I had gone to Art in the Park in Salcedo Village before. But I usually would go to see friends, say hello, and then leave before an hour had passed. I couldn’t afford to buy art and I was unaccustomed to looking at art outside a gallery or museum setting. There are too many distractions and I wasn’t as discerning or couldn’t control my focus as I can now.
This year, Art in the Park in Salcedo Village happened last Sunday and I came because a friend was going to sell her work and it was a chance for my friends and I to hang out again, as we haven’t seen each other in a while. It was a good way to touch base. But I had plans to stay longer and really take it all in.
I guess, after Intramuros Pasyal Sunday, I was more open to street fair type of activities. It was a fun way to see people and it was in the day time and it wasn’t in a club or a bar. It was a Sunday so the traffic was light and easy (though parking was a bitch) and there was very little posturing and it focused people’s attention to something other than themselves.
I guess I have gotten older in the sense that the self-absorption in bar/club settings annoy me. Here, people were dressed comfortably and were in a much more open mood. There were serious art collectors who were on the hunt for something to bring home but I could understand that. And anything that helps support Philippine art and artists is a plus in my book.
I arrived at eleven in the morning, found my friends and hung out a bit. I did one superficial round of all the booths, just to see what was there and what was available and hung out a bit at my friend’s booth before we all went to one of the nearby restaurants to eat. Only half of my company went back and while my artist friend, Amanda, stayed at her booth, I went around and this time really participated in the process.
I saw a whole lot of pieces. I came into each booth looking at the works on display and if there was a painting on the side that intrigued me, I allowed myself to engage with it. It’s an amazing process and I got to see variations of artistic movements — from the realists, to the impressionists, some cubist, and a lot of pop art.
I saw a lot of good friends and we stopped and talked a bit. Caught up with a few I hadn’t seen in a very long time and even found myself working on the possibility of a collaboration with another artist friend, who I haven’t seen in years, who would want me to put text on his work. Maybe a comic? Who knows? It was interesting and fun.
In the booth for the students of the UP School of Fine Arts, I saw a piece that really called to me. They were four rectangular pieces which acrylic paintings that gave a depiction of something cosmic or planetary. I loved the use of colour and texture and the piece worked as a set. Alone, it lacked the intensity and scope that it carried side-by-side. I asked for the price and found it, individually, as something in my price range but I needed to get three or four to make it work. I couldn’t afford that. I was heart-broken, really. The artist, Jackie Lozano, even showed me two more paintings in that theme and found one I thought I must have.
But again, I needed it to come in at least three pieces or it didn’t work. I returned two more times to see how I felt — whether I was willing to suffer the consequences and buy these paintings with my credit card and find ways to pay it back later or just let them go. I decided, on my final visit, to let them go. I talked to the artist and told her how much I loved the work and we exchanged numbers so that I could be informed of future shows. If she’s that good now, how much better will she be in the future?
And who knows? Maybe no one felt the same way I did about the work and she brought them home and I could buy them later on when I do have the money?
I never really saw myself as someone who buys art. I’ve moved too often to ever think of myself as someone who settles down in any one place. I’ve spent the last few years getting rid of my possessions so that, if I have to move again, it would be a simple matter. Anyway, I have my room in Bacolod for the things I cannot possibly part with but don’t have to bring with me wherever I go. My Dad is the one with the eye for choosing art and we’ve got so much already at home in Bacolod. I don’t see myself taking up the mantle myself.
I left at five in the afternoon. I had seen so many of my friends and saw works that annoyed me and works that got me inspired. And the works of Jackie Lozano broke my heart because I couldn’t afford them, but that’s okay. It was such a pleasant day.
I’m glad for events such as Art in the Park because it shows a different side to the city that I don’t get to see often. Yes, for sure there must have been a lot of people there who were there because everybody else was there. But they were diluted with the other people who were there to see art.
And Manila has slowly become more generous to artists and giving them more respect. It’s nice to see it growing and gaining more ground. It’s nice to see our artists having a space where they can be together and share their work and that there were so many different schools of art represented — they weren’t all doing the same thing. I think that’s a nice thing to see.
I hope I catch more of these events in the future. I’m older now, so this is the type of thing I like to be a part of.