Text and photos by By Ma. Franchesca F. Lesaca
1111 ends her first solo art show, Shadow Work, after a month-long exhibit at Kanto Artist-Run Space on 13 July 2018. 1111, a self-professed polymath, does many different forms of art. She delights in dancing, enjoys performing arts, explores poetry, adores music, and of course, loves drawing. 1111 is a Manila-based artist and self-professed polymath.
She mainly use graphite, watercolor, ballpoint pens and threads as her tools in creating her pieces. In her shadow works, she specifically used graphite, and gold thread on acid-free paper. 1111 creates realistic portraits in her younger years. As years passed, she has explored new ways and forms in creating things, and now ventures into abstraction and minimalism, using “flowy, quirky, intentional and sometimes careless lines”. Her works represent her “everyday realizations about life, existentialism and spirituality”. Her adoration of nature and beauty, are frequent subjects of her art.
The beauty of the world inspired her shadow art pieces, most of which she drew inspiration from plants. The beauty of nature is that it follows the drift of the the universe, without hesitation, and without reservations.
Looking at her works from afar, it seems like the golden thread had just been glued into place. Closely, you will realize that these clean golden lines seem to come piercing from beneath and is actually sewn into the cream paper, while the shades of graphite captures the color of the shadows in many different shades. The thing is, working with graphite and thread is just the start of a tedious creative process, yet 1111’s meticulous and perfecting nature creates the cleanest work out of complicated materials.
Working with shadows did not come easy. It took around six months to finish twelve artworks. The struggle with creating her works is that, she makes them as she sees them. 1111 understands that the world will not stop for her. She does not take photos of her subject and worked through it. She sits down with her tools steadily following the swaying, dancing, and rhythm of her subjects, adjusting and plotting each important detail, working from memory.
There are times when inspiration will come and she will create to her heart’s content, while there are times when it abandons her, then she allows herself breaks. Shadow works is composed of three layers, which represent her inspirations and realizations upon creating her works: Physical, Mental, and Spiritual.
Physical: Light and shadows are born at the same time. Shadows are casted by the physical bodies of each inspirations, which in this case, are plants. “I am in awe at how things are
already beautiful in light and how their shadows are even more inspiring.”, notes 1111.
Mental: Perfecting a work stems from 1111’s past as a portrait artist. It is a challenge to let go of all the rules and limitations of what she is accustomed with in creating an abstract and minimalist art. She states, “It was a personal challenge to break this what I call “mental constipation” and to appreciate what I can create in whatever art style, genre or forms of artistic expression I can do. In here, I strike a balance between my love for perfection, through careful and purposeful shading, and accepting imperfection.”
Spiritual: this layer of work is a manifestation of her psyche and feelings. She quips “In Spirituality and Psychology, the “shadow” refers to the unconscious aspects of our personalities. The shadow, “dark side”, could be anything from negative emotions and reactions to repressed desires we might have for certain situations that arise in our lives.” Shadow work aims to make these concealed aspects exposed to display raw emotions, traits, and feelings. “As much as I am drawn to the light and am aware that I am capable of light, the shadow is also an opportunity to reexamine and fine-tune myself. Through the act of shading large areas and as I receive thoughts, I am able to have a conversation with myself. I may not fully know the reason why I chose to make some parts darker or lighter, but it was a training ground for my intuition, something that I have not trusted for a long time.”
While shadows are often likened to negativity, light and shadows are a pair that you cannot unbond. To cast a shadow is to block the light. As long as there is light, there are shadows. Despite that shadows are extensions of anything – living or non-living, they are hardly ever noticed, but 1111 captures that beauty into art for the world to see.