JULY 2013 - The 2nd Anniversary issue
Fact: Making sense is not a problem for Aaron Quinto and Patrick Velasco. At all.
As the, should we say, masters of doodling and photography, respectively, both of them had memorized and mastered the art of relevance and significance to the crazy world of Tumblr. Not because they are famous Tumblr personalities that they are featured on this anniversary issue, but this blogazine has been true to its word that we feature people who makes sense. And guess what… the two of them do.
Aaron and Patrick are the guys that you follow unconsciously. Admit it. The first time you landed eyes on Tumblr and started one, you’ve asked people here, "Sinong magaling na blogger dito na pwedeng o worthy i-follow?" Most probably, they’ll say, "Si Pabee!!! Ang gwapo niya, friend!" or "Si ay-yos. Ay ey-eyos yata. Ah basta a-e-i-o-s. Ay a-i-e-o-s yata. Ah basta! Galing niya mag-doodle!"
Rewind back the days, three, four, five years ago, PutoGraft (Patrick) andAieos (Aaron) are Tumblr’s household names. They are mainstays in your dashboard. You are an auto-liker of their posts, and you are a super fan of their artworks. And not just their artworks, but their personas as well.
People know Patrick as Pabee or putograft – initially, a play on the word “photograph.” [Trivia: Pabee is not “Pabee” because his name is Patrick Velasco. It is because his second name is Benedict.]
Setting my Kuya Kim-ish instincts aside, Patrick shared to me that more than the shutter and the lens, and birds and the bees, his life as a registered nurse slash photographer was never a piece of cake, especially that even a Patrick Velasco has inferiorities.
Tumblr Magazine PH: What are the things that you are most insecure of?
Patrick Luis Velasco: My height. I am the shortest sa amin. Anim kaming magkakapatid – tatlong babae, tatlong lalaki. Ako [ang] pinakamaliit na lalaki.
TMPH: Is that the only thing? I mean, it does not make you less of a Patrick Velasco.
PLV: Nakaka-stress yung tanong.
TMPH: Hahaha. Wala ka namang magagawa.
PLV: Yung fact siguro na hindi ako nakapag-aral sa A+ universities during my college days. Example. ADMU. DLSU. UP.
TMPH: That makes you feel less? Why?
PLV: Kasi as a kid, or as a student, napaka-competetive ko. Hindi ko nga gustong maging nurse dati eh. Gusto kong mag-doktor. Tapos [sa] A+ schools ko lang nai-imagine [ang] sarili ko dati. Isama mo na [ang] UST.
TMPH: Is that because you are like from a family of achievers? That is why you’re competitive?
PLV: Yep. Pwede.
TMPH: Maybe competitive is too hard to use. Dreamer. Maybe you’re a dreamer.
PLV: Competitive talaga eh. Kasi kung dreamer, puro dreams lang. Kulang sa gawa.
TMPH: Well you have a point. Now. Tell me about the story how putograft started
PLV: Yan talaga ang tanong? Wala bang less toxic?
PLV: I really can’t completely remember how putograft started. I just wanted to have a page where I can post my photos not thinking about the viewers I can get. I just hate how ridiculous the qualities of Facebook photos are.
TMPH: People see you as the photographer, but you are an RN, two opposite fields of interest. And now, you are pursuing medicine. How can you manage both?
PLV: Some say that I’m a multitasking person. But I don’t believe in multitasking. I’m not a machine. I just know how to manage my time. And when it comes to requirements, I do better when cramming. Hahaha.
TMPH: Or is it because you are just talented? Do you find yourself talented?
PLV: I know a lot of things but I can’t say I’m talented. Maybe I’m up at trying everything. Tapos eventually, I become good at it.
TMPH: Risk taker, eh?
PLV: Nope. Curious cat lang.
TMPH: What is Pabee’s other side?
PLV: What do you mean?
TMPH: Aside from being the photographer and the science dude. Are there other parts of you that people are not aware of?
PLV: Uhmm. I’m an open book. What you see is pretty much the real me. [But] the little hinges of me should remain a secret.
TMPH: No hint?
PLV: I am romantic.
TMPH: Really? Well it shows. (Check this blog: http://angeliquenel.tumblr.com/)
TMPH: What’s one thing about Tumblr that you hate?
PLV: Some people who can’t accept the real them. People who tend to pretend.
TMPH: Like? Joke. [Have you] ever thought of deactivating?
PLV: Yep. During the dark days of my love life but I don’t wanna regret.
TMPH: Oh yes. The dark days. Hahaha. I remember Dexter talking about it and he was so sad. Let’s not go into details. You are also into sports. Are you still on MMA trainings?
PLV: Currently on a break since I’m overly occupied with work as a nurse and [with] graduate school. But I’d like to take at least a day in a month for one session.
TMPH: Off the course. Do you find yourself intimidating?
PLV: Maraming nagsasabi. Even the way I talk daw. I dunno why. Do you know why?
TMPH: I really don’t know. Hahaha. Maybe the confidence. I really find talking to you intimidating.
PLV: You mean you find me over confident?
