Making Music (kind of)

So I decided to record a bit of my music practice and put it on youtube. I’m not a huge Adele fan, but the song is fairly simple and fun to play.

I’ve always had a hard time making music. As someone who is a ‘natural’ in a lot of ways, struggling with my own self expression in music has been a point of frustration for me for years. I started playing guitar 6 years ago, and through lack of dedication and general confusion I’ve never managed more than a weak rythym guitar at best. I used to have the voice to make up for it, though I haven’t done any vocal training in years. As part of my new year’s goals (not resolutions, but goals!) I wanted to go back to making music, and it starts here and now. 🙂

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I thought I was done posting, and then I found this…

Wow. If this doesn’t make you think and feel, then you might be dead. Just one of many strange and wonderful video remixes by Cyriak. I don’t have time to reflect much on this now, but I don’t really think it needs my commentary. It’s pretty outstanding.

Project in Progress: Video Remix Project Update

A couple sessions of gathering and converting YouTube clips, and a few hours of editing and I have the base of what I’m working on: I’m pleased to report the initial work for the video project is done!

I’ve talked about it before, but I’m still fascinated by the evolution a piece of art goes through during it’s creation. I included in my proposal, an in depth description of a dream I’m trying to capture in remix video. This is to serve as a general guide and a point of reference, not a serious script. It’s a jumping place, and something to look back at when the piece is done, so I can document more clearly the overall process.

I am really enjoying using video because I find it so easily manipulate. It makes good sense to me, scrolling, cutting, pasting, matching like pieces together, transitioning. I plan on using video layering techniques in this project to help achieve the ethereal/emotional quality of a dream, and also because I love it (if you saw my GIFs then you already know!).

The biggest challenge was how to recombine all my clipped footage. I have so many tiny segments, and several longer sections yet to be overlapped to help provide continuity within the piece (with almost 20 source videos, I need some continuous elements for blending). I’m learning a lot about adding effects, as I tweak each little piece to match and fit with the next. At the end I plan on adding a single effect over the whole piece to assist with the overall feel of the work.

 

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Original Artwork

I am trying to break it down into manageable deadlines (draft finished tomorrow, polished by next tuesday) based on class expectation, and also so I don’t lose sight of the other work I have to finish.

I experience this anxious eagerness whenever I work on a piece, I can’t work on it enough. I can’t finish it soon enough. It’s not that I don’t like the process, but that I love it so much I want to completely submerge myself in it. I want to follow my muse/interest fully and completely, without distraction. I often think if school was set up in a fashion where I took one intensive course at a time, that I would be much more successful at it. I comprehend best when I submerge myself completely. Scientifically the human mind is not capable of multitasking, though we often try. The mind works best when focused on one thing at a time. It only seems obvious that education should follow.

My Video Project Proposal?

I’m planning a video project right now, and I don’t know what to do about it.

I had an interesting idea, but I hesitate:

I have a freaky recurring dream which i thought might be a concept I could capture in remix video. In the dream I’m young arguing with my father (I don’t know my actual father), we are standing on a boardwalk, and I fall off a dock into the ocean. It’s twilight or nearly dark, orange outdoor lights are flickering overhead and the water is so dark, it whorls around me and I am pulled down. I struggle to swim, but I can’t make any headway, the surface never comes closer. I realize I’m going to drown. I stop moving, and I am filled with ecstatic joy. I see my self separate from my body, shining yellow and magenta orbs shining, and my self watches in tears of joy to see my body disappear into the water. I feel entirely peaceful, happy, dancing in creative fire as I fly somewhere else.

I planned 6 or 7 films with relevant footage which i think will fully portray an image of this scene. But it’s awefully grim, and so painfully personal. Not the kind of work I like to expose to others (yes i make secret art). I keep wondering if this is such a good plan?

Not original artworks – click photo for original post site.

Reflection: Art as a Way of Life

It’s a bit surreal to be blogging on the regular now. I’ve always thought it would be an interesting project to take on, but any number of excuses have stopped me from getting started on it before now. I’ve been busy working, busy with classes, busy making art, busy seeing friends, busy partying like it’s 1999 all over again, I had no internet access, no computer, no time… The real reason under all of that is lack of initiative, and a high level of uncertainty. Who is my audience? What makes me so interesting that anyone would want to read my blog? What even should I blog about? Excuse the phrasing, but I didn’t have my shit together.

