On May 31, Quezon City gallery Gravity Art Space held artist talks for their current exhibitions. Four artists with solo exhibits showed up to talk about their works and processes at length. The gallery also presented multiple short films, including premiering one by Joaquin Goldstein about the destruction of a local gallery in Argentina. 

The composition of the attendees to the different exhibit walkthroughs varied. The most noteworthy thing about them is that many appeared to be local aspiring artists. They inquired a lot about the process of exhibition and creativity, taking in the different flavors of how art happens. 

An Ever-Evolving Meaning of Selfhood and Art

Joaquín Goldstein spoke mostly about how his work tended to evolve depending on where it would be exhibited. One could see this in his exhibit Ngunit Ang Puso ay Bubuyog, which constantly changed in its look and composition during its exhibition in Gravity Art Space.

Joaquín Goldstein in front of one of his works. Photo by Elle Yap.
Joaquín Goldstein in front of one of his works. Photo by Elle Yap.

The cleaner look of the exhibit on its opening day gave way to a chaotic, tape-fueled explosion of creativity. His works, already creased and wrinkled from constant travel, provide a personalization into the place that defies easy cataloging and expectations. He claims that the exhibit just gave him red tape with “fragile” printed on it, and it inspired him to change up his presentation. 

The original look of "Ngunit Ang Puso ay Bubuyog" on opening day. Photo by Elle Yap.
The original look of “Ngunit Ang Puso ay Bubuyog” on opening day. Photo by Elle Yap.
The May 30 look of "Ngunit Ang Puso ay Bubuyog" on opening day. Photo by Elle Yap.
The May 30 look of “Ngunit Ang Puso ay Bubuyog” on opening day. Photo by Elle Yap.
Additional pieces for the work. Photo by Elle Yap.
Additional pieces for the work. Photo by Elle Yap.

By the end of the exhibit, one could see the glee in his face as he described his process, which he plans to continue on his next exhibition in Greece (it’s described as one big wall to showcase his works, which appears to be as fun as it is daunting). The evolution of his works speaks to how artists themselves need not be stuck on a signature idea or style. One can keep evolving and changing as time moves forward.

Peering Through Independence

Two artists in attendance, Arvie Desamparado and Roxlee, exemplified two different ideas of how independence can help one discover new ideas about themselves and their styles. 

Desamparado gave a talk about his rocky road towards becoming an artist that exhibits their works in galleries. He worked six years as a tattoo artist before deciding to follow his dream and pivoting towards his exhibited canvas work . Much of his advice centered around the idea of how to guide the self: that patience and self-confidence is required to find one’s calling in life, and that it is never too late to pursue the desires of the heart on your own. 

Arvie Desamparado discussing his work. Photo by Elle Yap.
Arvie Desamparado discussing his work. Photo by Elle Yap.
Arvie Desamparado discussing his work. Photo by Elle Yap.
Arvie Desamparado discussing his work. Photo by Elle Yap.
Arvie Desamparado working the crowd at Gravity Art Space. Photo by Elle Yap.
Arvie Desamparado working the crowd at Gravity Art Space. Photo by Elle Yap.

Roxlee, meanwhile, shared his storyboards and sketches with attendees and discussed his inspiration for his exhibit Violent Camote: boredom. Much of the works that appear in the exhibit he made during the COVID-19 lockdowns using spare canvases and paint. He encouraged the attendees to follow their wild-eyed inspirations to find the kind of art they wanted to make.

Roxlee in discussion during the Artist Talks. Photo by Elle Yap.
Roxlee in discussion during the Artist Talks. Photo by Elle Yap.
One of the storyboards shared by Roxlee at the Gravity Art Space Artist Talks. Photo by Elle Yap.
One of the storyboards shared by Roxlee at the Gravity Art Space Artist Talks. Photo by Elle Yap.
A still from the short film "Hitting Two Birds with One Stone." Photo by Elle Yap.
A still from the short film “Hitting Two Birds with One Stone.” Photo by Elle Yap.
A still from the short film "Hitting Two Birds with One Stone." Photo by Elle Yap.
A still from the short film “Hitting Two Birds with One Stone.” Photo by Elle Yap.

After his talk, the gallery screened one of his short films, Hitting Two Birds with One Stone. It’s a wild, kinetic work that mixes paintings, drawings, and haunted-looking costumes set to music. The film gives a message against shoving oneself into the boxes our society made for us. Instead, it pushes us to pursue our weirdness in whatever way the artist finds acceptable—in any medium, for whatever message.

Inspiring Artists of the Future

Tekla Tamoria discussed her exhibit The Ylang Ylang Chapters and her inspiration for the project. Being the first artist in her family seems to be in her thoughts a lot as she created her works. More important than that is being the first female artist to pursue a life of creativity instead of domesticity. 

Tekla Tamoria discussing "The Ylang Ylang Chapters." Photo by Elle Yap.
Tekla Tamoria discussing “The Ylang Ylang Chapters.” Photo by Elle Yap.

Her works here were inspired by the past of her family. Specifically, the past of every woman in her family, many of whom did not have opportunities outside of the domestic sphere. She ruminated on her inspirations a lot during her talk, including her grandmother who appears prominently in one of the stitched art presented. How do we move forward in our lives, knowing that we receive more opportunities for advancement today than our own family members did in the past?

The artist talks from Gravity Art Space gives us a look behind the curtain of how our artists create the works we enjoy. As we cultivate a new generation of artists to challenge our society and craft new ideas, talks like these allow for transparency in the process—to show that even the greatest artistic works come from a place of humanity.

Related reading: ‘Violent Camote’: Roxlee Paints the Explicit Crudeness of Life

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