There is beauty in in-betweens. Between the night of February 28th and the morning of March 1st, I went to a college friend’s first one-man exhibit and stood between “The Pink Elephant” and “Mr. Promise.” It was a night so reminiscent of elusive Fridays when margarita and a glass of cheap old Red Horse actually lead to discussions that travel across struggles and loyal friends and faith and passion for the arts. Twin-soul, a poet and writer herself, had said in her testimonial, “We’re going to visit somebody else’s universe. . . and don’t forget to paint your toenails metallic pink.” I had someone paint it cashmere pink, by the way.
It was Luis’s night. It was called Regression (Click to view pictures), and the invitation had said, “The paintings of Luis Lorenzana in this exhibition deal with the notion of regression as he interprets personal tragedies and makes social commentaries within the perspectives of a freer state as a ten-year-old being.” This was the night a Public Administration graduate showcases the stuff that made him Grand prize winner in the Spanish Festival for Culture and the Arts and more. Yes, Luis is no Fine Arts graduate. His invite also says that he is currently one of the top 5 finalists in the International Illustration and Painting Competition sponsored by The Times UK and Canongate Publishing House. For his talent, enough said. But for his faith, this is only an unsolicited and unworthy introduction.
Between a stick of cigarette each, Luis told me about his struggles as an artist and the significance of the Pink Elephant. Unknown to the artist, a pink elephant holds a certain significance to this wannabe writer as well. His spoke of his faith in God whose presence makes him believe he and every artist capable of the Greatest Show on Earth. This insight coming from a future National Artist in contemporary arts to what I can hope to be a relevant contributor in contemporary literature. I, however, know my fluffy, pink elephant as an exercise of we-invite-what-we-fear based on Andrew Matthews’s book where he says, “When we tell ourselves DO NOT think of a pink elephant, what do we have in mind? That’s right, a fluffy, pink elephant.” The brain, according to Matthews is powerful, yet it does not recognize and process in the negative hence we invite what we fear. Who would have thought that two people at 11:00 P.M. engulfed in man-made smoke, in Greenbelt, were talking about how we have totally entrusted our insignificant past and unknown future to the All-Knowing? Twin-soul could only say that the conversation was meant to happen.
Between instant reunions and achingly funny stories of college crushes giving the cold ice (You did say I could say, “Yang future national artist na ‘yan nagka-crush sa ‘kin” when we’re older. I say what the heck, why wait that long to gloat?), it was a night of celebrating humbling experiences and of throwing caution to the wind. In between reuniting with Macky, a could-be-papaya-soap-endorser Nottie, Fernando-Bloom-Panday-meets-Legolas Ghian, and meeting a beautiful girl named TM and Sculptoys maker Arvin, I pay tribute to you, Luis, or Jon (as you want to be called by friends), not only for your art and your struggle to live and for the respect of the people you most care about, but for the faith you have in our lord and savior. Yes, all the glory is His. Cheesy as it may sound, I too have recognized that, and I too have the willingness to claim His answers to my needs. More than anyone else, He knows our heart and its desires. This blog entry is for the two of you. The show was your partnership. And materially, this entry was written while I’m still wearing my black bolero over my uncomfortably low tank top, in the hopes that you weren’t too drunk to bargain a painting of my own title for a CD called Musicals.
P.S. The Pity Party is over. And Luis, when you paint “Goddess and her Wanderers,” make the goddess look like she has a greater God.
***Photos courtesy of Grichelle (a.k.a. Twin-soul)