12/26/07

Catmasutra 4 - Tomato-based Cat Fish Soup

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible,
then they seem improbable, and then,
when we summon the will,
they soon become inevitable.

If your cat squeeze into a can of tomato soup with its favorite fish bone , you'll end up with a real bundle of messy delight - just as if Santa Claus were to squeeze himself down a chimney with his huge load of Christmas goodies. Those must be happy times - improbable things that happen, that make us smile and laugh. Can you remember those moments in the past year?

Sometimes it seems that we are living the same life many times over, the same cycles with more or less of the same. It's like in this big book of life, most of our pages are blank except for the few planned holidays and special occasions that we jot down in our calendar. Maybe we should just slow things down a tad and take some time to savor each day, allowing the flavor of happiness to permeate our life. Happiness is a simple thing - we don't have to wait for that holiday or to buy that branded product. It is freely available now in this present moment. The more you let go, the more space you have for happiness.


The key to happiness is having dreams...
the key to success is making dreams come true.



;)

12/23/07

Catmasutra 4 - Paper Boat

Rainy days are special days, and I remember always running out to watch the rain as a child. Sometimes, I made paper boats and set them afloat onto the drain. I watch them travel as far down as possible before the rain beat them down. Sometimes after a thunderstorm, a new scene emerges as if the old one has been peeled away. Perhaps that is the true reality, that every moment is a new beginning if we catch ourselves and choose to see it.

At the end of each cycle, at the end of each dark cloud, a bright one is always waiting to shine through. Perhaps as we grow older, we discriminate too much, tend to see everything as a continuity, from one thing to the next, from the past to the present into the future. If one paper boat sinks, we can always make another one! No matter what we plan to do, we should act on the thought without thinking too much about it. When we think we can do something later, we would have lost the moment. Like a child running out to play in the rain, he would never have to think twice!


There is always more than one way to live a life. The "real world" is never really out there, but if you believe what others tell you, then that is your real world. People from different cultures think differently. We think differently in part because our government has taught us how to think. If everything revolves around money and stability and growth, then that is your reality.
It takes a lot of courage and practice to believe in oneself but it's definitely more exciting than living a life that is not entirely yours.


Stories are always true,

it's the facts that mislead.

;)

12/15/07

Catmasutra 4!

Catch all the catmasutra cats in action till 23rd December at Utterly Art! First off, many thanks to all who attended the reception and to all who has supported Catmasutra one way or another! It's still on, so spread the word and pop by if you have the chance or are around the area. Make sure you catch some of the infectious Catmasutra spirit that I have been addicted to especially in the last couple of months! Well, it's been quite a year for me, visualizing and "watching" blank canvases filled up with ideas and transformed into these irreverent eyes-wide-shut, ear-to-ear-grin art pieces!

And both Halo and Angel are part of the painting process, through and through, adding their "sleep" essence as well as other antics such as scratching me and asking for food when I'm too engrossed with my painting, and of course providing some well-timed comic relief as well.

True tell, Angel and Halo are the breaks actually as they remind me to always live in the now. haha. The point of power is always in the present moment and by fully living in the now, we can transform the past and even the future, and that, I think is the true essence of freedom. Life is as simple as that and yet it is one of the hardest things to do. Catmasutra is about that moment of creation in between the power of everyday and the power of myth and magic. "In between lies art".

For many of these paintings, there is a point where a leap of faith becomes essential. You're not sure how you are going to paint it, but you know you're going to paint it anyhow. Sometimes, the process is so intuitive that you think that everything is connected to everything else. Sometimes, you're afraid that it's not gonna work but you keep at it because you trust it to work! Each painting seems to have its own energy that drives itself, that allows itself to be painted. And on many occasions, upon completion, you tell yourself you're not gonna sell that painting... wahahaha


I guess one of the benefits of painting is that it allows you to be still, to be of one mind and body. You are aware of it and then you let it go, and something else takes over. And you're amazed when you've finished a particular section of a painting that you think is rather difficult to do. That is perhaps one of the joys of painting!


“Art is contemplation.
It is the pleasure of the mind which searches into nature
and which there divines the spirit of which Nature herself is animated.”
Auguste Rodin


Catmasutra 4, the exhibition!

