By: ANCEL MARIE B. MONDIA
THOUGH he spent years away from art, Kristoffer Brasileño has come back into creating artwork. He is now an artist who exudes optimism to what future holds.
“Looking back in my childhood and basing from old photos in our ancestral house, I have always been seen with a chalk or a pencil in hand. As a child I drew on walls and blackboards and whatever piece of paper I can get my hands on – my sister’s school pad paper, my mom’s photocopied hand-outs and the occasional sketchbooks that were given to me by my supportive aunts. My first memory of somebody outside of my family giving appreciation for my artistry was when I made a watercolor landscape painting in our balcony and then a friend of my cousin passed by, she was amazed and couldn’t believe that a child of my age was capable of making a painting. And that was the time that I knew that perhaps I had some talent in visual arts,” Brasileño says.
When he was in grade school, he was consistently enrolled in summer art workshops in his hometown in Janiuay and in the workshops at University of the Philippines Visayas.
“All throughout my grade school I would always win at poster making contests at our school and at editorial cartooning competitions at the regional level. In effect, my teachers and other mentors would recognize my talents and eventually they suggested that I go to the Special Program for the Arts High School at INHS. At the SPA, I was able to interact with like-minded kids and was given the opportunity to paint and create art all throughout my four years of high school,” he says.
When asked when and how did he discover his talent, he says, “I knew that I have talent when I realized that I could copy cartoon characters or create caricatures better than other children my age. And since I was an introvert, I have the capacity to intensely focus on a specific task like drawing that can become rather painstaking to make sometimes. My talents gave me a direction on what skills to pursue like drawing or painting, and my being an introvert gave me a lot of time, extreme focus and patience that are required to achieve a certain goal or complete a painting or task.”
However, in spite of having a talent in visual arts, he took up Nursing as course in college.
“I took up Nursing because it was the most popular course at the time. After graduating from my first course, I took up Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of San Agustin and that was the time that I was able to express and explore my potential as a creative individual,” he says.
“Having spent four years in Nursing school made me appreciate the things I do for other people like my patients or family, but it also pulled me away from my earlier goals. Eventually, four years of spending time away from art gave me a certain hunger for art that I would not have had if I just took the common route. My absence gave me drive and determination to prove to myself and to everyone else that I am capable of becoming an artist and with focus and determination I can achieve more and therefore giving also an example to others,” he adds.
When asked what are the obstacles he faces, he says, “My greatest obstacle perhaps is to give myself constant opportunities to create art and to make an art practice in a sustainable way. Creating one piece will take a lot of time and resources and an artist will have to contend with these realities. It is important to always to create good works because good works will eventually earn you respect from your peers and will give or open more opportunities in return. The important thing is to do art continuously in order create momentum for yourself and for your art practice.”
“Sometimes, doing art consistently can be challenging in reality because aside from doing art alone, as a person we also have other responsibilities like work, relationships with friends, family, loved ones and the community, and several other factors. The key to making art sustainably is to create balance with these other factors. Giving your all in just one factor will eventually lead to burnout,” he adds.
When asked when did he personally consider himself successful, he says, “In a way, I also see myself successful because I believe that I have achieved a lot of my previous dreams and aspirations. But as we evolve as a person and go through life, our dreams and aspirations also change and evolve and my idea of success is also rooted in the achievement of those dreams. In a sense it becomes a cycle of dreaming and achieving and succeeding and then we dream again hope to continue this cycle.”
“I have always been a fan of motivational speeches, books and movies and I take immense lessons from these. In addition to that, I have applied these motivational lessons in my life to positive results. The lessons are many and I strive to inculcate it in my daily life. They are always simple and fundamental, like being patient and hard work. Sometime people may consider them cliché but the key to having a good life lies in the simple things,” he concludes.