Last Christmas, while tidying up my workspace and sorting out things, I stumbled upon my notebooks and sketchbooks dating back to elementary and high school.
I fondly remember doing sketches of Sailor Moon on one of my homeroom notes. I didn’t mind being scolded many times by the teacher. By instinct, my hand would reach for the pen and I’d draw one thing over another as my mind drifted, carried by my fascination with art and illustration.
I was never the best in class but I was always persistent. In college, having been introduced to new art media, I’d practice using them during free time.
Back then I was struggling to find my own artistic identity; despite the few comments and views I received on my work in DeviantArt, I plodded on, knowing that somewhere around the globe, my art would mean something to someone. That thought kept me going.
Those were the days I would hurry home to catch the latest episode of “Cardcaptor Sakura” and save up my allowance for the latest “W.I.T.C.H.” comics and Lisa Frank’s new sticker books.
‘Rainbow Candy Girls’
It’s hard to believe that a week from now, I’ll be having my first solo show as a professional artist in Singapore. Oftentimes I feel I’m not deserving of such a wonderful opportunity.
Looking back on the challenges and hardships I faced, I am amazed that my once stubborn nine-year-old self has finally realized her dream of becoming an artist.
There are lots of talented artists, and sometimes we overlook the fact that these pros were once amateurs who also struggled in their craft. I myself still struggle with insecurities, despite managing a number of social media accounts for my art.
I sometimes feel burned out from work and that I’m not good enough. So I head out to watch a film, play a video game or read a comic book.
Art shouldn’t be a chore. If it doesn’t come naturally, I stop to refresh my eyes and go back to drawing when I have enough material to keep the creative juice flowing.
“Rainbow Candy Girls” was a personal project I started back in 2012. I’d usually draw women with desserts during work break, hoping that, one day, I’d have enough material to exhibit in a gallery or publish my own art book.
That project was heavily influenced by my life as a kid in the 1990s. Lisa Frank is probably my biggest art influence and it still shows in the colors of my work. Combined with Harajuku fashion and pastel goth, magical girl aesthetic, the Candy Cats balance the appearance of some of these edgy women I draw.
I was caught by surprise when Alwyn Liang, the owner of InkInk Collectibles, felt that my work would look great in a solo show. It was overwhelming and intimidating at first, but I’d be lying if I said my heart wasn’t jumping for joy.
In this exhibit, I’ll be showcasing work that represents me best: rainbows, unicones and cute cats!
In my journey as an artist, I know that this is only the beginning. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my family, friends, loved ones and God.
I hope to impress upon aspiring artists that dreams do come true, and yes, even when it starts as a doodle on your homeroom notebook.
“Rainbow Candy Girls,” a Rian Gonzales solo art exhibition, will be held on Feb. 25 at InkInk Gallery, 231 Bain St., Bras
Basah Complex #02-85,