Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Creative Retrospective on the Year 2008…

The Year 2008 was quite a special and exciting year for me. Not only did it mark a new venture for me professionally (from assistant professor to clinical director), but it also featured some achievements in my creative department. Most of my time of course was invested in clinical and administrative tasks in Quality Life Discoveries (which more or less had a successful first year since its soft launch), but I make sure that I devote time for my art. Most of my personal free time out of the clinic is spent in the "drawing board". If there was something really fantastic I could really wish for, I'd really wish I had the power to freeze time (or bend space-time continuum ala Hiro Nakamura), or be able to clone myself, and command each of my clones to do whatever I want them to… But we have to face reality: with the limited time that we have, we can only do so much…

Here are only some of the logos I produced last year. Quite a colorful bunch and full of variety, most of which I'm really proud of.

Sadly, I only produced 3 major ambigrams last year. I had to turn down or ignore a lot of commission requests due to lack of time. Although I was able to find solutions for some requests, producing them into final products will simply take too much time and energy. Hopefully, I will go back to these requests and make things work out. I'll make more ambigrams this coming year!

Most of my layout design work was done for Quality Life Discoveries, but I accepted some requests from other companies.

My Moleskine Art was able to gather some followers through my deviantART and Flickr accounts demanding I produce more regular entries. For year 2008, I was only able to post 13 entries (compared to more than 50 in 2007), so that's only almost one entry per month! I'm just past the halfway point, but hopefully I'll finish the whole notebook by the next year filling it up with a variety of conceptual sketches, introspection and dream logs.

I also worked on a 12-page comic entitled "Raisinhead: A Tale of a Modern-Day Tiyanak," a fantasy story about a baby's survival of an attempted abortion and his quest for his mother and purpose in life. It is quite introspective. I think I infused a lot of my own personality and insights on Raisin, the main character of the story. This was the first time I worked on a comic this long and I've worked on comic strips before (the short lived Goodness Bites, which managed to find its way in some Christian web portals) but I never thought it could be this difficult, especially if you want to fit your story within the panels of the 12-page. Sometimes, I feel the story could work as a serial, but it's something to think about. I also found this new found respect for local comic writers and artists, and found myself stuffing my library with works of Arnold Arre (The Mythology Class, Ang Mundo ni Andong Agimat and Martial Law Babies), Gerry Alanguilan (Elmer) and others, which I could proudly say is at par with international standards. Note… I'm just trying my wings in this media and it's quite far-fetched to rightly call myself a comic artist already. Anyway, let's see. The year 2009 will mark the development of comic-related projects.

The artwork for Spinning, an upcoming book dedicated to kids with autism and their families is already completed. Quite excited how it will look in the final lay-out. Hopefully, it will be published within February.

In music, I only found myself composing a very short psalm piece for the Mass celebrating the 1st Anniversary of the Community Health Development Program of the University of the Philippines Manila in San Juan, Batangas. There's already a wonderful "Ito Ang Araw" piece by Arnel Aquino, SJ but it was insisted that a new one be made. I got to sing it too. I'm really proud of the parish choir of San Juan because they were able to learn and sing the piece almost extemporaneously.

Of course, this only recounts achievements in my creative endeavors. The past year featured some of my most joyous moments but also the most heartbreaking – a subtle mix of successes and failures, advances and retreats, satisfaction and regrets. I just hope that the year 2009 be a more productive one both professionally and creatively, without frustrating and burning myself up. I may be scatter-brained and it always seems I need to do everything... should I slow down, when I feel I'm not moving fast enough? I realize I am my own worst slave-driver and critic, but I promise to respect my own limitations, stop beating myself and choose to be happier. I pray that all the projects brewing in my mind find themselves into fruition, and some of them materialize reasonably within the new year. I sincerely wish everyone success in all their own endeavors, and may 2009 be a good year for all! Happy New Year!

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