“Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.”
― Wendy Flynn

Ev Yu Laugo (1990) is a visual artist and zine maker based in the Philippines. Yu who is recognized for her watercolor works, dives headfirst into a new medium in “The Wiggle Room.”
There is a sense of liberation in trying something new while leaving space for one to not meet expectations, even from their own self. The series of works were made in a period when the artist was introduced to painting with oils. And she shares, “I enjoyed having to experience a childlike ambition again. The lack of familiarity with technique leaves room to play with ideas and limitations.”

The Wiggle Room tackles the lack of space that one allows themselves to have in moments of uncertainty. Like in any beginning, there is a lot of uncertainty. She likens this experience to “being placed in an unfamiliar situation and having a flurry of choices.” And this collection of works where plenty of fluid gestures using oil looks like the visualization of the saying “getting your feet wet”.

The artist ponders on the less visible parts of one’s trajectory in mastering a skill or building a good image. She focuses on rarely documented parts of one’s journey that includes changing to conform to other’s expectations as explored in her Wake up, Man series; Trying to make-do with limited experience that is touched in the work “Limited Tool Bar”; And the internal turmoil that is explicated in “The Guard will get you” that alludes to the insecure thoughts that are often kept in private.

Society often puts pressure on beginners. It’s so easy to box them into categories of being either bad or unremarkable. It often leads hopeful novices to act out performative gestures that present them in a good light. This is tackled in several of her works namely “Pond Life”, “Required Detour”, and “Dimensions of Escape.”

Even though The Wiggle Room exposes the less glamorous parts of one’s path to progress, it highlights the quiet kindness afforded to oneself when they give themselves permission to fail or simply try. This is highlighted in the piece de resistance “Reducing the Puzzle.”

This opportunity to showcase Yu’s exploration into oil as a medium is like sharing an honest moment with the viewers. A reassuring reminder that regardless of where one is in their journey, everything turns out okay, especially when you direct your energy towards something that drives you.
Despite the change in medium, Yu stays authentic to her design language, using abstract idiosyncratic sequential imagery much like what one would expect out of a visual diary or graphic novel.

Text by Marz Aglipay