The Self Defining Book

This month has been the most productive month I have had in a long time. I feel like I have rediscovered something very important. I have rediscovered the power to strive.

Not to bore you with my sentimentalism, I will jump right to the subject; my art class.

The first day of drawing class, my professor –like most college professors- introduced us to the course materials and went over all the things that are going to be expected of her and those she will expect from us as well. Everything was pretty ordinary, like any other class, but then she said: “You can be the most skilled artist out there, but if you don’t draw something everyday, you are not truly an artist.” I may not be expressing it with her same words, but, what she told us is that without the discipline to become an artist we will never really be one. That was all I needed to hear to come to terms with my pathetic insecurities and excuses. I looked at myself in the mirror and said: “Fighting!”… Not really, this is something that happens in Korean dramas.

Coming back to the real world; I am expected to complete a sketch-book with ideas, gestures, drawings, pictures, writings, and notes on just about anything that exists in my world, or through my eyes to be precise. The professor does not want something fancy, she wants a book that defines who I am.

Well, I have started this self-defining book, and with it my commitment to become disciplined. I have managed to complete more than 15 pages in four weeks. I know is not exactly what she wants, but you can’t ask more of someone who went from not drawing anything at all for long periods of time, to actually drawing something every two or three days.

The professor seems very calm and lay back, but she knows how to put the pressure on you when necessary. I have created things in this class that I never thought myself capable of doing, and its all thanks to her support and determination.

For a while, I thought my talent had faded. Every time someone complemented me in my drawing skills and said I had talent, I would smile and say thank you, but inside of me I always felt I had become a phony. How can I have talent when all I do is copy something that has already been created? I couldn’t -or more like wouldn’t- draw anything that was not a picture, unless I had someone posing for me, like in previous art classes.What I have -I told myself- is skills. If that is a talent, then I do have talent yes! I’m extremely talented in that field. I had gone from using only water-colors and acrylics when I was a child, to not using color at all. I had gone from doing one or two drawings a night, to not drawing at all –only when forced. In this class I have broken out of that comfort zone in which I had put myself into, where all I needed was my skills to survive, and brought myself back to where girl meets talent and talent meets the paper, and together they create something good.

I feel the day that I will call myself a true artist will finally happen. It’s not a dream anymore, it’s real. I will become an artist. And it’s not because I will not copy from pictures anymore. It’s because I finally understood that I can still do that and use it as a learning process, which in the end it will give me the ability to create something of my own. For example; by copying from Motoro Mase’s Ikigami, I learned how to shadow in different tones without smudging, and I have gotten a better sense of light and facial expressions. From working in class, I have learned to come back to the drawing and work on it even if it is days after I first started it. This is a huge step for me.

(Untitled, graphite on paper)

I hope this serves as inspiration for others who are like me, in one word; insecure. In many; those who think they lack the “skills” or “talent” to become an artist. There is not such thing. There is talent, yes, but talent alone will not accomplish anything. We most learn from the basics and practice, practice, practice.

Artist; let me tell you one thing about this word, is underrated. Anybody can be an artist or called themselves one as long as whatever it is they do or create sells. I don’t want to become one of those “artist”. I want to have a base, to have roots. I want to go through the processes of becoming an artist, and not turn one overnight. I want to struggle in my path to realization. I want to suffer failures before I can succeed. This is what will give me the right to feel and say I am an artist. And this is what discipline is all about. How is that for defining yourself?

 


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The Professor’s Rant

I have no idea how I ran into this, but wait! I do. Okay, so here is the story in like three sentences. I’ve been looking for The Professor’s Rant classical music that comes on the Sims 3 game. Apparently there is no other Professor’s Rant than Pachelbel Rant. I’m persistent, so I kept on looking and came up with a video of a guy ranting on Pachelbel Rant. Phew! That was tight.

So Rob Paravonian is his name, and he is a comedian with a talent for music. I don’t want to say what I know about him since it will come out on the video. I just wanted to share this tonight. Rob’s rant on music, Pachelbel’s way.

