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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Keep Your Hook Baited When Fishing For A Dream Says Federal Way Artist

Above (from left to right) Mizu Sugimura and Romson Regarde Busillo at Wing Luke Asian Museum. Photo copyright 2008 by Mizu Sugimura.

Let your hook always be cast in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish. - Ovid

Who knows when you can plant the seeds of creativity in a child, or for that matter an adult? Opportunities like Family Day at the WING a monthly event sponsored by Seattle's Wing Luke Asian Museum (WLAM) in the Chinatown/International District offer a chance for the public to meet artists and artists to share what they do with the community.

I should know as just over a decade ago as a younger mother of a elementary school child, I was looking for events like this to supplement what I considered to be the lack of a good arts orientation in my local school district. When I read of a weekend collage workshop for families at WLAM by Filipino-American artist Romson Regade Bustillo, I jumped at the chance to take my son.

For whatever reason, my boy had other plans. Yes, he accompanied me to the program but while his mother's agenda could be entitled: Earnest, his could be described as:
Looking for a good time. At the workshop I ended up plugged away at completing the project Busillo introduced while my son creatively found a way to carve out his own path.

At some interval in the program Romson came by, looked over my shoulder and basically indicated to me that I should give serious thought to completing a few more collages. As a working artist, his nod in my direction was the encouragement I needed to start thinking and believing that I might be able to tell the outside world that I was an artist!

So it is with great pleasure that last month I attended Romson's latest appearance at Family Day at the Wing to thank him in person for the first time since that fateful Cinderella-like weekend over ten years ago when he gave me the creative go-ahead I needed to launch my own career, which eventually completed a full circle with my own appearance as an presenting artist at the WLAM in 2004 in a ground breaking show entitled: Beyond Talk: Redrawing Racism. I will also be following Romson,
as the next artist to present a free program at the Family Day at the Wing on August 16, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Meanwhile, Bustillo, who is now based in New York, is touring the area making a number of appearances such as the WLAM and a stint as artist in residence at the Seattle foundation created to honor the life and work of African-American artist James W. Washington, Jr. If you are interested in reading more about Romson click here.

It's an opportunity that I had thought years ago was completely lost to me when I got cold feet at the time I was required to declare a major in college and choose the more practical, marketable and family approved field of journalism rather than entertain my childhood dream of becoming an artist.

Within a few years of graduation I soon came to regret the choice. But I was married, working at my first real full time job and my immigrant spouse was taking more than the expected time to complete his university studies. I was afraid I was too old as I approached thirty to change the course of my life once it had been set.

From my present vantage point, those fears are quite amusing now as real life is not cast in stone. But as it happened then my concerns only increased when I quit my job so we could start a family. There were times when I was so depressed I couldn't do any art!

To top it off on our family budget extra money for art supplies much less art instruction was hard to come by, so while I began painting on the kitchen table and supplementing a basically twenty plus year program of self-taught instruction with one or two evening community college classes it was hard, very hard to feel I was legitimate! The words I received from Bustillo were the seeds I was able to employ as a middle-aged woman to open up my horizons and transform my life.

In today's world, young adults including my son are coming of age and being told in schools and other venues that because of lower performance or less than perfect personal choices in middle school and high school that they are at risk of falling off the boat or should resign themselves to a lifetime of scolding by persons older and presumably wiser than themselves.

Assuming they actually listen and take such words like this to their hearts, what values are we as a society actually trying actually to communicate to them? I count myself fortunate that I was able to grow up in a different time, and attend however slowly to the little voice in my heart until a individual like Romson came along.

For those of you out there with incomplete visions of your own - from youth on up people the hope Ovid's quote a particular favorite of mine which begins this blog expresses the belief that no matter how long you stay out looking for a fish that they are always there.

So it is with dreams. Take my advice. Keep that hook baited.

Shown below: Front side (left) and back side (right) of a sample mock-up of a tagboard fan featuring the image of a Japanese daruma doll that attendees at Mizu Sugimura's presentation at Family Day at the WING on Saturday, August 16, from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. will actually make. Photos copyright 2008 by Mizu Sugimura.

Daruma have come to be known as folk figures that represent persistence, perseverance and resilience. In Japan, it is said that you can knock a daruma doll down seven times, but it will right itself eight times. Sugimura is adapting the image of the daruma in a craft project to celebrate Grandparents Day (first Sunday in September after Labor Day) and an attempt to merge the idea of combining the those positive qualities of daruma dolls with the image of older family members and the elderly in today's society.


Stephanie Frieze said...

Wonderful post, Mizu. I'm standing up applauding! I will keep looking for the thing I do well. Thank you for being an inspiration.

Kim Thompson said...


Could you do a Blog Squad collage class?

Sign me up!

Stephanie Frieze said...

I'd sign up for that!

Lorraine Hart said...

Me too!

All of us applaud your gifts...and your hard work, Mizu. You're a gift to us, for sure.