• Jasmine Mendiola

Quarantine Art

I started on this canvas last July. It was supposed to be of happy pinks as I transitioned into a new role I was excitedly at as I turned 37. Brought it out the other day and ended up letting the kids paint on it. It was supposed to be a happy activity and then I snapped. Caught myself snarling at Roux because I said they can do whatever they like but I get to pick the colors, yet she opened up and squeezed random colors anyway. I was so angry, so fast. And I ended up fixing it in haste until it was too dark out. Everyone is going through something pre-CoVid19 and even more heightened now. Anxiety is not a feeling. It’s caused by something. But joy comes from within. I’m happy. I know I am. But something snaps inside me, too often lately and lasts much longer. There are so many layers to this work and I just want it done.

I never realized how much art can do for the soul. I always considered myself an organized creative but not an artist. Even my makeup artistry had “order” to it. Natural and real. So finding inspiration among my friends Ana Isip and Alessandra Lanot who have always lived and breathed art, I took a class with Lala Jara in February 2019 and started painting. This was my first acrylic on canvas abstract.

Beauty and Magic. I’m constantly trying to find it. Pao and I were talking last night, brainstorming about how we can realistically resume/ change/ reset our life with our source of livelihood greatly impacted, our household worried about our families far from us, how we can reduce our expenses or liquidate assets faster, how we will afford this life we cherish or the basic needs of all our 6 children/ staff/ 7 cats or how to keep what we like about the things we’ve learned so far. What can we sell? Pao and I are not sales people. What can we make? That means we need capital. How do we proceed with our business plans? Everyone, all our partners are for sure having a rough time too. What work can we do from home? Pao’s greatest asset is his ideation and passion for his craft. I’m praying for work that he will love as much as his music. We have ideas like hosting a YouTube channel for Roux and Pacsy’s activities, or Pao’s cooking and gardening — but our content isn’t strategic at all to even consider as influencer-level income-generating! More importantly, we find ourselves asking, what can we do that is essential yet authentic to who we are? We realized both Pao and I have always worked so we can serve others: his vision of Tomatokick, 55Tinta, ElordeTsora and Quento with the belief, trust and support of his closest friends and allies; how he knows he contributes in a harmony that makes people have a great time when he plays in front of a live audience; how when I take part in a beauty moment, a spark comes out; or the impact made by the messages of stories I tell and the videos he makes — how can we continue doing all that in this new normal? We still don’t know. How is art relevant now if that’s all that we know how?

I claim my joy. Painted this at an uncertain time of our life away from the rat race. I claim it back regardless of this crisis, numerous worries and adversities.

Meanwhile, I don’t remember liking this painting below when I made it last year and told myself I’d paint over it along with the rest from this set. Upon attempting to decide which of the 4 canvases I’d reuse first, this one suddenly called out and it’s possible I won’t touch it anymore. Pao says it kind of grows on you. I guess that’s how I’d like to feel about the new normal.

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Jasmine Mendiola

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©2019 by Jasmine Mendiola