*Will insert photos in the future but for now, welcome to my life Growing Up Gabbi
Pre-school AKA the arts and crafts movement for little Gabbi
After school, I would eagerly go home and start cutting out heart shapes out of construction paper, gluing poor uncooked macaroni pasta onto picture frames, or begging my parents to buy me plaster of Paris to make weird plaster paperweights from random containers and plastic bags for ice. These were all because of Neil Buchanan and Art Attack.
I remember I would make rings out of paper with only the glow from the television as my light source. I recall a sense of urgency because I so desperately wanted to give it to my teacher who was getting married.
Another target of my often-sticky hands were the ceramics-painting stalls in the mall. My sister and I would drag my parents so we could sit down and paint another angel figurine that my parents unceasingly added to our wacky-looking altar.
Elementary AKA the time when I got into the performing arts
I transferred to an all-girls school in the 4th grade so I can say my elementary years were a blur to me—visual arts wise. These were the years when I actively participated in children’s choir performances, singing for campus-wide masses, joining solo singing competitions, and even acting. In the 6th grade, I played Lysander, one of the four lovers, in our batch’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This was also where my love for books began. The first book that I recall I ever read was a compilation of shark stories distributed by Scholastic, Inc. Little did I know that that would begin my love for many of their titles and that those would become the greatest influences of my works now.
High school AKA when I tried so hard to be angsty and gritty
I had to leave my friends because I transferred to a new school. I think this is why I unconsciously tried to be as angsty as the people in Skins and Bella from the Twilight Saga.
Early high school
Late elementary and early high school had me immersed in my livejournal accounts where I busied myself by making icons or the 100x100 pixel masterpieces of my tween self. I was also an avid reader of Twilight fan fiction as well as a master tinkerer of Multiply themes.
My style then would be full of pretty girls, lots of Cobrasnake photos cropped into squares, screencaps from shows like Skins and Glee, and models off duty.
The summer before sophomore year was when I rekindled my love for illustration. It was because we moved to a new house and without any internet connection I was left to face my boredom wielding my pencils. I enjoyed it so much that I was one of the handful of girls in my school that caused a stir by moving from the girls’ home economics class to the boys’ drafting class.
Mid to late high school AKA the explosion
Sophomore year saw me staying until 7 at night in school for choir practice but when junior year hit, I let go of choir and started living up to the first syllable of my name—mes. Creatively, I plunged into so many things all at one. I did prop fabrication, painting, both digital and analog photography, videography, and graphic design.
My fascination for photography grew simultaneously with my blog. Having written over 200 entries, it was where I posted about everything. From my prom to Holy Week adventures with my family to book reviews, and art. I even had a portion called Art Smart which was a little corner of mine where I talked about new artists I’ve discovered.
In my last year of high school, I was elected as the Vice President of our student council. My main responsibility then was to help the President, document our activities, and make the posters for our events.
College AKA I think I know and don’t know at the same time
I am now faced with the task of writing about who I am as a creative individual now. Going into this assignment, I thought that this would be the easiest part but now I’m not as sure as I was then. After my FA101 and other fine arts classes, I am slowly but surely aiming to create more content that really suit my interests which are monsters, Indian culture, and art. So far, I feel like a lot of my work revolve around monsters and all things spooky. Unlike a lot of people who shy away from the topic of what their style is all about, I actually am very fond of the thought of exploring and talking about my inspirations and methods of doing what I do.
In terms of painting, I almost only paint vintage toys, fish, and eyes. I like to paint toys because I feel like it’s an outlet for me to let go of my childhood frustrations of not being able to get the dolls and Lisa Frank merchandise that I wanted. I am not a huge fan of seafood unless it’s in sashimi form but somehow fish are what I love to paint the most among all animals—humans included. Lastly, I feel like my fascination with painting eyes is just a remnant of my childhood where I’d be called “Mata” by my blind grandfather and mocked because my left eye is bigger than my right due to a birth defect.
I am a very animated person whenever I tell stories and I think this reflects in my knack for event photography. This, for me, is a new terrain for storytelling where instead of relying on hand gestures, sound effects, and the widening of my eyes, I become mute and speak through the images that I produce.
With every new work load I take on, my time got more and more divided. Hence, I feel like for a time, event photography became way too formulaic for my taste. The shot list in my brain became tedious and I became sloppy. This was the time that I was taking my majors for the first time. It came to a point that I felt like I had to choose between photography, painting, and graphic design because it seemed to me like I was doing too many things at the same time leading to mediocre work.
Looking back, I am so glad Diego, my boyfriend, knocked sense into me and questioned why I even had to make it an option to drop any of the three. It was like an overlapping duet of his voice telling me to accept the fact that I like photography and my mom’s voice from my childhood whenever she would warn me to not waste my talent of singing from God when I’d be too shy to sing in front of my relatives. It hit me so hard and I think that’s when things started to change for me.
I now try to communicate ideas and tell stories through different means. Through a highly conceptual photo set, a horror short film, and even board games. I realize now that creativity is a gift and that I love creating things. I have figured out that it gives me immense joy to see the ideas in my head come to life although this realization doesn’t necessarily come with a manual. I still don’t know what to do after I graduate and I am uncertain as to what job I will have in the future among other things.
But for now, I am just trying to make the most of my remaining years as a student by doing whatever I want artistically and just seeing if things would work out or not. I believe it is in that mere trying—regardless of any assurance of success or failure—that I soften from a rigid strand of noodle into hopefully something that is as majestic as pasta.
Now, as I complete my first month in my first job after graduating from college, I look back at these words and can't help but feel amused and utterly blessed. It is a precious gift to be given these abilities to express myself through different creative means. It's funny how I got so caught up with figuring out which field to excel at when no one really put that pressure on me. It was me weighing down on me--setting an internal deadline to figure out THE path that I had to take. The path that is slowly becoming clearer to me now while I acknowledge that it's not as necessary as I thought it would be to even have one in the first place.
I may not know what's in store for me in the next decade or so but instead of freaking out about the unknown, for the first time, I'm scared but actually genuinely excited.