Nude Photography to Abstract Paintings

Nude Photography to Abstract Paintings. Written by Jervis Manahan for SubSelfie.com

My second greatest fear, next to not fulfilling my greatest dreams, is not being able to create something artistic that hasn’t existed in the world before.

It can be anything — maybe a culinary experiment, a new chair design, a sketch, or even mundane things like doodles or comic strips, as long as it has not existed in the past. I have this theory that while most people eventually hone their artistic talent through the years, their imagination also decreases as they age. We often tend to focus on the more logical stuff (usually at the workplace), thus, losing the inborn creativity we had as kids.

Because of that, I vowed to myself that I’d pursue more creative endeavors. I now have a new mantra: “Create something different.”

The Beauty of Nakedness

Just before college ended, I did what could be the fiercest thing in my life — a nude photography experiment. It was for my graduation pictorial’s creative shot.

Posing nude was a fitting remembrance for all the years I spent in a university that venerates a naked man as its icon. It was also a celebration of teenage angst:  a prize I gave myself for all the struggles of trying to be independent.

I really felt uncomfortable at first. There were four or five of us scheduled for the photoshoot so a lot of people were inside the studio. But this pictorial was one of the things I anticipated the most when I was in college. I knew I just had to savor every moment of it.

After taking my sablay and toga photos, the photographer asked about my concept for the creative shot. Next thing I knew, I was slowly undressing myself for the most daring experience I would never forget in this lifetime.

I must admit: there’s a great sense of liberation in it. The concept was minimalist yet outrageous. I looked like an embryo in the womb yet to unravel its potential. It was uncovering everything but still not showing something.

If I’ve realized anything, it’s that our naked bodies are perhaps the most wonderful of all God’s creations. And one doesn’t have to have a well-chiseled built to be proud of it. One of my theater mentors told me the pictures were done with good artistic taste. And it’s something not many people can do. I felt proud.

Where are the stars when you need it the most?
Where are the stars when you need it the most?

More Art Inspirations

Last year, I met Leeroy New, a top-caliber Pinoy visual artist. Aside from his sculptures and out-of-this-world exhibits, he was also the man behind some of Lady Gaga’s costumes and the recently unveiled “Elsa” statue in Ilocos Norte.

In his lecture, he said that he started with humble beginnings in an art school in Laguna. His passion moved his craft forward, and now he’s internationally acclaimed.

With internationally acclaimed visual artist Leeroy New
With internationally acclaimed visual artist Leeroy New

My interest in the arts intensified when we visited Art Fair Philippines in Makati mid-February this year. It seemed like the most beautiful things converged in a covered parking space, only partitioned by thin walls.

Exihibits from Art Fair Philippines
Exihibits from Art Fair Philippines
Art Fair Philippines
Art Fair Philippines
Art Fair Philippines
Art Fair Philippines

After two weeks, we visited another exhibit that focused on typography. Set in a quaint, almost abandoned house in Alabama street in E. Rodriguez, QC, Type Kita was smaller than Art Fair Philippines. But it wasn’t any less attractive.

And then it struck me. I could actually build my own exhibit in the future. If they could do it, nothing’s stopping me from doing it too.

Stop procrastinating.
Stop procrastinating.
Courage.
Courage.
I will!
I will!
Shall We?
Shall We?
I am!
I am!

My Personal Art Endeavors

Just recently, I decided to kickstart this project. I started from scratch — no skill nor materials. But it was at this point where it was almost perfect to immerse in my new painting project.

As if on a time machine, I went back to my years in preschool when I had the utmost eagerness to discover new things with colors and strokes. I loved the feeling of freedom, of doing anything in the canvas. No rules, no conventions. No rights and wrongs. I just went where my hand and my imagination took me.

Blank working space
Blank working space
My first painting: "Kung Paano I-guhit ang Musika" | Acrylic on Canvas, May 2014
My first painting:
“Kung Paano Iguhit ang Musika”,
Acrylic on Canvas, May 2014

Painting proved to be a good exercise for the soul. It always brings me to an alternate reality, for my mind always wandered on the hours I spent in it. It felt like I was putting my dreams on canvas. My vision and thoughts mixed in a concoction of colors and lines and strokes.

My second painting: "Ang Mga Kulay ng Guniguni" | Acrylic on Canvas, May 2014
My second painting:
“Ang Mga Kulay ng Guniguni”
Acrylic on Canvas, May 2014

Since then, I knew painting was the therapy I needed. At the very least, it became a palliative solution to my pre-quarter life crisis. There’s this ‘unexplainable‘ kind of happiness whenever I see my ideas come to life.

However, I know that art should go beyond the pleasantries and the wall decorations. It should interrogate human sensibilities. The power of art comes when it bites and shakes. I’m taking it one step at a time. My time for that will come.

My latest work is an abstraction of Michelangelo’s Pieta.

First step in painting on canvas: Outline
First step in painting on canvas: Outline
Second step: Color
Second step: Color
My third painting: "Sa Kandungan ng Pagdadalamhati" | Acrylic on Canvas June 2014
My third painting:
“Sa Kandungan ng Pagdadalamhati”
Acrylic on Canvas, June 2014

Self Discovery through Art

Many have this misconception that painting, and art in general, is only for the intellectual elite. In my case, I think there’s something much more personal in it. It’s a way to rediscover yourself. It’s not necessarily driven by talent or passion. We just have to have a desire to release and share what’s in our subconscious. And more than anything, the experience is just as important as the product.

I know that my works are far from beautiful.

But if these things could give me the joy, the meaning, and the fulfillment of a personal mission to create something different, I’d be happy to continue doing this for the rest of my life.

Mural in the UP College of Fine Arts
Mural in the UP College of Fine Arts

[Entry 15, The SubSelfie Blog]

About the Author:

Jervis Manahan.

Jervis Manahan is a News Reporter for PTV 4. He is also a Contributor for SubSelfie.com but is part of the original roster that founded the site. He was previously a News Writer for 24 Oras and Unang Balita and a News Researcher for State of the Nation with Jessica Soho. Broadcast Communication 2012, UP Diliman. Read more of his articles here.

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