Lilium

Last month I shared one of my most valuable possessions, which is my obsession as well. I wrote about the OST of Cowboy Bebop, and how awesome it is. But Cowboy Bebop is over, done, finito. Even if I want to watch it again, and overwhelm myself with its music, it will not be the same as if I were to watch an anime for the first time, or -what actually applies to this post- listen to its theme song.

Nothing beats that first impression, the first reaction to a wonderful melody. It makes us want to listen to it again, and again, nonstop. Luckily there are other openings to anime as good as “Tank” (CBB’s theme song) whether the anime can compete on the same level as CBB or not, there are many theme songs that easily fall under anybody’s  Best Anime Opening list.

This time I have a jewel under my sleeve. The song I chose to share  is –perhaps- the best thing this anime has. I say this, because I have tried to watch the anime but never seem to be able to follow through with it, and it might very well be my opinion alone, and not one of others. As I have read many positive comments on this anime, and everyone that has seen it have something good to say about it. I in the other hand, have nothing to say about it, but that the song is just beautiful. And what is even more awesome, they used Klimt’s paintings as reference for their images in their opening. Okay, now it would be a reasonable time to stop writing about the song for a minute, and explain who Gustav Klimt was, in case some readers don’t know. I don’t say this in a derisive tone, not everybody knows of this great artist, although he is in fact famous, but certainly not a Da Vinci.

Gustav Klimt was an Australian painter, who’s art is of the symbolist movement. He painted mostly the woman figure bringing eroticism to his paintings of a reality in dreams. I had always sort of liked Klimt’s paintings, specially Medicine (which was destroyed in a fired) and the always famous Kiss. I would look at these paintings and be intrigue by how the painter managed to mix medias so extraordinary well, and the use of gold in his paintings was some sort of mystery to me. Why use gold when there is silver? I dislike gold. All of these things don’t matter anymore because after my first attempt at watching the anime Elfen Lied, hearing the opening theme, and recognizing the paintings of the characters as imitations of Klimt’s style of painting, I was mesmerized. I started looking for Klimt in every bookstore I found. I have googled his paintings more than a thousand times, and I now have in my possession more than five books on the artist, as well as decorative objects with the artists paintings. Yes, he is another one of my obsessions. And looking back now, I’m glad he used gold and not silver. He was brilliant.

Going back to Lilium; from what little information I managed to gather, the anime Elfen Lied is based on a manga by Lynn Okamoto, and its title is based on a German poem by Eduard Morike of the same title. In the manga the song is called “Elfenlied”, but in the anime is called Lilium, and its different from the one in the manga. It is in Latin, written to sound like a Gregorian Chant (a variation of plainsong, a type of music within Western Christianity) and different variations of the original is played as background music for the entire anime. Even though some have claimed it has no particular symbolism with the anime, I think otherwise. Judging from the anime description, and the fact that they took Klimt’s work as reference for their own painting in the opening video, I have to say it does have a connection with the theme of the anime which is the value of humanity. Also, Kilmt often based his paintings on this theme.

There is more to this anime than I thought, and I will definitely try to watch it again, maybe this time it will be a successful one.

Here is the opening theme for the anime Elfen Lied;

If you are a fan of Klimt, then you will be able to recognize the paintings.

I have this other fan made video with lyrics of the entire song, full version;

The Time Spent Thinking

It feels like it has been ages since I last wrote in this waxy blog of mine, and it has only been a week more or less. Oh! How I have missed the excitement of putting all your effort into writing something you care about or that interests you, to later be satisfied with comments from those two or three loyal followers who claim your stuff to be great and interesting but in reality they seem to not realize they have been tricked into believing it is. Even if it doesn’t sound right, its so gratifying for me. And I’m so thankful.