CATMASUTRA IV PAINTING EXHIBITION

UTTERLY ART - 13th - 23rd DECEMBER 2007
Tel: + 65 6226 2605 Cell: 94872006 Contact: Keng Hock

Email: utterlyart@pacific.net.sg

229A South Bridge Road Singapore 058778 2nd Level
Opening hours: 11am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday

;)

12/12/07

Catmasutra 4 - peekaboo!


video

Interview with the artist at Sparklette.net

Catmasutra 4 featured in CulturePush

;)

Catmasutra 4, the exhibition!

CATMASUTRA IV PAINTING EXHIBITION

UTTERLY ART - 13th - 23rd DECEMBER 2007
Tel: + 65 6226 2605 Cell: 94872006 Contact: Keng Hock

Email: utterlyart@pacific.net.sg

229A South Bridge Road Singapore 058778 2nd Level
Opening hours: 11am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday

;)

12/5/07

Catmasutra - Big Mind, Small Mind

This is a play on Play Imaginative's flagship designer toy, Trexi - a 3-inch tall action figure with a rotating head and articulated limbs. The Catmasutra cat draws its essence from my cat Halo, and the Trexi "mini-me" draws its essence from the Catmasutra cat. They are different, yet the same, as they are both the essence of the artist. And yet in creating them, the artist is both catmasutra cat and the Trexi! Haha... And Trexi has a new Catmasutra manifestation now in addition to the ones by Tokidoki and Devilrobots... "Big Mind, Small Mind" is also an abstraction using a little Zen as a reference philosophy... So still yourself as I indulge myself...
;)

Trace every man-made thing around us and you will be led back to the same origin - a singular thought that sets into motion new cycles that intertwine and create even more and newer cycles, that reinforces one more than the other. If the cycle gets big enough, you'll have a powerful engine that manifests and make real, our hopes and dreams, our fears and greed, just as electricity was discovered, just as the atomic bomb was made, just as our capacity for war and peace manifests themselves internally and externally.

"What happened did happen, but not before it was so powerful an idea
that it took shape and form and ripped through the thin skin
that separates potential from event."

~Jeanette Winterson , "The Stone Gods",
on the actuality of a third world war, a nuclear war


Just as the atomic bomb was built to end all wars...

In 1942 the Manhattan Engineer Project was set up in the United States under the command of Brigadier General Leslie Groves... By the time the atom bomb was ready to be used Germany had surrendered. Leo Szilard and James Franck circulated a petition among the scientists opposing the use of the bomb on moral grounds. However, the advice was ignored by Harry S. Truman, the USA's new president, and he decided to use the bomb on Japan.

On 6th August 1945, a B29 bomber dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima. It has been estimated that over the years around 200,000 people have died as a result of this bomb being dropped. Japan did not surrender immediately and a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later. On 10th August the Japanese surrendered. The Second World War was over. ~source, spartacus

...the atomic bomb was built to end all wars.
The nuclear age had begun.

Our personal history is the history of the world - just that we don't know it yet. The way we think, the way we live, choosing one over the other, reinforcing one over the other, is the history of the world. Our reality is never All or Nothing. It is not a complete physical reality, and at the same time it is not completely in our mind. Our reality is All and Nothing.

Everything is included within your mind. Nothing can come from outside. If they do, it only means that something appears in your mind. If you do not exist, then everything else ceases to exist. In order for me to exist, you have to exist and everything else must exist. This is the essence of big mind, neither coming or going, but ever present in everyone and everything; it is only in the reality of this present that we can find peace and harmony.

When we dwell only in the physical reality, then we are always affected by external circumstances. We will always be waging wars with ourselves, with good, evil, injustice, with what we think is right or wrong, with the idea of lack or abundance. This is our mind that is related to something outside itself, one that sees differences between you and I, between the colors of our skins, our beliefs, our possessions. This is the small mind. This is us with a rotating head and articulated limbs, in a modern consumer world, where we are conditioned to protect ourselves from every insecurity, difficulty and discomfort...

A quantum universe - neither random or determined.
A universe of potentialities,
waiting for an intervention to affect the outcome.
Love is an intervention. why do we not choose it?
~Jeanette Winterson , "The Stone Gods",


;)

been reading too much zen...
Shunryu Suzuki, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield

there is always magic

Catmasutra 4, the exhibition!


