It has been a year since I last checked my blog site and am equally amazed at the scope, or rather, the reach generated by this online/cyberspace initiative. It is often been said that life is not a zero-sum game, thus, the time-space-energy that I have devoted that is not directly part of the realm of art has in a way given me a rather equivalent social and economic space to assert art & its possible integrations in other fields of daily living. Out of the problem of how to make an art space viable in a society where art is not seen as a priority, the result is a model on which art can be paired or complemented with a basic human need. From an idea materialized into form, from a lone initiative into a collective thrust, from an empty space into a vibrant social space. This is what Catapult Art Projects is all about.
This idea of an artist-run space has finally materialized and is generating enough energy for its sustainability for the long run. Without an income generating unit via restaurant & bar, this space wouldn’t have lasted its first six months of operation. On the ground floor is Flanes Chicken & Liempo Haus (an acronym of my three daughters) where daily income comes from patrons who crave for our signature oven-roasted pork belly and oven-roasted chicken. As expected, the first 3 months was just enough to pay for the bills, and through consistent quality & service, matched with management & finance skills, we gained enough profit to save & fund other initiatives. From a two-person crew, the restaurant now has four. It has become a communal space where customers can eat, drink, socialize, surf the internet, and experience the artworks upstairs.
The second floor has evolved from an art gallery into a multi-use space. Half of the space are living quarters for the restaurant’s staff & resident artists. The energy created by this initiative has attracted musicians & art practitioners who share the same vision & committment for an artist-run space. Thus at present the space is under the name Katribu Art Cafe, an art gallery-tattoo studio-cafe run by three multidisciplinary artists from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao who don’t mind baking pizza, serving beer, & bussing tables before or after studio work. It is home to Katribu Tatu, the only studio specializing in traditional hand-tapped tattoo in Manila.
The idea of creating an artist-run space/restaurant/cafe has been my dream since my college days and it took at least twelve years for it to materialize. This concept of ideation and materialization has never failed to amaze me where probabilities in time and space can lead from one thing into another. When is an idea ripe for materialization? how does an idea present itself? who are the people involved in the materialization process? what are the energy sources needed that can propel ideas towards the material plane?
Looking back, the projects that I have done since last year has taken a large chunk of time, space, and energy in my art. During this period, I have questioned theories and current practices in the (art)world-as-we-know-it and as such has strengthened my position on dynamic autonomy being the autonomous pursuit of ideation & materialization processes & practices from the personal towards the social sphere and its corresponding dynamics as the platform as well as propulsion for initiatives. Thus, Catapult Art Projects is an artist-run initiative that seeks to test sustainable systems and models for dynamic autonomy not only in art but also with other related fields of expertise. It zeroes in on the question: how can we (artists) be self-reliant and independent in our individual and social pursuits & practices, and not completely rely on the current/dominant (art) system & other institutions. In this regard, the next three years will be a test on the effectivity & sustainability of this initiative and as such, documentation and observations would be integrated into this blog as well as retaining educational/research-based posts.