#StoriesOnSquares

OpeningI started a new project this month called Stories on Squares. It’s a daily art challenge that keeps my creative gears cranking. The concept is exactly what it sounds like, every day I tell a new story on a square.

I’ve made it to day 24 without a hitch (except for one day that I forgot about the project altogether and wrote a story a few hours late – oops!) Most days I think it has challenged my discipline more than my creative juices.

March1Every story is a surprise to me. The experience of letting the short short story unfold is one of the most enjoyable parts of the exercise. Some days the words need a lot of patience and I stare at a blank square for a long while. Other days, I get inspiration in traffic, waiting in line or talking to a friend, and I write down a starting thought. Other days, the stories flow easy. Some days, my friends have to remind me to write a story. (I should really set a daily alarm!)

Follow the stories on my artist page on Instagram or Facebook. And soon, the feed of stories will be updated regularly on my artist website, www.nathaniaaritao.com. Would love to hear what you think of the stories!

Here are a few more of the first stories, in order of appearance this March:


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March5    More soon!

Taking down the show

We packed it up on Sunday night. My first show. I cut the twine and nylon that hung my poems and paintings on the walls. I heard a satisfying snap with each break. I felt it, too.

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running upwards //   nathania aritao  //acrylic, ink, charocal, graphite on wood // 2015

My poetry and paintings hung the course of two weekends on the walls of Scarsdale, a lovely laid back space tucked away in the S&R compound on the busy Shaw Boulevard, boasting artisan doughnuts and croughnuts.

The exhibit was called “If the Ground Moves: Villanelles in Mixed Media.” This was my first independent body of work created as a full show. The work was not only all my own, but also extremely personal. It was not just a chip off of my creative bark, but a walk through a grove of trees whispering my story. In the days leading to the event, I felt my spirit shrink back in unease, but increase too with anticipation.

The work is made up of 13 poems and 3 painting compositions (made up of 12 individual pieces). All but one of the poems were written in California coffee shops and train rides. The odd one out, and the collection’s keystone, was written in my favorite local Legazpi coffee shop. The paintings were made on wood and canvas, a mix of acrylic, ink, graphite and charcoal.

I could not be any happier about my very first solo show.

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My favorite of all the poems mounted and leaning on the wall. Surrounded by my artist statement, information about me, my opening night guestbook, and jars for guests to leave questions or notes for me.
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Some of my poetry, typewritten with a vintage 1967 Olivetti typewriter on handmade abaca paper.  

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If you’d like to know more about the details of the work, please check out my website: www.nathaniaaritao.com.

I have also made a facebook page and instagram account dedicated to my art. Please follow and keep me accountable. I hope to make more art and share more art this year.

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sounds i will later work on forgetting // nathania aritao // acrylic, ink, charcoal and graphite on wood // 2015
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where the pavement breaks // nathania aritao // acrylic, ink, charcoal, and graphite on canvas // 2015

The Silence After

Talk to me.

I’ve just sent my work into the world.

On Saturday night, I opened my first solo art show entitled If the Ground Moves: Villanelles in Mixed Media.

In the morning, we filled the room with poetry and paintings, installing my work into the space. In the evening, the room filled and flowed until no seats were left and friends had to stand. There was conversation. There was music. There were my paintings looking out at everyone, singing their own song. And then there was me at the microphone, reading precious words to those who had gathered.

For right now, after so many words and brushstrokes – it seems I can’t say much. I am ridiculously happy with how it’s all come together, but I cannot pull a clear thought together about how I feel, where I stand, or what in the world is going on in my head.

In the meantime, my poetry and my paintings will hopefully keep talking for me. They are still up at Scarsdale on Shaw Boulevard until February 1st.

If you were one of the friends present at the show, talk to me.

Talk back.

 

But seriously, call me, send me a message, drop me a line at nathania.aritao@gmail.com or visit my new page here.

Give me violent reactions. Send me drawings. Make up diagrams. Talk back!

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(More photos from the show soon..)

 

Speak soon,

T

 

 

 

 

 

An Exercise in Vulnerability

I swing back and forth. Mostly I am tickled with delight or excitedly nervous, but between this and that thought, I freeze momentarily in terror.

I am putting up my first solo show of poetry and paintings.

This is a dream come true. And hopefully the first show of a lifetime of sharing art.

It is also an exercise in vulnerability. My paintings and drawings will be on the walls, as will my words, carefully pieced together. On the opening night, I will pick up a mic and read to whoever has gathered.

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Last year I vowed I would make more time for my art – between the adventures of running operations for a social business, teaching classes at the barre and telling stories to Filipino children affected by the destructive typhoons.

While traveling in September, after a caffeinated wave of inspiration, I decided I would go for it.

This is me going for it.

Friends tell me I am brave for doing this. And though that strengthens my heart, it is also when I hear those words that I remember to be scared.

Walk with me through my 2014.

Thank you for all your ridiculousness, your storms, your breakthroughs. One last look, but actually, 2014, I’m quite over you.

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I made new friends.
I traveled to see people. I traveled with Buhay Makulay. I traveled alone.
I stood in front of thousands of little children, from the poorest communities I know, trying my best to shape life into the word hope by telling stories and painting murals.
I was welcomed into the makeshift houses of families that lost theirs.
I saw the impact of history’s strongest storm and the brokenness, amidst powerful healing, that persisted months after.
I was reminded of God’s faithfulness.
I was left in awe of people living with less wanting. People living with less.
I turned 25.
I met heartbreak. The dream shattering, paradigm shifting, inky, moonless kind of heartbreak.
I paid a lot of bills.
I sold back my first car to my brother after an expensive year of maintaining it, and bought a smaller, more fuel-efficient new one in the same color.
I still didn’t gather enough courage to drive.
I went on adventures. I wandered.
I met healing. The joy mending, light pouring into your dusky musty cave, dewy, liberating kind of healing.
I picked up my pen again and wrote poetry.
I moved out of my family’s house and got my own place.
I received visitors. Friends with noise and laughter.
I learned how to teach four more classes at PlanaForma.
I was challenged.
I tried hard to make time for my sketchbook and blank canvases.
I made a lot of challenging decisions as a manager running operations at The Paper Project.
I listened to my gut.
I stood in front of the work of some of my favorite artists like Sebastiao Salgado and Mark Rothko.
I got to spend time with friends who live far away.
I wrote out checks.
I fell for coffee.
I cried more this year (almost certainly) than my whole lifetime of crying after the age of five.
I met hope, again and again.
I made a lot of messy, but valuable mistakes.
I was embraced by community. The spirit resuscitating kind of community.
I started to skip the trips to the salon. I cut my own hair.
I danced. But not enough.
I prayed. But also not enough.
I ate a lot of good food. A lot.
I laughed. Hopefully more than I ate good food, or at least just as much.
I dreamed new dreams.
I claimed big visions for the new year.

You were one for the books, 2014. Now, please pleasantly get out of my way.
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