Friday, February 28, 2020

Art & Music today

Art & music is this really strange thing to me today;- It's like everything I do is "wrong" due to the mainstream opinion of new Art & music teachers, kids, and capitalism that has overridden the educational and performance markets.

When I look back on my life, my first days in the world of color and sound;- I was totally free to sing my own songs from the limited words I knew as a toddler.  My color theory as far back as I can remember was structured from films/gels that my dad taught me from his certification by Eastman Kodak. My dad had an independent graphic arts print shop until my mom had cancer.  He went on to become one of the best in the printing industry by the 90's and I was effectively banned and forbidden to participate in Graphic Arts as a career. This was due to his ATS clearance and printing publications for NASA and other government houses. Though, by kindergarten in 1980 one of my favorite presents that I was super excited about, was my own Pantone color swatch stack from the print shop. I was totally excited to have every single color to view despite the limitations crayons held as I went through reams of poster weight glossy paper cutoff/end.  Effectively"trash" from his print shop that I reused as coloring scrap. I reused everything he brought home, boxes of reams of paper ends until they started making notepads out of the excess waste paper. He would come home and announce, "I brought you another box of paper!" And, it was my main activity with crayons in hand every day. I tried touching the piano once, but because I had mustard on my hands I stained the keys and was not permitted to touch it until I had "lessons". Though I would sneak to the keyboard and quietly play when I could. That was long ago in the late 70's and early '80s by the time I was in kindergarten.

The boxes of poster grade glossy printer paper ends were my "task" to complete. So where I had begun by filling in large areas of the paper with solid color was failing to keep up with the supply of paper;- I learned to put one or two strategic squiggles of my crayon mark. That became my new, and not entertained by dad, the measure of having "filled in the paper". "Not until you're done with the box of paper" was usually the marker for my being able to do something fun or have a toy. Some artists I met later in my life said that they would have killed to have paper. I found it to be a punishment as it became a wall to the accessing other activities I could only dream about. In hindsight, I think my parents were tight on money as we had a VW Beetle back then that they shared.
I grew up with less of everything than my little brother except, paper. And, he had his share of paper with watercolors minus the 3 years I had ahead of him.

Then I grew up and learned to function within the judgment of everyone else. It took me until I was in college to realize it was sheer discrimination of "Artistic and Musical" experts who attended school. I functioned better in the Art department than in a constrained, segmented, and racist Music college. As a classical pianist at the school, I was told not to "hang out with" my Jazzer friend who was the only non-white & mixed-race mulado in the Jazz department. We literally walked into the school, made it known we were alive, and then proceeded to walk out the door past the professors smoking cigarettes. It was how we survived the sometimes brutal mental drowning of European dominance of the sound spectrum. I too was mixed race Amer/Eur-Asian and didn't fit into the Classical crowd then. Somehow got pulled into the vortex of going to the gym, oil painting and doing computer animation just before the first G3 came onto the market.

As a paid figure model, I learned more about how different artists think. And, I began to see the world being beautiful and inclusive behind closed doors during the 90's. In Manhattan at a modern steel sculptor's basement workshop when the collective group occasionally painted together as a form of entertainment or bonding.

I was never hailed as a great musician or artist, and I think the offset was always that I didn't fit in anywhere on the East Coast. Others in organic form acknowledged me and told me when they were going to use my ideas, my work, and essentially leeched off of my creative energies. This isn't my students, this is my colleagues and how the American industries work. They called it "Making my life story" which is now manifested into several communications of violations of my human rights to the United Nations bodies. Something, I may never hear a reply about, yet my only and last option.
Both art and music is a free-flowing conversation that has not been profitable for me in a monetary sense. That is largely due to the number of self-preservation measures I need to implement for my positive well being.