Frederick Sausa is Back on the Moshpit Called Art


It is my hope I can bring something up to you that can be relevant as well as informative, to speak up honestly I can figure out the way I was brought up, And I as an eldest after high school dreamed of becoming an artist as just any teen growing up here in our town seeing and hearing big names like Blancos and Mirandas among others. The idea of that money-making opportunity in painting prompted me to pursue fine art, but naturally my family didn’t allow me to be like them, so forget painting, forget Botong just help my family. As the years went by, I grew older, my daily earning job still didn’t really help at all, worse, it made me empty.

Rebelling against the norm about working — there’s no life after all in the factory, selling appliances, smiled while selling fast-food and so on. I would like to think that life began for me when the artist in me is nurtured. I did the usual, attended college, gave workshop to kids, and painted to my heart’s content. Sounds sentimental but I have to find ways to be on the right track again though it took me so long honing my craft. I may not have been endowed with skills like the next door painter but I striven harder to learn more and to be part of the art scene although it sometimes frustrates me as to find the politics of art and its discontents.

Being an Generation X kid, growing up weary and tired of the outside world with no back-ups it was not until I have met my teachers in UP Fine Arts and the college library brought out the best in me. I loved the idea of teachers as artists and the contemporary art books I’ve devoured. Up to now I still haven’t found what I’m looking for but definitely I’m still doing it — to create art and making a kind of living in between canvases.

Frederick Sausa, 2009
Clinton Palanca once wrote that the ultimate postmodern show is something like Eat Bulaga, wherein you have everything for every possible audience. Some people, most especially people from the academe, may look down on the show but who knows it may even be Eat Bulaga’s secret for it being the longest running TV program in the country. The plethora of segments from slapstick skits to scantily-clad babes gyrating in their overused choreography dance numbers makes our midday meal “worth our while” Of late there are even outdoing of new stunts for the male Pinoy showing various talents.

Emerging thoughts like this run through me like flashes in a pan, as I view the recent works of Frederick Sausa. Honestly, even without looking at Pretty Vacant, his DNA alone — as an artist in Angono and a member of the “art movement” called SBW make him both relevant and commercially viable as an artist. However Sausa chose not to traverse the easy road of genre paintings or folk art and religiosity. Kumita na raw yan.

Borrowing the title of the album by the punk band Sex Pistols which was banned by Her Majesty the Queen herself, one critic summed in up as “14 tracks roar in less than 30 minutes.” Considered as “the last great music movement” Punk is more than 30 years of angst, rebellion, and counter culture. Simply put, if punk is not dead, so is Sausa?

Pretty Vacant speaks to how Sausa purposely found his own sense to the influx or even deluge of images found in his possession. Now a full time artist, as one observes daily existence in the humdrum of his lakeshore town, the timing is rather ripe most especially with blanc art space as an embracing venue to explore. His paintings are all nothing but the title suggests.

In Hard-Boiled Wonderland (After Donald Lipsky) Sausa fondness for appropriation and decoding values that we got used to. Is he referring to the himself as a lamb in the now out of print classic book entitled The Art Fair?

Untitled may just be spaghetti with meatballs er, dots to you but for Sausa it is more than that as he has been exploring like texts on his canvas. His signature dots are in honoring the space, the omission or more of an audience interaction devise – for you to fill in the void. “Suspension points – sticker type snippets” as he would like to refer to them. His dots are like metallic buttons on a black leather jacket which is as punk as you can get. Blotches like safety pins if you may duplicate all over again.

Susceptible Ennui is a sampling of a recent inkling of contemporary artists of today and which Sausa joins in celebrating is what is called “catastrophilia.” Highlighting an Andy Warhol fetish for tragedy and hysteria, this painting may be devoid of meaning but it could be value-laden as long as you look though them. Sausa has the makings of a good draftsman, like all damn painters of Angono and he even repeats himself with Bad Girls Night Out which seems like another good painting on a rather forgettable subject.

They say the test of a good artist is how you comeback and re-shuffle images other people may have used into something substantial and relevant. Like a pudding from unused or over used dough. Now that Sausa has gotten our attention, can he finally say what he really wants?

In this tough year for art-making year of 2009, when most of his contemporaries have been part of some list of best new artist, whether it’s the top ten of some metro magazine, or some lucky 13 artists award given by the State or part of some 61 young men and women who will change the world, Sausa piously confesses “I’m still critical to the point of tiptoeing some ideas while rummaging around forgotten and misplaced archives. In the end, its all about “twisted objectivity and pensive satire through visual anthology.”
Leaving blanc you may find yourself asking, does Sausa want you to get pissed at him? No even better. Does he want you to even piss at the canvasses, even rip them off, like some torn jeans of your youth? Yeah that’s better, like being Sid Vicious in his paintings. Sounds a lot like gobbing my Mohawk hair in the safety-pinned jacket to me. And if those three Japanese wooden stool scraps hanged outside the gallery irked you even more, Sausa may just smile.