#ArtdropSpotlight | Stanley Magno
We hear a lot of stories of creatives who feel like they're stuck in the corporate world but, not many people manage to stay creative while thriving at work. Stanley is one of those people. He currently runs a successful startup called Stance Philippines. Like many young people, work takes up a lot of his time and art has to take a backseat. However, one thing we can all learn from him is that if you're interested in something - anything, you'll make time to delve into it and you'll make the effort to keep it in your life.
It was refreshing to listen to him share his insights on abstract expressionism, the state of flow and how the process of creating often requires you to not use your mind at all. You see, not everyone can tell you about those things in a simple and honest way that's based on first-hand experience.
Contrary to all stereotypes, this successful entrepreneur is an artist in every right and whether or not he pursues his art full-time, he gets what he needs from it every time. And that's pretty much the point.
"A lot of my day-to-day actually involves doing things other than art: managerial work, training & digital marketing, but I’m always so excited when we have photo shoots, video shoots, and content releases. My schedule has forced me to be a lot more mindful of my time, dedicate specific nights or weekends to learning and enjoying other creative pursuits, and treating that time as sacred!"
During the interview, Stanley was a good balance of confident and chill, as he got into detail about the kind of work he does. He talked about managing cultural redirects or training groups of people in order to build a certain type of culture in the workplace.
"...like teaching a customer service team about how a certain mistake can lead to bigger systemic problems in the future. So it's about learning how to spot one thing, but to think bigger."
"Business experience has led me to reflect deeply on the age-old debate of making money vs. pursuing your passions in art. The landscape of Philippine art is growing fast, and while I would love to pursue it in the future, I’d want to spend more time knowing how I can contribute best - whether it be curation or creation, or other possible fields out there!"
As said earlier, Stanley seems to get exactly what he needs from his current art practice, as it is. There wasn't any indication that he was rushing to make his art earn for him or to discover the role he was meant to play in this industry. It was simply obvious that art was something that he enjoyed learning about, and that made the conversation quite enjoyable.
"Love these questions! I’m very thankful for where I am right now, and 90% of my time is spent thinking about my business, but art is always in the back of my mind. I try to dedicate time to literature about art, and I’ve been trying to finish some books on Surrealism!"
Upon the quick mention of some of the great surrealist artists like Salvador Dali and Joan Miro, the parallels in the kind of art that sparked his curiosity became quite clear. It's the philosophy, meaning and sometimes even the darkness in the art pieces that really draws Stanley's attention. It's the psychology - which happens to be what he took up in UP Diliman.
"I like it when art makes people uncomfortable", he says.What are some guilty pleasures of yours this quarantine? What gives you peace/keeps you sane nowadays?
"Online shopping for gadgets and furniture for my home office set-up has definitely been a guilty pleasure of mine… Salamat, Shopee!"
I was supposed to dedicate this year to deep immersion in all the fields of Philippine art - I had been planning meetings with art curators, famous digital and traditional artists, just to pick their brains about the industry and opportunities here in the Philippines!
"I’ve learned that to be successful in any pursuit, one needs to have a balance of the beginner’s mindset, while always compounding on your previous learnings."It's quite unbelievable that we're nearing the final leg of 2020 and while there is value in being patient with ourselves and the situation we're in, we also have to find a way to keep moving forward, even if that means taking one tiny step every day. When we asked Stanley what this year has taught him, we loved his insight. He talked about the importance of the beginner mindset, as well as the need to continuously improve. It applies to anything, really, and it requires a good mix of humility and ambition. He says, "it’s very easy to fall into a trap of thinking that you know something enough to move on, but basic grasps of the fundamentals will help anyone with deeper and higher learning."
To end, we asked him to share a few words to those part-time creatives, all those amazing people who want to continue pursuing their craft while maintaining their jobs or careers. "I think competency begins when you follow through on promises you made to yourself, so more than being strict about setting time for creative pursuits, it’s about being genuine and having a clear vision of what you want to do, and why."
It's extremely inspiring to see people like him succeed in the corporate setting and find the time to make art. His story is also very encouraging because it shows that you don't need a fancy art degree to pursue a creative life. You can do it at your own time, enjoy your own pace and make your own rules. And whatever job you have shouldn't hold you back either.