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Friday, July 26, 2013

I have art stuck in my head





video

The above video is something that I made myself.  Yes, the quality sucks.  And yes, it's not the most technologically advanced or innovative.  But, I made it in order to silence (yes silence) the images that are constantly streaming through my head at hearing songs.  Not every song stirs up an image, but many of the songs that I listen to again and again play their own music videos in my head.  In fact, many of the music videos I have in my head, I believe, are better that the actual music video for the song in question (if indeed there is one available).  Maybe I should have gone into sound engineering or fiddled with making soundtracks.  I could direct music videos in my other life.  I mean, I know a little bit about directing.  I also know how to read music and I have composed short pieces before.  But I was always too lazy to learn music theory.  In fact, I could have been a music minor if only had I taken the year long theory class (which I avoided like the plague).  I do, however, understand the concept of basic and even medium level music theory.

I dont' know what to do with this gift of mine, though.  This gift of visual synesthesia. In general, I do consider it as such, a 'gift'.  Not many people visualize little plays and episodes at hearing music.  In fact, I have created whole plays, dialogue just based off of a few songs.  Music inspires me to create.  Music helps me think.  When I had reading for college classes, I always needed some symphonic music to help me concentrate.  Doing homework in high school had to be accompanied by some rock.  Fact is that even as I write this now, I have my Itunes library open.  I cannot create without music.  Music is my muse for everything artistic.

Some would say I am blessed with having so many artistic gifts.  I, however, a lot of the time, consider it a curse.  I get really depressed when I am not creating.  An artist friend once told me that true artists can easily get depressed and morose when they are not creating.  So, I always have to be crating something.  I have many projects going at once.  That's the only way I can do it.  I have multiple collections and hobbies.  I feel like my head is a giant finger painting with smears of multi-colored paint.  I  flit from one project to the next.  One minute, I'm making hemp jewelry, the next I'm decoupaging an old jar from old calenders. 

The fact is that I find many things beautiful and interesting.  For instance, I like taking photos.  I'm addicted to getting the perfect shot/composition.  My dad taught me a lot about photography and used to give me old Japanese cameras to practice with.  So, I guess even though I never got any formal training with photography or took any classes (like my sister did), that I have been into photography since the age of 11 or 12.  We would take family vacations and my dad (who knew boatloads on photography) would give me photo books and show me how to find the right light and get interesting shots.  So I do have my dad to thank for all my knowledge and love of photography.  A lot of people don't know this about me, that I love photography and though I've never been in a dark room, I'm obsessed with taking pictures.

But that's not all.  I also love to write.  Fiction, plays, stories, even essays.  I used to write stories upon stories starting at the ripe old age of 5.  Even though my physical writing ability developed slowly due to my slower fine motor skills, I still had creativity oozing out of my pores.  Even before I could write full sentences, I would draw.  I would draw and draw.  Sometimes purple/blue trees and pink skies and green people (stuff from my dreams).  Sometimes I'd try to replicate the same picture as the kid sitting across from me.  I guess I had a good concept of artist replication.  When I learned how to write, however, I came up with oodles of stories.

I still have journals from first grade where I made up stories about mushroom people who lived under rainbows in the forest (trippy stuff).  My teachers always encouraged it too, the writing, not the trippy stuff.  They noticed my creativity and love for writing.  My fifth/sixth grade teacher told me that one day I'd be a writer.  And I was always the teacher's pet in English class.  Even those pesky essays where you had to get supporting evidence and write a thesis; I was good at those too.  I've taught writing and feel the most comfortable sharing what I consider to be pointers to young and aspiring writers.  I've helped many students who hated or struggled with writing to come to love it.  Many of my former students are writers, some are working on books of their own.

There's more, though.  I like photography and writing but I also like acting/theater.  In my other post, I discussed how it used to be my life.  I wanted, at one point, to be an actor.  I was told that I was more of a television actor; I had a face that would work better on a sitcom.  I was convinced that one day I'd have my own talk show or better yet, a variety show, where I played a multitude of different characters.  I'd be the male version of Carol Burnett.  Just a wacky and quirky, but not quite as intense.  But it doesn't end there.

I like so many artistic aspects that I cannot pick just one.  What's more is that I always thought that any artist, like me, dabbles in many different types of art.  However, that is not the case.  Usually artists pick one focus.  They sew and crochet or get into making things out of wood.  But not me.  I want to learn everything I can.  I've turned what was once an attempt to make hippie hemp necklaces into something that is more similar to fine jewelry.  I pick the beads out with care and refuse to use cheap, plastic beads or leave the ends of my jewelry unfastened.  I once sold my wares on Artfire but switched to Etsy because I realized that my jewelry was more serious.  People always make comments on it saying that if it was online, they'd buy it.  I get lectures from strangers telling me that my stuff isn't crap and that I should have more confidence in what I make.  That and I should sell it for more money.  But I don't do it for the money. 

I just love the sheer act of making art.  I just love to create.  I do it for the sheer purpose of making something that formerly did not exist.  Being an artist like I am is like giving birth thousands of time (without the epidural and nine months of aches).  If I had the time to do it, I'd learn how to make clothes.  I would take scraps and make them into a jacket or skirt and try to sell them with my hemp jewelry on Etsy.  I'd take my old t-shirts and make them into a blanket or a quilt.  If I could, I'd learn how to make pottery or paint.  When I took a class at the Worcester Art Museum in pastel drawing my instructor complimented me that I had a lot of natural talent and could not believe that I had no formal drawing/painting instruction whatsoever.  She kept telling me that I had a great eye and could take a photo and do it justice.  She was sad when I moved out of Massachusetts because she wanted me to take her advanced class.  I bought pastels and since the class, I haven't really used them at all which is a shame. 

But I create because no matter what kind of mood I am in, it makes me feel better.  Art is therapy.  I never feel bad after creating something.  I write, and I feel better.  I draw or sing and it helps me cope.  In fact, during classes, I used to doodle because it helped me focus and concentrate.  This is why, as a teacher, I do not stop kids from doodling during class.  I know that, like me, they might be concentrating harder.  And often, when I was studying for a test, and reading my notes, I'd see a doodle and remember exactly what the teacher said about Napoleon or what x equals.  Visuals are very evocative for me.  I can see a painting and remember circumstances about the last time I saw it.  I know how to get places based on visual markers.  The fact is that I hunger for visual stimuli.  My walls of my teenage room were plastered with posters and photos.  The same was true of my room in college.  Art and music makes me feel safe.  It makes me feel connected to something bigger than myself.  It connects me to the universe.

The frustration comes at realizing that my creativity is not really getting me anywhere at the current juncture in my life.  I live outside the box.  Hell, I take the box and create a whole new shape that I could contribute a lot to many fields and vocations but without official training or experience I'm looked over for someone with the right credentials.  I hope that in the future, as many predict, or with Daniel H. Pink's book A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.  The book discusses how many professions like business and medicine are now pulling art into their training.  The future calls for everyone to be more artistic and right brain thinking.  If this is true, then I'll rule the future.  The right side of my brain dominates my existence.  And with that being said, I'm gonna go make some more hemp jewelry.  Or maybe I'll come up with a new playlist mix.  I need to switch hobbies/activities or else I'll get bored.  I'd be yawning at writing this post if it weren't for the Dunkin Donuts coffee that I just drank.  The music stopped.  Switch projects!

On to the next one,

~R~

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