Everything’s An Experiment (For Now)

I feel like a huge chunk of my 2018 is about experimentations. Lots of trial and error, actually. Not necessarily in the creative sense, but if it counts that I’m trying out new mediums like graphite and gouache for a change (I’m sorry, I love watercolor, but I’m getting a bit sick of it), then okay. Either way, yeah, I’ve been testing the waters on many things and while I should be terrified about it, I’m not. I’m also not as particular anymore with the outcome, just as long as I put my mind into starting it and doing it. The outcome will come…soon. I’m just going to make sure I do my part in making it the best I can be.

As much as I am fascinated and interested with astrology, I never quite felt affected with the Mercury Retrograde until this recent wave that just ended (last April 15). It’s in Aries (I’m a Capricorn) and I’ve read this article saying that you tend to lose control over things (and yourself) during this period. True enough, I got sick, I couldn’t get myself to sit down and work, and I was constantly in a state of apathy up until last weekend’s field trips to Old Manila and Art in the Park. Finally, I’m better today. I’m hoping I get to fix my life more in the coming months.

Here are a few things I’ve been experimenting on…literally and figuratively.

Writing my first self-help book

I never thought a day would come where I’d actually pitch this idea to my publisher (which was approved), let alone get to write it. I’ve been giving talks for around 5 years now, and I feel like all of these sort of contributed to my growth as an artist and as a writer. I’m working on a book to be released in a few months’ time, and it’s a mix of things I’ve learned over the course of my career and a bit of exploration into what it means to live a creative life. As someone who accidentally ended up here in this creative career, I’ve been gathering lots of stories and anecdotes from my past experiences and weaving them into this book. It’s so surreal, and it’s like a self-imposed journey into myself too, so it’s kind of special that way.

I guess I’ll say this project is one of my 2018 highlights. I’m 20% in it and I’m keeping my fingers crossed things will turn out well. (At this point, you don’t really know. Brb, holding my breath!)

Working on projects that scare me

One of which is a set of tarot cards. I casually brought up the idea of illustrating cards after a reading with Chinggay early this year, and now I’ve been working on my illustrations for the said project. It’s exciting! But I’m also doubting myself half the time because I suck at drawing human anatomy (well, to be fair, the elements are less people and more objects). Digital coloring is also relatively new to me but I’m both curious and nervous to see how the final designs turn out. Go, me!

Side note: Love the color scheme of the original Rider-Waite tarot deck!

Organizing more classes (and closing the shop)

Okay, last of the work updates in this post. First of all, let’s put the sad news out first: I’m closing Shop Abbey Sy. I just can’t manage it anymore with all of my workload, and I don’t have the courage to complete leave it to someone else. I’m still opening USA orders though, and I’ll be running the shop while I’m in New York. So if you’re from the US, you can pre-order here.

I’m making use of my weekends this summer for workshops, mostly because people have been requesting it for the longest time. I still think teaching is one thing I love doing, and I told myself this year to keep doing it and to make art more accessible to everyone. For a list of my 2018 classes, click here.

Last week was so much fun! I got to spend a Saturday morning with a few readers for Coffee & Creativity at Common Folk. It was lovely discussing about journaling and basically the beauty of documenting things. Of course, with a little chat of random things in between.

Doing daily draws

I purchased this Art Oracles deck in Singapore because WHY SHOULDN’T I? LOL. Kidding aside, this set of oracle cards features artists and prominent historical people and their corresponding “messages”. You know me and my love for these people, right? Well, Yayoi Kusama was on the box. Of course, I had to get it!

I never quite opened it because it’s too pretty, but just because I’ve been curious about these daily draw things, I decided to pull out daily this week. Whether it’s to set an intention for my day, or to serve as a reminder for my creative pursuits, I’m looking forward to doing my daily draws to keep myself inspired every day.

