Whenever people ask me how I finally made the leap into becoming a full-time artist at 49, I like to start the story with “I was having drinks with some friends one night last year…”
It was in a cava bar in Singapore’s cobblestoned Duxton Hill, a particularly atmospheric corner of food and drink establishments strewn with fairy lights. It was the kind of night that had everyone at our table, fueled by good vibes and a copious amount of alcohol, brimming with wild ideas and incredible plans of the sort that take ages to see the light of day, if at all. Though it had been a lifelong dream to exhibit my work, I said a few things to that effect with tongue firmly in cheek, not really expecting anything to come of it.
Painting has always been a source of joy for me; I knew from a very young age that I wanted to paint for a living. I was 10 when I gave voice to this desire in a declaration with the conviction only a child has. I might have been painting in the garden of my grandparents’ Manila home – my childhood album is arrayed with many such photos – and feeling a kind of high. “I want to be an artist,” I vaguely recall telling my mom, completely unprompted, to which she replied, “And you’ll be a great one.”