All posts by hugogatica

The End

It’s hard to imagine that I’ve made it to this point. I’ll be honest in saying that my biggest obstacle to everything, not counting external circumstances, was myself. Up until now I never had confidence in myself, I felt that I was somehow skating by and keeping myself invisible from sight. I still think that holds true, but what is most important is that I made personal discoveries for myself, and for that I will always be grateful to one of the most complicated periods of my life thus far.

The constant self-degrading thinking, isolation and almost absent-presence has helped me realize what it is I might want in life after this – happiness in solitude. I found out that I live this life for myself, and I need to stop sacrificing so much of myself for the sake of others. It’s tiring, and it lead to many moments I regret. Not anymore, once the semester ends I’ll be going away for a good while to really discover myself, and I hope by the end of it I can finally be happy with myself, even if just a little.

It’s a large part as to why I’m so happy where my thesis had lead me. I came into writing and art-making while trying to fit a ‘criteria’ of sorts for the labels, and I found myself become less of myself. I had a good grasp of what I wanted after leaving Rutgers, but Kean University really put that identity-crisis to the test and it made me understand that independence even more. This made me realize the inner connections of the self and creation, and I can live the rest of my life content knowing I have power over my own accordance in arts. I’m not a writer, photographer, poet, printer or painter. I’m simply just a creator.

Having the time to discover digital storytelling has been the most liberating part of my journey as it marries every single thing I love about creation into a form that I can feel empowered by. I’ve been talking and sharing with many digital authors, learning about their experiences and picking up a few habits myself. Expect more of these kinds of works in the future, I think that is the direction I want to head in.

I will continue tweaking this project well after the semester ends because I will never be wholly satisfied by it. It’s a reflection of my evolving thinking-process and I want to honor myself and the ones I lost in that piece. For now it is a cornerstone of my person. A testament to those I’ve lost and the ones I’m recovering. I hope everyone can learn something about themselves if they ever interact with it.

I’m not sure what else I can add, I’m not good at expressing. I guess I want to simply say thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart, you have become my writing family and I feel validated in some ways when I’m around you all. I hope you understand that while I may never engage, I wish the best to everyone and I’m always looking towards your success.

Thank you.

-Hugo

Thank You All

This is a small divergent from my thesis progress, but I assure that it is related to my main point of research, and I wanted to give a little thanks.

Getting into this program had been daunting for me since day one, and I still feel it now. Most of my feelings feel…like an outsider. There’s always been a nagging point in my head that told me I never belonged or that this program wasn’t for me. I can’t imagine the several times where I considered dropping everything all together.

But it’s the support and help from this small classroom that not only pushed me ahead, but made me reevaluate myself as an artist and writer, where I only label myself as creator. Half of the things I knew about creation came from this program and self-discovery, and everyone (even if they weren’t aware) played a role in making me rediscover myself as a person. I can never thank anyone properly for this, and it makes the task of graduating that much harder. But everything must move, so I need to find my next goal in life after this.

Before that, I have prepared a bundle of art prints I want to give out to anyone who may want one. The point of an artist is to share, whether it be physical media or ideas, an artist must interact and give a little of themselves to the world. I’m doing that here. These have been worked on for two weeks straight, with the preplanning phase taking a month before. I mixed the ink myself, I cured the paper to the right texture, I ensured that my design stayed unaltered and concrete. This picture of a home, with all the vines surrounding it, reminding me of a relic long forgotten, reminds me of me. An uncovered home far away that had been discovered in isolation, and I think it represents my feelings of being in this class the most. But that is only my interpretation, it’s not the definition of the piece.

I hope this print acts as a gesture of appreciation to everyone at Kean. I speak very little but I believe actions are stronger and these are representative of this. With my thesis at near completion and my departure getting closer, I wanted to cement my feelings into art once more.

Nothing to Add

I’m sorry, I have nothing to add.

I’m still just tweaking and revising work, but it feels like I’m just biding time for the submission deadline.

