“Bat ka mag-aarts? Wala naman pera diyan.” (Why would you take arts? There’s no money in that career.)
I still remember how I would scoff at those very words. Whenever I’d bring up taking arts for college, I’d find myself pierced with judgmental gazes from my family, followed by a long lecture on why I should focus on pursuing a “real” course instead. Each time, I would sigh in defeat and ask myself, why are Filipinos so against their children pursuing a career in arts?
From the standpoint of our parents, I do understand that all they want is to see their own child succeed. They want to see them soar and conquer the world with pride, but what is the definition of success, really? What’s the point of earning millions if no amount of money if you’re not happy or passionate about what you do?
It’s funny how people are so familiarized now with the term “struggling artist”. But what power has decreed that all artists are guaranteed to struggle? Who are we to say that artists are doomed? Artists are creators, with a talent in filling this sometimes monotonous world with color. An artist knows how to love, who shares a piece of her soul, for strangers to see. For the world to relate to.
They are rebels and warriors. Their art can speak a million words. Masterpieces even posses the power to ignite a revolution.
To those who argue that art is unimportant, l dare you to get rid of all the pictures you have treasured in your album. Tear off, page by page, the novels you have stored in your bookshelf. Stop watching films. Delete your playlists. Destroy your designer bags. Throw all your furniture in the trash because, if it hadn’t crossed your mind, industry designers are artists too. Now, go and burn every single piece of architecture you see outside your window and tell me that you wouldn’t go mad from the obscure emptiness of the world you would have after.
Yet today I find myself wearing the ever so uncomfortable blazer of a business student. Am I a hypocrite? No. A coward? Maybe.
As I stare at the blank pages of my accounting pad, I feel my entire being burn with anger and disgust. How could I not? I gave in to the pressure society constantly inflicted upon me, and it finally happened. They won.
Oh boy do I loathe this bitter feeling of regret. If I could only turn back time, I would have been a more stubborn child. I would have slammed my fists on the table and worked to prove to everyone that art is NOT a useless career. Because art is what makes one’s existence worthwhile. Art is humanity.
For all those conflicted artists out there who yearn with an insatiable hunger to fulfill their passion for art, I have but one final question to ask:
Will you give in?