Artist Statement- Ramon Nayar
My own journey and the ongoing evolution of my artistic style speaks to the purpose and contribution that my work offers to oneself and the world around oneself...
The creative expression behind my work is intended to leave a lasting impression on both the heart and mind- an impression very reminiscent to the depth of thought and compassion associated with the era of writing letters, and yet with a presentation that has strong parallels to those of comic books and graphic novels. Storytelling has certainly evolved from the spoken narrative to an audience of 1 or more once upon a time. And so, with this path of the storytelling artist that I have chosen, the very premise behind my work in creative writing, photography & film is anchored on words and images. I believe that words and images, especially when assembled to compliment each other and support an idea and/or unlock new ideas, is what powerful storytelling offers to move the heart and mind.
We used to be able to give others much more undivided attention and focus than we are apparently capable of giving today. The narratives combined with the image arrangements are meant to have others set aside apathy and embrace the notion of fully living in the moment. To me, this is what art brings to the world- a pure sense of being able to feel- to liberate our hearts and minds away from this pseudo sense of being connected because we have social media and other forms of "real-time" communication. This pseudo sense can never serve as a true replacement for the personal time and focus required by human introspection and human interaction.
There are thoughts and feelings to revel in on our own time, and also with time spent remembering and appreciating others and the plethora of issues our nations are constantly faced with. I believe there is an honest and purposeful way to incorporate this cause-driven art as a form of responsive and reflective communication. The stories that I create are meant to uplift, move, and/or inspire others. It is to help us all imagine a different world where we are closer to our own thoughts than we were before. And, if even for a longer moment than someone is accustomed, if my work causes an emotional response, or a slightly more introspective look within themselves and the world around them, or an added reason to take action and re-connect with the world aside from social media or needing to be tethered to our "smart" devices, then my work is fulfilling its purpose.
It should not be surprising, then, that media and entertainment have to be louder than ever before in the context of more violence and other extreme stimuli because we live in a distracted world where attention deficit behavior has become a byproduct of social technology. We have become desensitized to what would have easily grasped our attention generations ago. In addition, we seem to live in a mode of multitasking where sharing a conversation can not be without a virtual tether to the pseudo-reality that we are connected to. Everything regarding the simplicity of human interaction has become too complex and distracted. In fact, many of us feel uneasy by affording any amount of time to one specific person, a place, and, consequently, a thought. If not recognized soon enough, it becomes impossible to develop critical thinking and more probable to gravitate towards apathy on many levels. This is because we have simply lost the ability make focused time for ourselves as well as for each other.
Does there not exist a risk of apathy to the current and future generations then? Teachers have changed the way they grade papers to cross-check Google plagiarism. The biggest concern they have expressed time and time again is a student's inability to develop critical thinking which has a direct impact on character education. And, with so many music and art programs being retired from school, what longer term impact could this have on a terraformed society where the norm is not to fully listen to ourselves or to each other? Anti-texting while driving campaigns were long overdue as it is still an issue today. And as for all of the other causes that merit attention and addressing, who has both the time and ability to even care as much these days compared to days before? How can the voices of those organizations and causes be amplified if we live in a society where messaging is a matter of being loud enough instead of simply heard and appreciated?
As a telecommunication major, I've seen the rise and fall of one-way, two-way, and multi-channel communication. They all have their place and will continue to evolve. The challenge with these technological milestones is that it has a propensity to pull us away from the human condition with respect to interaction and contact. The hidden misconception about communication technology is that it claims to be a substitute for human interaction. The truth is, we live in a distracted world where things like eye contact and single-tasking are no longer commonplace. Although this may be perceived as trivial, the underlying impact is negative towards being able to focus. This lack of focus hinders crucial types of critical thinking. My work, in itself, is to serve as an anchor towards critical thinking that simply requires time for reflection. And with critical thinking and this newly afforded time comes empathy. And finally, with newfound empathy, comes change- within ourselves, and throughout the world around us.
The images and narratives created from my work celebrate experiences through storytelling. Expressions of subjects, compositions of landscapes, and the poetry or prose of words paired with these images are all aimed at invoking not only emotion but also reflection. This is why being a cause-driven artist is so important to me in that my work has the potential to promote depth of thought and a gentle separation of a single "here- and- now- moment" away from everything else. In a commercial campaign, or in a fine art gallery, or within a keepsake book, my creative expression is meant to help overcome apathy by taking pause to internalize a story of experiences and ideas.
And so I continue on this journey, hopefully not alone, with the purpose to contribute, artistically, in a way that can catalyze empathy for change...