Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Black Book

So it appears that The Bathala Project is gaining more viewers and followers!  I'm glad many are discovering Baybayin and Baybayin art through The Bathala Project, but I'm concerned that some aren't getting why or how my Baybayin styles came to manifest. I understand that I've never really explained too much about my concepts and character theories, but really its because when The Bathala Project first started, it was mostly friends and family that stayed up on the site, so I didn't really need to explain anything because they already knew me.

But now with the arrival of the many new viewers, I suppose a re-introduction is in order. But I'll do one better for everyone; I'll let you into my Black Book.

Common among graffiti writers, sketch artists and designers world wide, the black book is where one visualizes their ideas and lays the foundation of what their imagination is trying to manifest.  And like many other artists and writers, I have mine as well:

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This would be my third of 4 "black books" that I have. The first two were actually more of rhyme books, as I was more into writing poems and raps throughout highschool, when I got my first dedicated notebook for leisure writing. I would sketch in it every so often, but for the most part, raps, rhymes, punchlines and battle verses covered every page. Though my black book now-a-days is dedicated more towards visual arts, you can still see the emcee within alive and kicking...

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I think all kids that learned how to draw did so from copying comics, cartoons, and video game characters. If you look at early 80's graffiti characters, you can see the comic book influence is heavy in their character compositions. The first face I ever learned to copy and draw by memory was the face of Genie-Jafar from the Disney movie, Aladdin. It was so simple, and the bold lines really stuck out to me. Ever since, most of the faces I draw have the similar shape and facial features:

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But as time passed on, my interest in visual art went from cartoons, to the scrawls on the walls of the city. When I first started stylizing Baybayin, I looked to the only letter-art that I knew of; graffiti. So, most of my first stylized iterations of Baybayin were based on the tag/hand styles that I've seen around Los Angeles. It would be years later when I would start doing Baybayin pieces:

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In between writing raps and hypothesizing what Baybayin graffiti pieces would look like, I would also do concept design sketches for clients in the black book as well:

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These particular concepts would eventually be refined to this:

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On one of my birthdays, my sister would buy me a set of calligraphy pens... enter the revitalization of the Baybayin-handstyles

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This would eventually become the Cecilia canvas:
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I would later on revisit the graffiti styles with my new understanding of writing Baybayin with calligraphy tips.  This one would eventually become the Penguin deck:
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In the graffiti writer and hiphop community, it's common practice to sign/tag each other's black books, much like your grade school year books; comparing your black book to other writers' books, seeing who has who's tags, who got some big names, and who got others' enemies in theirs.  I've got quite a few, but here are a few I'd like to share with you...

My Wise Intellects Crew-mate, Stimey:
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Once when I was at Reggie's Barbershop in Northridge, while sketching in my black book I seemed to have attracted the eyes of two young boys. I let them look through it, and after all the "Whoa's", "Ooh's and Ah's", I asked them if they would like to hit up my book: (The thing on the top is supposed to be a low-rider car)
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And now for some writer shit...

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Some of your favorite rappers are writers too. Fat Joe writes Crack for TS and TATS crew. DJ Kay Slay writes Dez, and can be seen skinny as hell in the movie Style Wars. Check the homie Aiger of the Asethetics Crew hit up:
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And last, but most definitely not the least...

In the Los Angeles hip-hop community, Dilated Peoples are highly respected as true L.A. hip-hoppers. Both Rakaa and Evidence are known graffiti writers, as their first collaboration was named "Fat Caps". However, it was always speculated which crew they wrote for. Evidence would always say in interviews, "I used to write for highly respected crews." But he would never name drop... Heavy speculation came when he did the cosign for the graffiti flick, War 4, which is heavily TKO dominated:



So one fateful day, I happened to get the email that Evidence was doing an in-store performance at Fat Beats in Melroese. After a dope performance, I brought my black book for him to hit up. Lo and behold, the truth...

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That's right. Ya boy EV writes A. W. R.
Angels Will Rise
Art Word Rebels
All Will Remember
Ridiculous.

Anyways, I have much much more in the black book, but I have many concept sketches that may still manifest into full blown pieces, and also other sketches that... will not be shown to protect the identities of others. In any case, I hope this sheds some light on the Baybayin styling that's brought to you by The Bathala Project: A hodge podge of self-taught calligraphy, graffiti hand styles, hip hop culture and cartoon biting... and Fil-Am swag.  Word.

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~cyph
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool stuff! But if you want to see some real baybayin style graffiti, check out Flip-1 from Manila. He does it really good!