Monday, November 28, 2016

Offer What You Want But Don't Ever Say I Didn't Die For You

      Once upon a time it was brought to my attention that sometimes it's necessary to crucify yourself for your art, not just as a selfish act so that your end product is more desirable, but as a sacrifice for whomever may find the story you've told and need it as badly as you have needed the stories told by others. You can never anticipate that the material you dredge up from the murkiest sediment layers of yourself will be of value to anyone else. But you can hope that someday your expression will be the embodiment of a statement that has become such an important part of my life: "through our bleeding we are one" this is at the core of why I don't give up my music project. (My song Hiroshima Maiden ) 
        To get this far I have had to deal with every imaginable obstacle. I have hired people who told me I could count on them to deliver a service and that they believed in my ability to tell my story only for them to laugh in my face, talk behind my back, and waste my time and money. I have dealt with studios not wanting to book me because I'm not cool enough for them. I have had numerous people tell me to give up and that my project will never be worth anything because I'm a girl, I'm fat, or I'm not what fits in our "local scene." And much laughter. I live in a small place where minds are even smaller, so I experience the local rock bros who fancy themselves big fishes in this little pond recognize me as "that stupid girl trying to make rock music, how does SHE think she'll ever have a band Lolololololol!!!" They all talk and laugh because they don't have anything better to do besides wear the same pants every other dude is wearing. They can't even perceive that there is a wider variety of music in the world than what is in their little bubble. They also can't perceive that maybe what I'm doing isn't any of their business if they aren't interested in it. 
         Still, I persist. This isn't about them, or their opinions, or their laughter. So I keep pressing on going to work to recover money lost to those who didn't deliver and pouring my effort into making sure that I am on top of things when the one studio that has gotten things done for once can get me in because no one else better was available to book the time. It's been a lonely, frustrating, process, but I will complete it and keep making what I want to make whatever it takes. 
         "Contribution without expectation" is another mantra I keep in my mind. All artists are inspired and catalyzed by other artists and I'm no exception. It's in all of our wildest dreams that the artists that have inspired us would somehow hear or see the work that we have made using the creative DNA passed down to us. What happens when our efforts are rejected or not valued by those we admire so much? We still tell our story because if your heart is in the right place your goal is contribution without expectation. 
         I recently saw Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and an aspect of the story struck me as extremely relative to my artistic journey. A non magical man named Jacob gets swept up in an amazing and important adventure when he meets some wizards. In the end Jacob has been an integral part of the story but must be obliviated (have his memory wiped). Well, I have met some magical people before and had incredible, sacred experiences because of them. They helped me to see that maybe I'm magical too, but maybe I was wrong and I'm more like Jacob from the movie. The thought that I may have misrepresented how sacred and important I hold these experiences for any reason makes me think that maybe I deserve to be obliviated. But this isn't the Harry Potter universe and we are all humans. I have flaws, I make mistakes, Sometimes I fail to communicate the importance of things, but that doesn't change how important they are. Even though I may do or say stupid things my art comes from a pure place. 
         "Through our bleeding we are one" is still incredibly sacred to me. If I have somehow through my own stupidity smudged that idea, I'll never forgive myself. But I will keep telling my story because as a human I will let you down despite my best intentions, but expression is pure. Art is my resurrection. It has been there for me through my darkest times and my brightest times. So, in hopes that any un-intentional smudges I may have caused on sacredness may be forgiven I offer my cover of Crystal Days by Echo And The Bunnymen. It explains so well the way artists have effected me in my life. A Crystal Offering:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

She Was Caught In The Wave....

It's been a while since I have had something to say here and an action to go with it, but I've been working hard. My music project has taught me many hard lessons and not giving up just because something isn't easy seems to be the biggest one so far. I know I'm not alone in feeling compelled to tell my story through art, and I'm probably not alone in having had periods of running away from that urge. In the past I've thought of some pretty absurd things to try and get away from, I don't know what...myself I guess. I thought of joining a silent convent which would never work because I'm an atheist and I have too much of a sense of humor. I wouldn't last 24 hours without busting out laughing. Another thing I thought of doing was hiking the Appalachian trail. Which if you know me your side probably already hurts at how funny that is! The first time I saw a spider it would be over. Anyway, this time around there is no running away from myself and I knew that meant expressing the things in me that are the hardest to express. That's what this project is, telling the hardest things to tell so that they stop getting in the way of the other things I have to say. So about that action: I have a new song, it's called Hiroshima Maiden and you can find it here:

Saturday, June 18, 2016

No One Said This Was The End.

