On this journey of following my art in New York, I know it is but appropriate to pay my respects to the masters who’s been teaching me how to “playnt.” It was June last year when I became a full time artist and felt the need to take my art into a new direction. I usually work with photographs or videos, then I thought of dabbling into painting. I found “the Art Book” (or shall I say it found me, hehe) and decoded its layers, I felt I was being taught by the masters. And since I’m not really a painter, I call what I do “playntings,” or playing and painting.
As expected, there was a long queue winding outside the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). After forever I was finally able to get in, and boy the museum was packed! Good to know there are a lot of people who wants to see works of art, but bad for me because there’s not much time left to see everything. To be able to make use of my time wisely, I went right to the top floor and worked my way down.
Hi Messieurs Klimt, Van Gogh, Diego Rivera, Monet and Picasso. It is wonderful to see your brush strokes and study the layers up close. Finally we meet again. I have seen some of your works before but I understand them more now.
On view was Henri Matisse’ Cut-Outs… There was another queue to get in and we were told not to take photos of the temporary exhibition. Good, so I can be able to just focus on the artworks.
I’m not exactly a fan of Matisse but his cut-outs were a revelation. Seeing it made me miss using scissors again. I started out my life as an artist by accident. I had trouble sleeping one night, I found my old travel photographs and started cutting it… Creating collages is still my first love, while these cut-outs (particularly “the swimming pool”) was Matisse’ last oeuvre.
Aruruteynkyu to my audio guide, I discovered that some of the cut paper were pinned to Matisse’ wall to cover a stain. He used his walls as canvas and scissors as his paintbrush. Seeing the thumb tack holes on the paper, made it more playful and joyful to look at. I imagine him in his studio, experimenting on the composition and the layout.
Going from room to room and discovering this world of paper cut-outs made me soooo happy, I teared up! Floating colored papers filled up the room. There was a garden, a circus and then a swimming pool – I believed it. I experienced it.
Matisse wanted to swim, but at his age of 82 and ill-health, he wasn’t able to do so. He then decided to create his own, a pool of aquamarine blue cut paper inside his studio. I too swam in my tears when i dove right into his swimming pool.
Monsieur Matisse, it’s an honour to meet you.
I wish to sit in a corner and just cry, but there were too many people. No moment or space to just take it all in. So I decided to take a break and gather my thoughts at the museum’s cafe.
Paintings were not really my priority when I go to museums or galleries. I prefer something more contemporary or conceptual, but my “playnting” sessions taught me to return to the basics. It taught me to view things differently, with new eyes. Now, I look at something and I try to figure out what colors were used to create that.
Frida, I am looking forward to getting to know you more. Kandinsky and Delaunay, I now recognize your works even from afar. Miro, Chagall and Gaugin – I appreciate you more now.
“Kindly return your audio guides on the first level. The museum will be closing in a few minutes.” Huwaaaat?!? But I still haven’t seen the exhibition on the second floor! Well, as if naman aantayin talaga nila ako matapos maglibot diba. I took so long staring and admiring the works of the masters that I lost track of time.
It felt good to see other people being moved by the artworks as well. It just goes to show how powerful art can be. How an artwork even from long ago is still relevant until now. How art can transcend both time and space.
This trip just validates all the more my decision to fully focus on my Art. I know I still have a looooong way to go, but I feel coming to New York (not to mention spending my savings) gives me the reason to believe that I am on the right path.
All photographs were taken by Jazel Kristin unless stated otherwise