Jesus “Jeques” B. Jamora, 41
Case Manager/BSN/Registered Nurse/Self-taught Artist/Poet
“Dots and lines on the right place is Art” ~ Jeques
My romance with art is a-love-at-first-grip kind of thing. The moment I first held a pencil, I knew it in my heart that it is something I would love to do for the rest of my life.
I started to draw when I was around 3 years old: creating dots, connected them with lines and then my mother taught me my first art lesson to form the dots and lines to flowers: my first subject. She stopped teaching me when I drew better flowers than she did; outgrowing her art lessons quick. She advanced and became my first fan and art collector. My first art exhibit was in her convenient store when she would show my drawings to her clients. That was my childhood version of an art gallery. My earliest art portfolio was my mother’s record books lost to time, but never in my memory.
My first art critic was my father. He thought my works were insignificant and told me to do other things. The hardest thing he asked me to do was to use my right hand, I was born left handed. It was a subtle way to suppress my gift, and then he put me in the seminary where I had my first rejection at 13 when I was expelled. I drifted like a waif, then he decided the nursing course for me, ignoring my pleas to put me in an art school in college. I could not blame him though, I was born in a third world country, the Philippines; we need to choose a career that could bring food on the table instead of joy to the heart.
I was caught in the middle trying to balance early on: between my nurturing mother and my highly critical father. I never had formal education in the art. Alone in my room, close doors, is my childhood version of an art institute where I had my art classes as a kid. It was lonely. There was only one person I would seek every time I finish a piece: my mother. Her sincere appreciation of my works nourished me to keep going. The gift is ingrained. I was born with the passion that not even my father was able to control from flourishing.
Somebody encouraged me to join my first painting contest in college and won every competition that followed. It was a tiny spark that kept the torch of my dream lighted in my passage through the dark gorge of dormancy. It put my inner compass back to place to follow the direction that my destiny would take me.
I trod many paths from that point, connected directions that my journey took me. I arrived in Chicago, autumn of 2006 as a nurse, but my solitude nurtured and awakened the dormant artist in me sleeping for a very long time. My first attempts were paintings in words through poetry, but my inner itch intensified and found myself buying materials that my nursing profession made me afford and just started painting.
I am still that kid who would seek my mother’s appreciation every time I finish an art piece to get her nod for me to go on. Only now I seek that appreciation from people who would chance upon my works, like my mother’s friend in the store she would show my drawings of flowers as a kid.
I, too, still am the kid who feared the criticisms of my father that made me rip many pages of my sketches, and toss away many of my earlier works unfinished. I see my father’s image in people who thought my works are insignificant. I find courage in people who tell me otherwise. But deep in my heart, I have to admit I still seek for his approval that he was so selfish to give. He died in 2008, and I thought I’m free now, I always was!
I had since come to terms with my resentments to my father. I thank him for being distant, for it brought me closer to myself, to my soul. And for that, he taught me to fight a good fight. Wherever he may be right now, I wish he look down to see I found my way.
Deep inside this heart, ingrained, is a gift that I’m entrusted to nurture alone, close doors, away from people. I remain that waif inside my room as a child connecting senseless dots and lines to create images hoping that people would find them significant, so I could finally find my grown up version of an art gallery, a home ~ your hearts.
And like a desolate soul a lonely waif
I wait for you to find me.
May your travels not take you long,
Come fast and love me.
Through my works, I would like to represent the displaced artists in different fields for some reasons, becoming like waifs, that I am, searching for home. I share the sentiments of artists unable to do their arts, caged in the jobs that are far from what their hearts purely desire to do. I aim as an artist to speak to that audience, to inspire them through my works and to make a statement that it is possible. Every art piece I finish is a struggle, but each is a step closer to home.
My paintings are conceived from my poems. In poetry, the words are my brushstrokes to create imageries in those times when I still can’t afford the painting materials back in the Philippines. Poetry still serves me well now in my study for painting subjects. All my paintings are titled because they are clear in my mind’s senses before they took form on canvas. Many of my paintings complete the circle becoming poems. My brushstrokes are the words I use to conjure imagery in the mind’s senses.
And when I think of it ~ this circle of my poems becoming paintings, and the paintings’ metamorphosis to poetry ~ I am enlightened that there’s really no single strand that separates them. Sketches and drawings are my scribbling: my drafts. Each completed painting is a finished poetry.