Practicing yoga

I’m actually just writing this for accountability. I’ve been meaning to enroll myself in a yoga studio since two years ago (haha) but never managed to. I felt like I wasn’t flexible (I’m not!) and I’m not skinny…so I don’t think I can carry my own weight (I’m sorry I really have issues with myself). I did Bikram yoga for awhile (I liked it for a time), but the repetitiveness just didn’t appeal to me (also, it’s so hot in Manila right now, I don’t want to suffer in an equally heated room). I started practicing at home (thanks, Yoga with Adriene!) last February and I really enjoyed it. With a bit of encouragement from friends, I finally signed up for class. It’s just two weeks, but I’ll definitely enroll again when I get back from my Osaka trip.

There’s a different feeling after yoga that I can’t quite explain. But I felt it. And I feel 100x more alive than usual, so that’s cool. So if that’s going to make me have a happier and more productive disposition at work (and life, in general), then of course I’ll do it.

I’m obviously way far ahead when it comes to headstands and balancing poses (sorry, I can’t strain my hands because ~werq~) but here’s to taking baby steps to finding inner peace and listening to my body more. It’s been mad at me for mistreating it since forever. Haha!

Reading new books

I saw a lone copy of On Writing by Stephen King on display at a nearby bookstore and I knew I had to get it. Mikka has mentioned this book briefly to me a few years back, so I picked up that same copy and it’s now beside my bed as I try to read through it as often as I can after work. I’m halfway through it and I love it so far.

Tricie gave me a copy of Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe for my birthday. I asked her to choose from three books I linked out from Amazon (one is about adulting and the other one is about Hygge, I think) and she does know me well for getting this Universe book. It’s an illustrated book by Yumi Sakugawa, and I told myself I wanted a copy when a kindred soul sent me photos of the inside pages. There were stories about having a cup of tea with your inner demons, and I was particularly attackedt (with a T) when he sent a story about letting things grow (which directly translates to just putting yourself out there and make your way into the world, and eventually you will succeed in due time). It hit me right in the feels, like real hard. #feelings

I’m excited to read this tonight before going to bed. I’ve been consciously turning off my wi-fi every night (and mostly during the day now) in order to focus more on real life. I love my digital tools, but let’s be real, analog forever.

Also: I’ll share a few more of my summer reads in a separate post. Writing a book means I read more at this point of the year, so watch out for my list soon!

Fixing my life (for real)

Okay, literally, this means clearing out things at my HQ. I’m moving houses soon (not moving out) and I’m moving to a new room which excites me a lot. I love my HQ and its charm, but the space isn’t enough for my work requirements (I need to shoot most days and it gets dark here easily) and I just really want to lie down in a couch and read books by the window, HUHU. I still have my books here, but I’m slowly getting rid of other things to make way for the move, which IDK when will happen. Hopefully before I go to school.

In a figurative sense, I did mention a few posts back that my 2017 was toxic. After having experienced several issues (money, trust, etc), I’ve decided to just cut myself out from people who no longer serve a purpose in my life. I keep my relationships with people private, and now that I’m “clearing out” things that no longer “spark joy” (Marie Kondo reference, you guys) in my current state of living, I’ve decided to give myself the freedom to choose who to stay close to, and who to keep in check with. Let’s just say it has paved the way for better things. 🙂

Planning future trips

Every time I feel like thinking negative thoughts, I try to visualize myself in my dream destinations (two of which I get to visit this fall!) and remember that I will be there soon. I know, I know, so superficial. My work breaks now consist of intense researching on the best museums, art stores, bookstores, parks, and tourist spots in these locations (which I will not talk about yet until I book my tickets). I still am also waiting for enrolment to open for the fall classes so as much as I’m looking forward to be in New York soon, I’m constantly telling myself to sit still here in Manila and make do of all the work I have pending here at home.

But yes, I’m excited. It’s one of the reasons that’s been keeping me on my feet as I work through my deadlines and take a few deep breaths in between this crazy few months. I’ve posted a few sad accounts of being overly busy and my constantly recurring overworking state (still something I carried over from 3 years’ of maintaining my career, ugh!), and I’ve gotten messages from readers and friends alike about taking care of myself in order to not feel burnt out. Thank you, I appreciate it! I’m okay. I’ll be better.

Maybe I just need a legitimate break from everything. That’s one more thing I’m experimenting on…not sure how or when. But I’m working on it.

Abbey