Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Andy Matchett & The Minks

Sometimes you are given what you need when you need it.
Sometimes it is given to you well in advance and you have to stumble across it later.

A while ago I was working on a DRIP show called "A Night of Music". For the show we were doing one performance and featuring four local bands. One of those bands was Andy Matchett and The Minks.

The first time I met Andy was a few days before the show. He agreed to meet at my apartment to pick up some posters for the event. Upon first glance he didn't strike me as a typical musician. His hair was neatly combed back, he was wearing a button down shirt and slacks, and had a child's car seat in his mid-size sedan. He was very friendly and we talked about the show for a while before he had to be on his way. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from him musically.

Come show time I was very impressed. Andy Matchett and The Minks took the stage with an undeniable presence. After the show I told him that I really enjoyed their music and he gave me a CD. Unfortunately, due to my hectic schedule that CD had sat on my desk for a while.

I had been feeling a little run down lately. I work two jobs and that often has me up very early and out very late. It can be difficult to make time for my friends, as well as time for myself. I get wrapped up in "doing" and don't have much time for "being". However, this particular night I had to myself and decided to listen to Andy's CD.

Opening the CD was like opening a present. The logo is beautifully designed and printed on this lavish paper with a metallic finish. The case folds out to reveal a highly detailed illustration of a house engulfed in foliage. Enclosed in the case was a booklet containing all the song lyrics.

"My God" I thought "No body takes the time to do that anymore."

As a teenager I remember how much I enjoyed it when I bought a CD and had all the lyrics to accompany it. I would sit with the booklet and read along while the songs were playing. It was a way for me to incorporate more senses and fully absorb the experience. I was excited to see this much professionalism from Andy Matchett and The Minks. I sat at my desk with the booklet at my finger tips. I let the music fill my room.

Andy has this clear, innocent voice that brings those whole-hearted lyrics to life. His music speaks of someone who understands so much in a non judgmental way, yet still seeks answers. The melodies are very warm and expressive. There is so much power and meaning in those songs.

It was just what I needed. I had to sink my teeth into something with soul; something bigger than me.

My minded drifted back to the DRIP show. Andy took the stage with his band and right away a cloud of confetti bust over every ones heads. Two audience members were given small leaf blowers to keep the confetti in the air during the show. The music makes you want to dance anyway, but with that confetti and all those smiling faces, the dance floor becomes irresistible. I can't begin to tell you how amazing it feels to grab two giant hand fulls of confetti and throw them over your head at a rock concert.

Towards the end of the show they pull out a parachute over the audience and Andy comes down off the stage to perform in the middle of the crowd.  The confetti is still flying through the air like a snow storm and the room is full of people dancing. I'm standing next to Andy who is rocking his heart out. I have my arms up in the air stretching to reach the parachute. I look around at all the smiling faces. It's more than just happy, it's that feeling you get when you remember what it feels like to be a crazy kid all over again. Thank you Andy for creating so much magic. It was just what I needed.

For more information about Andy Matchett and The Minks:

Photographs from "A Night of Music" by Tisse Mallon:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hermes and Maia

Another gem from one of my high school sketchbooks:

As I was working I loved the how the expressions on the faces were turning out and the characters began to remind me of the Greek god Hermes and his mother Maia. This is another example of one of my illustrations taking on a life of its own.

At a very young age my father bought me a book about Greek Mythology. I loved that it was over my head at the time; it made me feel like I had to keep up with him. I remember how he would read it out loud to me while I kept asking him questions. When he was done reading for the night I would take the book to my room and look at the illustrations over and over again before I was told to go to bed. All these years later and I still have that book. The cover is ripped and most of the pages have fallen out of the binding; but they are all there. All of the illustrations are embedded in my long term memory. That book was the beginning of my love of Greek Culture. 

One of my favorite stories from that book was about Hermes and how precocious he was as a child. On the first day he was born he snuck away from his sleeping mother, stole Apollo's cattle, and invented a musical instrument called the lyre. He grew to become the quick-witted messenger of the gods, as well as being associated with travelers, poets, orators, athletes, thieves, invention, and commerce. 

When I was making this illustration I had not intended to have any context behind it, however, the facial expressions and demeanors of the characters began to remind me of Hermes and Maia. The clever Hermes occupies his time with playing a musical instrument. His mother, caught up in her daily tasks, lovingly shakes her head at a mischievous son who, although bright, was most likely a handful to raise. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Miniature Wood Block

For one of my printmaking classes we had an assignment to make a print that was 2"x2". At the beginning of the class I had some reservations about my skill as a carver so I stuck to larger prints to prevent myself from becoming obsessive over detail work. At this point my smallest print was just under two feet across. However, I felt like my abilities were improving and I decided to jump into that challenge. 

I looked back through some photographs I had taken for some inspiration. I found a picture I had taken in the Boston Museum of Art. It was a picture of a Japanese screen print; a skyline set against an atmosphere full of the serene peaches and pinks of a sunrise. The photo I took didn't do the original justice so I decided to recreate it as a print. 

Originally I had only intended to to make it a black and white print, which is why I filled the sky with lines. As I was testing the print I realized it was lacking that punch from the colors so I added another block for the sky. I got ambitious and bought these vibrant colors. I mixed them on the table and smashed them onto the roller so it would appear as a smooth transition. This was the first time I had ever used color inks for a print and I was already mixing them and adding layers. I was so worried that I was getting ahead of myself. 

But when I saw how the first one turned out - I fell in love. It was a very tiny, abstracted version of the original masterpiece still hanging in Boston, but I felt as though I had finally done it justice. The lines ripping through the sky made it more dynamic and unique to my style. And the colors I was so worried about ended up transferring beautifully. 

I was so excited about how they turned out that I ended up making about forty of them. I use them when I make my home made cards. If you are lucky, you just might get one. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Feet: Part 2

More in my ongoing series of taking offbeat pictures of my feet. It has become an interesting reflection on the places I have been.

This was taken at Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando. I was walking around the pond and I stopped to look over the ledge. I was standing over a drain pipe that had some turtles sunbathing. 

This was taken while I was actually in the pool at my apartment complex. It was my birthday and I was hanging around with my mother and sister. I was in the corner of the pool with my feet on the ledge. It was such a nice, relaxing moment. I remember my sister teasing me when I asked her to hand me my camera while I was almost completely submerged in a body of water. 

This one is a little bit out of the canon but I like it just the same. I was laying on my bed reading and for some reason I ended up looking over my shoulder. I have a mirror attached to the back of my door and at the angle I was laying I had a perfect view of my legs silhouetted against the light from the window. I thought it made for an interesting shot. 

I was making some home made cards one day. I had the paper laid out on the floor while I was cutting it.  I went out of the room to grab something and when I came back my cat was laying all over my work area. 

This photo was taken on Black Friday. Normally, the day after Thanksgiving most people go out shopping. Luckily no one in my family cares to go out that day. However, the weather was particularly nice this year and I took my father and sister for a walk on the beach. It was a fantastic break from the T.V, the sales ads from the newspaper, and the boredom of sitting around the house. I was raised near the beach and I find myself craving the breeze and the smell of the salt water. I felt like we had we the beach all to our selves and we just walked around soaking up the sun. After the beach we went over to a park with a dock overlooking the intercoastal. It has those murky shades of green that color every Florida body of water outside of the ocean. My toes were still sandy from the beach. 

This was taken in our hotel room when we stayed in Atlanta. We teased David about his "rock star" lilac walls. His computer and musical gear are sprawled out across the desk. The light blazes from the lamp and boldly streaks across the wall.