Tag Archives: music

Memorable Quotes- Sting

Whenever creative people talk about their medium, whether it be writing, dance, painting, sculpture, ceramics, music, film, etc., they always speak for artists in other mediums. This is because creative concerns and methods are essentially universal to all artists, regardless of medium.

I read an interview with Sting recently in which he talked about his creative process. Substitute the word “photography” for “music”, and this thought is equally relevant:

“Music is like a sea without a horizon and without a reason for being. Making music is a wonderful adventure without borders – exactly like love. You never get to the bottom of the person you love. The closer you get, the more you understand about how little you know of them. That means that there is a lot of work yet to be done.”

Exactly.

Making Connections Between Music and Visual Art

I had coffee recently with cello-player-extraordinaire Nat Chaitkin. Nat plays cello everywhere in Cincinnati, it seems- with the Cincinnati Symphony, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and through his music advocacy program, Bach and Boombox, all over the city. Those facts do not begin to do him or his playing justice, though.

Nat wants to change the way people experience and perceive classical music, and everything he does is geared towards breaking down the walls between musicians and audience. He tells his students to find the story in the music they are playing, for all music tells some kind of story. Figuring out what the story is requires imagining something that becomes visual. Conjuring up something visual, even if the story is only seen in the mind’s eye, is something that visual artists can relate to.

Nat told me about an experience he had had at one of Cincinnati’s street festivals with a woman who has synesthesia. Her form of this condition is such that when she hears music, she sees colors that change as the notes change. Nat ended up playing music in different keys, while she drew what she was “seeing” on the pavement with colored chalk. It is just one example of how music and visual art connect.

Here is Nat’s full blog post about the encounter:

http://bachandboombox.com/your-experience-may-vary/

Most photographers don’t consciously think about how the sounds that exist in the environment in which they are photographing might affect what and how they photograph. This is too bad, because of course the sounds (and smells and tactile qualities) that surround us affect our experience of that environment, and thus affect the kind of art we make from it.

Nat’s experience is a reminder that visual artists should try to remain aware of all of our senses as we create our work, and not just rely on our eyes or our brains.

Dear David Bowie…

Dear David Bowie,

You have been on my mind a lot since you passed away two weeks ago. Not that you have ever been off my radar, but the event of your death has caused me to ask myself why I will miss you so much, now that you are gone. The author and journalist Charles Shaar Murray was quoted in the obituary that The Economist ran in its January 14, 2016 issue as saying: “I can think of no other rock artist whose next album is always the one I’m most looking forward to hearing.”

And that sums it up in a nutshell for me. You were predictable in your unpredictability. I never quite knew what you would do next, and that sense of anticipation- of not knowing what was around the corner- was exhilarating. Whether it was in the music itself or the way you dressed and presented yourself to the world, there was always a feeling that you had discovered something before the rest of us and encouraged us to explore it, too.

Even your voice was unpredictable. It was unexpectedly powerful, yet it would quaver. As a friend of mine so brilliantly put it, your voice was “so striking because of the contrasting qualities of fierce self-assurance and bristling vulnerability.” I sometimes would think that it wasn’t quite in tune, but then it was. Where would it go next? I loved that I never quite knew the answer to that.

You were an artist who epitomized the idea that the best of art is based on a substantial foundation of knowledge and experience that is invisible to the rest of us, but which is necessary to produce your work. Always seeking, always curious, always telling us that it is normal to be different.

I will really miss you, Mr. Bowie. I’m so glad that you spent as much time as you did on earth.

Thank you for your art,

Jane Alden Stevens