Yes, I think this feeling of satisfaction has obsesses me somehow. Now I must admit, I have fallen victim of my own blog. I’m obsess with it, I wouldn’t go a week without having to post something… I wouldn’t, I couldn’t. However, these past few days I have been meaning to post more than just one thing; there is the “Lilium” song; the hoarders issue; and the question of whether there is such a thing as fate. All of these things that have been hovering over my head for quite sometime now, and I write essays about it on my mind continuously but lack the time/desire (too tired to want to do anything) to put it down on paper. This is what I call, the time spent thinking.

Good thing is, I have taken some time off from my responsibilities and I have managed to scape the routine of my everyday life to sit in front of my computer and write some meaningless posts in hopes of bringing some light and maybe darkness (can’t always agree with everyone) into the lives of those my followers, and the ones that just happen to pass by.

Meanwhile I will share this wonderful song from The Cranberries which was inspiration for my drawings at school for this week; “Dreams”.

Just a thought on this great band: The Cranberries are the type of band that intrigues me. I heard “Dreams” first on My So-Called Life and loved it, then I heard “Linger” on the radio and loved it, but never new it was from the same band. So when I did realized I like more than just one song from this band it was a total surprise, a good one too.

Here is the video and lyrics;

Dreams

Oh, my life is changing everyday,

In every possible way.
And oh, my dreams, it’s never quite as it seems,
Never quite as it seems.

I know I’ve felt like this before, but now I’m feeling it even more,
Because it came from you.
And then I open up and see the person falling here is me,
A different way to be.

Ah, la da ah…
La…

I want more impossible to ignore,
Impossible to ignore.
And they’ll come true, impossible not to do,
Impossible not to do.

And now I tell you openly, you have my heart so don’t hurt me.
You’re what I couldn’t find.
A totally amazing mind, so understanding and so kind;
You’re everything to me.

Oh, my life,
Is changing every day,
In every possible way.

And oh, my dreams,
It’s never quite as it seems,
‘Cause you’re a dream to me,
Dream to me.

Ah, da, da da da, da, la…

Signpost

After getting inspired by Ikigami, The Ultimate Limit, I remembered watching the movie and falling in love with the song Michishirube (Signpost)

Ikigami follows Fujimoto on his foreboding job and the stories of those who are beset by a terrible fate, and must succumb to it. In Japan, there is a law which purpose is to instill fear of death into citizens, so that each person can learn to value life and live in a more peaceful society.  The law is enforced by inserting a special nano-capsule in the syringes that are used during their National Welfare Immunization Act, which is given to each citizen at the age of six. The nano-capsule -injected to .01% of the citizens- moves to rest on the pulmonary artery and bursts at a predetermine date during the age of 18 to 24 of each citizen, resulting in their death. The citizens never know who got injected with the nano-capsule, so that they grow up with the uncertainty of living past the age of 24. This way, people will learn how to appreciate life, and live righteously. Fujimoto (the main character) is a young man who has made it to the age of 25. He escaped death, but he is now burdened with the mission of notifying those who will die, presenting them with their Ikigami (official death papers).

Ikigami is a manga by Mase Motoro, of who I could not find any other information than the place where he was born, Aichi Japan, and that aside from Ikigami he has another manga from 2003 titled; Heads. Mase Motoro is a great mangakan; not only can he draw, but the story he comes up with are very intriguing and touching. The manga was such a success in Japan, they came up with the movie in 2008. Of course, that the movie does not have all the stories that are in the manga, in fact the movie is based on the first two volumes. Each manga volume brings two different stories, and the director, Tomoyuki Takimoto, was able to fit four stories in the movie and managed to successfully connect them all to the main character in a way in which the outcome of each story unfolds within a believable time frame, given that after Fujimoto presents each person with their death papers they only have 24 hours to live and Fujimoto gets involved in their death someway or the other.

