I took a drawing workshop with Renato Habulan at the Ayala Museum in 1998. I was 22 and heartbroken and I wanted to fill up my time. Ayala Museum was near where I worked (Tower Records -WOOHOO so retro! We sold CDs!) so I said, Why not?
I didn't know who Sir Habulan was (haha, hi Sir!), I just wanted to do something. So off I went, and did a charcoal drawing workshop. 18 years later, charcoal would still be my favorite medium.
As is customary for summer workshops, we had a culminating exhibit. Sir Habulan was co-faculty at St. Scho's Fine Arts Dept with Yasmin Sison (now Ching), and he forced (? haha) her to show my work in the artist-run space Surrounded by Water.
She did, I met the rest of the group, they liked me, I liked them, they asked me to be a part of the group, and the rest is history.
I learned most of the things I know about art from the SBW people-- Wire, Keiye, Ge, Nano, Min, Jonathan, Lyra, Mike, Lena, Louie. I've been very lucky to have had the chance to hang out with them and learn their work ethic (art everyday, make good work always). They're all very generous with their knowledge-- I cannot thank them enough.
When we ran SBW, we would do everything-- paint walls, install works, clean bathrooms, man the gallery, clean more bathrooms. We did everything we could to give emerging artists a space where they can show. Thank you SBW for giving so many people, including me, the opportunity to make art.
When the space closed in 2004, we would see each other every year-- we'd go to the beach or have dinner in someone's place. Eventually though, everyone got busy with their repsective careers and even that didn't become a regular thing.
So whenever we have reunion shows, I am excited to join. If only to see these wonderful people again.
Last Saturday, August 13, we just opened a show in Langgeng Art Foundation in Yogyakarta.