Good news! I just got commissioned by Houston Museum of African American Culture to do a mural during the AAM conference. My aunt, who's a very talented artist as well, will help me do the mural. I haven't decided yet on what the image will be and the scale of it. More posts will come in the future. 

I finally finished a commissioned painting for my friend Donté. I must say, it was quite a challenge, since I haven't painted the X-Men before. Yeah, here's a picture.
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I don't really mind doing commissions because it keeps my hand practiced. 
 
 
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Photo courtesy of Bel Cuenca
Horray! Today, I officially quit "Art". Art here, art there. We've used the word so many times that it doesn't mean anything anymore. It's like that excerpt from Johan Grimonprez's video about "...weapons of mass destruction" being repeated over and over again that, with balloons flying around and horns being blown like it's a birthday, it's been accepted by society. Same thing. Art? Sigh. I don't even know where to begin. According to my favorite website, Google, the definition of "art" from Merriam-Webster is: 
art/ärt/Noun
1. The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
2. Works produced by such skill and imagination.

Perhaps, having a conversation with Jeremy DePrez about "art" made me realize a lot of things --from its definition, practice, connotations, etc. It's silly, yes. "Art is silly", according to Jeremy and I couldn't agree more. I have chosen a career as an "artist" or one who makes art. In a way, a rebel. A rebel for not following the basic or the usual path of life according to other people: Go to school. Apply for a job. Get hired. Work for a company. Kiss ass. Get promoted. Kiss more ass. Get promoted to a higher position until there's no more position to apply for. Retire. Die. To a lot of people, that's how life should be.

So what is it that we're really trying to do? I guess I can say that I am not the typical "artist". Like what most people think, no, I don't do drugs. No I don't get drunk. No I am not a lazy bum who thinks that all I do is drink, sleep, make art, do drugs, etc. But yes, there are artists like that. Not to say it's a bad thing but that's their choice and I choose not to be like that. I'm going to quote Jeremy again, artists try to emulate an experience that can't exactly be translated in any way even by words or anything visual. True. I agree with that as well. There's no way in the world can we recreate a certain feeling again. We can get hurt but it would be a different kind of hurt every time it happens. Unless if there's a word that specifically and precisely defines the amount of hurt we have then it would be possible to explain it. This idea relates to my thought process with art making: the failure of language. It's just impossible at this age and time. I know new words are created and reclaimed but it still isn't as advanced for us to define a certain feeling. 

So do I really quit art? I say yes. It has too many connotations that I don't like but what do you call a person that makes art? It seems like a never ending downward spiral. I guess it's a battle that I can't win. In the end, any product of my imagination, feeling or experience will end up being called art and I'll still be called an artist. 
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Anyway, on a lighter note. Everything is running okay. More opportunities, I mean, smarter opportunities coming up. Can I say, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Tha Joanna, Skydive, etc.? Sounds good enough to me! Thank you to Brandon, Os, Mike, Mauricio, Katie and the rest of the awesome Cinder Block for including me in this mish-mash of brain 
 
 
Is it narcissistic to Google yourself? Eh, I don't really care what people think about that topic. I do it because I am curious what kind of feedback I'm getting from other people or if I have been listed in something that I do not even know of. I guess it's interesting to find whatever is on the internet when I type "Matt Manalo" on the search box. There are stories that lead to someone that has my name who got in trouble for marijuana possession (I don't do drugs by the way, I don't need it at all) and an armored car jacking incident. Weird right? I am glad though that the first things that pop-up when I search my name are things about me. I'm probably going to hate this post in the future. So with all that said, here are some links that I found myself on that I just discovered today:
http://pinterest.com/enchiladaplate/beautiful-things/ and http://www.bluestarart.org/people/view/472

Today, I had a conversation with a colleague about "career as an artist". My theory is that being an artist sort of makes you not get affected that much by the recession (as long as you work smart enough to be known). The rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer. We all know that by now. Since the rich are getting richer and the rich are most of the people who buy art according to my observation working everyday as an artist and being exposed to the business of gallery representation, rich people are not worried or affected by what most people are going through right now. Paintings are still being made and paintings are still being bought. A poor man would rather buy food than a painting. I guess everyone would agree to that. A rich person has money to buy food and has more to buy a painting. Yes? With that simple logic, that's how I was able to make that observation. I might be right or I might be wrong. Who knows 
 
 
 
 
"I can't tell you what art does and how it does it, but I know that often art has judged the judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent and shown to the future what the past suffered so that it has never been forgotten. Art, when it functions like this, becomes a meeting-place of the invisible, the irreducible, the enduring, guts and honor." John Berger

"The arts are not just instantaneous pleasure --if you don't like it, the artist is wrong. I belong to the generation which says if you don't like it, you don't understand and you ought to find out." John Drummond

