Art School

city6smallThe longer I am in school the more I want to be out.  At this point I feel like college is taking a huge sum of time away from other projects and interests I have.  There is still a great deal to learn at school no doubt, but the structure of it and the increasing irrelevance to my other interests make it more of burden.  If I were taking classes on sound and web developement I would be a little more excited.  Linking with my previous post on whether or not creativity can be tought I’d have to say that UWM Peck School of the Arts has not tought me how to truely think creatively.  Just as importantly they haven’t tought me how to live off my artwork.  One writer said it best when she said “art schools are afraid to teach incoming students about the art world, because then they would realize how hard it is” and wouldn’t have as many students.  Many days and counting…

Can Creativity Be Taught?

oneArtists are supposed to be creative right?  I would argue that everyone should be creative, that everyone can find value in it.  Artists among them can use this tool to make work that is exciting, interesting, and that brings about a different way of thinking.  The question was raised to me the other day: can creativity be tought?  

I do believe it can.  One of my favorite professors Dean Valadez introduced the idea of creativity in an interesting way.  He taught that when the mind finds itself in a place it is unaccustomed to it is forced to think differently.  In class one day Dean told us that we could not draw with any sort of stick tool: no pencils, no charcoal, not even a bamboo pen for ink.  The class freaked out.  ”How are we supposed to draw!?” “This is impossible!” “Is he serious?”  We were forced into a situation where our previous skills were of little use.  Everyone was uncomfortable.  This sort of discomfort is what Dean described as creativity.  I would agree.  Many of my most creative moments have been when I was forced, under pressure, and unfamiliar with the situation.  

I wish I had taken photos, but the result of these works were quite interesting.  New qualities of the mediums appeared.  New possibilities arose.  This sort of experimentation is essential to an artist because the more an artist knows about his tools the more he can build.  Artists are problem solvers, they react to visual (in this instance) problems and solve them.  The more you know, the quicker the solutions come.

Oh and if you want to know how we were able to draw with charcoal, graphite, and ink without using pencils, charcoal sticks, or bamboo pens you’ll have to just try it yourself!

Life is a painting and I’ve got to get the fuck out of here

divThe more I meditate, working with my mind, the more I see change happening.  Along with this awareness it feels like I understand these changes.  What caused me to be angry?  Why am I sad?  How come I’m this happy?

Today I was thinking about the constant state of change our universe is in and how each change leads directly to the next, interconnecting it all.  This is exactly the same way I think when painting or drawing.  I make a line and the next one is a reaction to it.  It goes smaller than that even, as I’m drawing the line the next movement of my hand is referencing the previous movement.  Now this may seem just a statement of the obvious, but it goes deeper.  

Taking a step back from your painting is a form of meditation.  It allows you to consider what is present before you.  When I first began painting I never stood back from my work (a common novice’s mistake).  Small errors (if its realism you’re going for) will occur and if they go uncorrected will shift the entire painting.  This is just like a math problem with multiple components, one wrong calculation and the whole thing spirals out of control.   Often caught up in the act of drawing, face close to the paper = BAD, subtleties are missed.  This translates over to life.  If you are not aware of the damage you are doing to yourself it makes it very hard to correct them.

Imagine your mind as a canvas and ‘reality’ as the paint.  Each moment alive the paint is being applied.  Say someone bumps your arm and it appears your painting is ruined.  You may get pretty pissed at first, until you realize that it can be worked with.  Maybe you really like the accidental stroke after, or you just take a rag and wipe the paint off.  If people spend time with their mind, working with it, becoming friends with it, and not fighting against it, they can begin to realize their full potential.  If you’re fighting with a painting you get frustrated and sloppy.  Your paint begins to get muddy, strokes careless, and the purpose of the painting is lost in a wave of anger.  Like meditating, taking a step back can reveal a whole slew of things.  Being patient and collected will uncover many possible solutions.

