““Suffocating Myself with the Idea of Misfortune is a personal narrative of the artist on how she deals with her small world while knowing people outside it are suffering. A work inspired from the short story called “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin, where some people in the utopia leave, refusing to live in a place where everybody is happy due to the misfortune of one, but many others stay despite knowing what is hidden under their utopia. The work aims to let others think about their own situation, knowing others are suffering while they live a comfortable life, and in some cases, you live in happiness because others are unfortunate. Are you living in a Omelas at this instance? What do you do then?”

That’s the description of the piece and the actual work itself. It’s essentially about how I live in a distorted small world where I simply indulge myself with the internet, and anime as my forms of happiness. Such “happiness” is fuel with the misfortunes of others provided by the television. As she floats in the distorted universe, the misuse of the misfortune, whether emotionally or physically, will eventually consume me and the world with it.

It doesn’t necessarily follow the story of Omelas because it’s suppose to be a reaction of what I felt when I read the short story rather than a reenactment. It’s more like what I’m telling myself what’s happening to me. Other people in different parts of the world are suffering, and you know that the more you do nothing, nothing happens. And the more you ignore them, the more you get consumed by the idea of suffering.

I actually didn’t know the short story when the assignment that we were suppose to give three topics for the art project was given. I found out about it when my favorite Korean boy group released a song called Spring Day and at some point during the music video, the word Omelas comes out in the background. And then everybody in my private K-pop Twitter timeline started talking about it, how it was related to the music video, and they all linked the short story to us. I read it and I was incredibly intrigued at the story and how it made me question my morality.

When I read the short story, I said to myself, sure. I was willing to sacrifice someone else’s happiness for myself and many others. But I then I started feeling really horrible thinking that way. I asked my friends to read the short story as well and asked them what they would do, basically just trying not make myself feel horrible, although I probably still am. There were actually a lot of them who said that they were willing to let someone else suffer, but there were also a good amount of people who said that they would walk away from the utopia if it meant that they wouldn’t have to live somewhere where another is sacrificed for their happiness.

I thought it was pretty righteous for them to think that way, but I thought that I asked them that question in their mind that Omelas is only a story. So I though, what if I put it in a real life setting? So to the same people who said they would walk away, I  would give them a real life event and put them in it that would be like the short story, and the results were amazing. It wasn’t their answers that surprised me, it was their reactions, a lot of them hesitated for a while, it was a mind opener, truly a real question of their morality. I guess when you put such a real life situation in front of them, it’s not as easy to answer as a fictional scenario. But some still answered the same, and that’s quite amazing of them. I just hope they would also do it in the real life.

I wanted to make my art work into digital because I felt that was the platform that I was most comfortable with, but I only realize recently that I had some form of talent in other fields of art, like painting. I just didn’t realize until I got to try them properly in my painting class. I’m not saying that I’m incredible with painting, although not to brag, I consider my skills as pretty decent. But even with digital art, I could have done much better. But it doesn’t mean that I regret it so much to the point that I’m in despair, I have forms of relief with the work I’ve done. I’ve learned a lot in the arts, and those lessons are things that I will not regret.

The first “Assessment of Progress” blog post is the first documentation I have of the art work. I had other drafts of the work but I only showed two of them. Around that time, I believe was bombarded with other assignments, projects, and tests from other subjects, especially belly dancing ━(◯Δ◯∥)━ン. Okay, the last part was an exaggeration, but I really was in deep trouble especially with my nature of putting things off in the last-minute.

In another blog post, I posted a compilation of edits of the art work on what I felt I could do at that time. But the thing that I had a hard time with during that time (and even now, to be honest) was color. I knew how what colors complement each other, but what I had a hard time was actually picking the colors and choosing what hues and values of colors to use. I firmly believe that was my ultimate obstacle when doing the project.

On another compilation of edits blog post, it was more edits of color combinations while adding or mixing up other editing options I had in Photoshop. At this point in time, I think I changed the colors more than I actually changed any aspect of the work. You’d be surprised at how much I struggle with color. That’s why I don’t particularly like painting realistically, and my professors tell me that my choice of colors are “nice” just because I would try to not to copy the colors in real life. But I wanted this art work to be realistic at one sense, but also not. In the end, I just ended up using really bright and saturated colors, and went with the flow around that point.

Around the last portions of the piece, I finished it in Llanderine’s condominium, and she fed me noodles while she was watching Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. I stayed there around 4 hours, almost missing my art history class. Every since that time, I’ve really like visiting her condo, plus she cooks me food. The last time I visited her there, she made me spam and sisig, although it was canned. But sisig is still sisig, and I will take it any time of the day.

The semester itself was a fun one, it’s probably is the best one I’ve had so far in terms of my grades, my social life, and my liveliness. I didn’t hate any of my classes, but many of them were still incredibly stressful. During the preparation of the art project, I mostly kept myself inside the library or my room, but if I wasn’t working for anything, I would hang around my friends in both college and high school.

