Music and Art Monday April 3rd, 2017

No new music and no new art, but I do have a book recommendation. 

I just finished reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. It took me forever to finish because I got bored with it one third of the way through and quit reading it. How many times can she use the phrase “head thrown back”? Why is everything angles and light? Why are all of her characters so simplistic and one-dimensional? 

Almost a year after putting it down, I decided to plug through and finish it. I must say the rest of it was worth the effort. 

If you don’t want to read all of it, I at least recommend reading the third and final part. This is the real meat of the story, the summation of all the previous long and boring parts. This is the section where all of Rand’s philosophy shines through and makes you step back and contemplate life for awhile. 

When Roark delivers his final speech, it makes you want to create. When I finished it I immediately wanted to write. I didn’t care what everyone else felt about my writing, I just had to write.

It makes one step back and consider just how second-hand everything we do in life really is. How much do I produce, and how much do I simply borrow and steal from others? The conclusion is startling. 

Rand’s writing style is a bit romantic and over the top with gold and light, but when she pours out the philosophy it’s a pleasant punch to the gut that leaves you thinking “she’s right, she’s idealistic, but she’s right.” 

Every book of hers can be condensed and never lose the punch. Atlas Shrugged is her magnum opus and is oft recommended, but it too can be concentrated down to a few chapters and never reduce it’s meaning. 

So go pick The Fountainhead up, maybe it won’t take you an entire year to read. Or maybe I will, but only because you are savoring it.   

Music and Art Monday February 27th

Almost didn’t get one this week. We spent three days driving from VA to FL. THREE DAYS!

So, that was a lot of time to listen to music. This week I will recommend some driving music:

Franz Ferdinand by Franz Ferdinand

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This album doesn’t have any bad songs to drive to, just a constant beat of awesome. It helps that the lead singer sings in pretty much exactly my range.

Record in A Bag by Hollerado

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Another band I discovered in a truck in Idaho. A good mix of upbeat and slow stuff to keep you wide awake.

Sugar Man by Yolanda Be Cool

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Really anything by Yolanda Be Cool is good to drive to, but this remix of Rodriguez’s Sugar Man is the best in my opinion. Second best is Soul Mokossa (Money).

Stay Gold by First Aid Kit

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It’s hard to choose between this and The Lion’s Roar but this has more of a road trip feel right off the bat with “My Silver Lining”.

An Awesome Wave by alt-J

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Sometimes you just need something musically complex to keep you alert on the road. This album has enough ups and downs and strange sounds to keep any brain wondering where it’s going next.

Hope you enjoy these!

No art this week. I did not sit still long enough to browse through anything. O.O

 

 

Music and Art Monday, February 20th 2017

Well, I’m a little late this week. We’re in the process of moving so life has been a bit of a whirlwind.

Here are two short recommendations for this week:

Kopecky was a band I discovered while working as a road guard on a fire in Northern Idaho. There wasn’t much traffic but there was XM radio in the rental truck!

“Drug For The Modern Age ” is my favorite of the two albums I have heard by them. It has a pretty nifty 80’s vibe and I enjoy the vocals by both male and female singers. It’s not often that bands will switch up singers like that and have it work out well, in my humble opinion.

The two songs that get stuck in my head the most are “Quarterback” and “Better Luck Next Time”. Probably my least favorite is the title track. But they are all good for hanging out or driving, so check them out next time you need something just a little bit different.

For my art this week, I recommend you check out The Feast of St.John by Jules Adolphe Breton.

There aren’t too many copies of it floating around the internet, though I believe if you dig long enough you’ll find it in Gandalf’s Gallery.  I won’t talk too much about it but I will say I liked it so much that it inspired me to make a horrible version of my own:

::Shutters::

Those were my early days. I’d like to think that I would do better next time.

Well, that’s it for this week. Hopefully next week I will be sitting still long enough to write something better.

Music and Art Monday: February 6

Last week I discussed my musical past. This week I will address my art past.

Visual arts weren’t prolific in our home. Not like music was anyway. I can’t think of any art books lying around or even any major painter’s works on our walls.

When I was in 7th grade, Van Gogh came to the National Gallery of Art in DC. To be honest I had never actually seen a work by Van Gogh, but my friend Steve said he was his favorite, so of course I had to agree. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I did like it. So for awhile Van Gogh was my favorite artist. This was mostly a matter of not knowing any other artists.

Also in 7th grade we received a visit from Holocaust survivor Mark Strauss . He talked about his experience in the Warsaw Ghetto and displayed some of his works. This was my first introduction to art as political commentary. This was the painting of his that I purchased a print of:

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Final Days in Ghetto

I took a semester of art also in 7th grade. It was probably one of the worst classes I had. I didn’t have a natural talent for much of it, and my teacher wasn’t exactly helpful in molding skill. She critiqued me into giving up all drawing except for some very violent MSPaint works I did for Latin class in high school:

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Advertisements in a Latin “newspaper”. This would probably get me kicked out today.

After these brief exposures to art in middle school I did not get much more exposure to visual art until college. For my first semester I had to take an elective and I took the one everyone took, “Creativity and Aesthetic Experience”. This class had three components, one for theater, one for music, and one for visual art. I can’t say the sculptor we had to check out was very good, but the play we had to watch was something else!

I started getting into photography at that time, mostly because my brother was and I had to mimic. One of my favorite projects was for my English class, I went around town and took photos from certain vantage points and compared them to past photos. Sadly none of those are on my computer.

After college I got into digital photo manipulation, taking pictures and making them into something more interesting. I started a Flickr page and started posting stuff in the hopes someone would see them and perhaps offer me money for them. Alas, that did not happen, but it didn’t stop me from continuing.

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City

My photography eventually got me thinking “I’d really like to try painting”. It seems that middle school art class hadn’t scarred me too badly. I told Nicole this desire and she surprised me with an acrylic paint set for Christmas. So I started painting. And when you start painting, you start to appreciate other painters.

Of course I started with Van Gogh, which is pretty much a style to himself. Then I pretty much went everywhere. My personal favorites right now are Matisse and the Fauvists, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, and Lucas Cranach the Elder. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep a good dialog going with these artists and styles.

If not you’ll probably be seeing a lot of my paintings on this page.