Arts & Crafts

I got into abstract painting as a joke. Joke’s on me.

Warning: very colorful post ahead.

In my younger years, I hated going to art museums and galleries and seeing crappy (to me) art being sold for a ton of money. I had a strong dislike for abstract art– the kind where the artist seems to just randomly throw goopy paint at a canvas and call it art, complete with a highly-philosophical, baloney-sounding artist statement about identity or some inner crisis. What I hated even more was the fact that people were buying it for a price the artist commanded. I’d have my eyebrows knitted together, thinking if perhaps I’m not a real artist (because I make happy, colorful things and I’m not filled with existentialist, suicidal angst?) and I just don’t get it. WTF, I would think. Anyone can do that!

It got me thinking… why don’t *I*?!

And so in 2017, fresh from having let go of my illustration agent and free from having to do commercial children’s book projects, I purchased some tubes of acrylic paint. My mission: to randomly throw goopy paint at a canvas and call it a hot mess art (“ahhhrrrttt”). And then troll people with it, making them think it’s some sort of deep, high brow, highfalutin conceptual art they don’t understand but will pretend to anyway because they’re pseudo-art connoisseurs (I had to google the spelling of “connoisseur”). If I could make money from it, it would be just a bonus hahaha.

Yup, that really was my aim– my idea of a joke I can laugh about in private. That’s why I am quite neutral and actually quite amused about Richard Gomez’s dick painting at ManilArt. Hey Goma, gets kita! You’re trolling everyone! I hope whoever is rich enough to buy your Php 196,000 ($3,800 USD) penis painting is a troll, too!

Image from Mike Lowery‘s Instagram

I started looking around on Instagram for abstract painting ideas. In the course of research though, I found myself inadvertently drawn to modern abstract artists on Instagram who were doing pretty, colorful things on canvas. Abstract, yes, but pretty. They were nothing like the drab abstract art in museums that I would be so incensed by.

Abstract art screenshots from Instagram

My mind was opened, and so inspired was I that I started doing my own, laying down random splashes of paint on paper (paper muna, pang-practice haha). I quickly found out that abstract painting wasn’t as easy as it looks. Or maybe I wasn’t letting myself off easy– I couldn’t JUST throw paint at a canvas (Sayang! Mahal ang paint!). I still had to consider aesthetic, visual balance, and color composition.

Before I knew it, I had built up some very bright and colorful abstract paintings. Oops.

What’s surprising was I actually enjoyed working on these– for real, and not because I thought it would be funny to troll people into thinking this was real art. I posted my paintings on my Instagram and my followers also liked what I was doing even if it was immensely different from my usual work. My abstracts got more likes than my real, thought-out, binuhusan-ng-effort illustration stuff. Hahahaha. Oops again.

I ceased painting abstracts as a joke and started painting them for my enjoyment. Coming from years of digital illustration and pixels, it was so refreshing to pick up a real brush and use actual paint. The bright and happy colors I was using was therapeutic and the act of painting, relaxing. My abstracts are mindless, experimental, exploratory, and exists just for the sake of existing. Art for art’s sake, unlike my illustrations which had mostly been for clients or commercial applications.

I started painting my abstracts two years ago, in 2017. It’s 2019 now, and I occasionally still do paint abstracts when I’m feeling listless and in need of loosening up artistically. I’m looking to eventually even sell off the paintings I’ve accumulated because some people have been interested in purchasing them. They do look good on neutral-colored walls as decorative paintings 😛

I’ve actually done more than just abstracts with my acrylic paints– I took up painting lessons this year to learn how to REALLY paint. I’m talking landscapes, still life, and realism. But that’s another blog post for another day 🙂