It is my commitment to my craft to achieve such seamless fusion of my paintings and poetry, for both are conceived and born from my heart.
I wish you well.
Sleep well now.
Dream dreams and find solace in the hearth
Amidst the cold of his absence.
Shadows shall pass,
The clouding of the moment
Shall clear. Eventually.
Walk this day now.
Step your foot forward
In synch with the ticking of the clock,
For we’re part of the veinal flow of the universe
This slow procession of prolonged agony
Shall reach its end
In her chamber. Eventually.
Refuse to cede
Get up now.
Endure the inner battles that defeats you.
Holdfast to your courage
Even when the last ray of hope sets
And throws twilight on your face.
Stay awake for twilights always
Transit to dawn. Eventually.
Raise your chin
Look up now.
Aim to climb the mountains once more
Where a new summit awaits.
Cling your tendrils of faith secure
The makeshift shelter I offer may be frail,
But it could send you off
To your journey
To the stars. Eventually.
Find solace in my meek heart.
a poem by Jeques, 2009
Of the past to the last strand
For a long time.
Until I can hold no more,
And gave in
Succumbing to the will
I once lived
That’s hard to keep my distance,
But the fine grains in the time glass
Emptied to its bottom,
So I gave in
Succumbing to the calls
Of the moment.
Where the river flowed no more
Where the springs halted
And the last puddle of hope emptied.
So I just whispered my sighs
To the mangroves
Hoping when the tides return
They would carry my muted chants
To your heart.The winds of long ago
Shall return to visit,
They will blow through the leaves of the mangroves,
The tides shall rise and recede below,
And chant the antiphons of my stories
Again and again and again
‘Til they reach you..
The pain of succumbing to the will of changes,
The acceptance that lost moments never return.
No more silent breakfast to share
That I dreamed about many mornings.
No more lazy walks in the streets and allowing my feet
Where it would take me.
No more reading, finding quietude in the crowd
In some busy coffee shops.
No more memories to weave
For the story concluded to a silent halt
Like when the last flare of the fireworks
Faded in the night skies ending my fancy
And what’s left is the fume of longing.
I gave in and endure
The pain that comes with changes.
I succumb to the over powering force
Of the inevitable end.
I awake to the dawning of tomorrow
To breath the fresh air of its promise
Of the bliss that I still have to live.
“Mailalarawan ba ang sakit ng pagpaparaya? Ibubulong ko nalang ang nararamdaman sa mga puno ng bakawan. Ang hangin ng nakalipas ay babalik at iihip sa mga dahon ng bakawan. Ang tubig dagat ay tataas at bababa. Paulit-ulit nilang aawitin ang tula ng aking mga kwento hangang ito ay umabot sa iyo.”
Today marks the fifth year anniversary of my web page, my web nook, the corner where I pour my poetic heart; the canvas of my life where the colorful palette of my soul comes home when he needs to exhale, to tell his stories, to write his verses, to compose his thoughts into songs, to share his travels and make his soliloquies be heard.
In celebration of this milestone, I now fully own the domain: Jeques.Me
No words, just images that tell volumes of thoughts . . .
The need for change . . .
the longing for something new.
begin everything with the prayer.
The curtain of the night drops.
The howling of the wind
That echoes in the canyon
Cloaked the silence of closure.
Heaven sends its final greeting
In the form of raindrops
Where do I start, or
Did it ever end?
Words left me, or
Should I pick up from where I left, or
Simply move by?
Had I left the palette black, or
Was it white, or
Simply the absence of colors ~
A temporary recluse,
A self-exile from
My drawing board,
My writing table.
The easel put away,
As I lament
A closure of the page.
A quiet epilogue
Amidst the fading light
And sound Of the rain
The heart begins to pound.
A sign of life
Among the rabbles
Like walking dead
With no direction
(In the dark streets to nowhere)
Signs of the bread crumbs
As the sun breaks
Through the ridges;
Tapering the edges of the shadow.
The sweet mist of last night’s rain
Kissed the deserted page
Where words will begin to form again
Like spring sprouts
That would bring splashes
And rapturous sounds
To a heart coming back to life.
Where things end,
And where they begin is undefined.
Where I stopped
And when I begin is not known to me.