UTTERLY ART - 13th - 23rd DECEMBER 2007
CATMASUTRA IV PAINTING EXHIBITION

229A South Bridge Road Singapore 058778 2nd Level
Opening hours: 11am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday

;)

12/1/07

Catmasutra - The Bearable Lightness of Being

A lotus for you,
a Buddha to be.

"...the exuberant, unfolding, unpredictable universe, expanding when it should be contracting, made largely of something that is not something but nothing - dark energy, anti-matter. A thing unconfined.
What to say when the certainties fail?
Words are the part of silence that can be spoken. "


Strangely enough, I did this painting from negative to positive, from dark to light, beginning with a black-greenish background, outlined with white chalk before painting in the colors. And the lotus actually grows in muddy waters while it rises above the surface to bloom. When the sun sets, the lotus flower closes and sinks underwater but at dawn, it reappears in all its splendor, untouched by impurity. And I painted the cat in its usual cheeky and blissful self, completely oblivious of everything else but the here and now, lying on a large lotus leaf, with three fishes leading the way, guided by lotus flowers as nature's signposts.

There is no past, no future in the here and now, just the cat drifting through a vast thought that becomes an entire universe. Everything is as they should be, the present moment as it is, without the pull of the past or push of the future - this bearable lightness of being - the only moment that really belongs to us. When we touch this moment, everything becomes real. I miss this painting already, having brought most of the paintings to the gallery.


Do not lose yourself in the past,
do not run after the future.

To lose the present is to lose life.


Quotes by Jeanette Winterson, Buddha, Thich Nhat Hanh



Catmasutra 4, the exhibition!


UTTERLY ART - 13th - 23rd DECEMBER 2007
CATMASUTRA IV PAINTING EXHIBITION

229A South Bridge Road Singapore 058778 2nd Level
Opening hours: 11am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday

;)

11/27/07

Catmasutra - Equilibrium

"Truth tell, anywhere is a life, once there is a love."

Your personal history is the history of the world. Just that you don't know it yet. The choices that we make, the thoughts that we think - they all leave an imprint. Moment to moment, we live as if we didn't matter and as if we are the only ones that matter. "There are so many things that we nearly do and they don't matter at all, and then there are so many things we nearly do that would change everything... "

And there's always a moment in time when we know we are right in the middle, between heaven and earth, light and dark, happiness and sadness - perfect equilibrium. It could be anywhere, while vacationing or being at home, watching a waterfall or simply watching the sky, the moment when you forget yourself, when you're completely calm and peaceful, there it is, even if you did not recognize it. In William Blake's words, " To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour."

"The universe is an imprint - it imprints you, you imprint it. You cannot separate yourself from the imprint, and you can never forget it. It isn't something, it is you." Life is simple. What you give to life is what you get. Everything else are just excuses to blame something else. The more we try to control our life as though the universe is external to us, the more the world runs away from us. "In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand..." Krishnamurti

"Here is a moment in time, and my choices have been no stranger than millions before me, displaced by wars and conscience, leaving the known for the unknown, hesitating, fearing, then finding themselves already on the journey, footprint and memory each imprinting the trail: what you had, what you lost, what you found, no matter how difficult or impossible, the moment when time became a bridge and you crossed it."

Quotes in italics ~ The Stone Gods, Jeanette Winterson.

Catmasutra 4, the exhibition!

UTTERLY ART - 13th - 23rd DECEMBER 2007
CATMASUTRA IV PAINTING EXHIBITION
229A South Bridge Road, 2nd Level
Opening hours: 11am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday

;)

11/20/07

Catmasutra - māo, zì dòng (the Quality of Being)

“God made the cat so that
man might have the pleasure of caressing the tiger”

There is an innate quality in a Chinese character, which represents a word rather than a sound or a combination of sounds. After all, "Shu Fa" (calligraphy) is regarded as the most abstract and sublime form of art in Chinese culture. All calligraphy strokes are permanent and incorrigible; they require careful planning and confident execution, and yet its expression can be extremely creative. And the incidental diffusing of ink blots and dry brush strokes add to the beauty and natural rhythm of the character, revealing its essence and its quality of being. The external is always a manifestation of the internal, and this is quite apparent in calligraphy or painting. The painting is already there before you paint it. Otherwise, you cannot paint. Everything manifests itself in the same way.