"Fine art, that exists for itself alone, is art in a final state of impotence. If nobody, including the artist, acknowledges art as a means of knowing the world, then art is relegated to a kind of rumpus room of the mind and the irresponsibility of the artist and the irrelevance of art to actual living becomes part and parcel of the practice of art." Angela Carter

"The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist's way of scribbling, "Kilroy was here" on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass." William Faulkner


"It is impossible to give a clear account of the world, but art can teach us to reproduce it --just as the world reproduces itself in the course of its eternal gyrations. The primordial sea indefatigably repeats the same words and casts up the same astonished beings on the same sea-shore." Albert Camus

"Bad artists always admire each other's work. They call it being large-minded and free from prejudice. But a truly great artist cannot conceive of life being shown, or beauty fashioned under any conditions other than those he has selected." Oscar Wilde
 
 
It is amazing how much the english language is evolving/deteriorating. Like America, it is a boiling pot of other languages  It has a very large vocabulary that the Oxford English dictionary contains over 250,000 words and more and more are being created and recreated everyday. Given the word, "up": How many ways can you use it? "Give it up" "Up in the sky..." "Wake up" "...politicians up for election". It's just an example. Would you agree that soon enough, one word will contain five different meanings? I'm afraid that words like "swag", which originally means, "a suspended wreath, garland, drapery, or the like, fastened up at or near each end and hanging down in the middle;" but according to Urbandictionary, it means "apperance ,style ,or the way he or she presents them selves." Totally different meanings. My concern here is that everyone will soon talk the same english language but totally miscommunicate with each other. I find it funny in a serious way how we are all into "social networking" where it's all about staying connected but really, we're not. We're connected, yes, but with the internet and not with real people. Facebook, Twitter, etc. People are on it 24/7 and some even live their lives according to them. Sad. I myself is a slave of this. As a resolution to this matter, I plan to do things in person as much as possible and try to stay away from my laptop as well. There are lots of things that are better to do anyway. I am actually amazed at how people are programmed now or used to typing just 150 characters on Twitter. What if I made a website where it's like "tweeting" but with just two words. It will be like Richard Serra's List of Verbs. Maybe it will be a good research to do at what people can come up with. All these things concerning words are what my art is all about. The art of miscommunication.
 
 
I've finally finished reading the book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol written by himself. It was rather an odd/good read. He's definitely ticking in a different way compared to other people. It's strange how he sees things. Where did he learn all these? He's so disconnected from humanity.
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Right now, I'm reading Work Ethic written by Helen Molesworth. My friend Katie Mulholland recommended the book and it contains a lot of writing from a lot of people that inspire me. So we'll see how it goes! It should be a good read.

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So yeah, the show at the Austin Museum of Art was surely a success! Sam, Mati and I are probably going to catch it when it hits Chicago :)

Also, the Empty Box at Box13 Art Space was a hit! It was nice seeing people I don't see very often. 
I'm posting the photos and check-out the guy in the bear suit. LOL.
 
 
Today, I felt like a nervous wreck. I had an interview this morning for a possible Art/Stage Director job and I had to meet with possibly the biggest collector I have, Edward Albee. I usually post something up here at this time because I know, there wouldn't be anything else to happen at this time. --------It's 11:35pm, what is your child doing?--------- LOL
Well, today went well. Definitely a success with my involvement with business art. Edward Albee was definitely interested in purchasing some of my pieces especially my latest painting --that I haven't posted on here yet. He has already bought two of my paintings that I did in 2008 and I told him, when we were hanging out in my studio, that I wanted to see them hanging. So he told me that he's going to give me a call for me to see the paintings hanging in his house. Hopefully, he is also going to talk to his friend over at Hiram-Butler Gallery to represent my work here in Houston. I have my ten fingers and toes crossed on that one. My goal for this year is at least a solo show and gallery representation. I have always believed that good things happen to good people so I hope all my hard work and efforts will bring something exciting and new! 

Tomorrow, I will be attending Cinder's first meeting at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. HE HE HE HE 
I have mad respect to the people who organized this awesome group. It's time to brainstorm and eat each other's brain like zombies! 

Yeah, more good stuff going on with art and personal life! I'm glad that things keep on getting better since 2005 when I really got serious about my art-making. I have achieved so many things and I can tell that I am blessed.

A new word play came to mind last night when I was painting:
IM PERFECT / IMPERFECT.

Think about it.

Going to end my night with this:
 
 

Daisy is a jane of all trades. She has been doing modeling, acting, singing, etc. anything that involves art. I have known her for years and I had a photo session with her before. 
Here's a link to one of her profiles.



What is your inspiration for art?

