Monday, October 26, 2015

Post, the sixth -- a day with my boy

a one minute soundscape.

sounds like it should be fairly simple; it's not.

sound is not my thing.

i can't play any instruments; i can't tell instruments apart in songs (i'm pretty sure there's no difference between drums and bass); i listen to lyrics because i don't understand the rest.

needless to say, i had no idea how to start this project.

i had no idea where to go with it after i started it.

i have no idea what to think of it now that it's finished.

so, i did the only thing that came to mind; i took my camera out to the stable over my weekend at home.

i set it up in Boomer's stall while i was grooming him and let it capture sounds that are very common and fun and comforting to me and i called it, a day with my boy.

in it you can hear breathing, brushing, chewing, walking.

horses are pretty magnificent creatures.

they're gentle.

they're caring.

they're kind.

it was difficult for me to put this together because i associate these sounds with images and emotions and i'm not sure how well i was able to separate the two in my mind to make a successful end product.

i guess that these are some of the sounds that help me get by on some days.

time i get to spend with Boomer is really special.

i treasure it, because let's be honest, i'm a little busier and have a few more responsibilities now than i did when i was 9.

i suppose that this is a kind of tribute, a thank you to him for all the help he's given me over the years.

i hope it makes you as happy as it makes me.

(hardest project so far, for sure)


Monday, October 12, 2015

Post, the fifth -- Miriam Beerman, Expressing the Chaos

last week i got to be introduced to an amazing artist, Miriam Beerman, via the film Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos.

Miriam is a very passionate and, in my opinion, very brave woman.

the images that she portrays in her art are heavy and emotional and sometimes difficult to look at for an extended period of time.

in the film she said that she paints and expresses "the horror that people meet with in their lives and in their existences."

she really feels the pain of the world and uses canvases to try to relieve it or maybe to relieve the pressure it puts on herself.

entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau, 1945.

much of her work has to do with pain and survival; she is heavily influenced by the Holocaust.

when speaking of painting she said that "you have to keep at it because you need it for your existence."

she says that "painting is a safe place where you can exercise [your] demons."

we're lucky enough to have some of Miriam's work in our gallery at Lawrence and i went to see it the day after watching the film.

her work is even more striking in person than it is in a movie with dramatic music and lighting.

i was in the gallery by myself and it was perfectly silent.

one of the paintings said on the top vous vivez which is French for you (collectively or formally) live.

i paused, wondering if Miriam was telling us to live or if she was making a comment, almost saying that she paints so that we can live.

it's really difficult to describe and express feelings about her work if the person you're talking to hasn't seen them, so i encourage you to find her work and to spend time with it, even if it makes you feel uneasy.

images from Auschwitz-Birkenau, 2015.

some of her collages have sequins and sparkles so at first glance they look almost friendly and inviting, but once you orient yourself, you see gruesome and grotesque, writhing figures covering and covered by the glitz.

i had a physical response to Miriam's work; i felt a little light headed as i got to the last few works in the exhibit and was happy to sit to look at the last one.

i know that i wouldn't have appreciated Miriam's work as much if i hadn't seen the film, first.

everyone can take something from Miriam's paintings and collages, and i really think that everyone should.

this woman is special.

she expresses things that some people won't even think about.

one of her collages says "for beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror" and her work could easily be described as nothing less than terrifying, an equal indication of how lovely it is, too.

i think we can all learn from Miriam.

i think we can learn not to be afraid and especially not to be afraid to feel; not to be afraid to feel even if the people around and close to us don't know how to react to our feelings.

so think of Miriam.

think of Miriam and don't be afraid.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Post, the fourth -- Appleton, WI. In Living Color.

"no parking"

our third project was inspired by Robert Frank and his book The Americans and a Bob Dylan lyric from Ballad of a Thin Man: "something is happening here and you don't know what it is, do you, Mister Jones".

my approach to this project was simple; i stood on the side of the street, set my camera up on a tripod, put in my ear buds, started a timer, and took a photo every 5 seconds for 3 minutes from 6 different viewpoints.

i ended up with 218 photos and from those, had to choose 20.

the images were pretty monotonous, so i basically ended up picking the ones with the cars i liked the best (and i don't really care about cars).

this is my commentary on  Appleton, WI.

call me Mister Jones, but i don't think very much happens here.

or maybe this is one of those places that people just move through.

maybe Appleton is just a place that people drive through on the way to their lives, or maybe it's a place where they walk their dogs.

maybe that's what's happening.

maybe Appleton is like adolescence and you just have to go through it to get to something better.

it's really not as bad as i'm probably making it sound; i've just been getting restless these past few years.

i used to live in a town like this, smaller than this actually, and i loved it, but that was a long 12 years ago.

this is home to some people.

this is comfortable to some people.

this is Appleton, WI.

this is what some people want.

just not me, not anymore.

you can click here to see the full Appleton, WI.  In Living Color.  album on flickr!


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Post, the third -- "You know a dream is like a river, ever changin' as it flows. And a dreamer's just a Vessel that must follow where it goes." -Garth Brooks

brain, courtesy google image search

this week i got the opportunity to hear from Dr. Ed Vessel, a research scientist from NYU who studies neuroaesthetics/why people respond the ways they do to various art forms and how their responses might relate to other behaviors.

as i was sitting in Dr. Vessel's lecture on wednesday night, i found it difficult to focus on what he was saying, not because it wasn't interesting or because he was a poor speaker, i just couldn't keep my mind from wandering.

i thought back to a few years ago when i was immersed in this science world, preparing myself to do the whole med school thing, and wondered if i would be understanding him any better if i'd remained there.

i've spent a  lot of time questioning my decision to pursue art and before that, i spent a long time making the actual decision.

for the last few years i've noticed that i can't make it through an entire concert, play, gallery opening, whatever, without feeling a bite of jealousy somewhere in the middle of it.

i've always admired doctors and what they do for people, but i've always envied artists.

i envy their courage to take a chance on themselves.

they really take a leap of faith but it seems like whenever it matters, i have a terrible fear of heights.

so i wonder, am i being selfish in my pursuit of art?

should i be pushing through chem and bio classes to get to med school?

at the risk of sounding too cliché, i feel full when i do art, any art; i just love the work.

my premed track made me feel scattered and uneasy, so shouldn't i be doing the thing that makes me glad, thankful, excited to be alive?

art brain, courtesy google image search

i question this choice every day.

why though?

why do we feel guilty for doing the things we love?

why should we ever feel like we're letting humanity down if we do something that makes us happy when it's really humanity that's letting us down if they do anything less than encourage our bliss.

isn't that our job? to make each other happy, to support each other and to make life worth all of the inevitable bumps and scrapes and bruises we get along the way?

"the stars are so big, the earth is so small, stay as you are"; that's what Marshall McLuhan tells us.

so let's help each other love who we are and be confident in our imaginations; whether we think of brainwaves or stocks or weather patterns or paint.

i didn't really learn very much about the brain from Dr. Vessel, but i did learn a bit about mine and that i should stop questioning it.

i don't need a medical degree to be able help people, but i do need to be happy to be able to help people and happiness is contagious so that's already a start.

with that i say ACHOO!

catch the happiness.

do something great.

do something that you love.

be and be happy.

brains, courtesy google image search