For as long as I can remember I have loved music and art. I collected and listened to as many albums as I possibly could. Not only did I appreciate listening to the music but I also poured over the album cover art, posters, and devoured every detail of printed text in order to have deeper insight into the artist’s creative work. That also played an important role in allowing me to develop a stronger personal connection to the art. All of these elements inspired me to create music and art, and ultimately to combine these passions into my artistic expression.
The Birth of MusicArt
In the search for my artistic voice I experimented with many different styles. In early 1990 I used musical notation to create a visual image for a group art show. I noticed that viewers examined the image closely to understand why music notation was considered visual art. They delighted in finding the image embedded within the music and learning that the piece was also playable visual art. Those reactions fueled my desire to develop this style further and MusicArt was born.
MusicArt began with a focus on music-related subjects, especially composer portraits, but steadily evolved to include increasingly diverse subject matter. By the mid 1990’s I recognized that everyday sounds, such as car alarms or telephones ringing had interesting musical qualities. I began recording those types of ordinary sounds and arranging them into quasi-musical sound collages I call Sound Constructions. This approach was expanded when I began composing musical scores by transposing each sound element in a Sound Construction into musical notation to form a traditional orchestral composition that mirrors the collage.
I am a self-taught artist and composer. I draw inspiration from a wide variety of sources, especially the musicality of non-musical sights and sounds of the everyday. My artistic processes rely on aleatory elements in the collection of source materials and production techniques. I view my role as more like a sculptor who shapes rather than dictates the narrative of the auditory and visual elements.
My visual art begins with a sketch of the subject matter that I transform by hand, including every staff line, into MusicArt. The qualities of the visual image such as size, layout, level of detail, and instrumentation determine the music rather than a preplanned musical idea or form. Once the score is completed, the musical notes are transcribed into a music notation program for orchestration and to produce a digital music recording. A completed work is a visual image and a musical composition intended to be experienced simultaneously.
My auditory works begin with the recording of everyday sounds as they occur then are arranged and refined to fulfill my vision. Each assemblage creates a sound collage and provides the basic structure that I translate into an orchestral musical composition. This results in two auditory pieces that can remain separate and can be combined into an extramusical work.
In addition to MusicArt and Sound Constructions, I am currently developing an artistic approach called Visuostatic Audiographs that are an extension of my sound collages. These “visual sound writings” pair a photograph with a sound collage made directly from the environment of the photograph to immerse the viewer in the moment of the picture. This is important to me as an artist because in addition to making quality work, I believe it is also important to foster a sense of connection between the viewer and the art. For that reason, I am working to incorporate more opportunities that invite the audience to be more active participants in the creative process.
My art continues to evolve as I focus on combining visual and auditory elements into a simultaneous experience. My goal is to create art that is engaging and approachable and that highlights both the visual beauty of musical notation and the unfolding musicality of everyday life.