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Making the sound connection

September 12, 2017

First off—Hi! I'm Terry and I'm so happy to be here, in great company and working on an intriguing challenge. It's my first post on the blog and I"m getting to know my fellow artists of Cloth in Common!


Visualizing sound. So we begin with our first challenge.  Hmmm. This was not anything I had ever thought about before, so I sat down, scratched my head and dug deep, only to come up with a memory of an art class, probably Junior High, where we were given big pads of paper, jars of tempera and a big, floppy paintbrush and were directed to "paint to the music—whatever it makes you feel."  Then the teacher proceeded to play records on the phonograph, switching from Strauss waltz, to jazz, to a Sousa March and on...  We all giggled and snorted as we flung paint in broad swoops or crisp staccato plops across the large pages. No masterpieces were made that day, but we had fun. I smiled at that memory, decided that was not the approach I would take, but it got me going. 


 Can you find the little frog? Big sound for such a small creature!


Then I just began to listen. We keep our windows open in the summer, and I hear neighborhood kids shouting and laughing. I hear construction going on across the road and at night the songs of hundreds of tiny frogs in our yard. On the hottest days I longed for the sound of rain splashing on the deck. Sadly, that never came, but instead the drone of bees busy in the garden. A car alarm goes off in the dead of night, several blocks away. A dog barks in response. How would I begin to translate any of it? Literal images? Color? Line? Will the viewer see what I hear? Or hear what I see?  


Coincidentally, this morning at the gym I was listening to a favorite new podcast (A Piece of Work with Abbi Jacobson—all about art!) and I focused immediately on two visual/sound references. The musician Questlove mentioned that he has synethesia, where colors produce a sound in his brain for each color—for him, a musical note. He described his favorite Yves Klein monochromatic blue painting as a "solid b flat." Wow. How does your brain even do that?



In a later discussion of abstract art someone was quoted as saying a particular Jackson Pollock painting made him think of a crowded room full of people speaking many languages. Yes! I think I am beginning to make the connection.



I always struggle with trying not to be too literal, and usually I am, as always, too literal (sigh...) and I may have gone there once again. It has been a good challenge, and as good challenges should, it has made me think about things I hadn't thought before. The reveal of our "sound" pieces is coming up soon! Won't it be fun to see how each of us made the sound connection? Here's a small peek at what I've been working on. Can you hear me now???








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