      As covered in my last entry, after pushing through some personnel issues, things are starting to take off a little bit more for me in the music department. I can't even express how happy it makes me to see this project moving forward again. When you work on something for a long time and you have to deal with delays: a lot of times your thoughts and feelings about it change. Well, this song is  an example of that for me. Would I try to get the point across in a very different way now? Yes. Are there universals still worth saying in this version though? Yes. Also, at this point in my process, I can't just take a developed idea that I have put a lot of time and money into and throw it out. That being said, I am proud of the breakthroughs I made while working on this song and the core of what I was trying to say with it remains the same. That is: No one said it had to be the end of a dream unless you decide that for yourself, that no matter what you have "slept" on in your life it's always worth waking up another day and picking up the fight again, and that I make art to fulfill a purpose not for any kind of popularity. The lines aren't meant to be specifically unfriendly, they are just meant to prioritize the mission. There are things that need to be destroyed like the idea that you have to be a certain shape, size, gender, age, sexuality, etc., in order to express yourself and be heard. There are things that need to be defended like the right to be who you really are. So, if you heard a previous demo of this song and it sounded like I was on the attack, please try and see it from the way I mean it as a constructive thing, and not a destructive thing. You can find the newest version of my song No One Said This Was The End at my new bandcamp page where you can listen to it or download it for free.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

If You're Not Winning The Battle Come Back With Bigger Guns

         So, pretty much my whole life I have dreamed of making my own music. I have spent a lot of time in the past singing other people's ideas in opera and musical theater, but I have always wanted to tell my own stories. I have come close and then walked away from this dream so many times I make myself sick. There's always something that gets in the way or it gets too hard or whatever. This time I. AM. NOT. WALKING. AWAY. That being said, I can't explain why some people can decide to have a band and BOOM it's viable in three months, where as some people like me have to struggle through everything blowing up a million times before something finally works. Anyway, my current project is 18 months in the making and That is 12 months too long. I could list all the reasons but that doesn't matter.
         When I first recorded my first demos for this project my voice was weak. I wasn't happy with it at all. I wanted to improve it before I put anymore demos out for my friends, and or interested parties to see. Also I wasn't getting the results I wanted on a sonic level or on a time frame level from the first studio I was working with so I hired a new one that I am much happier with. So accuse me of taking to long, accuse me of not exactly knowing what I am doing, but don't accuse me of giving up or taking this project too lightly because that's not even the case. Everyone has heard the saying: "Don't try. Do." and that's exactly what I'm doing. Now, of course I wouldn't say all of that and not back it up, so here is a link to my song The Naked Athena Returns with new much better vocals and mixing. I'll make another post when another one gets through the mixing phase in the next few days. All of the songs in the project are coming along and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. After that I have more of the story to tell. The goal is to perpetually be producing music for the rest of my life.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Spiky Sound Machine: Mark Ryden I am Not, But Me I Can Be.

        When people see me doing art in public I always hear things like "I could never do that" or "I wish I was creative." I always respond to these comments the same way: I tell people that art is not about trying to reach the skill level of someone else or trying to be what the world considers "creative". It's about making YOUR mark on the world and everyone has a mark to make. I've been preaching that gospel for many years, but have I been feeling it in my own heart? No. I admire several pop surrealists so much that it hurts! So for a long time I aimed my goals at becoming like them. That kind of desire to add to a movement and follow a tradition is fine. Many artists do that, but where it goes wrong is when you aren't really making your own mark. It should never be the case that you are slaving away at developing skills because that's what is "considered" the best at the time or because the "important" artists all do it like this.
         I realized that at this point in my life I wouldn't be adding anything to the conversation if I continued to try and make pop surrealist work. I always find myself fighting my instinct towards abstract, so, I decided to stop fighting that instinct and make abstract art instead of frustrating myself searching for my voice in someone else's movement. Pair that with the goals I have set for myself to work in series, and create more work in general and we arrive at my current projects. One of these is a budding series I call Spiky Sound Machine. They are abstract watercolor/mixed media works on paper that attempt to visually capture the energy I experience when I am at a rock show. I feel amazing making these and I can't wait to see how the larger works I have going develop. Here are the first four of them. They are pretty small (6x6 and 8x8), but I'm working on some bigger ones with more textures, and some blended drawing styles.

