Sunday, October 24, 2010

Artist vs. Art

So here's the question:
Do you like the artist or the art?
The singer or his/her songs?
The photographer or his/her photographs?

Or both?

Renowned fashion photographer Guy Bourdin was infamous for abusing the models he worked with. Is it solely his work that fashionistas are enamored with, or is it not only the work but also his character that people choose to love?

Let's have a modern-day example.

Take Terry Richardson. Many people are disgusted by his supposed "work ethic." And yet we see people loving him all the same. There are people that automatically dislike everything that has to do with him just because of his reputation.

Is this fair?

I'm not saying it isn't. But I'm not saying it is either.

Is it fair to associate a piece of work with the character of its creator, to be biased and pass judgment on something based on its origins and not its true substance?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Never the same

Things will never be the same, never exactly the same.

I have instinctively known this for all my life. Ever since I was younger, I always had this inherent belief in me. That I could never occupy the same space again, not exactly. Where I was standing one moment, if I went back to the "same" position, it still wouldn't truly be the same. It's hard to explain. But interestingly enough, this is one of my deepest of beliefs. And it has been with me for as long as I can remember.

But now this philosophy of mine rings stronger than ever.

Last semester was the time when things fell apart, much like the book I read in English class last semester by Chinua Achebe. Or they started to, at least. I kept fighting. I was in agony, and I was deeply unhappy. Toward the end of that terrible semester, which was probably the worst part of it all at that point, I found myself, very occasionally, wishfully thinking, "If only things could go back to the way they were." And more often, I found myself reassuring myself that I could go back to the way things were before my great slump. I could go back to being the stellar student that I was, with a stellar academic reputation.

But deep inside, I knew that that was not possible. I will never be the same person again. Never. Not the exact same girl I was the year before. You can never go back to the way things were. Time elapses, things change. But I can be better. That is my resolve. I will be stronger, I will be better. But it is simply impossible and against the foundations of my philosophy to even think that things will ever be the same.

Just like how I believed, and still believe, that you can never stand in the same exact spot more than once or that you can never occupy the very same space or atoms or whatever it is that this earth and air is composed of--I believe that you can never be the exact same person you were. You will change. Every day. You will never be the same. I will never be the same. That is simply how my life works--how I think. Yes, my love for everything that I have loved and presently love will still remain, but I cannot be the same as I was yesterday, or the day before, or the year before, and so on.

I've been meaning to write this post for quite a while, and it has always been on my mind, but I never really got to it or felt especially in the mood. But I just read Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami, and it really inspired me. I swear, the man is a genius--he knows how I think and feel. Or Mr. Murakami simply shares my sentiments.

Here's the quote of the passage that inspired me:
"But tomorrow I'll be a different person, never again the person I was. Not that anyone will notice after I'm back in Japan. On the outside nothing will be different. But something inside has burned up and vanished. Blood has been shed and something inside me is gone. Head down, without a word, that something makes its exit. The door opens; the door shuts. The light goes out. This is the last day for the person I am right now. The very last twilight. When dawn comes, the person I am won't be here anymore. Someone else will occupy this body."
 --Sputnik Sweetheart (Haruki Murakami)

This describes my life. My philosophy.

I have just shared with you, one of my most sacred beliefs. And it scares me, because I have always regarded this belief most highly, and no one else has ever known it. And I feel that no one really does--no one could understand this. Does anybody?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It eluded us then, but that's no matter--

Lately (for the past three days), I have been asking myself a question of paramount importance.

Am I happy?

And I honestly don’t know. I can’t say “no,” immediately, but I can’t say “yes” either.

The reason I live is because I am chasing after happiness, truly. To me, happiness comes in many different forms. (One, of which, includes achieving goals and realizing dreams, just so you know).
Sometimes I fear that I will never achieve happiness; that I will spend the rest of my life; all of eternity chasing after that which cannot be attained.

But there is no other way for me than to try, no, to do all in my power to grasp it.

After reading The Great Gatsby and doing so much analysis of it, I cannot help but relate to Gatsby, the man himself. And what was he doing…he was chasing after the green light, Daisy, his dream, the American dream.

The dream—his dream—the American dream, whichever one it is—it represented not just a desire, but also the underlying emotions that go into it. (I can’t think of a better way to say that, but it does sound strange, no?) This dream is fueled by an untarnished optimism—a burning hope in us that cannot ever be crushed and diminished, no matter how many setbacks we encounter, no matter what the precedents. We will always think that there will be tomorrow—that tomorrow—”…we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…”


I will always chase after happiness, dreams, and everything in between.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Nighthawks by Edward Hopper (1942)

I felt an impulse to swear (ecstatically) when I began writing this, but I refrained from doing so because I feel that it would soil the magic of this--THIS monumental painting. I only found out about a few minutes ago the origins of this painting. But this painting is very special to me. It dug up a well of memories from my childhood that had been gnawing at my subconsciousness all these years.

I first saw this painting when I was in elementary school. Probably the fourth grade--so that was about seven years ago--while taking a cursory glance at my history textbook or something.

But the moment I saw this painting, I knew it was special. The emotion--the mood--it captured me right away. I think I was predisposed to gravitating toward melancholy at a young age, if not from the very start, for that was what I perceived immediately. Hooper himself said that he--"unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city." The gloom, the loneliness, the melancholy--it was so ubiquitous. Nighthawks settled into my brain. It was imprinted into my mind, my subconsciousness, and it probably took up residence in my heart.

What I knew throughout all these years was that this painting was, and is, indelible. It lived on vividly in my memories all these years, despite my not knowing anything about it, despite my lack of understanding its historical significance. It pervaded my dreams at night, and even nowadays, I find myself, often, thinking absentmindedly about the city, and this image always resurfaces in my imagination. Yes, I've had dreams centered around this lonely diner. Cinematic flashes of this diner in my imagination. When I envision the city, I often think about this diner, this painting, and the sentiments that it evokes.

I deeply love it. Not with exuberance, but a very calm accepting sort of love, if that makes any sense at all. It settles with me all too perfectly. It is inherent that I would feel irrevocably fascinated and drawn to this painting. But the strange thing is that I am not sure if I would call it beautiful--not beautiful in the sense that I would identify with, say, Celestial Eyes (the art gracing the cover of The Great Gatsby). It's a different sort of painting. More personal--ironically--despite the impersonal theme.

Nighthawks is quietly powerful and pervading, ubiquitous, indelible, transcendent of time, and everlasting in my eyes and mind.
It has been on my mind and in my dreams all these years, and I have finally rediscovered and discovered it again.