December 2nd, 2023
Some New Art and Some Thoughts
ast the end of the year is approaching, I find myself busy with a lot of cool creative projects.
First things first, I’m glad to announce my second single from my upcoming album will be released on December 11th. I’m excited to share this song, but… more about that in a week! It will also be my first filmed video clip, both in front and behind (well, sort of) the camera. I’ve always been interested in moving pictures since I’ve been using a camera for taking photographs, without daring taking the leap.
Among other news, and that’s the main piece of this newsletter, I’m putting some art on sale! I've added some new art pieces on my shop for the end of the year. They are part of several series where I used guitar strings as well as drum sticks to paint with ink on paper.
These pieces are linked to a special period of time for me. I started working on them while I was recording my album: I needed a space where I could create without any self-imposed pressure. I love being in a recording session, I love tracking instruments and producing music, but I had come to a place in my head where I couldn’t pick up the guitar or sing without having in mind that I needed to track the next song or edit my bass tracks, and so on. When I was thinking about music, I was thinking about “producing” music (as in productivity). When I was listening to music made by other artists, my brain was tracking how the vocals were mixed, and how the guitars were panned, and if they were slightly using autotune… you get the picture. Making music was still a way of creating things, but it was not that instinctual, emotional flow where I don’t have to think in a very rigorous way and where I can just let it pour out of me.
I missed the emotional expression and regulation that creating provides for me.
Since I’ve been a kid, I had done some visual art (painting, drawing, mixed media) here and there, encouraged by the fact that at home, my mom had a sustained art practice. But I had never considered myself particularly “called” to that form of creation. I wasn’t interested that much into putting time and effort into improving my (drawing) skills.
However, I liked art and contemporary more abstract art in particular, where I felt compelled by the graphical, rythmical and colorful movements. But I also heard time after time that the abstract artists that were the real deal where those who knew how to be fine arts artists: which means they had excellent drawing and painting skills. Since I wasn’t ready to commit to it “properly”, there was not point in doing it at all (right?).
The funny thing is that I started this visual art practice as a true act of procastination in the middle of my recording sessions, back in April. I needed to do something else, and it turned out playing with guitar strings, ink and water while listening to loud post black metal was a fun way to spend my evening.
How did I come to do this, though? It originates in one question and one artist.
The question was what could I do with my used music gear such as old guitar strings and head drums, especially since they are in a good enough shape but I had to replace them anyway for brand new ones for recording? I found it a shame just to trash them.
The artist was Naama Tsabar. I had the occasion to share about her work before (check it out: http://www.naamatsabar.com/) on this newsletter, as she had an exhibition going on in Paris last May. A former punk musician, she started using guitars and other music-related material and gear to create art installations and sculptures.
I was playing music, I was writing about music… an idea was creeping in: could I be painting music too?
I started on small formats (A5 and A4), developping a sort of visual and technical vocabulary that I’m now able to use to do bigger formats (yet to be shared around here). Since that first time with guitar and bass strings, I’ve then introduced the use of drums sticks, drum heads, guitar picks, a cymbal and I’m playing with the idea of using a kick pedal someday.
Nine months after that first evening, I’m still doing it. Nine months of sustained practice feels like a long time to me, like it’s now a habit and even a part of my overall creative process: when I’m not playing music, I’m writing, or I’m doing visual art, which keeps me in a creative flow whatever the form or tool. There is a double advantage here: I keep acting on ideas while regulating my emotions and I don’t feel guilty that much when I’m taking a break from one practice.
So here I am today, putting out there a few art pieces to sale. Deciding which ones I am willing to let go should someone find them to their taste was another step in the process. I’m attached to these little sheets of paper (and drum heads). Each art piece is unique. Some of them I don’t felt proud enough to put them out there. Some of them I feel too connected to to let them go (I have removed two of them after I first put the artworks online, because I was feeling sad thinking they might go). Some of them feel just about right. These are the ones you can see on the gallery and shop. I hope they resonate with you too.
PS: Oh, and there is also a couple linocut pieces with watercolor, that I had made to do the video clip on "Ravens" but that I didn't end up using. It’s the end scene linocut print, plus some wild watercolor around, coming in two versions: blue/grey and sanguine/red.