Friday, November 28, 2008

Flaws are Interesting

Mimi, 2005-2012

Among the popular sculptures besides Michelangelo's David, the armless Venus de Milo earned its popularity partly because of the curiosity that evokes the viewer why it is incomplete. Just as amazingly, Rodin's sculptures are crude and almost unfinished, perhaps a take off point from Classicism's near to perfection ideals, yet spark artistic discourse.

In the traditional techniques of the master printers, a small deviation from the originals such as misregistration, stray lines, soiled/inked print, uneven amount of inks, isn't acknowledged as part of the series and won't be signed. Not even "misprints" we have from offset printed books, leaflets or documents, are widely accepted simply because they are rejects and not identical to the originals.

The "Arrovo" 100 peso bills series is considered a printing error, yet that flaw made the series "special" and now collectable, since it can never be reproduced ever again. In multiple original artworks such as prints, if every print is to be considered art, then these printing flaws make them unique.

I love collecting used and old books. Some of the pages are dilapidated, soiled, and folded. Some are rejects because of double prints, misprints, and distorted. But it is these characters that make them special for me. It makes me wonder who their previous owners are and what are the book's adventures with them.

Every part of the human body, if they come in pairs, isn't created perfectly identical. Only God knows the purpose, but science also provide answers. Every human being is flawed, and that's what makes us interesting.

Note: In the photo is our adopted persian cat, Mimi. Its ear is mutilated since we got her and we don't have any idea how or when, but I find her unique just as it is. However, my post hopefully, definitely, strongly discourage cruelty to animals and in no way whatsoever promote mutilation, but rather the appreciation of natural imperfections.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I Love Lupito

I finally had the guts and budget to own one of CANVAS' highly acclaimed, award-winning, international quality, Filipino made, children's book offerings. How I long to get at least a copy, the recent Manila Book Fair paved the way of owning a hard bound precious, at a lower price. I got excited to see all of those wonderful books in print and got me thinking to buy the whole hard bound series for my collection. But then my budget was only for one book. I had a difficult time choosing which one to embrace first.

It was "Si Lupito at ang Barrio Sirkero" that won my heart.

It's not only that the artworks were done by one of my favorite painter ever Jose Santos III (How I wish I could afford to buy at least one of his works someday), but the cover really amazed me. The cover looks mystifying, all with the muted sky blue to cool gray with a matte finish that seem to resemble a metallic feel and enhances the subject's magical juggling performance. I cannot distinguish if it's a printing flaw because it looks really subdued and since I have seen the brighter original artworks at the Ayala Museum exhibit, they were very far from the print. Nevertheless it was perfectly right, since the texture and hue created that magical mood that the story calls for.

The paper of the inside pages is quite thick, probably a 100 lbs. matte vellum paper, exquisite for a children's book. The paper thickness complements the hard bound format. The quality of printing is ok, passable to think it was printed outside the country. You can tell a book if it's printed locally through the quality of ink: foreign books seem to have this bright and very rich ink quality more than the "muddy" prints locally. Although I like the cover so much, the design and layout of the inside pages was very simple. The artworks could have been maximized and translated well into paper and book form. Yet I can't complain because there should always be plenty of room for the texts and should be readable, a very important element in children's books. See how difficult it is to create balance in an illustration for a children's book?

The realistic yet odd renderings of illustrations or artworks worked appropriately for the story. The human figures are static and isolated that seem life-like dolls, blurring the line between reality and fantasy. It makes one wonder if there's truly an event, people, or place like that. It's also a merging of the modern and the traditional with the clean, minimalist interior, draping, and background. Some of the objects are symbolical, urges you to think why or what are they for. What I love most about the artwork is the color scheme, it is all subdued and splashed with earth tones, very Filipino. I could almost smell the actual places in the scenes: clean, natural and simple. The settings, costume, and objects are also very Pinoy. Personally, I think some scenes and story line are quite mature to fit a very young audience, perhaps should be recommended only for ages 10-12.

"Si Lupito at ang Barrio Sirkero"
is written by Rowald Almazar with artworks by Jose Santos III, from CANVAS, is highly recommended for kids and adults alike. Now I'll have to look for the author and painter to have my copy signed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Shocking Revelation

It was a happy sunny day. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak among the brightest kids of affluent parents in one of the best schools of the country today. My talk may not be eloquently delivered, but somehow stirred kid's interest. How amazed I was when the boys urgently lined up, then asked questions eagerly. Flashbacks filled my thoughts-were we assertive like them when we were in grade school? How I wished I was brought up as outgoing and well-rounded like them and studied in a prestigious school like that...I guess confidence and self-esteem can also be achieved if you have everything at your convenience. Otherwise, get confidence in excelling in any field you love, or mature with experience to boost self esteem.

One thing that surprised me most from this experience was this revealing info. I learned that these wealthy parents don't bother letting their very fortunate kids experience or teach them live a simple life in spite of all their conveniences, based on a survey. Part of the reasons were, living on tight and tough times is the least they would want and experience for their children. Or parents would not allow that to happen to them at all, at any cost. They don't usually experience that at home so why should they spend time and energy for that anyway, according to a teacher I chatted with. As if the world is not round, I felt sad to know another inconvenient truth.

On that regard, I am very glad that the school is looking for ways to still educate them on these issues by integrating lessons and immersion programs. After all, we are staying together in a dominantly nourishment-hungry, third-world country anyway.

I'm about to go home when there was this boy who interestedly got a copy of my latest book and he was holding another book. Curiously I asked how much was the other book and he said it was around 300 pesos. I surprisingly thought, wow, how generous his allowance must be! Then while having some chat along the service area of the school, out of the blue, out of nowhere, another kid blurted out his 'I can't remember' story to our group.

It was a funny experience.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ecstatic over the Cover

Finally, my most anticipated children's book will soon be launched. After the long wait, gruesome imaginative thinking, and hard work, another beautiful baby is born.

I was on a meeting with fellow INKies when Jordan Santos, the ever genius product development officer of Adarna House, surprised me with the cover proof with gold stamping on it. I was so overwhelmed to see the cover spread. I couldn't wait to see the rest of the book.

Adarna House and the Philippine Board on Books for Young People in partnership with Ortigas Foundation Library
invite you to the launch of
"Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu!"
written by Nanoy Rafael and illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III
on November 21, 2008 at 6 p.m.
Ortigas Foundation Library 2/F Ortigas Building, Ortigas Avenue Pasig City.

RSVP Vanessa Estares @ 372-35-48 local 110