How Pabsie Martus faced her fears and found her art

Published December 26, 2020, 8:00 AM

by Rom Mallick

FYA! From being disgusted by beehives, this young artist turned her fear into a fascination for bees, which has led her to developing her art

Fear, as one iconic Jedi master once put it, leads to anger. But in the case of Angono-born artist Pabsie Martus, her fear led her to discovering her art. The full-time artist, who is a graduate of Fine Arts from the Far Eastern University shares with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle how overcoming her fears has made her the budding artist she is today.  

Pabsie Martus (Photo from her Instagram)

How would you describe your art, and yourself as an artist? Where do you draw inspiration for your works?

Ever since I was little, I’ve always been fascinated with bees and beehives. 

This started when I was around five or six years old. One time, my dad brought home a honeycomb inside a tub. It was my first time to see one and I was a bit grossed out by the honeycomb because it had a lot of holes (laughs). That started my trypophobia. Because it grossed me out, plus I was still young then, I automatically hated honeycombs. But my dad convinced me to try and taste it. My impression changed after I tasted it. I was really amazed when I found out that honey came from bees. How they made honey baffled me. Because I didn’t have access to the internet at that time, the whole thing remained a mystery to me for a long while. 

Every time I would see images of holes, I found myself still disgusted. So I thought of a way to get used to it and to get rid of my phobia. It was then that I made my first artwork featuring a honeycomb, and I called it Beehive. It was a mixed media, made from paperclay. Eventually, so I could make my artworks tougher, I used resin.

I never thought that this would be the concept or idea behind my succeeding artworks. SInce then, my art has revolved around bees and beehives. 

Now, I am focused on painting bees and flowers because I admire how much a hard worker these little creatures are, and how much they contribute to their colonies and to the larger ecosystem. I want to be like a bee, always working to find something meaningful that can give self-fulfillment. At that same time, it contributes to the field or career I have chosen to take. 

Do you have a particularly favorite piece that you’ve done? Which is it, and why?

I have several. My first favorite piece is one I call Remnants

Remnants, 3 x 4 ft., resin on canvas (2020)

It was very challenging for me. It was my first time to make a huge piece purely out of resin. While I was working on it, it gave me a number of other ideas that motivated me to continue making art. 

My second and third favorite pieces are Restart and Where flowers bloom so does hope

Restart Pabsie Martus
Restart, 24 x 35 in., oil on canvas

These represent how, whatever challenges and difficulties come to our lives, there is always a new beginning that blooms in the middle of darkness. Just as how the pandemic can become a start of a new beginning, a new hope for all of us. 

Where flowers bloom so does hope (–Lady Bird Johnson), 24 x 36 in., oil on canvas

The bee represents us. Just like a worker bee, change has to start from each of us. We have to be the ones to move and work to begin again and to recover. 

What is your personal opinion about young people pursuing arts, whether as a passion or a profession? Any message you want to give to aspiring artists?

To young people who choose to pursue art, continue practicing and keep on working. You’ll never know where your passion can take you. So practice, practice, practice. Just keep on making art. Follow what brings joy to your heart, whatever brings you a sense of fulfillment. Do not be afraid to experiment and to discover what will eventually become your art style or that unique concept that makes your art yours. 

At the same time, do not limit yourselves by what you think you cannot do. Take these things as challenges that you need to overcome, so that your art can develop and grow. You will also grow as an artist. 

To aspiring artists, being in the art industry won’t be easy. There are a lot of critics. Many will tell you, “you have to do this, you need to do that, this has to be this way.” There will be people, of course, who will appreciate your art, in the same way that there will be those who won’t. Just think that you don’t have to please everyone. You don’t make art for them. You make art, primarily, for yourself and for the improvement of your craft. Take heart and never give up. 

Choose and sift through the advice you receive, and figure out which can help your art improve. Do not think that what you’re doing will not lead to anything. Work hard and keep at it because art knows how to reward those who persevere. 

Facebook: Pabsie Martus | Instagram:@pabsiemartus | Email: [email protected]