I love maps. I love plans, house plans, building plans, architectural drawings. I love them more than the actual structures themselves, except when they are beautiful enough to me, I love to be inside them, outside them, admiring and being awed.
I thought I wanted to be an architect but nobody hired architects in the Philippines. Heck, I don't even know if they have building codes, of course they do, but I am sure they are easy to bypass with the right bribe. If you go to the Philippines, you will know what I mean. If they do hire architects to design homes, most owners will just bastardize the houses by adding out-of-place extensions and chicken coops. Except for corrupt politicians who live in mansions and rich Filipinos who live in very nice homes, the rest live in humble abodes. I do love native huts. Someday, I would like to retire in the province and build a house that hopefully will be sturdy and strong enough, it won't be blown away by the typhoons and high enough that the floods won't engulf it. However, I will build a nipa hut where I will take my siesta during brutally hot and humid afternoons, without air-conditioning.
In 1973 during my senior year in high school, I first heard the University of the Philippines Carillon Tower play a melody. It was December and I was on my way to Mount Makiling to attend the First Asia Pacific Girl Scout Encampment. My sister Mercedes was busy with graduate school, she was not able not go home for the Christmas holidays. We spent Christmas together before I left for camp in Los Baños, Laguna. I remember how quiet it was walking around the almost empty campus. On the way to the U.P. Chapel to attend mass, the Carillon Tower played a Christmas hymn. During that time, the music of the Carillon Tower was manually played by a clavier. In later years when I attended U.P. Diliman, the clavier was on its lasts keys and the bells were weathered. I am happy to read that the tower has been recently restored with new bells forged in Europe and a new organ replaced the clavier.
I remember going to college, how anxious I was but also excited. I was petrified with Chemistry and Physics. Ugh! They were required courses. I also remember not knowing what to study until one hour before registration when I decided to enroll in the pre-nursing program. My daughter will be attending university in the fall. She has been to her future campus many times during her middle and high school years to attend state level competitions but this time, she will be a freshman attending the College of Natural Sciences. I wish her the best and I pray for her happiness. It is both exciting and stressful time, full of expectations and demands. But she will also learn to explore the world on her own. My dearest Em, I pray for your happiness and success. Do your best, have fun and learn.
In 1987, my husband and I went to a picture framing store to have some pictures professionally framed. It was an expensive project but we thought the pictures were worth the cost. At the store, I saw a large framed copy of the Murerplan. I fell in love with it. The store owner told us that the person who had it framed did not return to pick it up after he realized the cost. I know it was just a replica and at that time, one had to probably go to Zurich to pick up a copy, this was before the Internet and online shopping. He sold the framed map to us for $85.00. For a long time it hanged in one of the living room walls. After a while, I rearranged the pictures and put aside the framed Murerplan in the corner. Last month I rediscovered it. I was always in love with the carefully crafted and illustrated buildings of the city of Zurich in 1576 by Jos Murer. I decided to redraw some of the buildings and incorporate them in my own make-believe village in the middle of a karst. Geographically, I don't know if that is possible or if that is sensible but I wanted to draw a karst, some European buildings, very tiny people, a village, the University of Texas Tower Building (Main Building), a German pub, the Bacolod City Plaza gazebo, the U.P. Carillon and for my best friend, Cornell University's Barnes Hall. These past weeks I have been reminiscing and so I infused this drawing with memories, dreams and hopes. This morning I thought about retiring and opening a studio-cafe. Then reality told me to go outside, scrub the deck, pull the weeds, arrange the storeroom and garden materials and tools and pick up the dog poo in the brutal summer heat!
While drawing the buildings and home in close proximity, I imagined what would happen if one of the homes caught fire. Well one did and the gutted remains still stand. Oh my, these buildings and homes have very sturdy firewalls!
How did I sustain my enthusiasm for this tedious illustration that will not pay for our next meal? I imagined I worked in some of these buildings or lived in a home after home after home... or someone I love did. That was enough to induce me to treat each structure with care and very tiny humans formicating the cobbled streets and flea markets and stairs ascending to higher or descending to lower elevations with delight. Yes, I have been day dreaming!
I love the texture of the girl's t-shirt and her rolled up denim cut-off shorts. See if you can find the teacher leading a row of her young pupils. Stay cool and away from crazy hot-headed people. I met one yesterday. What a loser and a loon!
Alocthonous II. How Not To Be An Architect. Zurich meets Diliman meets Austin meets Sanqing meets Ithaca meets Dornstetten meets Bacolod.
Pen and ink on 14"x17" Paris paper.