Perhaps as a punishment for not studying Mandarin hard enough in the growing up years, I am now in awe of the beauty of some of these characters, each capable of being filled with such power and life! My earliest appreciation (though idealized) of Chinese calligraphy must be of Bruce Lee, poised and ready for action with "Wu" in the background. haha This resonated in my mind when I painted "Mao", in an attempt to draw out the innate quality of the cat.

“Take things as they are.
Punch when you have to punch.
Kick when you have to kick.”
~Bruce Lee

The quality of being a cat is just that, its innocent praticality and its seemingly awareness of life without thinking about it. Perhaps our fascination with cats lies in their ability to be themselves based on inner feeling, as distinct from following rules, and hence we cannot "force" a cat to do anything. It's akin to the quality of "de" - moving with the unity of eye and heart (mind).

You will always get what you want if you do not want or lack it!

"One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? she asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don't know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn't matter.” Lewis Carroll

If it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.


;)

11/11/07

Catmasutra - Magic Beans

"You just have to ask yourself what kind of person are you. Are you the type that sees signs? Sees miracles? Or do you think that people just get lucky? Maybe there are no coincidences.

"One time, I was at this party... and I was sitting on the couch with Randa McKinning. She was just sitting there, looking beautiful, and staring at me. So, I lean into kiss her, and I realize I have gum in my mouth. So, I turn to spit it out and put it in a little paper cup that was sitting by the couch. I turn back, and Randa McKinning throws up all over herself. I knew the moment it happened, it was a miracle. I could have been kissing her when she threw up. It would have scarred me for life. I may have never recovered. I'm a miracle man." - from the movie, Signs

Is imagination stronger than knowledge? Is myth more potent than history? Are dreams more powerful than facts? It's strange because everything appears from one thought. A blank canvas, put in a chair, a table, a cat on the table, a typewriter with anonymous keys (keys that will unlock your dreams if you are able to type them out), and a bottle of whiskey - make that the whiskey that Jack stole, and of course, the magic beans. Sit back and watch them grow. Day by day, the colors appear, filling up between the lines, taking over the empty spaces, and then, it's done. A new Catmasutra painting is born! wahahahaha

At the end of the fairy tale, it is about you and only you. You are your own book and you can fill it with whatever you like - good or bad - it makes no difference to anyone else but you. Never in thought acknowledge an impossibility. When you do, your world shrinks that much smaller! Throw the beans out or plant them. Watch them grow or let them wither. It's always about choice.

Myths, stories and imagination, with all its beauty and possibility, contains truth about the world that neither science nor philosophy can access. “Myth is the hidden part of every story, the buried part, the region that is still unexplored because there are as yet no words to enable us to get there. ” - Italo Calvino. “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves.” - Mahatma Gandhi.

;)

Catmasutra 4, the exhibition!


UTTERLY ART - 13th - 23rd DECEMBER 2007
CATMASUTRA IV PAINTING EXHIBITION

229A South Bridge Road Singapore 058778 2nd Level
Opening hours: 11am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday

;)

11/8/07

catmasutra- Chill out with Popsicles!


A whimsical piece, "Popsicles" is the largest painting that will be exhibited in Catmasutra 4, this December (13th - 23th) at Utterly Art ! It measures 36" x 36", and features a pair of legs in stockings with the Catmasutra cat balancing as if in perfect unison with the colorful, super flat popsicle-like structures. It brings back memories of seeing children playing in one of those "fish tank" filled with colorful balls in Ikea (which disguises the need for parents to be free of their charges). Seemingly frozen yet warm and cuddly, laced with delicious temptation and playful innocence, this is the ultimate playpen for adults!

"Popsicles" is a case of waking up one morning, and wanting to do something big, fun, bright and playful. There is a mood to create a different feel, to test the elasticity between things; wahahaha I ended up combining flat colors with the cat and legs, blur the relationship between them, test gravity, play with temperatures and and put a weird flexibility to the one-dimension pops!

;)

11/1/07

Catmasutra - Joy Luck Club

I've been wanting to do portraits of people as guest stars, who suddenly find themselves materialized into the catmasutra dreamscape taking on a catmasutra-like appearance, wahahah! There is no distinction between adults and children in this place. They are simultaneously reduced and enlarged, transformed and affected by the eyes-wide-shut and ear-to-ear grin of the catmasutra cat. It's the externalization of an inner world, of a particular emotion at a particular time. So if you have that photo that captures that singular emotion, you may want to do a catmasutra portrait!

