Monday, March 27, 2006



We had an early celebration of Kai's birthday yesterday in the park. Like any three year old, I don't think he really knew that the day was for him. Since Lindbergh Park is his daily turf five days a week, I think the event was highlighted in his mind that people who were familiar to him were present. There was his cousin Lauren who played with him, and the rest of the Van Patten clan. Rodin and Julie brought him a tricycle and a kite and he was able to fly that before opening the other presents. Judy his Grammy was telling me that while they are trying to fly the kite, she was amazed that Kai-Kai started giving her a countdown. As she was waiting for the next breeze to is Kai counting one, two, three, and continuing to count, "four, five, six..." until she was able to launch the kite. He loved his birthday (cup) cake! He just couldn't wait to lick the icing. By the way, his cake was make of assembled cupcakes in a tier having the number three-candle on the top of the tier. Each of the cupcakes had letter spelling "HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAI." I made three-noodles (rice-flour, wheat-flour and tapioca-flour) "pancit" to signify his third year in this world, with chicken, pork and shrimp and ordered a quarter of roast pig. Initially, I liked to have bought a piglet; we call it "de leche" in the Philippines, but all the places I called said they can't provide me with my order...So I ended up with a ten pound side of a roasted pig. The theme of his party was "FINDING NEMO." I have to compliment Tisha for all the detailed plannings she made. I think it has to do with the genes...and WE HAD A PARTY!
He got too many toys...and the things he got that day will be another addition to his collections. I think when he outgrows all of those, I will collect them and put them together as a sculpture...this way he can always have them even when he is a grown man. When he arrived today, Umma had a gift bag for him with two cars, a shirt and a learning book for telling time. We really did not intend to get him more toys to clutter their house. Last week after the CPR certificate renewal at the concourse downtown, we stopped at the Discovery Store in Horton Plaza and got him an Ant Farm. After surfing the internet for the farm, I came across the new space age innovation of an Ant Farm that was based on technology used in the shuttle experiment by NASA. It is a replica of what the astronauts brought with them in Space Shuttle. "Space Age Ant Gel Habitat" that's what they call it. It's neat. Very different from the old ones with sand. Rather than using sand or soil, it utilizes a special gel; serves as food and water as well. The live ants had to be ordered separately and it took ten days before it arrived with the mail. By chance, it came today, in time for his actual birthday. The harvester ants are "big" compared to the ants that he knew crawling in the park...yet he still wants to use his "fying glass" to look at them. They are digging tunnels now. I would imagine by tomorrow morning when he arrives, there will be several tunnels in progress.
This is amazing...This year marks a half century since Milton Levine, now 92 years old, began selling his Uncle Milton Ant Farm - a sand filled, clear plastic box through which ant voyeurs could watch the insects tunnel and eat, and later die. Things come and go, but the Ant Farm is very much like Barbie or GI Joe or Hot Wheels that have managed to survived. The novelty is in creating a whole world that Kai can curious as he is, he just loves it!

Sunday, March 19, 2006


At age 2, he's the youngest artist ever to have a one "man" show at the Mixed Media Gallery in San Diego, says Gallery artist Erin Harold. Kai Van Patten was given some crayons at 8 months of age and has been drawing ever since. He graduated to brushes at the age of two. Of course, Kai had some helpful tips from his grandpa, multimedia artist Jose R. Morales Jr.
Galley show proves toddler has art talent
About 35 of Kai's abstract pieces, some on large canvases, were in the two-weeks "Almost Three" show that Closed Wednesday. Kai Learned the names of colors ("pupol" is his favorite) as he progressed. Morales says he can't consider Kai a talent yet, but it's a start. Several of Kai's artworks were sold.
by: Diane Bell
The San Diego Union Tribune
Saturday, March 18, 2006
I sent several press releases before Kai-Kai's show. The Reader and the Asian Journal were the only ones that picked up the press release. I guess, some of the publications were skeptical that an almost three years old boy can produce some valid art pieces. I also sent a press release to one of the cultural writers of the Union Tribune, but she didn't even acknowledge my email. The decision to email Diane Bell all of the data, pictures of Kai at work, his calling card and the invitation was at the last moment, because the show was already in progress. Diane replied to my email and asked a few questions. Her column comes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Tuesday was gone, Thursday was gone and no write-up. Friday, while Tisha was having lunch she told me that there is a message from Diane Bell, and how she left her phone number...That was two days after I had dismantled the show."Too late!", that was what I said. I really did not plan to call her, but I guess she decided to call the Gallery and was able to talk to Erin Harold, one of the artists there, because Saturday, lo and behold, there was the write up about Kai's show!
It was a very nice feeling to see the name of my protege' in a major paper beat his uncle on this matter. Rodin did not get in the paper until he was 4 1/2 years of age, but it was for an art exhibition where he won two awards, a first prize and the "Best in Show" the same evening. Kai will be going in that direction in the near future...I have something on my mind about will be a surprise.
I immediately emailed Tisha and Mike, Judy and Dick, Carole Beth and a few of the people that I know who read the newspaper, but at times will not read Diane Bell's column. I got an email from art professor Anita Brenolf...congratulating both of us. Stephanie, from next door was not able to attend the opening but had to reread the paper because she is one of those who skipped Diane Bell's column. Stuart and Joyce, who bought "Green Fantasies" don't subscribe, but they were going to buy a paper when I told them about it.
Recently there was an article in the paper about parents and grandparents being braggarts. Well...well...! I am not doing it too the extremes, but yes! My Kai-Kai made it in the newspaper and he is not even three years old. How about that???