I wish I had more to add, but I’m still dealing with things. It’s getting harder to enjoy my last semester here, but I’m almost done.

Best,

Hugo

Essentially Done(?)

I’m not really sure what else I can add. I’m still just reevaluating my literary review while losing sleep over it. I’m hoping I can write up the best version I can since all of my sources are cited and organized. Like repetitious clockwork, I’m adding and moving very small details of my project in an automatous matter.

In other smaller news, I’m planning on creating a series of prints on the photographs that I’ve placed into my project. As a gesture of appreciation and goodwill, I’m hoping to bring a few copies to class (before the semester ends) and give one to each of my peers for thanking them for taking me this far.

Printwork is the art of sharing and giving, so I’m exercising my duty as an artist to share the work I’ve created.

An Apology

I’m not really sure what I’m adding here.

I guess (and it relates to my thesis project) I want to apologize for being so mute and closed off this semester. I’m normally reclusive, but not to this extent. I’m sure my presence is a little awkward and a bit uncomfortable when everyone else is engaging and discussing.

I’m trying to be better than this. I think it’s because I’m so emotionally disconnected this time around. It’s not easy losing so many loved ones in a short time, but it’s harder when I’m not allowed to grieve or take time to mourn. I’ve been hard at work and I have people who rely on me so it’s natural that I keep it up for their sake. It’s partly why I hardly discuss, I really don’t want my negativity spreading to my colleagues so it’s just easier to keep myself busy.

And I have. I’ve been hard at work on my project and in many ways it’s my coping method for now. It’s why I’m so afraid of finishing it, because once that is over what’s really keeping me going? It’s an interesting observation to be sure, and one that I’m researching/experiencing as I go through. This project is very personal and quite frankly, fascinating to experience.

Anyway that’s it. I’m still working hard on what needs to be done, but I wanted to at least kind of say why I’m like this now. I promise I’m not normally like this, but I’ll pull myself up each and every day until this project is done.

Not Much to Say

There’s nothing really substantial for me to write about.

As Dr. Zamora and I have discussed, I’m essentially at the end of my thesis project. I’m essentially done with the main bulk of what I want to get across with my work, and I’m tweaking a few components here and there at my own pace. I’ve compiled my sources and I’m about 75% done with my literary review, so that has been rather simple.

I’m not sure how I feel about my current position. I’ll just see how the rest of the course plays out and work on what I need to do after all this is done. I’d love to vanish for a good amount of time while I try and recover.

Slow Progress

I’m not even sure what I can write here today.

To get the basics out of the way first, the space that I created for my project is as good as done. I’m fine-tuning some audio issues here and there, and I’ve implemented a basic tutorial for most people to get a better grasp on the controls. Otherwise the space is free for me to edit casually. I’m tempted to add a few more photographs to extend the narrative of the artist, but I might just place them as an aesthetic choice rather than a story one. I say these because with the narrative being written as is, taking or adding might damage the pacing that I’m going for. I’m still interested in rewriting some abstracts to make them flow more artistically, so that might be my next venture.

As for the literary review, I’m happy to say that I have all my sources ready and cited. All that’s left for it is to write up the paper, but I doubt that will take me a lot of time to do.

As of now, I’m just fine-tuning and editing. The heaviest parts are done so in some way I can slow down and take it relatively easy.

I don’t know. That’s where I am now. There’s not much else I want to add.

Lack of Updates / Absent

I really apologize for the lack of a meaningful update to my status right now. I’m posting this to be as an update, but it seems like a filler because I’m still working on what I have (fine tuning and writing up literary review) and not much had happened. Adding onto that, I had to leave class entirely due to an emergency, so that has priority right now. Hopefully I’ll be much better next week.

A Cacophony of Emotions

I’m happy to have had the wonderful feedback from my peers last night, but for some reason I left that class emotionally shut-down. I don’t know where that came from, but on the way back to my place I’ve experienced a cycle of grief, satisfaction, anger, lonely, energetic and aloof. It’s not necessarily with the project itself or the feedback, I think it’s because of what the project represents and my dissatisfaction that I can do it better.

