#ArtdropSpotlight | Ketch Lacsamana

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#ArtdropSpotlight | Ketch Lacsamana

Many people dream of living a creative life away from the city but, not everyone is brave enough to actually take the leap. Today, we take a peek into the life of La Union-based artist and muralist Ketch Lacsamana - one of the creatives who seem to truly be thriving despite these tough times, with continuous mural projects under her belt and new works being put out constantly. 

What's refreshing about her is the rawness of what she shares.

Rather than your typical overly-curated island life or art life, she shares bits and pieces of her projects, practice and everyday life - be it paintings on surf boards, hostel murals or selfies & digital collages - in a simple and real way that somehow inspires you to take steps towards your own creative journey too.

On our fourth feature on #ArtdropSpotlight, Ketch shares what it's like to pursue her art practice away from the Manila during this still-surreal global pandemic - which is now only one of the many crazy things going on in our country and world today.
A simple self-portrait digital collage. Photo from Ketch Lacsamana.

Many of us had different plans for 2020. What are some of the things that didn’t happen for you because of the pandemic/lockdown? 

"2020 feels like a "horror story" for lack of a better term. Practically my whole view of how the year would flow through changed greatly. But mainly, the thing that had the most impact was not being able to spend time with my son, Kendrick. It brought me in such a mood that I had to pause [my] practice. Setting up a schedule made me forget things and focus more on isolation - isolation that caused anxiety attacks and mental breakdown.

But, I’m really grateful that I have this ability to escape traps and moments where I'm stuck in a dark mood.

Projects, events and exhibits were cancelled, which is understandable. Before the pandemic started, I already told myself that this is going to be hard for everyone and we just have to accept the fact that it’s really happening."

The artist doing mural work. Photo from Ketch Lacsamana.

Could you share a little bit about being based in La Union? How are things there right now?

I was locked down there for five months. LU is slowly picking up. The quarantine really had a big impact on the mood of everyone. Quarantine in LU was lifted little by little and gradually (MGCQ), you’ll see sparks of smiles with the people.

Living by the beach is not without struggle. Like most people, I experienced my fair share of boredom, sadness, emotional ordeals and such. 

Also, being locked down in the province had me liberated from that feeling of being trapped and it helped a lot. Now that I’m back in my home-base Baler, I’m all prepared for new episodes. But this time, it will be easier for me to adapt to pandemic reality.

How are you these days? Walk us through your general routine.

I'm well and good. Inspiration picked up and I'm just savoring the moments and hopefully be able to put those to more pieces. I manage to wake up early, 5-6 am pinakamaaga! No alarm, no snoozing. My body clock went to its normal state. My general routine is, I set daily tasks. I go through all my job orders and online projects. 

Social Media also became a remedy and outlet. We all do what we can to cope. It has been part of our usual daily activity to update or check on social media platforms. It's also a way to keep connected to those dear to us. Some say it's what makes a lot of people sane with the current situation and I would just agree to that.

Once done, I get back to myself and do some “me” time. Doing art has always been my first nature. May it be paint or digital, anything that comes into mood, I just indulge and let it flow. Apart from those, kitchen activities also captured my interest. Been doing some cooking and baking. Practically any activity that captures my attention and gives me peace, I just include those in my day. Also, to cap off my day, simple bonding with friends, catch up on family and just plan old communication. All those I make sure I cover in my day.

More fun murals by Ketch! Photos from Ketch Lacsamana.

We’ve been seeing a lot of new mural projects on your social media platforms. What’s it like working during this season? Do you experience and struggles or creative blocks?

With quarantine still in effect in most parts of the country, availability of materials is still challenging at times. The good thing is, I was able to stock up and keep all the things I need. I’m also thankful that even though we're in a grim situation, businesses, creatives, artists and other fields have their own contribution. Mainly, supporting and lifting each other up.

At some point, this season gave me a lot of inspiration for work.

The atmosphere gave me something to reflect on and translate that to my art pieces, which turned out better - even better than how I expected the “turn out” to be. 

Creative blocks weren’t really felt. Art has always been part of my being and I take inspiration from almost anything I experience. When situations become heavy that would usually lead to creative blocks, I take that opportunity for my innate ability to escape. Then use that as reference for the next piece I create.

Standing in an open field. Photo from Ketch Lacsamana.

Lastly, what is the year teaching you? Any themes or lessons you want to take with you as you enter the second half of the year?

There are many lessons and realizations. Right now, I’m a lot happier and more content. I've learned to appreciate life and ignore negative thoughts especially from the situation that we are dealing with right now. Here, I’ve learned to give fully from the heart. When you go to different places, you see that kindness is the real currency. Only when you are nice to other people will you be truly good to yourself, too. I'm not telling everyone to live by the beach, everyone has a different perception. Just be better, start within yourself and everything else will follow. Make it happen, believe me.

See more of Ketch's work on Artdrop here. To contact Ketch directly, check her work on Instagram.

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