Posted by: nastypen | February 8, 2007

The C-Word that Brought Fear to My Mother’s Heart

“Cartoonist.”

Yes, that would be the word that my mother would conjure a wired smile at people as she would tell them of her only son’s occupation. It didn’t help that that son is gay and understands the aesthetics of a cheetah print, much more working in a lesser-dignified calling.

“Don’t you want to take up Law? I can finance your studies.”

“You would be a great diplomat. Take the Foreign Service Officer examinations. That would be your birthday gift to me.”

These were buzzed to me by my mother who would coo them with a smile as if I’m an infant about to be put to sleep. Whenever I show her one of my works, she is obliged to look at it and smile. 3.28 minutes later, she will ask one of those questions again.

I am not annoyed nor disdained by this. I find it quirky that my mother cannot wrap her mind that her son is a cartoonist. It’s like I’m a bricklayer or something. Sure, cartoonists here in the Philippines are so abused and underpaid, street prostitutes are tycoons compared to us.

Some of us have more business sense to pursue their comic strip in an empire sense. Merchandising, book publications, even a restaurant, fan club and fawning appearance. For now, I have apprehensive admiration for those guys. Apprehensive because I think to myself “Why not do that?” Publish a collection and hook up with merchandising people?  But the details attached to such ventures are daunting and something I do not have the drive to deal with.

The simple answer is that “I enjoy cartooning.” I am not going into the conscious way like a beauty pageant and parade my characters around. No, I do not brand those who do it negatively. It’s just that I cannot do it because I do not know how. So, in the meantime, I just enjoy the process of cartooning.

I always treat my cartooning as therapy, first and foremost :

cue in the punchline....

Cartooning as a money-making venture? In the Philippines?!?! Hah! That crossed my mind as a speck thrown to the wind. I just thought I could just upload ALL of my Fringe Benefits Cafe strips on the web to be downloaded as pdf files for free. Because, Lord knows, I think the best word in the English language is “free.”

So, here I am on the verge of poverty and uncertainty cannot wait to make comics and funnier comic strips. I am insane and my mother is correct to want to veer me away from this Icarus-esque life. Icarus because I still am bullheaded enough to believe in comics. I know that comics have gained so much ground in the academia and in the art world. But here I am doing what I love but there is a nagging feeling that people will just raise an eyebrow and think I’m doing kidstuff. People like my mother.

Well I could tell my mom instead of calling me the “cartoonist,” she can call her son the “Comic stripper” hahahaha. But my mom won’t get the humor in that one.

So, I still fly to the sun; it’s a risk. Choosing cartooning may have been one of the biggest risks in my life.

Unlike Icarus, though, I have yet to fall from the sky to a watery crash. But, that’s thinking twenty steps ahead. One step at a time, baby.

Can’t stop the flood, bitches.

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Responses

  1. I love your art, Nastypen! Even back in college. I still have that drawing for the shirt design from our dormitory! I wish you would go do a sketch of me someday though.

  2. eewww eeeeeeeeewwww burn it!! burn that design!!!! hahahahahah thanks, fanatical teacher.


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