These things are incredibly difficult to do.  But if you work a little bit each day with your mind you will become more calm and collected.  You begin to realize how fast and frequently things are changing, but it becomes more O.K. than before.  The results of such practice can be seen throughout our world.  Right now I’m listening to Yngwie Malmsteen is playing more notes on his guitar in a minute than there are cars in all the UWM parking garages COMBINED.  Barack Obama won an election amidst a gale of rapid changes.  Google went from a dorm room to a billion dollar company in less than a decade.  These people have been able to achieve these feats through a deep focus.  If they had let minor slip ups slow them down they would not be where they are because as we all know there are LOTS of slip ups in life.

I realize this is getting to be an extraordinarily long post, but I want to close with the initial thought that sparked all of this.  I’m not going to be specific.  Since life is a painting, its course can be altered at anytime.  Anything you want to change in your life can be changed and there is no reason not to begin that change immediately.  A little bit each day can move mountains.  The Shambalah Budhist Sakyong Mipham calls this the 10% rule.  My upstairs neighbor has been laid off and is back in the game.  In short I can’t live where I’m at anymore, not when guns and a gang related coke dealer who frequently suggests partnership are present.  This is a change I have to make, but it doesn’t seem possible.  My land lord is a slumlord who treats us a money producing objects.  How could I ever recommend this place to a sublet?  It seems to me doing that would be worse than staying here.  Nothing serious has happened in my half of the house, but the potential is certainly there.  Angry/abusive intoxicated weapon wielding drug dealers are not the best neighbors.   Currently the situation is looking pretty fucking dismal, but after writing all the paragraphs above it would be wrong of me to say there isn’t a way out.  There is.  I hope I find it quick.

I really hope that this guy is able to mix up some new paints and start with a fresh palette because like oil painting life’s pigments get EVERYWHERE.  A five year old kid should not have to suffer from his father’s sickening turpentine spills.

Often span (and by ‘often’ I mean ‘more than often’) I get carried away with my ideas in their complexity. I forget where the idea started as I blast full steam ahead into a universe of ideas. More specifically, with, I did not forget anything, but was just completely ignorant as to what I was doing. Attempting to build a social network is WAY more difficult than I imagined. I knew it was going to be hard, but now I have a much better idea of how hard it will be.

In my classes I told my peers, faculty, and friends about a milwaukee social network that is on the rise and will be here soon. Another thing I tend to do often is put my ideas before reality. In order for my ideas to coalesce I need to have a better understanding of how things work. For instance, when I started selling artwork I knew shit. School didn’t teach me anything about selling art so I had to learn via trial and error. Now I know a few things.

The same type of learning has occured with the SN. I knew ‘rien’ (except from a user’s perspective). But in my opinion its not how much you know, its how much you learn, and compared to when I first had this idea of a milwaukee based SN I know a hell of a lot more. I almost feel ashamed at my ignorance until I realize how far I have come.

So, to prevent myself from talking on and on about this SN without much to support it aside from my excitement and interest I’m shutting up. The SN will be completed. It will take much longer than I anticipated, but this time I will let actions speak for the SN. Nothing more here will be said about it until it is finished.

Golden Age of Music

ist2_1027459-electronicaAnother cause for excitement are the recent happenings in electronic music. As the border between digital and “physical” music become more and more obscure new sounds are arriving that continually amaze me. The electronica scene in the early nineties (near its peak I think?) Since the late nineties and early 2000z new software began arriving. This enabled more sounds and was easier to handle (although many artists such as DJ Shadow and Leftfield have been making amazing electronic sounds WAY ahead of their time.

EM is still very young and growing which is why the new sounds I’m hearing today are so inspirational; its only started and we are producing THIS already?!. With the digital anyone can compose an orchestra of sounds (either by recording their own sounds or getting them from others). Today many people say they don’t like EM, but don’t realize that they are listening to it and liking it. Zero 7 for example is like electronica lite, but the digital is there. Recording studios use sound manipulation constantly. Also, EM is getting popular and is used often in media. See the new James Bond movie? (In addition to all the electronic music throughout the movie) the awesome track during the credits is by Four Tet, one of the driving forces in EM today. The Chemical Brothers are in advertisements and soundtracks.

