My updated interview is featured in the second edition of Andrew Hugill’s The Digital Musician. I’ve also contributed a classroom exercise called “Pop Song Substitution” that’s available for free under the advanced projects (aww!) on the book’s website.
I’ve always admired the artist Cindy Sherman for her self portraits in photography, and it’s great to see that her work has become so in-demand to this scale. I thought the action of staging photographs and then composing and shooting them herself was both liberating and resourceful.
Like Ms. Sherman, my creative process involves being alone, thinking, devising, mentally-sketching, tweaking, re-tweaking, re-thinking; sharing for feedback, and then re-tweaking some more. It’s emblematic of the contemporary, technology-enabled artist, in a way. Creative types have so many resources available: so many mediums to muck around in, so many visual sandboxes (like Adobe CSx–Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier); audio playgrounds (like Reaktor, Ableton, FL Studio) and platforms for interdisciplinary / cross-medium work (like Max/MSP, etc).
I, for one, am excited about the future.
In my music projects, as Quantazelle, which is my production alias, I try to always push sounds and expectations into a new place. I use “weird sounds” in place of traditional instruments, but with always a melodic and structured approach (using a sample of a plastic chopstick hitting a wine glass as an open hi-hat, with effects). But, I do like dancing and club culture, and sharing songs that I feel are really testing the boundaries. So I DJ as Liz Revision, and play those songs that I feel fit where I’m going.
So, I felt that to do an homage to Ms. Sherman, but with a circuit-bent Speak And Read and headphones would convey my direction. I play with sounds, I screw around with them, I share them. I play. But I know the context in which I present my work, just as Ms. Sherman does.
And the uber cool thing is that, for the average person, all the tools are available for getting it out there. It’s mega-DIY, FTW. If you have an idea, it’s considerably easier to get it out into the world than it was at any time before now. I can manipulate a photo, create a 3D mockup, and write the next hit pop song from an internally-complex, but user-friendly 15″ x 12″ box with pushable letters, a box that correlates to an arrow and a screen that gives me feedback.
When I applied to art colleges, I was so disheartened by the rampant insistence that I choose a medium. I didn’t like the feeling of being forced to create within an established “language” (medium) that could be critically evaluated (by critics who specialized in media). Then I found California Institute of the Arts, was accepted, and played and played and played and finally found my voice. A voice that was me, and not limited to choice of media, but one that used media to express the ideas I wanted to introduce to the world.
And that, I feel, is true contemporary artistry. Knowing that the clay of the world is yours to play with and yours to enjoy.
And in case you missed it, earlier this year I released a bunch of samples I use in my Quantazelle project under a Creative Commons license, so feel free to download and play around with them. And, yes, I have t-shirts.