Hoods are like magic headgears. There's something secretive about them, which hides and reveals a personal myth or fairy tale, and the magic element that is the gateway into the Catmasutra realm wahahaha! And I can embellish it anyway I like, with cat ears, a rhinoceros horn, with flaps, or any weird concoctions depending on the mood and personality of the painting. In "Joy Luck club", both girl and cat seem to have completed their night mission and are reflecting on their sweet adventure! One can only guess what that mission is... perhaps it's another fairy tale....

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” - C.S. Lewis

10/22/07

Catmasutra - Free wallpaper for clouds 9!

Free wallpaper: 1280 x 1024 | 1280 x 800

"When you realize how perfect everything is,
you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky
"
- Gautama Siddharta.

This is the premise of "Cloud 9" a Catmasutra painting done in the 2006 exhibition. As this catmasutra cat knows, the purpose of life is to climb the sky and find a great big Cumulus cloud to sleep in. So use this wallpaper as a reminder to put a smile on your face, and if you don't feel like it , just visualize floating and lying on one of those fluffy incarnations in the sky wahahaha!

"We had the sky up there,
and we used to lay on our backs
and look up at them,
and discuss whether
they was made or just happened"
- Mark Twain

Well, that to a degree, reflects my fascination with the sky. And strangely enough, it is the cat that taught me how to appreciate the sky. Remembering as a child in the yard of my grandma's house, lying on the bleached dry cemented floor, watching the wet clothes swaying, half revealing and half waving the clouds goodbye, like a peek-a-boo of sorts. It all started with a promise made with the cat, that when we meet here in the yard, we would just stretch out and do nothing; we would watch the sky, enjoy the moment till one of us decides to call it a day. I kept wondering how wide the sky is as you can see it curve away down below you and beyond. And you wonder if it is the same sky on the other side.


“In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west;
people create distinctions out of their own minds
and then believe them to be true.” - -
Gautama Siddharta.

;)

10/18/07

See no evil...


Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves -
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true -
Demosthenes

Falsehood is easy, truth so difficult. - George Eliot

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people. - Virginia Woolfe

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence -Frederick Douglas

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

;)

10/17/07

Time to pause and reflect...

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority,
it is time to pause and reflect.

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble.
It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them.

Happiness is not something ready made.
It comes from your own actions.

If you can, help others;
if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.

The ultimate authority must always rest with
the individual's own reason and critical analysis.

And

always do right.
This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Also
Golf is a good walk spoiled...

Mark Twain & Dalai Lama

;)

10/15/07

Catmasutra - Humpty Dumpty

There is something about Fairy tales and Nursery Rhymes. They have been entrenched so gradually that they are buried and dismissed ever so quietly. Yet, when they are re-interpreted , they can reveal so much more for we all think we already know them.... wahahahah

From the City of Glass, Paul Auster
for his stories ain't a fairy tale....

"Humpty Dumpty. You know who I mean. The egg."
"As in 'Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall'?"
"Exactly."
"I don't understand."
"Humpty Dumpty: the purest embodiment of the human condition. Listen carefully sir. What is an egg? It is that which has not yet been born. A paradox, is it not? For how can Humpty Dumpty be alive if he has not been born? And yet, he is alive – make no mistake.
We know that because he can speak…"

“… In his little speech to Alice (Through the looking glass), Humpty Dumpty sketches the future of human hopes and gives the clue to our salvation: to become masters of the words we speak, to make language answer our needs. Humpty Dumpty was a prophet, a man who spoke truths the world was not ready for.”

“A man?”

“Excuse me. A slip of the tongue. I mean an egg. But the slip is instructive and helps to prove my point. For all man are eggs, in a manner of speaking. We exist, but we have not yet achieved the form that is our destiny. We are pure potential, an example of the not-yet-arrived. For man is a fallen creature – we know that from Genesis. Humpty Dumpty is also a fallen creature. He falls from his wall, and no one can put him back together again – neither the king, nor his horses, nor his men. But that is what we must all now strive to do. It is our duty as human beings: to put the egg back together again. For each of us, sir, is Humpty Dumpty. And to help him is to help ourselves.”


