Mishael Jacob Pueblas: the artist up close

DAVAO CITY (21 June) — Mishael Jacob Pueblas has always had it in him: an eye for visual arts.

Back when he studying communication arts in UP Mindanao, Misha, as his friends would call him, had always been the artist in the batch (not just the artist, THE ARTIST!). He’d share ambitious visions for himself and his art. He’d give constructive criticism in a bad advertising copy. He’s boss around in art and photography exhibits in the university. He’d quip on just about anything (like bagoong or aglet), and his statement almost always becomes really artistic! (This is one mystery this writer, who was also his classmate, kept wondering about.)

In art and photography class, he’d even go beyond reporting the topics assigned to him!

And no one can blame him. He has a strong passion for the arts, and it shows in his works some of which have even garnered high merits.

In 2009, two of his photographs won top spots in Petron’s photography competition; he bested over 800 other entries and impressed National Artist Ben Cab.

And Misha doesn’t know where to stop.

This year, he joins a medal design competition of the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games. His design, Embracing the Triumph, currently ranks 5th in the competition.

In this article, Misha talks to MindaNews about his design’s inspiration, how he wants to make a difference, and the lessons about life he learned while pursuing his love for the visual arts.

What’s your inspiration for the medal design?

I’m quite fascinated by how winning athletes react to their victory. Usually, they shout for joy or embrace their loved ones to share their triumph. I want to capture that very point of their lives; my design embeds that very precious moment on their Olympic medal. Two abstract human figures embrace each other as they encompass the Olympic values, which are excellence, respect and friendship. These figures also portray the merging of bodies of goddesses Nike (sports) and Hebe (youth).

I really want the Philippines to make a name in the Olympic Games. This is for the Filipino youth.

What inspires you?

Since I was a kid, art has been my life. God gave me eyes to appreciate everything around me. This is a special gift I have to use day by day. I don’t make designs just because I’m after money or recognition (laughs), but because I want the people to be inspired in what they see. I make designs because I know that whatever we see can make a difference.

How can the visual arts make social change?

Maybe we can simply ask, “How can a simple medal design make a change to the lives of the youth?” The Youth Olympic Games, initiated by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, is actually not just a stepping stone for the young athletes to equip themselves for larger Olympic events. It also aims to create change among the youth. By embracing the Olympic values, they could apply those values not just in sports but also in their everyday lives. The love for sports teaches us to become true winners in life.

What lesson about life did you learn while pursuing the visual arts?

Process. Visual arts, which include painting, sculpture, and all-sorts-of-designs, are not created in one wink. It’s an unending process; that enables me to continuously learn. I discover a lot about myself (flaws, inspirations, etc). From there, I learned so many things including my recent discovery about the perils of my perfectionist attitude. I admit, I am a perfectionist and I don’t like it. Now, I’m trying to accept that life is not perfect; nothing is perfect, and no one has to try to make it perfect. (laughs) Now, I feel free and more relaxed as an artist.

(Vote for Mishael Pueblas’ medal design in http://www.medaldesigncompetition.com; voting ends on June 30)