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.