Behind The Scenes: Wanderers | Inspiration | Dissection

Today, I wanna talk a little about the series, Interspersions (particularly one work) because it's not a series that most people seem to understand but I think they could and should. Art is not just for the elite. Art is for everyone! Perhaps if I offer a lead into it, you'll see my perspective?

I wrote a song called Wanderers, then I made this artwork. The process doesn't always happen in that order. Sometimes I write a poem that inspires the art, and other times I make the art that inspires a song. In other words, I created a closed circuit of inspiration within my own creative world. People often ask how artists get their inspiration. It's an evolving process and I imagine it's different for everybody.

Interspersions wall mural

Although, it isn't inspiration that's difficult to find, rather what to do with it. It's not that life isn't chockfull of inspiring elements, but how and where to place them on a blank canvas is sometimes like WTF!? How do I do this? Where do I put this? That's partly due to the overwhelming amounts of information that look like weeks of unseparated dirty laundry inside the noggin. First, you have to separate your laundry and understand that you shouldn't put every single article (i.e.thought) into your artwork all at once. Editing is the deciding factor between sound art and some illogical nonsense splattered on a canvas.

When things are narrowed down, they're easier to manage. So, ultimately, I landed on one idea and one expression with essentially one color and one shape... sort of. That's how it appears on the surface. Behind the scenes, there's a complicated series of feelings and events and dissected thoughts that swirl around for a long while. Then there's a plethora of boring knowledge... philosophy, behavioral sciences, neurology, quantum mechanics, etc. that gets folded in. I find this to be the most exciting part, but most people run like hell! I don't blame them. We've established I'm weird, so let's just dig in.

Let's dissect the aforementioned elements beginning with color. BLACK. In this case, black is the singular "figure" in the minimalist mural because it symbolizes the unknown, mystery, enigmas of the universe, and in this case, it's also representative of the space-time reference in the song. Its seeming nothingness slices through the wall to create an interesting figure/ground relationship, like the face/candlestick image in a way. Its emptiness is indicative of the implied sense of absence in the song. Black usually represents protection or reserved behavior. It could stand for confusion because we don't always understand all the aspects of our deeper selves. Black is sleek and sexy and also symbolizes possibility. We don't know where it goes so there's an excitement to it. In this pattern, we can't actually predict where it goes next so the speculation can be fun. Personally, my use of black oftentimes conglomerates all of these things.

SHAPE. The linear rectangles are like vertical cuts into a different world, a different space beyond the wall causing one to question what exists yonder. The placement of these stripes creates movement, a sort of musical fluidity (4-2-3-3.5-5) over approximately 9 X 18 feet of space. They're almost like stick figures wandering. Can you see it? Some are closer, some farther from you. All different but the same, much like people. Distance is usually depicted by making objects look smaller. However, in Wanderers, I simply moved the figures up and down to convey the same message. In abstraction, omitting excess information is key. Knowing what to omit can be tricky though.

Connections can be made by asking questions. Consider these shapes as abstractified people then ponder the behaviors of those people. Do they have a purpose? Are they wandering aimlessly? Will they get closer or farther with time? How do they travel? Are they necessary for each other? And so forth. In my assessment, both people and these shapes create a sense of relativity for each other. You need to understand the location of one to understand the location of another. In comprehending that our positions in the universe are literally a location, we can deduce that any person can move into any position at any time.

Let's say you're a lawyer. At any second, you can decide you don't want to be a lawyer anymore. Now, you want to be an artist. True story. I once knew a guy from Ohio who was a criminal attorney and suddenly gave up his career to become an artist. Positions can change and are fluid, like Wanderers, like music. We're never actually stuck. Things just appear that way. Choice. It changes everything.

EMOTION. In minimalist art, emotion is the part you can't easily see, but not because it isn't there. Art cannot exist without emotion. I don't remember who said it... Matisse? Cezanne? Who cares, but it's true. At the foundation of any artwork, deep feelings exist. I adore the depth of emotion! Even despair has a purpose, a beauty. Do you consider sheet music to have emotion? It's a dialectic expression, but I don't see it void of emotion. Its notes move across a page in harmony, as Wanderers move across the wall and people across space and time. Music has a distinct vibration and, as such, a physicality. Art also has distinct vibrations, but art is an introvert and rather quiet about its vibrational impact.

I love that art can be reminiscent of sheet music and I often use music as an inspiration, morphing it into art. I love the fluidity of the notes on the page, how they're segmented like individuals, but also how they're part of a whole, like humanity. Those are really the foundation layers of all of my work... exploring both the parts and the whole because they're entirely different organisms, like physics and quantum physics are kinda sorta the same... but not really. I love the details of each, but I also enjoy observing them from a distance. Their abstractions are quite beautiful.

In great art, nothing is an accident. Arbitrary does not exist. Some would use Jackson Pollock as a counter-argument, but I would disagree. I watched videos of Pollock painting. There's was so much thought and intention behind his process. I could see it in his mannerisms, in his eyes, in his focus. That's the beauty of it... it only appears effortless. All great things do. Watch people waltzing... if they do it right, it appears as if apparitions are floating across the floor. Better yet, do it yourself. As a dancer, you can actually feel the difference between when it's right or wrong. There's a clear distinction in the physics of it. Such is the case with music and with art. There's a precision that is indescribable and those who do it well, know it well. If you don't know it, then you likely never achieved greatness. Keep trying, you'll get there. Tai Chi has the same feel, as well as swimming and gymnastics. I imagine all sports do. That moment when you know you nailed a performance, and the audience knows it too and they roar with applause, it has a specific vibration akin to the power of Niagara Falls. When small pieces unite to become part of something greater, the power of that is indescribable. If you've never experienced this, put it on your bucket list because this is a must-have in this life! When we pay attention to life's nuances, we can begin to define them. The more we collect, the greater the points of reference and the more comprehensive our understanding and appreciation.

To understand art, first, you must pay attention to life. Go on, now... wander and discover some shit! Then tell me all about it in the comments, or write me an email. I love cool stories! Some people are interesting as fuck!

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