Of Mic Drops and Narcolepsy Through the Lens of Six Months to Live

      Digging this blog up again. The last time I brought it back was in 2012. That lasted until about 5 seconds later in 2012. 2012 to 2016. 4 years? 4 seconds? 4 breaths? 4 blinks? 1 high school career. 1 bachelors degree. Too much water under the bridge. Too much time gone by. Whatever, I can't go backwards. I can only go forward. So here I go.
      I've been known to refer to the arts as a great conversation. Everyone who creates is questioning, and answering. In turn they get answered and questioned. I believe this is one of the most beautiful and spiritual aspects of being creative. This is the bottom line as to why I come back to things like this blog over and over hopefully making a more authentic attempt at creating a part of that conversation each time.
       This particular "hey I'm blogging again" entry isn't like the last one where I was like "so basically my whole life got lazy eye on me and I can't exactly explain where I wandered off to, blah, blah...." The past four years have been one rough ride. Four years should bring you to new places artistically and personally, but I have been brought to a brand new universe. On a journey like that you learn a few things and I find some of those things relevant to mention here.
        First: the most valuable thing someone can give you in all of existence is belief. Every time you believe in something you give it a little piece of your will. You make that thing or that person more real. If you are lucky enough to have someone give you their belief, you are doing something terrible if you don't take it seriously, or if you deny it. Prior to my understanding of this concept I couldn't understand why anyone would ever believe in me, therefore disregarding the belief that was given to me even though I couldn't bring myself to see it.
         Second: If you have a story in you that is pressing to get out, it is selfish of you to consider yourself an owner of that story rather than a vessel of it. I have gotten super mystical about this stuff and I know that sounds weird to some people, but I believe in an energy that connects us all even if it is just something that can be explained through psychology. That energy prompting you to tell your universal truth isn't going to go away because you are scared to tell the real story.
        Third: You can't separate the artistic from the personal. When I started blogging the very first time it was on Myspace and I pretty much let myself go about anything. I used it as an outlet because I thought no one was watching. Well, that's kind of a fallacy to begin with because as a person who wasn't born yesterday I knew every time I took to the keyboard that I was typing into an immense public forum. I think there was a romanticism to the idea that a few random people in the expanse might stumble across what I had said and somehow I would be a tiny bit less alone in the world, BUT I wouldn't have to really know about it. Like connecting through a veil.  I learned that the veil was short lived. Over time more people than I ever imagined actually read what I had to say. When that got to be a little hard for me to take, I responded by creating this blog with the intention of keeping it mostly about the theory and technique behind my creative adventures and separating anything personal from that communication. That was bullshit! At that point I was cutting off that energy that I was supposed to be a vessel of and diluting any truth that could be present in my work. So, I'm removing that separation. As a result it may get messy, I may write about things I haven't figured out all the way yet.
        Finally: You can't make something happen by writing about it. You have to make something happen and then write about it. A theme that you will see in my coming posts about my current projects is breaking free from a theoretical or fantastical existence and finding an actual real existence. If you follow what I've been doing over the past year than you know that I have been pretty quiet about things because I never want to say things without actions to back it up ever again. That goes back to the first thing I mentioned about belief. I take your belief in me very seriously and I want to honor it with solid action. You deserve that.
        All of that being said the past four years have not been empty. There are plenty of actions to say things about here. One of the biggest things that has defined this time was my partner's battle with stage 4 cancer. We were told that she would absolutely not make it, and they strongly suggestion hospice over treatment. We chose treatment anyway, and against all odds she is currently cancer free. The way we lived and how we chose to face our fears during that time has really inspired how we do things now. It inspired me to not accept how my various broken pieces have defined me. It made me really want to push through my own emotional cancer and come out a survivor against all the odds.