Thursday, March 09, 2006


The weather was a little bit balmy this afternoon that Kai and I stayed indoors just playing around. The other day I made the mistake of imitating him sliding on the little slide toy that Jay gave him. I will put my foot on each steps counting one, two. three and pretend to slide. That was what he wants me to do. Later on I laid down on the couch and just watched him doing his things on the other side of the room. I noticed he seems to be tired or rather bored, so I asked him to lay down with me. He snuggled besides me and very unusual, he was not too "itchy" and "antsy" because he was just content to lay down there with me. Finally, I noticed that he was not moving at all but snoring. His snoring is not so loud but I can hear the sound. That was almost two o'clock and he slept till five, only after waking him gently. Mike came and left us to take this afternoon nap. Umma brought us a blanket. Of course, I was sort of cat-napping the last three hours. I was on my side, my head propped on the pillows, holding him on my side because he was on the outer part of the sofa. By he time I was able to wake him I had cramps on my legs and the right side of my body. I was looking at him closely on and off and thought about those early days when he was sound asleep in my arms in the sofa, little dinky baby almost just an arm length, and now he is over thirty inches long alongside me. He is really growing a couple of weeks he will be three years old. While looking at him, I thought, I better start doing a sculpture of him before it is too late for me to capture that impish face, his mischievous attitude and all the things he is now. I have to get some clay this weekend!
When Mike came to pick him up we are having muffin snacks. I was giving him some chocolate milk to wash it down, he took a couple of sip and asked, "red juice please." We are talking practically about the weather because he looked towards the window and said, "it is getting dark." I said, "yes, almost night, no more sun." And this was how he greeted Mike..."getting dark."
One evening last week, after framing some of his art pieces, as usual I sit in front of the computer and was thinking of what to do. I decided to think of the "dont's" about Kai. He is going to be three years old and sooner than you can wink your eyes, he will no longer be a baby. Since then, I had been adding , revising and editing what I had started. I thought that this would be nice to print this and give it to the relatives on his birthday. I decided to "Blog" it instead.
Don't spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all that I ask for, I am only testing you.
Don't be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it. It makes me feel more secure.
Don't let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in early stages.
Don't make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me stupidly "big."
Don't correct me in front of people if you can help it. I'll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private.
Don't make me feel that my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values.
Don't protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way sometimes.
Don't nag. If you do, I shall protect myself by appearing deaf.
Don't take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need.
Don't forget that I can't explain myself as well as I would like. This is why I am not always accurate.
Don't be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and make me lose faith in you.
Don't make rash promises. Remember I feel badly let down when promises are broken.
Don't tell me that my fears are silly. They are terribly real and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand.
Don't put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and will find information somewhere.
Don't ever think it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm toward you.
Don't forget I love experimenting. I couldn't get on without it, so please put up with it.
Don't forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be difficult to keep pace with me, but please do try.
Don't forget that I can't thrive without lots of understanding love, but I don't need to tell you do I?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


ALMOST THREE...the exhibition opening
I haven't entered anything here since February 13th. Most of the evenings have been spent framing Kai's pieces. There is no way I can do the things I would like to do if Kai-Kai is around. He will be all over the place and will even offer to help Umpha.

Anyway, the show was a big hit! Who would think that an almost three years old boy could sell his art work...YES! Kai-Kai did it!

I was ecstatic about the end result of the show. The first hour of the opening, a painting ("GREEN FANTASIES") was sold. It was bought by the elderly couple that knew him since he was three months old. They are neighbors, a few houses from our place. Everyday Stuart and Joyce do their walking in the park. Basically, they have seen Kai grew up and Kai at the same time knew them to call the other "Umpha" and other "Umma." There were some invited people that did not show-up for one reason or another, but what surprised me was that the people from the Commission of Art and Culture came. I haven't seen Felicia Shaw, Program Director and Teresa Holm, Contract Manager, for some umpteen years even though we communicate by emails. Ana Cabato, Executive Director of PASACAT came in spite that she was not dolled-up as usual because she was to have a facial appointment later. Nabuko Naga Ewing, a very fastidious Japanese friend of mine came with a friend. Dick and Judy Van Patten (Kai's paternal grandparents) came tagging along with Valerie (Kai's great-grandma) and Carole Beth Sterling (Kai's great-aunt). I can see that they are very happy sharing the oeuvres of Kai and probably awed of what Kai-Kai had done. I am glad that I was able to take as many pictures as I could while Kai and I have our painting sessions. This gives the validity that he really is doing the pieces. We don't paint everyday, but considering Kai's attitude toward the activity, he will want to paint everyday. In forty-five minutes session, he can really produce a lot of good pieces as long as I watch him not to over paint them...that is the secret!
This is my curatorial statement:
ALMOST THREE...A Boy's Adventure with Colors
This exhibition is about Kai...almost three years old. He was given a crayon when he was eight months old and was shown how to use them. The colors fascinated him and from that time on "pupol" became his favorite color. He learned the names of different colors as he progressed. From crayons he started to use washable colored pens incorporating with crayons and sometimes pencils. By doing this, he learned that pens, crayons and pencils are only used on papers. By the time he was two years old, he was shown how to use brushes. This started him using gouache and water. The result was this exhibition.
As the curator of the exhibition as well as his "Umpha" (grandpa). the idea of the exhibition is something like a time capsule in the making. I cannot consider this as a talent is an expression of a little boy with too much time on his hands at the moment. Maybe, as he grows older or becomes a man of his own, he will have a better understanding of what this is all about. For the meantime, I am preserving his artistic achievement as a little boy even when he can not say purple.
We still have until the 15th of this month to share the show to others who were not able to come to the opening. For the meantime since we have had our fifteen minutes of fame together, we are back to our daily routine...looking for snails and digging for worms.