Everyday I awake,
That’s what I know.
The month before 2011 ended, I was reflective. The year that was, the now and the years to come is the future I dreamed about as a kid. I have arrived to the time that my young mind only used to day dream about . . .
Starting on a new slate.
I wish you well.
Please Click sound button for the soundtrack >>>
Eyes lie in wait ~
Day and night ~
Skies in surveillance
Waiting for the sign
That might be sent
From the future,
As the gentle streams of life,
And the rough currents
That ever oppose
Mold the pebbles
In the bed of stones
By the river
Adorned by some weeds
Awaiting for some hands
To pick them up.
Awaiting for some great minds
To give them names.
Unaccounted for ~
Remaining like a worthless bead
In the infinities ~
Awaiting for some gifted hands
To weave him
In the precious thread
Of chance, to adorn
Like a pendant
To rest forever
Closest to your chest.
Pick me from the infinities
And carve my fingers
With marks to define my distiction.
Paint my blank facade
With a face
And buy me a name.
Find me in the dunes.
You’d easily recognize me
Among the pebbles.
And find in my eyes
Your own reflection:
Waiting for the sign.
Please Click sound button for the soundtrack >>>
The snow fall frenzy of yesterday rolled to a halt. The clouds reduced to thin layers partially covering the sun; the morning after promises a clear day. The weather seem to illustrate my present state of mind. Yesterday, I presented myself, my works and everything that I dreamed about since I was three to the right audience that understands the artist Jeques and share my passion. Yesterday was an overload of activities I tried to digest – fast-paced – clogging my system and clouding my thoughts unabsorbed but are now starting to make sense. As I gather myself together today, there are things I wanted to write to right things about what I said yesterday, to bring my thoughts to clarity on the page.
Introduction and Art Presentation
About the “Waif”
Let me invite you to a place where a waif resides, in the land that gives his artworks a sense of place.
I am Jesus B. Jamora. My Artist name is Jeques, I am the “Waif.”
This painting best represents me as an artist. The image is a self-portrait of a kid from memory, back in my country where he continue to hover giving this painting a sense of home. The image may look peculiar to most of you, so let me tell you the story behind the painting.
If you’ve ever been to the Philippines or read about it, you would know that my country is an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands. We are literally embraced by the sea. During summer, many tourists flock to our beautiful islands where you would see these children waiting in the ports for foreigners to drop some coins from the ships and they would dive in the waters to claim their prize. I haven’t done that exactly, but I felt a certain connection to these children as an artist, for just like them, I’ve also been waiting, longing, seeking for somebody to give me a chance, for a prize of home like an orphan waiting for his adoption.
Why do I feel like a waif?
I was an artist before I became a seminarian at 12, a nurse at 20, a pharmaceutical medical representative at 22, a boutique manager at 28, and an immigrant nurse at 34. I was an artist, I am. But circumstances left me lost, and strayed. I’ve been to many different fields working many different jobs but I’ve not really had the chance to do the one thing that my heart have always been longing to do. It is my faith that guided me to this path. It is my tenacity that brought me here knocking, hoping The School of the Art Institute of Chicago would open me the door of the chance I seek, to welcome me home so I could finally claim the prize I searched and offer my sense of purpose as an artist.
If I as a nurse could care for physically ill people back to health, I believe the Artist and would-be Art Therapist Jeques could touch lives to bring the tired spirits back to life.
And like a desolate soul, a lonely waif,
I wait for you to find me.
May your travels not take you long,
Come fast and love me.
It was wonderful to have the chance to mingle with many artists of differents ages, coming from different backgrounds, and races and culture; expressing arts in different forms to be one with them, to breath the same air and be a kindred spirit to other beautiful souls wanting to make the difference through our gifts. Each one of us have our individual stories we brought to tell and are our contribution as artists that created the bigger than life work of art event that was. How wonderful it was to have the opportunity to belong, like a single thread with my own unique contribution to the whole creating the colorful tapestry of the moment. For a day, I was home.
Two of the SAIC students made a sample thesis presentation and posted a question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and the other asked, : What is your dream. In silence, in my corner of the 122 S Michigan ballroom, my heart answered in whisper:
“THIS IS WHAT I’VE WANTED TO BE AND I’VE ALWAYS DREAMED ABOUT.”
I wish you well, everyone.