"It's been a long time
been a long time coming
held my breath too long
have to get back to the surface..."
(haha was listening to Concave Scream's Horizons)

;)

10/11/07

Catmasutra- Mind Shaper

He soared with an inexplicable joy when he finally landed on the board. The tender air and the ancient sky, rectilinear and dreamlike, suspended them in mid-air. Moving closer to the edge, the clouds drifted in happy realms of a forgotten childhood. He paused. He couldn't remember exactly but felt as if he had come home after years of wandering.


The board rose high above the maternal darkness below. Looking down, it divided day and night into two equal parts, one belonging to the substance of all dreams, and the other to the manifestation of the material world. And yet it was a spectacular place to be in, where you can drift in and out between the two planes. What is within is reflected without. If only he could remember his travels in these dreams.

At the edge of the board, he finally felt as if he had arrived at his life's true destination. He felt it as a mood of at-homeness. Knowledge of power had taken on the most extraordinary shapes of gods and angels. Then came the courage to dare, and the leap of faith to step out of himself into unbounded realms, free-falling into the living dreams of the universe.


associative writing based on
Ben Okri's
Astonishing the Gods


;)

10/8/07

Catmasutra - One

What forms a sentence? What forms words that give rise to a sentence? By virtue of imagination, we create thoughts and whip them into shape, translate them into words and action. The origin of everything begins with a thought. That's the beginning of a cause. The words or actions are the effects. When we are aware of this mode of creation, we get a glimpse of the kind of power we have, for good or bad. That's when we realize we always have a choice. That is the power of freewill. If we can be still for a while, we can catch that one thought that will lead us to wherever we want to go. That begs the question, "Is ignorance really blissful"? Is it always someone else's fault? Did we play a part in whatever that has happened, for good or for bad? We can only act for ourselves and be responsible for our own choices. If we make the right choice, we are free and happy. If we make the wrong choice, we are trapped and frustrated. There is no need to blame anyone else. We can only be comfortable in our own skin and not anyone's else.

So be still, catch that one thought that will change your life!
"Therein resides three thousand realms in a single life-moment..."

;)

10/5/07

Catmasutra - Forty Winks and the tapestry of dreams

Gustav Klimt is one of my favorite artists, with "The Kiss" being one of the best loved decorative paintings in the history of art. There is a lot of sensuality in Klimt's works which borders on the mythical and subconscious. This painting was actually conceptualized for Catmasutra II exhibition back in 2005, whereby in the process of "reversing pop art", I took high art and immersed it with Catmasutra's joie de vivre! Some of the pieces included Halo having a time of her life in Monet's Water Lily garden (“Serenading Monet”), Magritte's Green Apple (“Apple on the Inside”), Warhol's Campbell Soup (“Fish Soup”), Seurat's Bathers at Asnieres (Mooching by the Bay), Botero's dancers, Hockney's Splash (Before the Splash), Rousseau's Merry Jesters (Jesters' Paradise), Van Gogh's Chair (Coffeebreak at Vincent's)!

I wanted to include a piece on Klimt but the style seems to be at odds with Catmasutra's sensibilities. Catmasutra is irreverent, with a devil-may-care bravado, the colors bold and strong, while Klimt's works are of a mythic proportion dealing with archetypes of both good and evil, light and dark, and invites you to a place of your wildest dreams and your deepest fears. For the longest time, I was unable to reconcile this piece...


I have sketched it out but was unable to breathe life into it. The inspiration then were two pieces of work, Water Snakes and Goldfish (top). I have always liked water and what it represents, the fluidity of the stream of life, and how we would reap the benefits if we flow with it rather than paddle against it. Klimt's mythical creatures seem to relish this flow of life into the subconscious, a surrender to the uncontrolled upsurging of the life force. Haha It's a different plane altogether from Catmasutra, which may derive its force from the subconscious but is more of a display of irreverence on the conscious mind.

Shaken from my slumber, I took the canvas out, contemplated my palette of colors and decided to just go with intuition. Gold and blue metamorphosing to a luminous green, silver and purple, orange and gold... weaving through a tapestry of dreams with Halo as the vehicle for sleep (for she can sleep 23 hours a day!), catching forty winks under the bed, and otherwise dead to the world. Cats are possibly the only true masters of the art of sleeping. If we need to dream, perhaps we should borrow more sleep time from a cat, and get nine lives worth!

