This pri­vate res­i­dence houses an art school that breaks all the rules

Red Magazine - - Attitude - AS SEEN ON WWW. CURIOUSSETTING.COM

Max­ine Syjuco comes from a fam­ily that pi­o­neered Filipino post­mod­ernism. Her fa­ther is known for literary hy­brids and her mother is a per­for­mance artist. Her elder sis­ter de­signs ac­ces­sories. Art runs in their blood, and this four-story 400-square-me­ter dwelling serves as a de­pos­i­tory of the fam­ily’s works.

When peo­ple hear the word “gallery,” they au­to­mat­i­cally per­ceive it as a big white space with paint­ings on the walls. But the fam­ily seeks to open view­ers’ eyes to all kinds of gen­res, from in­stal­la­tion art to per­for­mance art to video. The front fa­cade, mostly glass, deftly dis­plays the art­works and sparks cu­rios­ity among the passers-by even amid the neigh­bor­ing up­scale homes and large trees. The walls in­side are stark-white; it is the art and lush out­door green­ery that bring color and warmth. The bath­rooms are sur­pris­ingly in black, il­lu­mi­nated with well-placed lamps that cre­ate di­men­sion. Ev­ery­thing in the house, from the fur­ni­ture to the light­ing to the di­viders, are cu­rated like they’re art­works in them­selves.

There is an area es­pe­cially al­lot­ted for her art classrooms. CuriousSetting doc­u­ments her pas­sion for the craft in this in­ter­view:

What do you do?

I’m a full-time artist. I run an art school for chil­dren, and I work tire­lessly on my own art dur­ing the rest of the day.

How would you de­fine your work?

I de­fine my work as a pil­grim­age to the hu­man soul. Through art, I find that I’m able to claw at the many lay­ers of “self ”— dis­sev­er­ing the sur­faces that ul­ti­mately lead to the core of what makes us hu­man.

What was the first art piece you ever made?

When I was 5 or 6, I sculpted a clay mug with the form of my dad’s face kneaded into it.

What time do you like to work? From sun­set to sun­rise. I work best when I’m alone with my thoughts. Give me a glass of wa­ter, good mu­sic, a book or two, and I can live in­side my stu­dio for­ever.

Why teach kids art?

Chil­dren make the most imag­i­na­tive artists. With­out pre­tenses, they freely view the world as one gi­gan­tic play­ground. What bet­ter way to grow up than by re­al­iz­ing that the free­dom to be ex­actly who you are is a right that we must fight for?

What’s the first thing you teach in art class?

The nonex­is­tence of rules when it comes to art-mak­ing. I ask my stu­dents to be open­hearted, open-minded, and boldly courageous in cre­at­ing ex­pres­sions of them­selves. Life

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