I used to worry about uncomfortable silences or what I call dead-air (a television term). Like you meet somebody for the first time and you don’t know what you will talk about and then s i l e n c e . . . When I found out I was shooting in Hapao for The Probe Team with Robert, I had to think of possible topics we can talk about when I will meet him for the first time. (Yes, I was weird like that.) That was more than 10 years ago, all I remember now is that there were definitely no uncomfortable silences just instant connection.
I’ve known him as an artist / reporter / backpacker / kindred spirit / kid at heart who sketches anywhere and whoever. ROBERT ALEJANDRO has this way of disarming people and breaking the barrier with his pen and paper…
TELL US WHAT YOU DO?
I draw. I paint. I design. I create and stuff like that.
DO YOU HAVE A DAY JOB? HOW DO YOU SUPPORT YOUR ART?
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR TRUE CALLING? WHEN WAS THE EXACT MOMENT YOU REALIZED THAT THIS IS WHAT YOU REALLY WANT TO DO?
There wasn’t an “exact moment”. I’ve ALWAYS drawn ever since I can remember – my earliest memory of drawing was scratching drawings on my moms’ furniture!!!! I just “found” myself doing what came naturally to me.
WHAT DID YOU GO THROUGH TO GET IT?
I just kept doing it day in and day out. I guess it helped that we had a family business (papemelroti) which encouraged me to create and draw and paint (to create products to sell – which I still do to this very day).
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOUR ART FROM THE REST?
I honestly don’t know. I guess the answer to that is “me”. I know I do ALL KINDS of art and my styles have a whole range too – which isn’t very good for “marketing” myself (you have to have a specialty) but the truth is, this is what I like to do – I really enjoy doing a LOT of things, a range of things. Does this make me “unmarketable”? – Maybe but more importantly, this is what makes me happy. This is who I really am. I would not want to limit myself to a “particular style / genre” just so that I become more “marketable”.
WHAT’S YOUR STYLE AND WHAT ARE YOUR THEMES?
Oh truth is, you (the viewer of my art) will have to figure that out. I am too busy creating, enjoying, designing to even think about what am i doing! Most people who know me throughout the years “know” what my style is. They can’t really put it into words but they know (this is what they tell me).
DO YOU HAVE A RITUAL THAT YOU DO BEFORE YOU START THE CREATION? SHARE WITH US YOUR PROCESS?
It involves a lot of THINKING. The thinking is way before I sit to do the actual artwork. I keep thinking. I think EVERYWHERE (MRT / waiting @ clients offices / while eating etc.)! This actually explains why I can wait for someone for 2 or 3 hours – it is because I spend the time THINKING and designing and creating and visualizing in my head. Then I make small doodles. I need to bring a small notebook or a pad & a pen everywhere. In my head, I start organizing how am I going to create this art – this art could be a drawing / painting / sculpture / digital art etc. etc.
And so when I actually sit down (sometimes on a chair / most times on the floor), the creation doesn’t take too long. I know exactly what I would like to do.
WHY DO YOU TRAVEL?
When I was younger, our family used to travel together (mababa pa dollar nu’n) – these were precious times. I thought when you travelled, you need to have a lot of money (our family would stay in hotels). Recently, I discovered backpacking (Southeast Asia in 2007, Europe in 2010)! I didn’t need a lot of money to travel – this was LIBERATING!!!!!
WHAT DOES IT DO TO/FOR YOU?
Travel does SO much! It sounds like a cliché but it’s true – it’s LEARNING about SO many things! Learning about yourself (I learned what truly makes me happy (SO important a lesson) – which has nothing to do with money (sometimes I still forget this lesson). What makes me happy? – creating art.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR ART?
Traveling is learning to fend for yourself, learning to take things as they come, learning to make the right decisions and SO SO much more. I encourage EVERY Filipino to travel and again I say, it doesn’t need a lot of money but more of time and courage. And we should all be courageous!
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT TO SAY THROUGH YOUR ART?
I guess it depends on which “art” I am creating. Some of my art, I know I want people to enjoy it (I used to design theme parks). Some of my art, I want people to feel good (most of my papemelroti art is this way). Sometimes I just want to create (my drawings during my travel). All sorts of things I guess.
WHAT FASCINATES YOU AND HOW DOES IT INFLUENCE WHAT YOU DO?
ALMOST everything fascinates me! Some people have said that I have not lost my sense of wonder – I guess that isn’t such a bad thing is it? I am a very curious person and I always enjoy learning new things (I love attending workshops). I guess with this “sense of wonder”, I almost never get bored with what I do. I am almost always excited about creating.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CONTINUE DOING WHAT YOU DO?
There is SO much art to do and create! How can I possibly stop? I think I will be creating and learning till I DIE!
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BRING YOUR ART?
ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE! But, it’s alright if I just do my little drawings on a street corner – that makes me happy too 🙂
WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFILL?
I have too many dreams! What I need to do is focus and simplify. Too many dreams might lead to disappointments and negativity – that I don’t need.
WHAT IS THE ART OF EVERYDAY FOR YOU?
That is a tough one.
The art of everyday for me is doing the BEST you can and enjoying that moment.