Sunday, November 21, 2010

All aspiring artistes should visit more art galleries.

Front page brochure for Galeri Petronas
I was approached recently to buy an artwork. The art gallery at The Pavillion currently showcases works by a few overseas artists from Mexico and China. The piece by Coplu costs around RM25,000. I always admire artists that specialises in pantings and sculptures. I regard them as artists too, maybe even higher than mere actors, singers and models. To me, this category of artists really puts their mind and hearts out in the open.

Quality demands high price
Of course there are artists who are struggling. But painters and sculptors struggle too, but get to sell their work at high prices. If they manage to sell even one piece of their work, they could live on the salary for a few months at least. One needs to truly appreciate art in order to see the value. Looking at Coplu's paintings, it gives a feeling of whimsicality and light-heartedness that is perfect for the living room or bedroom.

It takes time to  grow
The lesson one can learn from being an artiste is to slow down their pace and take the time to smell the flowers. All great artistes do that. That's where they get to rest their busy minds and start to piece together their thoughts. I was at the Petronas Gallery at Level 3, KLCC one Sunday evening. The theme is "I SEEK(U) YOU" featuring the works of Chan Kok Hooi. Mr.Chan's works, to me, has a layer of morbidity to it, which is real and reflects the times we live in. Take note especially his work titles "Habitual Scenery" and "Careless Whisper".

Back side of the brochure
Open your eyes and mind
There were many other local paintings on display too, like Jeganathan Ramachandram's "One Tree = 40 life forms". I was captivated by the scale of the painting which depicts a tree with brain-like matters that acts like extensions from the tree. Its colourful and spiritual. Another painting that caught my eye was Raphael Scott Ahbeng's "Energy " series. The very texture and flow of its colours truly electrifies my eyes. Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal's "Langit dan Bumi" (Heaven and Earth) deserves a mention too, except I wish it has more defined textures to separate the heaven and earth, for at times the elements in between just becomes too mixed. Simpler artworks like Kuo Ju Ping's "Builders at Work" and Loh Ek Sem's "Sawah Padi" (Paddy Fields) brings this art observer back to the beauty of hardworking everyday folks.

Art galleries is also a great space for artistes to view and form their own personal perspectives of the world. Actors, film directors, writers: all should go to art galleries to get inspired too. It's also a place where our Artiste Training Course seek to encourage students to go. Besides, entrance is free.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

If only more mothers breastfeed their babies and men wear shorts in public - the 3-step guide in making ALL your dreams come TRUE.

Breastfeeding diagram

"You're hot and you're cold"
Malaysians love to cut corners. In shopping, we want things to be cheap. In business, we love to cut the amount stated in invoices by complaining the product isn't good. But we demand more than good quality. We want the best at cheap prices. Hence, we are torn in half always. We want unity in our country, but think in terms of race. We want equality, but our minds are so divided and lacking in clarity. We speak about freedom, but despised others for being themselves. So what's happening here?

More of this please...
In the train one day, I saw the most beautiful act of love. A malay woman in tudung was openly breastfeeding her little toddler. It's certainly not a normal sight, seeing Malay women are very covered with their aurat, but her act at that moment truly caught my eye for its authenticity and total lack of pretense. She was dark skinned, a very kampung feel about her presence and wears a tudung. Yet, she was so unabashed by her act and unperturbed by people around her when attending the nutritional need of her child. Her husband was sitting right next to her. She was truly a beauty. I even almost caught the sight of her nipple when she finished breastfeeding inside the bright gleaming lights of the train.

Connecting means we are more similar than different.
Suddenly, I saw the connection. Why are we happy when we get to do the things we love? Why do we feel our best when we listen to our favourite song or watch our favourite movie? The reason is simple really: freedom. The act of breastfeeding in public shows the woman's liberation in expressing her love. She's not shy and protective over covering her breast from everyone around her. In her mind, she's free and this act doesn't bother her at all. When you attend a session like our Artiste Training Course, you feel free to be able to interact with other people and with a coach because it opens up our senses and mind to seek the connection, that spark of interaction that ignites our mind and thinking in newer heights.