I get inspiration from many things and it can go on and on because I have a long list of things that I find interesting. I guess a good way to start them is that I love texture --visual and physical. I enjoy going into art supply stores and running my hands across paper in sketchbooks and whatnot. From there, I love old and weathered walls with the wall paint chipped, discoloured due to natural causes, etc. Anything other than a perfectly smooth surface is good to me but of course, I also do appreciate smooth surfaces. I love things hand made: hand-written notes, taped things, badly stapled paper, hand-painted signs, graffiti, writings on walls, etc. Basically anything where the human element is still obvious. I also get inspiration from music or from the music that I am currently listening to. Being aware of the kind of music that I am listening to at the current moment lets me be aware of my current mood as well. I think it's just a good tool to measure it, for me at least. I like poetry a lot, good one-liners, and internet memes. Twitter is actually pretty interesting to me. I am amazed at how people are capable of giving so much information with little words, you know, because you're only limited to a certain number of characters. There's more but these are the ones I can remember now, for sure. 

What exhibition would you like to discuss that you recently did and why?

I think I would like to talk about my exhibition at Project Row House. I started working with my installation the summer of 2010. Out of all exhibitions I have done, I think this has probably the most interesting story to talk about. 

I started off late amongst my peers because I was still in New York when they started doing the weekly meetings. So as soon as I got back to Houston, I quickly ran to Home Depot and got my materials. 

The people at Project Row House are just amazing! Not only that, they work for a good cause. I feel so honored being a part of it and I would love to do it again in the future. Also, I met a lot of talented and well-known artists like Rick Lowe, Floyd Newsum, Jesse Lott, etc. 

It's just an amazing experience especially trying to keep cool and hydrate in a Houston summer. It was well-worth it.

What pieces did you enter? and why? Did you win anything?
I did not enter a piece for Project Row House but I submitted a proposal for it and it was accepted. So I guess that's the prize! I got accepted!

How long have you been creating art?

I have been creating art ever since I was a kid. I have always been drawing different things. It wasn't until 2006 where I really became serious about it.

Why do you do it?

I do it because it keeps me sane. I do it because it keeps me from doing other bad things. I do it because it's part of me. I do it because I see myself being 90 years old and still making art. I do it because it makes me happy.

Whats your favorite medium?

My favorite media are: House paint, spray paint, charcoal, conte crayons, acrylic paint, oil paint, wood glue and wall spackle. I guess you can say found objects as well.

Describe yourself as an artist and what you wish to accomplish and have accomplished.

I find it hard to describe myself as an artist because I don't see myself as how people perceive me. I can tell you that I love making things and that I really work hard to always strive to make better things. I am hard on myself and is always self-critical. I enjoy making art in every aspect of it from looking, reading, criticizing and making. 

My goal is to be a full-time artist. I want to be in the museums. I want to be known for my art and not because of stupid things like reality shows and whatnot. So far, I have been blessed with tons of opportunities to show my work, especially in Houston. I just had a show last night in San Antonio at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center and it was pretty amazing. I have mad respect for San Antonio art scene now. I want to strive for better shows in better galleries because I want to be affiliated with them. Hopefully, a show outside of Texas soon. It's in the works at the moment.
 
 
Hello Houston!

Okay, March 12, 2011 is the day for THE EMPTY BOX! It is an annual fundraising event for Box13 Artspace. It will take place from 7:00 - 9:30PM at BOX 13 Artspace, 6700 Harrisburg, Houston, TX 77011! This is my second year donating for this incredible art space that supports the contemporary fine art scene in Houston! You can access more details on their website: http://www.box13artspace.com/
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Hello Austin!

Also on March 12, 2011 at the Austin Museum of Art (823 Congress Ave Austin, TX) from 12:00pm-6:00pm, while you're taking some music break from SXSW, swing by to view works for The Sketchbook Project! It's only a two-day thing so don't miss it! It's pretty awesome! The next day, March 13, 2011 it will be held at 29th St Ballroom at Spider House (2906 Fruth St Austin, TX 78705). I am not planning to make it because I won't miss Mati's 6th birthday :) Maybe we can just go at some other time at other state! Here's the rest of the places it's showing at: 
                                             Brooklyn Library, Brooklyn, New York
                                             Austin Museum of Art, Austin, Texas
                                             Spider House, Austin Texas
                                             SPACE Gallery, Portland, Maine
                                             The Granite Room, Atlanta, Georgia
                                             Hillyer Art Space, Washington, DC
                                             Form/ Space Ateller, Seattle, Washington
                                             111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, California
                                             Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, Illinois
                                             Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida


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Hello San Antonio!

Again, thank you so much for the warm welcome! It was amazing! Thank you to Blue Star Contemporary Art Center and hopefully we'll be doing more projects in the future! The show is still up at the Blue Star Lab --an amazing space in the heart of the San Antonio downtown area!