My art name is Royal.
I was born in the Philippines and currently reside in Houston. I am a dynamic human so it may look like I’m contradicting myself but trust that it’s all real and littered with good intentions.
I draw, I paint, and I think about a lot of things including but not limited to magic, alternate realities, and self-sovereignty. Life excites me. Traveling outside of my city excites me. Feeling one with all of creation excites me.
People recognize my work because of the neon indigenous-futuristic style prevalent in my pieces.
From my point of view, the media pushes an extremely bleak portrayal of the future, especially for People of Color. My work portrays a different narrative. In the Royal Universe – technology, gadgets, and electronics are utilized to advance the art, spirituality, and infrastructure of a thriving futuristic culture. Everyone gets theirs.
As I dig deeper to water my roots – I am feeling a shift in my art and how I navigate the world. A lot of my art is influenced by my Filipino heritage, priestesshood, and mythology.
I am building community with the Filipinx Artists of Houston. I am learning more about creation stories, deities of the ancient Philippine pantheon, and symbolism. Storytelling was incredibly important to my ancestors and with this work I hope to carry on that tradition in my art.
1. Art means nothing – Because it means nothing we are free to do anything. Scream into a chocolate cake while bound to a broken television. Paint a sunset without using reds or oranges. Build an uneven chair using scraps of wood from an abandoned house. Nothingness is freedom, artists shall use this to their advantage.
2. Art means everything – Because it means everything, when artists say it’s nothing, THEY. ARE. LYING. Art is that gasp of air from violently waking up out of the nightmare of swimming in the dark abyss, unknowingly holding our breath in our sleep. Art is that one memory you still remember from your childhood that paved the way for more creation. Art is ____ (fill in the blank by asking another artist).
3. Never Address Haters – If you address them in a vague manner on a social platform, they win. If they make up lies about you and you publicly showcase your credentials to prove them wrong, they win. If you come up to them and confront them about their shit talking, they win. The best way to end the life of anything in the art world is to ignore it.
4. If it is a diamond in the rough, expect for it to be removed from its natural setting, commercialized, and regurgitated repeatedly – Observe it while it gets washed, tumbled, filed down, and made shiny so the masses can digest it easily. This is an inevitable phenomenon that occurs in any art platform and expelling energy in resistance is futile. Seeking for the diamonds? Go underground.
5. Never procrastinate on any important projects that require your undivided attention and concentration – I have not mastered this yet and I am utterly guilty as I write this manifesto which was supposed to be a month in the making but instead I am completing this two days before I turn it in and it is past my bedtime.
6. Artists are forever a work in progress – This applies to the artist’s body of work as well as his or her life. Stagnation is death. Satisfaction leads to boredom. Boredom leads to repetition. Repetition is mediocrity. Mediocrity is not art. Be content with the progress but never satisfied in one place.
7. Art is a charity – It must be fed to the downtrodden, to the sick, to the lonely. Make damn sure it reaches the eyes, ears, and souls of people who don’t have the bus fare to get to the closest art museum, the internet connection to research history’s greatest art pioneers, or the free time and mind space to THINK about creativity.
8. Build portfolios, not egos – If one is marketing themselves, networking, or rubbing elbows more than creating, they are not artists. If one has time to criticize other people’s work, then his mind is idle. If you are expecting praise but not getting it, this is due to you doing most of the praising on your own. Alleviate this by making more art.
9. Get lost – Get lost in a book. Get lost in the eyes of a stranger you met at happy hour. Get lost on the way to the bathroom. Get lost in a foreign country. There’s no harm in asking for directions if only to make an intimate acquaintance in a fleeting instant.
10. Find meaning in it all – “What is the purpose of my life, my skills, and my awareness?” – A question that should be meditated upon regularly. When one has discovered the answer – follow that path. Is it to piss off your high school art teacher? To send a message to the bourgeoisie? To heal the wounds of your past?
When artists find meaning, they’ll see beauty in the breakdown, magic in everyday mundanity, synchronicities in typical situations. The artist should pursue spirituality so long as it does not tread on anyone’s safety, beliefs, or growth (but then again, it wouldn’t be considered spiritual if safety concerns are present).
11. Acknowledge the impermanence – Sad? This too shall pass. Happy? This will also change. Angry? Only for a moment. Victorious? Don’t dwell in it too long. The artist understands that nothing lasts forever so we MUST be vigilant in cherishing each passing moment. Artists shall dedicate their existence to the practice of equanimity, mental calmness, and collected composure.