I started to write this out in 3rd person but who am I kidding, you all know I don’t have a PR person tooting my horn. So in my efforts to practice authenticity, here it goes:
My art name is Royal. I currently reside in Houston, but I am a native of the Philippines. 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.
I LOVE the human image, that’s why it is the subject of most of my work. I also enjoy the application of symbolism, anthropology, nature, and high-contrast colors that you don’t typically see in your day-to-day environment in my work.
I laugh loud with my mouth open and my head thrown back. I cry when things are beautiful. Sometimes I make mistakes and I have trouble apologizing.
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 these 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. Fucks are a currency and we need to have a full reserve of this for the important things. The exchange rate is in the form of our peace of mind, energy, and time. Artists will make sure the things, people, and situations we are investing our fucks on are worth it.
Amor fati = “love of one’s fate”. To accept everything that happens in our life, including the “bad” moments, as a necessary part of our growth, learning, and dynamic existence.