So, I got to be introduced to Halmen, the wonderful lady who owns the restaurant. We talked and she showed me her place's walls (which I immediately felt very comfortable with considering my huge buttocks don't exactly fit well on the tiny seats meant for smaller frames); and on Saturday, December 20th... I'll be hanging some of my smaller works on paper and maybe a couple of paintings in that lovely, quirky and soulfully intimate restaurant.
I am still figuring out exactly which of the smaller pieces I'd hang in Halo Restaurant since I am in the middle of doing some huge works for another bigger exhibit next year (this one's going to be pretty exciting). However, digging through my works I thought I might as well let this one go and have it hang properly on another person's wall. It's about three of my four nephews.
I'll be posting in a few days more details about the exhibit on the 20th. In the meantime, I am re-posting this old one below.
33.5 X 24.5 cm
pen and ink on acid-free paper
pen and ink on acid-free paper
“Hello”, the gruff voice of a young teenager answered at the other end of the line.
“Who’s this?” I asked.
“Wiggy? Is that really you?”
“Yes it’s me Tito Dan.”
“Goodness, you sound very different. You sound grown.”
“I’ll get Daddy.”
He’s eleven and a half years old and already he sounds different and grown. It was only a couple of years back when he and his younger brother Deus would jump me by surprise from behind the door every time I go inside my brother’s apartment. Though, I am a big and strong person, it can take its toll on my back to have two urchins clinging on to me like two wriggling chimpanzees
“Nirarayuma ako kay Zach pag nagpapakarga siya sa likod ko.” (I’m getting arthritic whenever Zach hangs on to my back.) I once heard him complain of his baby brother.
I smiled. Now it’s his turn to have a small chimp cling on to him.
“TITO SHREEEK!”, shrieked my ten-year old nephew Deus.
“Will you quit screaming into my ear? You can speak in a normal tone you know.”
“You promised the Game Boy Advance II. Have you already bought it?”
“It’s still a month away from Christmas. I promised you’ll get it on that day, did I not?”
“Yeah, but did you remember? I want a black one with casing. Get the Advance II because it has a much better colored screen. It has better graphics, better sounds. And get me those games like Harry Potter or Superfriends edition, or you can get the WWF wrestling games or Super Mario.”
“Yes Tito Shrek?”
“Quit calling me Tito SHREK and you’ll get your Gameboy Advance II – a day before Christmas.”
“Yes, Tito Dan”, and I saw a sweet cherub-like smile flash on my nephew’s face.
A week after Christmas, my brother called to tell me that Deus has already reached level four on The Fantastic 4 game on his brand new black Gameboy Advance II with its sleek black casing.
“Cool”, I gladly remarked.
A few minutes later, I received a text message from Deus and it read, ”Thank you so much for the Gameboy Advance II. I truly enjoy it. You’re cool TITO SHREK.”
I have been doing a series of little bald fat boys and so far, I have done more than thirty of these small works. Some of them are small paintings while the others are pen and ink drawings on paper – all of these were inspired by a little child. His name is Zachary.
A little bundle of one year of padded flesh that trundles along the floor like a drunken Japanese midget every time he hears his favorite purple dinosaur’s tune, Zach, as we fondly call him, carries more attention upon him than a firecracker popping early in the morning. He laughs. He giggles. He wiggles his buttocks with wanton delight, making us adults around him prod him more in his antics. He’s simply adorably cute as all babies are.
One time, my brother’s wife was berating Zach’s older brother Deus for a mischief he’s done. Being badgered by his mother, the latter was avoiding her gaze and turned the other way. Zach, with legs spread apart like a sumo wrestler stepping into the ring, walked towards his brother, turned Deus’ face towards him, pointed his finger at him and started to berate him in his baby googly talk. At that moment, a mother’s anger turned into laughter.
The day I gave my brother two of the paintings of the bald fat boys was the day that Zach knew who inspired the works.
“Tol, tignan mo si Zach.” (Bro, look at Zach), said my brother as he pointed towards his son trudging towards the hanging works.
“Kanina pa niya ginagawa yan. Hinahalikan niya mga painting mo nung mga batang kalbo. Hehehe, alam nga niyang siya yun” (He keeps on doing that.. He kisses the paintings of the bald boys. He knows they’re him.)
Zach gingerly reached up to the hanging paintings, touched them and kissed the image.