Save the Savages 2007 painting by me

I had written a pretty good blog post about the first time I used “Save the Savages”, but then I deleted it. Like I said – I’m insane, I know. I realize now that I keep redoing this blog/website of mine because the past versions of myself no longer align with my present self.

The first time I used “Save the Savages” was for a painting I did back in 2007. This is a painting of the Santo Niño (Baby Jesus, Holy Child, etc) which is an iconic religious figure in the Philippines. When I lived in the Philippines, I remember as a kid that this statue was in the house. It was creepy – androgynous-looking actually, and I didn’t know why it was there.

And as I got older in my early twenties, I met some conscious friends here in the US. Friends who told me that things are not as they seem. I learned about history and oppression of indigenous peoples, including Filipinos. That the Spaniards put those religious systems into place.

And so I named this painting “Save the Savages” – because that’s what I got out of it. Throughout history, indigenous people are often perceived and treated as savages, because they don’t fit the mold of modern society. So those who have the power feel that they need to “save” or convert these people, force them to believe in a Catholic / Christian God, etc.

Oddly enough this painting sold. Regardless of your personal interpretations on the art you create, people still identify with a religious icon in their own personal way – it must’ve meant something to the buyer.

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For a long time I thought I screwed myself over by changing my site name from “SHERMGRAFIK” to “SAVE THE SAVAGES”. Deleting everything and putting it back up didn’t help either. If you view it from that perspective, I guess I kinda did; I lost visitors, I lost my spot on Google’s first page for search engine results and I really don’t have much of an internet / social media presence anymore. I basically lost my audience.

That you should stick to your ‘personal brand’ so people will remember you, that you should ‘build up an audience’ and ‘gain more followers’ …that you should do this or do that.

That’s all blah blah blah to me now, only because I’ve finally reached contentment, I have no desire to achieve those things. And I want to remove the phrase “I should” from my vocabulary forever and replace it with “I can”.

Being content is not the same as being complacent.

And after learning how to do this for my employer, I’ve come to realize that people can buy or even cheat their way into popularity and brand awareness – by stealing other people’s content or buying followers, just to name a few.

This sums it up for me, it’s a quote from what Cameron Crowe learned from David Bowie on Mashable:

His takeaway, though, is what sticks out bright in his mind today: “He was always obsessed with music and art and never the business.”

“The thing I just wanted to say — I’ve had the last couple of days to think about it — [is that] David Bowie’s impact is so huge in that he presents himself now as a role model to artists who may need to remember that it’s not about branding, it’s about a restless need to be creative and to continue being creative,” he said.

“David Bowie was the anti-branding artist.”

Don’t get me wrong, branding is great – it gets your name out there. But for artists, it’s not a hard and fast rule. You don’t have to stick to a style of creating because the masses like it, you have to create because it’s what you’re born to do whether you have an audience for it or not.

And that’s my take on it.

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I haven’t been drawing much, but I’m always creating (as we all are in one form or another) you just might not notice me as much. I prefer being a ghost anyway.

Although I’ve been paying attention to myself more, I haven’t really given this blog much thought. I hope to start posting stuff again, but I can’t promise it will be consistent either.

So here is my first drawing of 2016.

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