I remember when I was signing up for the panel presentation, that I felt a chill or weights piling up behind my back after finding out that I was going to present on the first day of the week of the panel presentations. When I was waiting in front of the classroom before I was going to present, I was incredibly nervous that  I tried to distract myself by watching a musical called Dear Evan Hansen. It didn’t help much since the main character was a person suffering from an anxiety disorder, and it made me more aware of the situation I was at. But it’s still a really interesting musical, I highly recommend it.

When I finally entered the room to get critiqued, my mind was mostly blank and I just listened and tried to answer the questions that was thrown at me. I remember some critiques like the composition of the work could be improved, but after the panel, I just got out of there and went with my high school friends to eat at Ella and the Black Bird in Esteban Abada street.

Despite my efforts of not letting the critique get into my head, it still comes back once in a while. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but it actually helped me motivate to strive better even if it made me lose some bits of my confidence.

After the panel, I realized that I needed to improve myself as an artist. I promised my panelist that I would come back to my art work soon and improve it. I bet both of you thought I was just saying that because it was a good answer, but really, I was being serious about it and I really want to improve the piece.

I’ve actually started on the idea and draft (in digital for now) but I’m going to change the medium. Instead of digital art, I decided that I would try out oil painting. And instead of a landscape form, it would be portrait and I would also use glow in the dark paint. The draft I made was on Photoshop, and I plan to finish the work during the break before the intercession semester, but I don’t plan for it to be shown publicly, like any of my art works ever:

They’re both just one piece but the one on the right is what it would look like if it was dark and that would be seen because of the glow in the dark paint. I haven’t considered things like form in the initial draft yet because I’m lazy, so I honestly don’t know if the girl’s form is possible in real life. I haven’t thought of a title yet, because it’s suppose to be the thing that would connect the light and dark side and make .

I would be lying if I said that I was completely satisfied with my original work, and had planned to revise it at the last-minute or could do it all over again, but could not do so because I had already been into the project so deep and made many blog posts about it. The new art piece that I’m going to do will not have the same title, but it will have the same message (hopefully.)

I know that there a ton of people who are way better than me, but that did not stop me from doing art. From the beginning till the end, I will still make art, even if the fine arts world does not consider it to be. I actually enjoy painting (especially oil painting, even if I’m in the verge of slicing all of my canvases) and I enjoy digital painting too. I actually plan on making a slice of life genre comic soon, but like always, not post it until I’ve made like 50+ comic strips.

What is it about? 

Uhh… Myself. Whenever I’m with my friends, both college and high school, and family, they all seem to laugh at my “unintentional actions of slap stick comedy” or just me. The picture below is just an example or a draft of a panel of a chapter I’m currently working on but it’s not about my daily life yet, but about my first days in college, something like a prologue chapter or something:

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 10.36.13 PM.pngThe first chapter is going to be about how I was lost during my first day in Ateneo and how when I was trying to find my Filipino class, I went to a classroom in Kostka Hall that I thought was my classroom, after a few realizations that I didn’t know anybody in the class when I was supposed to be still in a block, a male professor comes into the classroom and that was when I realizes that I made a huge mistake. First of all, my professor was supposed to be female and a study app on my phone tells me that my building was actually supposed to be Berchmans Hall. But Instead of just walking out of the classroom, I grab my bag and run out of the classroom. This is based on a true story that happened to me during first day in Ateneo, and nothing is (unfortunately) exaggerated. Well, maybe the drawing might be exaggerated but the events are all true. :: ˓(ᑊᘩᑊ⁎) :: 

And another story how I just completely skipped an entire class, just because I couldn’t find the building it was supposed to be at, and how I just stayed in the 3rd floor of the New Rizal Library just thinking about how I hate how big the campus or Ateneo was. In fact, I’m going to be a third year soon and I still get lost trying to get to Bellarmine Hall from ISO and once ended up at high school side of the Ateneo. My family and friends say that I just have horrible sense of direction. I tried to deny that before, but then I remember how I got lost in UP Town Center trying to find the exit, and ended up circling around True Value 3 times before I actually changed my route to get to the exit.

And another how I was commuting using an FX, and ended up at East Avenue when I live in Commonwealth, luckily though, my mother worked in a bank in East Avenue and so I stayed in her office until she was finished. Now that I think about it, my comic might just become an entire series on ways how I get lost in random places.

But I don’t have a title yet. I’ll think about it in the future. My sister said I should call it  “Tales from the Messy Room” or “Mess Room,” she didn’t give me an explanation, but it’s short and simple, so it’s the number one candidate right now. I think she was supposed to be referencing our room at home since all three of us sisters share one small room and it’s a complete wreck.

I think I derailed myself from the original intention of the blog post, but I hope you appreciate my way of moving forward since this project drained me of all my confidence in myself but in the same time, gave me an important lesson about myself as an artist and how I should recover (me and my art.)


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