Aren't I lovely?
Resolution should be strong and inspiring.
Then, a resolution comes to my mind after observing her. She was sitting right opposite me. I was wearing very casually: a pair of shorts and t-shirt. I always feel it's everyone's right to wear anything they feel most comfortable in. Some people look at me, but I've learned to look right ahead and higher with confidence and respect to their lack of understanding. My resolution was very clear. Freedom needs to be realised - inside out. You cannot keep your resolution, no matter what they are inside yourself. To be complete, one needs to practice and act out one's resolution so as to feel the actuality and embodies the strength you've thought inside. When it's out there, then it becomes real. Practice is key in our Artiste Training Course, where almost all my students felt they "did it" and come out more confident to face the world.

So good, I could dance all I want!
Like any profession you choose to take, you need to set resolutions first. That firm conviction that you want to do something about it instead of just sitting there motionless. Same as acting and singing and everything an aspiring artiste dreams to become. You need to transform your whimsical dream of becoming an artiste or any profession there is, into a strong, purposeful and detailed resolution, in order for you to actualise it. That's how dreams become true. I always coach my students through this simple process: 1) Find the CONNECTION, 2) create RESOLUTION and finally 3) feel the END RESULT. The end result should be a positive one which gives you some form of catharsis. It should go beyond just your feelings. It should inspires you to do more and influences others too in a magnificent way.

This 3-step process can be applied to help you bridge your mind to your actions. When you think of something, automatically this 3-step process can direct you to action. Isn't it wonderful when someone actually says what he will do? It also helps you to be honest and forward with your communication to people around you, like your colleagues and even managers. All in all, to truly realise your dreams and goals, following these steps aren't enough to keep you consistent or even persistent enough in achieving it. The key is having an Artiste Training coach present in making sure you keep to your steps and stay in balance (not only for aspiring artistes, other industry professionals do too). A coach seeks to hold up a mirror and reflect this 3-step process. Go ahead and try this technique. Perhaps you may even go public and change your world.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How to review the year ending and be more giving

Some gifts I'm sending to my friends
Getting vs Giving
Everytime when the year draws closer to an end, most of us might review the past year to see what we have achieved or gained. Well, I am beginning to feel this sort of year end review is misleading. Maybe we're living in a selfish, the "I" world too much, could be time we change the perspective. Often, we like to say this year I have starred in this and this commercial, or won so-and-so award or married this-and-this rich person.

No matter how much one had achieved, there's always more to want. This year has really taught me to be balance. Why do we always think of how much we get instead of how much we can GIVE? I think that's the true gold measure for one to review the year ending - how much one has given back. One tip when reviewing the year, don't compare yourself with others. Reviewing the year should inspire you to be more energetic in pursuing whatever your goals maybe, hopefully in giving. News flash: we had recently launched a counselling program for adults from abused childhood.

Sharing session in Artiste Training Course
Sharing leads to Enlightenment
Giving can be more than just monetary terms. I for one, loves to listen to my students when they shared some of their experiences (successes or failures, they're all the same!) and just be there to offer some advice when they asked for it. And when I'm outside and saw a blind person finding his way around, I reached out to him and led the way. And when someone asked me for directions, I always seek to be honest and not to pretend as if I know the direction.

Being thankful even for the things you lose
Little little things like these truly fills my mind this time, when reviewing the year 2010. Yes, I lost some stuff (and one acting opportunity) due to some uncontrollable factors. My stuff was also stolen and it made me emotional about the loss. At the end, I really learned to be detached about the material, and cherish what I have. Not an easy feat, for now I still do yearn back the stuff I once owned. But hey, I can always buy them back again, this time even better than the previous one, how about that? Also cherish the commercial I main starred in. Thankfulness can be empowering.

The little, little things
So giving is the theme playing in my head. I know there's more ways I can give back. Not all of us have tons of money, but we can still give back in our own way. A listening ear. An honest answer. A smile. Hopefully, next year will be an even better year to open up my mind in discovering ways for giving, and you do too. So what you wanting for? Giving can be fun too. Remember what you give back will always return to you. Happy Giving!