Quick Overview:

My website: JeanVengua.com

This newsletter is about the “here and now,” and sometimes the “then and now,” reality of life as an older artist. It ruminates on the cultural and social contexts of writing and art. It’s driven by curiosity, inspiration, occasional frustration, and the creative processes of artists, writers, and musicians. I bring to this my perspective as an AAPI/Filipino American artist and writer with experimental tendencies, and as someone who is in the process of unlearning internalized ageism.

Why “Eulipion Outpost”?

Eulipo comes from Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s jazz piece, “Theme for the Eulipions.” The word also sounds like oulipo,1 game-like rules and rituals to make art. Experimental poet Harryette Mullen writes about Oulipo in Eulipean terms:

“. . . when I first heard of Oulipo and Oulipeans I thought of them in relation to the Eulipeans in Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s jazz classic, ‘Theme for the Eulipeans,’ the ones he calls ‘the artists, the actors, the journeymen’ who come from a planet in another galaxy, Eulipea. I’m not an Oulipean but I can call myself an Eulipean . . .

The most liberating aspect of Oulipo for me was their demystification of ‘inspiration’ in favor of ‘potential literature.’ This puts less stress on writing as a product and more emphasis on writing as a process that might result in a work of literature.”

So, make of that what you will . . .

Questions

Finally, several questions tend to drive this newsletter: How do you survive and thrive as an artist (in any of the arts) during an era of great exponential change and instability? How does color, culture, gender, differing ability, and age factor in? What art addresses these issues, and what ideas, processes, and tools help us to stay curious, playful, and hopeful? I have a PhD in English (emphasis on Ethnic and AAPI studies and literature), but I have no formal training in visual arts; I am learning as I go!

P.S. Last name pronounced: Ven-gwah, i.e., ven as in “venom,“ “gwah“ as in “guava.” In Mindanao (Philippines), where my father was from, it’s written (and pronounced) as Bengua. It’s an unusual surname in the Philippines, and could have either sephardic or Chinese roots. In the latter, it could very well refer to “a fool” (imagine “the Fool” in your favorite tarot deck).

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Here’s a video intro to Oulipo, by Subtle Channels. For me, Oulipo and Oupeinpo are a form of creative play that can stimulate fun and surprising results. The visual art versions of Oulipo are Oupeinpo (painting/drawing) and Oubapo (comic book art).

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Focusing on diverse, innovative arts and culture, I jump into the rabbit hole and bring back processes, tools, and inspiration on a weekly basis--to help us stay creative, playful, and hopeful during this crazy era of exponential change.

People

I'm a Filipinx American artist and writer. From my "outpost" on the California coast, I focus on hand-made art processes, the cultural and social contexts of art-making, and being an older, self-taught artist during uncertain times.