Good morning everyone. To the faculty , students, it is my first time here. Your campus is lovely. Thank you for your invitation to speak and share my experience of art and creativity. Thank you also to the organizers of this event, Dulce Aristorenas.

You know, when I was in college, there was no celebration of Arts month. So you guys are lucky. Art and beauty is now given importance, not just in school, but in the workplace and in our daily lives as well, in the form of creativity. And why not?
I have been designing and have generally lead a creative life for maybe 30 or more years. I am just doing what comes naturally, creating crafts, making stuff with my hands.

Why am I spending my whole life creating art and design? It feeds my soul. Hopefully when you create art, you will feed your soul as well. The joy I get from sharing the things I create is priceless. And there is also a sense of achievement. You could say Art is a tool for transformation. I am transformed , because I transform materials like paper and paint into things that have a story, things that say something only I can say. And when I share my work, the viewer is also transformed, changed forever for he has seen something unique which can no longer be erased from his mind.

And then came a period, about 7 years ago, when I volunteered to teach a group of grade 4,5 an 6 kids in a school called Food for Hungry Minds School (FHMS, not FHM) . And you know what I discovered? One day I entered the classroom and saw pinned to their bulletin board, their artworks for United Nations day. There were globes, and flags, and doves of peace and people holding hands. And I thought…hmmm..this is pretty good . But that afternoon, I conducted an art class, where the only instruction I gave was to draw whatever , and we do it to music. Use whatever color you want. And guess what, the very same students whose works were on the board, drew VERY DIFFERENT pictures. Wow , their strokes were more confident, their colors more vibrant, their lines more flowing. And again, I thought to myself, Wow what a difference if your art comes from the heart!

I realized that this happened in my life and career too. When I would do art from a book , or technically, it wouldn’t be very good. But When I started doing art from the heart, the results were spectacular. Have any of you experienced this?

What does an artist do, anyway? You could say that an artist draws, paints, sculpts , or takes pictures. Yes? You could even say, he is artistic because he sings, dances, writes, etc. Guess what , we all have an artist in us ! Its called the inner artist. And it waits to be unleashed.

The inner artist is that energy within us that compels us to create. Everyday, it is the artist that chooses what color clothes you will wear, and how to take that selfie, and what funny quotes to post on Facebook. It is the artist who decides to write gracefully or to skip happily (or not) on the way to class. It is the inner artist that allows us to see the beauty (or ugliness) in anything. The artist knows that his creations change over time, because he knows that our conception of both beauty and ugliness always change. The artist is a unique agent of change, a carrier of the torch of creativity.

So, Now that we are aware of the creative energy within all of us, let us define a true artist.

An artist is open to the world in one way or the other. As artists, you must expose yourselves to the world. Travel. Experiment. Read! Explore! Only then can you see things with new eyes.

An artist is a seeker, a questioner, an inquirer. Does this work speak of me ? Does this say what I want to say , and express what I want to express? An artist asks the question : What if? He uses his imagination, a very powerful tool . As a matter of fact, many times, an creative person will RE–imagine something and create something better. For example, there was once a coffee shop right outside this school named ADOBO PUTOSHOP, …what a creative, imaginative name!

Anyway…People ask me what I do in my free time? I DREAM. I imagine!
An artist asks the question: What else ? He seeks inspiration and fills his well , rejuvenating his arsenal of ideas .

An artist asks HOW ? and he uses his Intuition to determine the best route to make his ideas known.

Am I making sense?
To explain in an experiential way, I’d like to share with you one the one thing that I absolutely do every single day….

Close your eyes….
I want you to see in your mind’s eye, an image of anything you already own. It can be anything…a car, a carrot, a pair of glasses, shoes, a book. Anything. Its like watching a movie, just see the picture of your object in your head. Now, witness this object transform into something better than it already is. Do you see it?

Once you have a clear picture of the new image in your mind, imagine clicking a button: PAUSE, the click SAVE.

This is an absolutely vital tool for any artist to flourish and we just proved that any one can do it! An artist has a voice. He has something to say. Sometimes his message is subtle, and other times it is loud and clear. An artist Creates . he creates with his hands, his mind, his surroundings, his talents.

An artist acknowledges that he can not create anything without looking within. For he knows that our deepest Self knows what and how to express itself.
Art Comes from within, and it is the artist who is responsible for releasing this energy, for allowing it to become fully alive in this world. And with releasing , we are responsible for the quality of our messages.

And yet, with all this creating and expressing, there is a sacrifice that is to be made when dealing with the Creative Fire. Stephen Aizenstat of Pacifica Graduate Institute in California says…”WE are called to give up the familiar in the service of a dream.” Let us ask ourselves, what are we willing to give up for our creativity? Sleep? Money? Time? Love? When we are faced with the creative Fire, I assure you, the choice is not a hard one. Most of the time, the Creative Fire wins.

The Creative Fire challenges us to incorporate art into our daily lives. No longer do we have to wait until we retire to allow the joy of creating enchant our days , fill our nights with dreams and our hearts with satisfaction.

It is time, to unleash our creativity for a better life and better world. It is time to claim the artist in all of us. It is the gold that is there for us to use and to tap, for our own good and for our nation.

And now, I challenge you, to look at art from a soul perspective. For its is only from the Soul, that our true nature is expressed. It is only from the Soul that true transformational beauty is seen and experienced.

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