24 November 2010

I Write Draw for Myself

The art I posted yesterday is the fourth such piece I've created. It's a bit juvenile, and that's part of the point. When I was a kid, this was the form that my doodles always seemed inclined to take, a series of straight (or almost straight) lines connected (or not) to infinity. I detested music as a child, but was very interested in drawing. Representational drawing defied my abilities, however, this despite a near fixation on the subject for a time, and a few separate attempts at seeking formal instruction. Had I the slightest inclination towards abstraction at that young age, I may have spent my life creating these monochrome sketches rather than composing music, but for better or worse, like most young kids, my interest in the arts was always driven in some way or another by the entertainment industry, and as we all know, abstraction doesn't sell.

To be sure, I'm worse than a dilettante when it comes to visual art, but that's also part of the reason I thought it might be worth sitting down to draw again. With so much handwringing, here and everywhere else, about the differences between initiates and non-initiates when it comes to modern music, I started to wonder if this might not be a good way to more truly put myself in the shoes of a naive musician. Additionally, when I started considering the implications that much of my musical philosophy might have in the visual realm, I realized that this silly childhood scribbling actually reflects that quite well. I had "found my voice," so to speak, as an artist long before I would as a musician, probably because the technical demands of my musical voice are enormous compared to the minimal ones required by the art I posted yesterday. This mystifies me a bit, though. While a high degree of abstraction and a minimum of discernible sequences or patterns are indeed two features I value highly in a piece of music, there are other facets of my art that are severely at odds with my musical value system, the most obvious being the severe economy of means.

Musical minimalism greatly intrigues me conceptually and philosophically, but as a listener, I generally don't care much for the results. Conversely, I remember encountering Donald Judd's concrete work as a teen and being fascinated by it without having a clue why. I still am, and I still don't know why; it's tempting to conclude, as many would, that this is a predictable case of training influencing reception, but I think if you presented me with the Ferneyhough of visual art, I'd probably like that too. (Actually, that sounds awesome; anyone know who that might be?) I'm also a stylistically restless musician, whereas I can't imagine being comfortable working in any visual medium other than these sketches. That conflict intrigues me as well.

I hope to use these works as cover art on some future releases, and may post some more here. However, I've seen too many faux-musicians trying to pass off their own juvenilia as some kind of earth-shattering aesthetic triumph, and I certainly don't want to come off that way. Let's just say that I write draw for myself, not as a gesture of contempt, but one of respect.

1 comment:

DF said...

If you have any interest left in representational drawing, check out "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. An amazing experience.