Artist. I think that pretty much describes me. As my mother would say: “Jack of all trades, master of none!” And as much as I’d like to say “Look Ma, no hands!“, I can’t. I am one of those who like to continue to learn and, hopefully, evolve along the way. I wouldn’t say that she is 100% correct about me, however. I do have many trades, but I think I have mastered many of them. But first and foremost, I am. An. Artist.
As a Painter
I’ve love drawing and painting from as far back as I can remember. I doodle constantly throughout the day: on napkins, on my iPad (discovered a cool drawing app and I even have a stylus pen!), on pieces of paper, yellow sticky, and practically anything I can find around to doodle on. I had always loved to paint, and large scale canvasses gives me the most joy. I was lucky enough not to get caught stealing from my father’s stash of pens, pencils, coloured pencils, and hundreds of watercolours from his drafting table. Stealing them wasn’t too hard.
I grew up in an Asian home which means playing piano or an instrument is talent (more like a weekly chore) and anything else is secondary. Drawing is definitely secondary, if not the least. I graduated to acrylic, then oil in my high school years, so I’m thankful for a school that had a budget for the visual arts program. I completed my first collection on my last year of high school and successfully exhibited them thanks to the Toronto ArtsWeek Festivals in the 90s. I even made it in the Toronto Star and CityTV!
I tried pursuing it in university, but like a true bohemian, I found it too constricting. I didn’t feel free to be creative or had the creative freedom. There were so many rules and in the process, I hated it so much I couldn’t think of what to do for my next piece. So I quit.
I continued to paint, but rarely, and never an entire collection worthy of exhibiting. Mostly paintings I kept around to put around the house…eventually in storage. But I am back and I am excited to be returning to my first love – painting.
As a Singer & Performer
I’ve also been known to sing a few bars every now and then. This one sort of fell on my lap on a dare. I’ve always enjoyed music and sang in choirs and talent shows as a kid, but never took it seriously until a dare from a friend; and the rest is history. I’ve since performed in two productions of Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, A Chorus Line, and Cabaret just to name a few. I am probably most recognized as the guy who was plucked from the audience to sing with Tony and Olivier Award winner Ms. Lea Salonga during her concert at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto in 2009. That appearance led to a reprise after a chance meeting in Cebu, Philippines where I sang with Ms. Salonga at a concert once more at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in 2010. She even wrote about it. Check the the article below.
As a Photographer
I recently developed a love for photography. “Recent” is probably more of an operative word. I guess I’ve always had the eye but never the patience for photography. However, lately, I am getting more and more into it than before. I have no fancy equipment or camera though. I am more of a “guerrilla photographer“, meaning I use what I got, and I try to make the best of it. I am currently working on a photo book from my tour of Canada last year. Stay tuned for that!
As a Writer
I never thought I’d actually be a writer or call myself such. But for the sake of dropping names, I was a regular columnist for Musical Stages Online Magazine (UK), guest columnist in Curtain Up (NY) and Munting Nayon News Magazine (Filipino newspaper based in The Netherlands serving the community in Europe), and many others who had asked me to write a piece for their publication. I’ve also been quoted in an article in a Boston newspaper and I keep a blog that is on Urbanspoon since I am also a big foodie.
So, going back to what my mother says “Jack of all trades“… “Look Ma, I’ve mastered them”.
In the Media