GIF from Juxtapoz

or maybe I was partying like it’s 1499?

When I look back at the last three years or so, I am a different person. Not different really, but I was such a child. Always sticking my foot in my mouth (I don’t promise that I’ve outgrown that just yet), I was blind and aimless. I had no goals, no dreams beyond a longing for independence.

I try to look back often enough, so I can see how I’ve grown and improved, to ensure I keep growing and keep improving. It was a rocky path, it still is. But I stuck by the things I love, most of all my artistic outlets. I owe much of my personal evolution to it. There’s this idea among non-creating people, I hear it often when they talk about art. There’s the myth that art is all pencils to paper, brush to canvas. Like Genesis, the art just rushes forth, in all it’s complete detail, out of the void. Would that it were so simple!

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Art comes from love, pain, passion and fire. It comes from solitude and collaboration, from contemplation and from impulse. It’s a refuge within myself, where I go to celebrate my humanity. I think the thing I love most about it is that a piece of art is more than the sum of it’s elements. It’s never just a pencil, just paper, just a brush, a canvas, pastel, more than clay, more than glass, more than oil or acrylic. Art means something, even when it means nothing at all.

Scary Monsters and Pretty Lights

This most recent GIF has posed some issues to create. In the way that technology always seems to keep us on our toes, my track pad has more or less gone insane. The cursor is reluctant to go where directed in favor of erratic jumping across the screen, changing pages and spaces, all the while clicking at random. Suffice it to say, this is quite irritating and has severely limited the amount of time I spend with my computer. Because of that, this GIF is a bit less layered than I would like.
gloving
This is a simple frame-grab of a glow-glove dance video I found on youtube. I chose it because I’m very interested in rave culture, particularly all the rainbow glow accessories associated with the scene. It’s a subculture of sensory pleasure (on many levels, disclaimer: I don’t condone all the associated behaviors). I do enjoy some of the music, though my preference is more electronic or industrial than dubstep, but above all I enjoy the light shows. In the spirit of the Goa Trance movement, I find the experience to be relaxing and almost meditative sometimes, watching or dancing these repeated patterns.

I played with layering text over the image, which in the end looked a little dorky (I found this excellent text generator though). Then I tried layering animated text (generated from the same site) over it, which issued some challenges I wasn’t ready to conquer given the state of my computer’s behavior. I made steps towards learning about converting from frame animation to video clips, no success yet but I think I’m coming to understand the difference between the two more clearly in Adobe Photoshop.

I’m hoping to get my computer fixed sometime in the foreseeable future, or this semester is going to be very unhappy. When I do I will alter this GIF further and add it to this post, so it is with hope that I say to be continued….

What I Learned from Making This GIF

After several hours of painstaking drafts, I managed to make the following GIF in time to turn in for class.

Over the course of this struggle, I had plenty of time to reflect a bit about my process of creating. As an artist, I try to create often. Anything from prints and paintings, to baking a cake, I’m constantly thinking of projects to work on. It starts with an idea, then grows and evolves until it’s finished. At the beginning I always have the illusion it will be easy; that the work will be pleasurable, it will go quickly and smoothly. This is rarely, if ever, the case: some element always remains unanticipated, the idea mutates as it develops.
Take this GIF:
My plan was to animate a photo of a fine art print I made last semester. The assignment was just to make some kind of animated GIF, but I wanted it to be at least a little original. I imagined a rotating component, I wanted to make parts of the pattern appear gradually, and move around a little bit. Alas these things proved to be a bit beyond my skill level, this being my first GIF ever.

I had to adapt.

 

wow, that's zazzy!

wow, that’s zazzy!

The final piece has a rotating component (though not the original one I imagined) and it flashes. What more could one want from a GIF? It looks pretty snazzy, and I’m pretty satisfied with it.

Some times I like how a project takes shape, it all works out with minimal editing, and few obstacles. Some times not. But creating isn’t really about the product, it’s about the process. About solving all the problems that arise, about changing elements that don’t work as well as you thought they might, and accepting that this thing isn’t what you planned. Above all I always try to take away a lesson, to let the process feed into my own personal growth and evolution.