By Bisai Ya
What an exciting journey my humble online art café cum gallery has become. I was so busy since it came about online on May 23, 2012. Exactly on our 42nd day in existencethe , bisai art café is now embarking on its second online echarity art auction to aid another cancer victim.
The first art auction held last May 25 to June 5th benefited a high school friend who is battling stage 4-breast cancer. In our current and second art auction outing, we are assisting an eight-year-old girl who is fighting to survive leukemia, cancer of the blood.
Looking back, Charity wasn’t really where I’d like to position myself, as I do not possess excessive material wealth or cash that I could easily share to many people. However, my faith and creative talent, both in visual arts and marketing acumen collaborated to engage me in doing things and activities that eventually turned out to be useful for others whilst offering me personal growth and new experiences at life.
I had been in the marketing field in all of my expat life as an hotelier and marketing professional. The work skills and background over the 13 years of hard work has allowed me to look at establishing myself in the marketing industry where I thought I could put my talent and abilities to good use.
Since I fell victim to the economic recession in 2011 and lost my job, I thought it wise to look for a small but relatively controllable business I could easily manage given my background skills, talent and industry experience. I had finally set my heart on doing marketing services for a broad spectrum of clients mainly focusing on hospitality, tourism and the arts.
Having worked mainly in five star hotels and heavily exposed to business management in my previous role as hotel marketing manager, I have had opportunities to see which hotel department provides the most dynamic experience and profitability. My mom, who owns an optical clinic when dad was alive, usually tells us “one of the most profitable business you can have is anything that has to do with food. It’s a win-win business if you know how to manage properly”. That statement never left my head till now.
Hence, the idea of running my own fun and homey Café etched on my head. I would often convince myself “My hands-on hotel knowledge is very valuable and this I can draw my confidence, zeal and focus.”
Meet ups with my chef friends followed thereafter allowing me to ask them for opinions, tips and suggestions. I even spoke to a hotel general manager to get a deeper insight in the business. One of the compelling advice I got from one of them was “create a niche café where you can easily stand out and be tops amongst the rest. Offer a unique service concept and great tasting food and they’ll come back for more.”
As I got home from that meeting, I sat down in my living area and looked at my paintings on the wall. I realized I haven’t been painting for quite some time now. I literally stopped painting at the time I was totally engrossed at office work.
Like a light bulb moment, I realized that my desire for café could be enhanced even more if I club my passion for the art. Emboldened with my passion I started picking up my brushes, paints and canvas. Did couple more paintings and hanged it on my wall to remind me that I should keep my art back alive if I surely wanted the café business to push through.
My paintings give me a feeling of inspiration. Art has awakened me from my deep slumber and has ignited me to do even more. I did several paintings and immersed myself out from my shell.
I returned to the art scene in Philippines slowly through networking with artist friends. I signed up to become a member for the professional artist group, the SEC registered Pinoy na Pinoy Visual Artists Association Inc. (PPVAAI) where I enrolled myself and my artist son to be active members.
It was from this group where I was able to network with fellow artists who share the same appetite for art. My membership in select art groups in facebook has allowed me to also learn more about arts for those like me are unschooled in art universities and had no formal training in art.
It was from these art groups where I was able to carry out my charity art auctions without fail from support by fellow artists who were too generous to donate excellent pieces so we could raise money for beneficiaries who has pressing need for financial support. It was from this experience that I saw a niche to be different.
Operating a business café with a lot of focus in promoting my passion for art and being able to help others through my charity art auctions is now formally conceived. Right now the café business is actively being pursued for setting up soon in Cebu, Philippines (my beloved home province). My family supports my dream for my bisai art café when I go home for good.
Meanwhile, whilst plans are still afoot in getting it operational, I am keeping myself pre-occupied in building the bisai art café brand through various art related initiatives that I do with fellow artists locally and international.
I built my own website to formally help market select art pieces of friends and initiate art networking events where we utilize the power of social media. With the emergence of social media and the impact it brings to our lifestyle nowadays, I know we can slowly build our bisai art café brand in the mindset of people, my audience, my so called market share.
Am so thankful that my exposure to many charity related initiatives has also allowed me to appreciate the beauty of my fellow human beings. I find it so amazing to be able to network with people you barely know and become their friends and share in their advocacies. All these are entwined because of one common denominator, our passion for ART.
I believe that the real essence of my life right now is being able to share the beauty of life through distributing of what is good and useful. There is so much self-fulfillment I derive when I am able to share my art, in many useful and creative ways. My ART has broadened my perspective of seeing the world in the eyes of a beholder. It allowed me to discover many wonderful ways to gather new experiences, only if I set my mind into something useful.
Fusing my dream café business with my love for ART has given me a clear vision of how to make the most money from a small commerce, understanding my profit forecast whilst indulging in my art passion and being able to help people using ART as my medium.
I never make money from any of my art auctions, my fees are 1000 percent on gratis and I usually end up spending for it myself, however, God has a way of rewarding me where my art is exposed to new would be art buyers, art enthusiasts and art collectors who later on decides to buy my humble pieces to add to their collection.
It is not so much about making money on my art, but making valuable experiences from my art that I would treasure forever. With bisai art café our mantra is … sense art … taste art … live art
Check the Save Little Lea from Leukemia – Online Charity Art Auction at www.bisaiartcafe.com Art pieces are auctioned and are posted for sale at: www.facebook.com/BisaiArtCafe.