;)

10/2/07

Catmasutra - 6-9

6. Life should be full of playfulness.
Continued seriousness is but a few degrees removed from gloom and melancholy...


7. What you resist persists. - Carl Jung
If you cannot beat them, join them...
Letting go is the hardest and yet the most rewarding...


7.Whether you think you can or think you can't,
either way you're right. - Henry Ford
I'm a non-smoker who smokes...
Not a smoker who doesn't smoke -
the right way to the last stick...

;)


9/29/07

Cat's Sutra 4 -5

4. [T]he atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts!
- Werner Heisenberg



5. As long as you trust yourself you know how to live...
- Johann Wolfgang Goethe



6. Know how to ask!
- Baltasar Gracian

;)

9/28/07

Cat's sutra 1-3

1. All that we are is a result of what we have thought - Buddha
Could it ever be otherwise?


2. Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions - Albert Einstein.
Without imagination, our lives are just the ending credits with other people's names in them.


3. You create your own universe as you go along.- Winston Churchill
Without you, there is no universe!

;)

9/26/07

Catmasutra II - Afternoon Tea

This painting, completed for the Catmasutra II exhibition weaves the Catmasutra cat in and around Chinese culture! Singapore being such an urbanized city, it's easy to get carried away with all the modernity and cultural imperialism of Western culture. But somehow, everything always returns to its origin after making a cycle or several cycles. Haha I think growing up with Chinese martial arts flicks had created more of an impression than studying Mandarin in school! Jiǔ is the Chinese word for all alcoholic beverages, with the same character used in Japanese (pronounced sake) and Korean (pronounced ju), and it is one beverage commonly found in martial arts flicks (notably Drunken Fist, Drunken Monkey, etc haha). Jiǔ also had a great impact on Chinese artists as many of the masterpieces were created in states of drunkenness! (hmmm... what was I drinking when I was painting this?) The Saint of Calligraphy , Xizhi was unable to outdo his most outstanding work, "Orchid Pavilion Prologue" because that piece was completed when he was drunk! wahahaha! And Chinese tea, it's an art and let's just say I have to catch up with my heritage... in a big way!


I also remember as a kid visiting the neighborhood Chinese medicine shop, and being fascinated with the huge chest of tiny drawers all containing different kinds of herbs. I'm always surprise how by matching different herbs together, you can produce the same compounds in western medicine, but in a more holistic way. Chinese medicine views the body and nature as an inseparable unit, as is the relationship between different organs, tissues, senses, etc. The philosophy behind it is based on Taoist concepts of Yin and Yang, and the aim is to restore harmony or balance to the body. It's funny that I became interested in the ideas of Taoism only when I was studying in Canada!

Of course, there is the famous Huang Fei Hong movie in 1990, the legendary Chinese folk hero, a great martial arts exponent as well as a healer (with chest upon chest of medicine drawers, haha) . I remember walking down Chinatown in Vancouver and was immediately intrigued by the movie poster. Being a sucker for the martial arts genre (which had been dead since the early 80's), the poster was refreshingly calm, quiet, full of confidence and controlled energy, and indeed, the movie heralded the revival of the genre. It was a big hit then and relaunched the period martial arts drama. The next revival of sorts was "Storm Riders" followed by "Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger". Hopefully, the next breakthrough will re-define the genre further.





Take a break.
Have some Chinese tea.
Then get drunk on Maotai
(that's really quite disgusting, actually)
;)

9/23/07

Catmasutra -"Jiǔ"

Sketched this out last year! It was one of those frenzied moments when I was inspired to put lines on canvas one after another... haha And of course, once that energy is spent, then I have a little trouble putting paint on them. It's like the inspired moments have used up all the energy required to finish the paintings. Not sure which approach is better - to complete one painting in its entirety or sketch a few all at one go...

The inspiration for this is of course sake - barrels of them! Wahahaha
So this is Catmasutra branded "jiu"
Good for the soul and the replenishment of the catmasutra spirit!!

Apparently sake is a common offering to the gods.
These barrels of sake are all found in Kamakura Temple - good sign!

Inspired and drunk, this piece is finally completed! It's funny when the dozen of times I have looked at this sketch and I can't find its potential. Perhaps the trick is to do a little at a time, breathing life into the lines. And it'll grow with you, and the recurring thought of drinking sake from the barrel certainly helps the process. When the cat finally emerges from the barrel, it's party time!!





;)