For the past few weeks I've been digging through my room look for aspects of former selves. It is a very interesting experience. Finding pieces of myself in different moments, artifacts meant for different goals. moving in different directions, some of which are still familiar and intimate, others brutally foreign and uncomfortable.
For example, I find fragments of poems that I wrote when I first came back to Guam in 1998. Traces of the light brown coconut I once was flash before me, as I read a voice which was once my own, but long ago abandoned. The angry, angst ridden teen/ college student struggling over loves lost.
Perhaps the anxiety over finding this voice comes not from the fact that I've changed so much since then, but because I haven't changed that much. Although my poems rarely take on that character anymore, that self who is lovestruck and love lost is still very much here, as people who frequent my blog might know. He appears every once in a while to lament the drama of dating and the impossibility of me every escaping singularity, or the status of being single. My poems of course now are almost always in Chamorro and always make great pains to make their political intents and aspirations known. So while my poetry voice might have changed, little else has. That self who is always struggling with love and loss is still here, he's just read alot of Lacan and Zizek since 1998.
My paintings and art is another area where I am doing deep excavaution of myself in other moments. While away from Guam for the past two years I didn't really realize how much my art has changed over the past 8 years. One of the reasons being that I had very little of my early art there. But now back on Guam I am going through the dozens of canvases and monotypes that I left behind in my room (ya manmachuchuda' ginnen i closet. Ai lalalu Si Grandpa put este) and noticing that I produced a lot of beautiful art as well as bula'la'la' take'. Ai Yu'us, some of my old stuff really really sucks.
Nai hu tutuhun giya UOG, ti kare hu nai put hafa pau ma sangan put i fina'tinas-hu. Fihu ma sangani yu' na ti kapas yu' na pepenta, sa' ti hu gof tungo' taimanu yumungga' "realistic." Lao nu Guahu, taibali ayu, sa' ti malago yu' fuma'tinas "realistic" art siha. Diposti na ginnen i sanhalom i kesas pinenta, pues yanggen ti ya-na i sanhalom-hu "realistic" ti bai hu chagi gui', bai hu puni, bai hu suhayi. Bai hu na'halom yu' gi i art abstract, ya ta li'e hafa sina yu' chumo'gue.
So my abstracts from this period, I love. Some of them I can stare at for minutes at a time, just going over the different areas and the tricks of color and shape that I was able to pull off, most of the time by accident.
Also I had some very interesting work with faces and figures. Very reminiscent of Giacometti, both in terms of distortion as well as lines beneath the figure's surface forming the shape and tone of it, almost in an unnatural way.
But things which were supposed to be realistic or actually look like something other than a woman's face generally turned out really bad. There is one very good reason why the only landscapes I do are either abstract of simple sunsets or oceanscapes, and that's because I suck really really badly at foaliage and just simple things in landscapes. I also suck at structures, buildings, and drawing people in supposedly natural or unposed positions.
One unfortunate thing about being an artist on Guam is that the weather is often your worst enemy. Over the years I've lost alot of work to typhoons and rain. In addition to art I've sometimes lost interview notes, paper or books in storms. During the last typhoon, the windows were all shuttered up and I thought my things would be safe. Unfortunately the typhoon turned out to be stronger than we thought and my window shattered and water started flooding in, runing dozens of notes from interviews that I had done during the months before. I actually found some of these ruined notes while I was going through my room. Its strange to look at. Small yellow pads, on each page an invisible pool bordered by watered blue ink.
I've also lost over the years alot of my printmaking stuff. I used to do alot of lino cuts and woodcuts some of which were really nice, such as the one I'm posting here. Over the years however the plates have been either lost or destroyed and so often times all I have are test prints that I've done or a single from a series that I wasn't able to sell. I've decided to scan these in case I never find their plates, just so I have some evidence that I made them.
The name of this print by the way is "the kiss," it was used as artwork in the University of Guam's creative journal Storyboard a few years ago with a poem that a I wrote titled "The Habanera" which unfortunately I seem to have lost all copies of.