddhist study meetings, thus the philosophical-y output :-)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Loving Hong Kong

Spent my birthday in Hong Kong! Four whole days of bonding, eating, shopping, and most importantly, freedom [from the crazies]! I didn't get to shop as much as I had initially planned. We did walk a lot though. We walked so much that my old Rockports finally gave way! And I did eat more than what I bargained for. How can I not when Hong Hong is home to the world's best dim sum! Their hakaws are the fattest, I could not resist. And the nai chas? To die for. No milk tea place here could ever replicate the original flavor of Hong Kong milk tea.
Hong Kong is also home to... tatatarat tatah... CHARLIE BROWN CAFE! And it was just in Cameron road, a mere few minutes walk from our hotel. The best part of it was, the food was actually great! We bought souvenirs of course. We got a Charlie Brown mug, a Schroeder key chain, and cellphone accessories with Patty, Marcie, and Linus. For us, Snoopy fans, it was like Disneyland!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Power of Prayer

I've always wanted to create something that expresses my faith. I created this design for my Illustrator 102 class a while back. It was originally a plain illustration which I turned into a desktop wallpaper. This is just a small glimpse of how we (Nichiren Buddhists) pray. Prayer is a huge part, not just of my faith, but of everyone else's I'm sure. It's the most important activity in a person's day, but it's never done enough. So, here's a little reminder of the power of prayer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Milk tea, anyone?

We've got 6 large pitchers of the yummiest milk tea in the fridge -- courtesy of the Brew-Kus team! (Brew-Kus bosses more like) That should make at least 20 cups of absolutely FREE milk tea. Oh yeah. Come and have yourself a some! I've been drinking this stuff since Saturday. Who knows how much weight I'll gain by the end of the week.

And, in honor of the successful tea tasting survey and focus group discussion (FGD for short. *ahem ahem*) held yesterday at our hotel, I made these little lovelies!
Coffee, tea or me? 
I've been playing with this idea in my mind for the longest time. It was about time I got it out! So here it is, a pattern on coffee cups and teacups. :)
Someday, when I do manage (or own even!) a milk tea business, I shall have this printed and hung on my little milk tea shop.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Exploring Seoul

After visiting the palace and the folk Museum, we went to see Bukchon Hanok Village. It's walking distance from the Gyeokbung Palace. Residents here preserved the design and architecture of their traditional homes, so you can see plenty of Korean houses lining up the narrow streets. It's a lovely place for a leisurely stroll. There are also plenty of cafes, restaurants, and boutiques, lined up side by side, and one very artistically designed! I remember wanting to take pictures of each little shop we passed by! They were all just so pretty!

Seoul Street Art

Korea is known for its many art galleries. While making the itinerary for our trip to Seoul, a lot of them showed up on maps and on websites. We didn't have time to visit any, but Korea itself is filled with art! 
Just check out the cool street art we found on our way to Gyeongbokgung Palace. These -- I dunno -- paintings or posters were plastered along the walls of a construction site, which I assumed is the Naked Museum. Too bad it hasn't finished yet. I would dearly love to go see what's in it!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Watched the ruggedly handsome Daniel Craig in Skyfall the other day. Another great James Bond movie! 

And this..

is what I wore! 

My outfit isn't even remotely interesting. It's pretty much what I wear everyday. I just see fashion bloggers make something like this all the time, I wanted to give it a try :) 

I also wanted to try out my new Touch markers! I only bought a few colors so I had to use my Faber-Castells for the others. Touch colors are bright and lovely, but they bleed through the page, which was kind of disappointing. The Faber-Castells don't. I tried out my new Masquepen, too. I used it on the polka-dots. Works real nice. I think I might need to practice with it a few more times, though. 

Friday, November 2, 2012