I don’t want to see it as a tribute to my lost loved ones, though in theory it was a major driving force of me getting it to it’s current state. I’m not sure, I think perhaps the grieving whiplash is starting to kick in, and I’m not exactly sure where it might take me. Apologies in advance, but I might be more distant and cold in the coming weeks. I take responsibility for my reactions and expressions, but I’m really in a bizarre state right now. Why can’t I be better?

Going back into my project, it feels great knowing that the main feeling I wanted invoke was discovered by my audience. It makes me think that the work put into it meant something after all. It’s interesting to note that most of what I had to cut and scrap was what everyone thought would enforce my ideas better, so I’ll be sure to work on that as best as I can. I’m also privy to the idea of rewriting some phrases in a more poetry-like form to create a more dynamic narrative. It’s something I need to look into without sacrificing narrative. I’m not 100% sure about having the story be present in its entirety somewhere, as the story only works if someone follows along with the narrator as they navigate, it might sacrifice what I’m aiming for. I’ll see.

For now, aside from a few tweaks and additions, my main focus will now be on the literary review. That’s not to say I’ll stop working on the project entirely, it’s just that I will now shape focus while the other gets revisions. It’s how I got to this point with the project so I’m just shifting. I’ll see how much I need to do.

For now I’ll get back to working on what needs to be done. I’m not really one for explaining everything in detail because I like my works to speak for themselves. I’ll periodically update but my path now will probably be the same. I can’t wait to go on a long leave when all this is over.

A Quiet Thought

Next week is my presentation, one that I’m honestly just indifferent to. That isn’t to say it’s because I don’t value the opinions of my colleagues. Rather it is more because I’m presenting a piece of myself that is so scattered and incoherent, that I’m not really sure what it is I’m expecting. It’s a product straight out of my own ambitions, personal language, inner workings and process that I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets lost in translation.

I’m going to have to apologize for my very short blog entry, I’m in the process of finalizing a few more steps in my project that needs my attention. That and I rather not share any more of my own inner thoughts, this hollow feeling is only mine and I rather get productive rather than lost in translation.

For that reason, I’m adding this:

https://hgatica95.myportfolio.com/elit

For now, I’m embedding a link to my project here. I highly encourage that during my presentation that people would open it up and take time to explore it as I go over a small walkthrough and nuances. I don’t want to say any more than this for fear of guiding an assumption to this project. I would like people to come in blindly, make their own theories and observations and share them at class. I do want to note that there are 3 narratives you can follow: There is a guided path that follows the story of the protagonist/narrator, a story on the artist being displayed and their views of their world depicted in art, and your very own should you walk around the gallery unattended. Note that everything is still in a rough state but I’m hoping to flesh more out before next week.

I’ll ask this again in class, but I have at least 3 questions I’d like to ask about my project:

  • Does the concept of art and writing working together work in this format? Is the process seamless or is there a sort of gap I can try to fill?
  • Do you feel like you are an integral part of the narrative? Do you have agency that helps make this story feel like it can be yours?
  • What sorts of meaning-making can you make, if any, by engaging with the art pieces or writing to yourself?

Now that I think about it, I’m scared. This is me at my most vulnerable, and I don’t like myself. To bear that openly to a group of people with different perceptions is daunting, but that is part of the reason I am an artist. I aim to somehow connect with others through my works no matter how scary it is. It’s just the life I live and I take any obstacle in stride.

I’m hesitant to work on this more because in a very large sense, this is a tribute to my lost self and all the ones I’ve lost in the past year. They helped me get to this point and being this kind of artist wouldn’t have been possible without their guidance and care. While I might never be myself ever again, I don’t regret that. The finite in life can be beautiful, and it makes me appreciate how I got here. Whenever I feel lost and torn like I am now, I just take a look at a keychain I’ve carried for years and remember the struggles I overcame. And that’s what I’m trying to do now.