TMPH: No. It’s the right mix of confidence and being humble. Sakto lang. Well, you have the right to be overconfident naman. You’re an achiever.
Aaron’s Tumblr “reputation” is the snobbish, high-headed, doodle boy.
As we talked, he tried to clean his plate. “Hindi naman talaga ako snob. Tahimik lang talaga ako. Wala pa akong naaalala na ini-snob sa meet-ups or what.” He said, un-verbatim-ly. But he was so cool with being labeled as the snob type. “[But] since they labeled me snob, I’ll be one.”
People also tag him as weird. “Yeah. I am.” He surrenders.
But more than being suplado, Aaron is proud of what he had become as a Tumblr blogger. If Katniss Everdeen is “the girl on fire” then Aaron Quinto is “the boy who doodles.”
"Art is your projection, like an avatar of your ideals." He said philosophically.
"[With my first doodle, I was] excited with hopes [that] it will go viral since there’s Tumblarity that time. [Tumblarity is] a point system which will dictate your ranking in the whole Tumblrverse. Each reblog or like will give you additional corresponding Tumblarity so even those crappy blogs get to be “famous" at their own right because they’re on top of [it]. It’s awful at times because people post just to garner points. There was a Tumblr phase where everyone would make typography art (including me) with texts like “reblog if" just to gain notes. Unlike now, people post because they consider their Tumblr [as] some sort of repository or their own platform to make a name for themselves."
Tumblr is a place where people get to be known. It is a place where people get to make a name for themselves, and Aaron is all okay with that.
"[With Tumblr], I get to create my alter ego in the blog-o-sphere (as doodle boy) which is fulfilling, every time I meet up with bloggers in real life. Like people recognize me for what I do. That’s self-rewarding."
The Aaron Quinto Tumblr Story was an easy one-way access to being known. With his different kind of art, back the days, he easily got to be noticed.
"It was my smooth transition from Multiply to Tumblr. I felt like Multiply’s too bland and boring so I tried BlogSpot. Then… I discovered weewilldoodle. They’re my heroes. I was so inspired by them, their quirky art and all that. Sabi ko, I want to do that kind of art. I felt like I have a place with doodles. So I bought a moleskine to have a decent notebook and journal at the same time, then I created a Tumblr [account]. Because of their reblogging feature, I felt like doodling would be a hit and so I made my first doodle. Then ayun… May mga nag-reblog then some really liked it like it’s their first time to see that kind of art since doodling that time is not famous. Then a few weeks after I tried to make this Tumblr doodle thing which really went viral so I gained [a] handful [of] followers."
But Aaron’s art has changed. From the mushrooms and the aliens and the creatures that no one is familiar of, his pens had been etching some new world of artistry. His sudden change of aesthetic is more obvious than not, and his following shook as well.
"I find it too juvenile to be considered art and its validity as art is weak. So yeah. When it changed, my audience changed to some extent."
This change has been good to him, evident on his blog. His url might not be popping up more often on our dashboards but the day to day pinches of Aaron Quinto are still sure hits.
“Do you have any frustrations or insecurities? Let’s open you up.” I asked him. “Uhmm. I can’t dance. I’m short. I can’t whistle.” He replied laughing. Whistling is like one of the most basic human talent, proving that Aaron may be talented, but a talented person cannot have it all.
I asked him about his thoughts on the sudden decline of people’s interest to Tumblr.
“People got lazier. The crowd shifted to shitty blogs who post nothing but one-liners and inane content, cheesy text posts, unsubstantial social commentaries, and shallow love posts.”
To wrap up the interview, I defined doodling for Aaron.
Pael: I have here a definition of doodle. “Doodle is the perfect amalgamation of coherence and randomness, meaning and meaningless.” How can you relate to this? I mean, you as a person.
Aaron: Did I say that?
Pael: Who else? (Check this blog:http://monstruoobscura.tumblr.com/post/20964645135/a-good-doodle/)
Aaron: How can I relate to that? I think it speaks to me as an architecture student as well and as an individual also. There should be restraint at some point but there should also be a time where you should let loose, let go of inhibitions.
Pael: Like not knowing how to whistle.
I guess the era of the term “Tumblr famous” is at last over. It is still out there but people do not talk about it as much as before. But we have to admit it. Bloggers who we call “Tumblr famous” really exist.
The bad thing about being tagged as a “Tumblr famous” is that people see it negatively. People will call you mayabang, hambog, mapagmalaki, suplado/suplada, and all the adjectives that negatively connote being famous or being always on the limelight.
Being a “Tumblr famous” is not something that they called for, but it is something that people tag them of. It came from them. It came from those who see it negatively.
But the thing about it is not all those who we call “famous” are indeed the definition of the word. I personally believe that being “famous” is more than being the talk of the town. It is more of being “someone.”
To be a “Tumblr someone”, you have to prove your worth. I mean, you have to have something special, something that people will be interested of, something that is relevant.
And that is one thing we should aim for – relevance. As you blog, have you ever asked yourself if you are being relevant? If you are identifiable? If you are aligned to what people are interested of? Are you making sense? Or… do you make sense?
One fact. Making sense is not a problem for Aaron Quinto and Patrick Velasco. At all.