I think a digital golden age of electronic music is inevitable because it is founded upon other music. In order for EM to survive it needs sounds that already exist. Jazz, Hip Hop, Rock, Metal, Classical, and World are some of the biggest sounds that EM musicians have and continue to use. EM is a giant gelatinous sponge absorbing all sound and emitting something entirely new. Anything that makes a sound can and is used. You can do almost whatever you want with these new technologies, imagination is the limit. After talking and watching some of these musicians work, I am amazed at the fluidity, complexity, and creativity that goes into these productions. I make no claim that everyone will grow to like EM (I’m not that unreasonable), but I do believe we are currently witnessing an explosion of musical creativity. In future decades we might be hearing producers like  Squarepusher, Lemon Jelly,  Boards of Canada, and Blue Tech (to name a select few) on the radio or through crappy headphones.


img taken from google

Oh yes.

As often occurs I have been filled to the brim with enthusiasm and a slightly euphoric inspiration. The cause? The popular girlfriend of several nerdcore artists: the internet. Oh how I do love her. I’ll save the intimate stuff until after this post, cause I know you don’t need to read about it ;). Just a taste though:

Tomorrow a programmer is coming by to take a look at this supposed social network. Yesterday I was at the point where I was going to just give up on the SN for a bit and build the forum (which I can feasibly do). Hopefully this will work out and I can patch together a little something in time for next semester to hit.

The Search. Almost finished reading it and am astounded at the true power google has. I love discussions about culture (even if I know little), how we as a world people work like a giant multi cell organism, organize ourselves, and interact. Add the internet and search, well I should stop before I get too excited (as I mentioned before you might not appreciate). As dangerous as too much power in one place is, I’m still pretty optimistic about google.

Speaking of Google: Google Chrome. I thought firefox was king, but I have been mistaken (almost). I love how lightweight google chrome is (visual and operationwise). Its got some pretty sweet web dev features built into it and it automatically transfered my gagillion bookmarks over from firefox. Also it saves all my tabs w/o asking. The only qualms I have is that there is no Stumbleupon toolbar for it yet and I’ve had some issues with replying to emails in hotmail. Otherwise, bomb.

[Edit: 04.26.2009: no longer applicable because the blogs are merged!] This website for some dude I will soon be revamping to 3.0. The first site was a cookie cutter wysiwyg template structure. The second was html and css (with maybe one sprinkle of jscript). This one will have html, css, flash, and more sprinkles of jscript. Seanbodley.com4.0 I intend to have php as well.

Acid Dj Pro 6.0 This only has to do with torrents and the internet, but really I’m just happy because I FINALLY found the quantisize button (enabling me to make MIDI beats that are exactly where I want them dispite the milla second delay between keyboard-program-speakers which always throws my rythem sense off).

Lastly a is on the horizon. What will be posted there must remain a secret. I’m hoping to have some interactive elements to it as well. Web 2.0 is my new best friend.

Revampage and Reflection

splatterred11highhighcontrastI have gone back to my profiles at myspace and deviantart as an attempt to get back into the online art community. It is my hope that I can meet some really cool people and see some really cool art. Going out to galleries is better sometimes, because of the physical presense of the work, but often online galleries are more open (people don’t have to show their face) and entertaining. So much good art that is easily accessable.

The image above is one of my first photomanipulated paintings EVER. Talking with a friend last night we reflected on returning to old works. I think its healthy to see where you’ve been, how your work has evolved over time. Sometimes, like the vast majority of artists, I get down on my work and am unsure of my skills. However, taking a look at past works I am impressed by my own work that I could hardly replicate today. Like the people of today looking back at humanity’s great feats of creation (the pyramids for examples) it gives me confidence in my abilities to reflect on past work.