The song Michishirube is sang by one of the characters in the movie. He is someone who has neglected his best friend after being signed with a big production company. After learning he is one of the few citizens chosen to die for his country and the welfare of its people, he uses his big chance at fame to honor his friend by singing Michishirube (Signpost) a song supposedly written by his friend. Of course that the original song is by the band PhilHarmoUnique, and it-is-awe-some. I couldn’t find information on PhilHarmoUnique, I cannot provide you with anything other than the song. Nevertheless, I have here lyrics, and videos with the song sang by both; the actor in the movie, and the band.

First is the actor from the movie, this was my favorite scene from the movie, is very touching knowing the full story behind it.

This is a fan made video with the band singing the song; this is a longer version from the one in the movie since it’s the original.

And here are the lyrics, in Japanese and English;

Romaji; Michishirube

Mou sukoshi de watashi no tanjoubi ga
yatte kuru kedo tada rousoku wa feuru
Migi e hidari e oshikakaru mono no
Baransu no naka de kokoro wa yureu

Arasoi wa kirai da ga kokoro no naka de wa itsumo
Dareka ni pisutoru wo muketari shiteru
Hito wo tsukiotoshitemo agaritai hyoushoudai
Nanika ga hoshikute nanika wo mezashite

Daremo ga gendai ni michishirube wo sagashite iru

Ikiru to wa nan darou ka?
Tatakau koto ka
Tatakai wo sakeru koto ka
Tadasisa to wa nan darou ka?
Machigawanu koto ka
Miushinawanu koto deshou ka

Mada asa ga kite kao wo araeba
Watashi ni owari ga aru nado mizu ni nagareru
Kuyashii kurai ni kakko yoku itai
kuyashii kurai ni yoki hito de itai

Namida de karete egao de shiwa ga fuete
Itoshiki hito to nanika wo seoi koshi wo maruku suru
Kurushii kurai ni shiawase de itai
Kurushii kurai ni shiawase ni shitai

Sore demo sore sura wasureru toki ga aru

Yasashisa to wa nan darou ka?
Yuruseru koto ka
Yusuresu koto deshou ka
Ai suru to wa nan darou ka?
Omoiyaru dake ka
Utagau kokoro wo mo kakusu koto deshou ka

Ame ni mo makete kaze ni mo makeru keredomo
Itsuka watashi mo michi shirusu

Ikiru to wa nan darou ka?
Tatakau koto ka
Mamoritsuzukeru koto ka
Tadashisa to wa nan darou ka?
Fumihazusanu koto ka
Jibun dake ga ushinawanu koto na no ka

Kore kara saki ayumu ippo ga
Shiniyuku ippo de naku
Ikiyuku ippo de are
Kore kara saki utau kotoba ga
Hazukashinagara mo
Hito no kokoro wo utsu you ni to
Sore ga watashi
no michishirube

English; Signpost

It”ll be my birthday soon
But that will just mean more candles
My heart sways in the balance
Between the things that crowd me
From the left and the right

I hate fighting, but in my heart
I’m always pointing a pistol at someone
I want to get up on that victory stand,
even if I have to push others down
Wanting something, aiming for something

Everyone’s searching for a signpost these days

What is living?
Is it fighting?
Or is it avoiding battle?
What is right?
Is it not being wrong?
Or is it not losing sight?

Morning comes again and I wash my face
Washing away the fact that I will someday come to an end too
It’s galling how much I want to be cool
It’s galling how much I want to be good

My tears will dry and the smile lines will grow
My back will grow bent, shouldering something with my beloved
It hurts how much I want to be happy
It hurts how much I want to make you happy

But still there are times I forget that

What is kindness?
Is it forgiving?
Or is it not forgiving?
What is love?
Is it just sympathy?
Or is it concealing a doubting heart?

The rain gets me down, and the wind does too
But someday I’ll show the way

What is living?
Is it fighting?
Or is it continuing to protect?
What is right?
Is it not stepping off the path?
Or is it not losing yourself?

I want this next step
to be a step towards life
Not death
The words I’m going to sing
May be embarrassing
But I hope they’ll resonate in people’s heart
They are
my signpost