I was probably 5, it was a coloring activity in prep school in CDC-UP Katipunan. We were supposed to color a glass of water, I know I wasn’t lacking in crayons because my seatmate colored his water with blue or blue-green. But for some reason that I will only realize later in life I colored mine violet.
I was mocked by my classmate saying that I colored the water with the wrong crayon.
“It’s supposed to be blue”, he said.
I don’t remember getting offended or defending my side. Maybe deep inside me I knew that he doesn’t understand the genius in the making. I was shy then, fortunately my teacher was the one who stood up for me.
“Let him be”.
The three words that make me fully ecstatic.
He continued with his taunting.
“Maybe it has virus in it. You should color it brown then.”
High-school: I was the usual problem student who doesn’t listen to teachers, sleeps in class and does not do his homework, except that I get good grades in tests.
“Napaka-tamad mo!” (You’re too lazy!)
My teachers knew that my IQ is above average and I should be getting grades way higher than what I was performing then. The IQ test is a requirement in my school and the results are given to professors to assess your capacity and push you to do your best. But academics is not really my field and no one in my high-school faculty, not even me, realized that yet. So they just gave up.
“I’M FED UP WITH YOU!!!”
One of the phrases I will never forget. This time I did not take it lightly. It was too much for me, so I stared down at my professor, as if I’m gonna kill him. No one in the classroom could move, and he tried his best to lighten the mood with his awkward jokes. That was the day I learned I have two balls.
College: Ahh! The lighter side of life. Fine Arts Painting: I met a lot of crazy people, finally someone like me! Here is where I slowly realized what I really wanted in life, making art. And the freedom given by my professors was extremely appreciated. It has its own drawbacks though; I did not learn anything, technically speaking. But that freedom where my art professor enters the classroom, checks the attendance, gives the requirement, leaves the classroom, comes back after 3-4 hours, and collects the painting is what shaped me now. A direction where I choose my own style in art, a direction where I choose my own life.
Post-graduation: Just when I thought I knew everything, I get a big slap on the face by reality. I didn’t realize that it would be extremely difficult to find a gallery that’s bold enough to take my anomalous art. Imagine your girlfriend breaking up with you telling you you’re just not good enough. Being rejected on the field you’re too passionate about is too much to handle and there are times you contemplate on whether to continue or not. But here is where real artist are created. Most would say it’s the staying power that’s important, and a big part of that is your dedication to your chosen life. And sometimes it’s even more important than your “talent” per se. Just keep believing in yourself and you’ll eventually achieve your goal. “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish”, even the most famous artists goes through rejection and it’s what shapes their style and pushes their art through maturity.
“Misunderstood is the fate of all geniuses”, and yes I like to think of myself as one. Life is not easy for us creatives; living in this left-minded society, struggling not only to feed ourselves but to be appreciated, nonetheless you just need to have the balls to fuck off life. I always tell myself: Never Falter. No one can dictate to me what to do. I’ve made up my mind and I’ll take my chances. It won’t be easy, given that very few people really believes in me, but I’m happy here. Art gives me this incomparable satisfying feeling that nothing else can. I have invested so much time, effort, and heart into this, and if I fold now I’ll only lose. So I’m “All in”.
Lester Jamorabo mixes wit in his writing, adds common sense to his art, and captures photos that tell stories. Visit his works on his protfolio, http://lesterjamorabo.co.cc.