Tag Archives: music

“Mickissey”, Extra Series, No. XX

31 Mar


My love of KISS imagery primarily is retrospective. It did not spawn in their heyday of the 1970’s, as I was only 3 when 1980 rolled around. I do however, remember when I first saw Gene Simmons on the television screen, and I remember being completely transfixed. I also remember feeling incredibly guilty of being transfixed as I was raised in a strict Catholic upbringing, and really.. thought that I was witnessing the hypnotic powers of satan on television. Not only was I raised in a catholic home, but I was raised in a home that only listened to classical music and disco sounds (and the combination of the two), so hearing this heightened version of rock ‘n’ roll, .. well it peeled back the artichoke layers of my brain and opened my ears to a whole new form of sound.

KISS, to me, revolutionized the way I heard music, and the way music made me feel. Before KISS, I thought music was only for hearing, but this.. the words, guitar riffs, and catchy drum beats, spiraled my little youthful brain into a chaotic tempest of noise and feeling that I had never experienced before. It should be noted however, that these feelings terrified me because I did not understand them,… so for most of my childhood, I was terrified by them (and yet drew them consistently).

It wasn’t until my teens, where I revisited the icons of my past, where I acknowledged that what terrified me, were perhaps the most powerful spirits of my cognitive expansion. KISS, was at the forefront of this self discovery. I began to listen again to the lyrics, which were so different than when I first heard them. It was like I was reading a book for the 2nd time, and understanding it for the 1st time now that my brain fully comprehended the words. The lyrics were soothing sympathetic verses of not only being ‘misunderstood’ per se, but fully grabbing the reigns of being the ‘ginger sheep’ of the group, and holding power in knowing how to harness the idea of individuality. It was saying to me “Yeah, people may call you a freak, but you are, so rock on with your freak self”.

This is the 9th of the “Children of the 1980’s” Series, and 58th in the TENxTENxTEN collection. The title of this piece is called “Mickissey”


Steamboat Willie Unlocked, Battle of the Senses Series, No. 45

8 Mar

Steamboat Willie Unlocked


Back in January of 2011, I met with Violinist/Documentarian Paul Festa for his film entitled “Tie It Into My Hand”, in where he filmed different artists of different backgrounds to teach him how to play Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto better. The spin on the film was that no one was a violinist and in some way fashion and form, we had to .. tell him when he was playing it wrong.  (You can read a little about this on No. 13, “Lightbulb City, Population: Infinite”)

In my particular lesson, I wanted to focus on the emotional intent and storyline of the piece, and have Paul play those feelings through his instrument. Since I wasn’t a violinist, I asked Paul to imagine the color that best represents the emotion of the piece, and have him play that hue to the best of his ability. The other obstacle to this, was that I am colorblind, so I had to feel the temperature, convert that into color, and let him know when he was playing it wrong.

In the end, I converted the 9 minute lesson by a 24 x 24 inch canvas gridded by 144 squares, and broke each square into 3.75 seconds of music. I placed the colors of the music into each square with corresponding geometric shapes to convey spikes, peaks, drops, and double tones. In the end this project went beyond the spectrum of the film, and became an individual biography piece called “For You to See” within the Film “OTHER THAN”*, which debuted at Cannes last year!

Not only that, but I received an acceptance to apply to The Smithsonian’s Artist Residency Fellowship with a chance to further the idea as a collection called “Chromatones”.

I decided to extend this form of Synesthesia art into the TENxTENxTEN collection underneath the “Battle of the Senses” Series. The background on this piece is a translation of pitch and frequency converted into colors and guided by geometric shapes. The music being translated is “Turkey in the Straw” from Disney’s 1928 classic, “Steamboat Willie”. This is 108 seconds of sound divided into 49 two inch squares measuring 2.2 seconds of music per square. The colors portray the high jovial pitches of sound, with minimal lower jovial undertones throughout the piece.

* FILM WESBITE: http://realideasstudio.org/RIS_2013/Other_Than.html