“How do Mad Artists think” workshop at The Pianoman Gurgaon – Timing and Details

Picasso's painting and an African mask

Picasso’s painting and an African mask. A combination of tribal art and the invention of film (among other things), led Picasso towards Cubism.

Workshop Title

How do those Mad Artists Think? Lessons in creativity from the world of Art.

See what happened at previous Mad Artists Workshops >

Workshop duration

4 hours

Date and Time

Saturday, 8th November 2014, 4.30 PM – 8.30 PM

Introductions (10 minutes)

4.30 – 4.40

Introductions, with name and favourite artist, film maker, writer etc.

Post it discussions – ‘Big Words’  (1 hour)

4.40 – 5.20

Discussions on the meaning of ‘Big Words’ from Art and Design and the relationships between them. What’s the difference between Craft and Art for instance? Or what’s the difference between Performance Art and Theatre?

That's me, randomly pasting 'big words' from the world of Art, all over the floor of the workshop space. By process of discussion we will dispel the notion that great art is esoteric.

That’s me, randomly pasting ‘big words’ from the world of Art, all over the floor of the workshop space. By process of discussion we will dispel the notion that great art is esoteric.

5.20 – 5.40

Rearranging the ‘Big Words’ to demonstrate how they all fit into a very logical artistic process.

Break (10 minutes)

5.40 – 5.50

Cigarettes, washroom, answering missed calls

Creative Geniuses from Art History – Part 1 ( 45 minutes)

5.50 – 6.35

Presentation on the arc from Realism to Abstraction and the beginning of Modern Art. Will include musical history too.

Break (10 minutes)

6.35 – 6.45

Creative Geniuses from Art History – Part 2  (55 minutes)

6.45 – 7.40

Presentation on major Art Movements from 1900 to the present, with key figures. Will include musical history too.

The Art of Jazz (20 minutes)

7.40 – 8.00

A short articulation of how to get the most out of any Jazz experience.

Conclusion (30 minutes)

8.00 – 8.30

Questions/further discussions

Address

The Pianoman Garden Cafe,

CK Farms, Carterpuri Road,

Palam Vihar (Near ITM College)

Ph: 8800946360

Map

map

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The Optimist/Pollyanna’s Whore – A Poem and Blues Rock Song

Eleanor H. Porter's Pollyanna

Eleanor H. Porter’s Pollyanna

The Talking Blues version performed with acoustic guitar and blues harp can be heard here:

A recitation of the poem can be heard here:

The Optimist/Pollyanna’s Whore 

When Gods of War, angry and sore abound

And septic tongues drip green and heavy bile,

He lingers on to sight and sound, he does

Not lose himself to actions terse and vile.

He drives his lance, the heart of chance, right through

And heaves himself, as pawl and ratchet go,

No labour lost, a moments thought is all,

For in the end he’s Pollyanna’s Whore.

In the end he’s Pollyanna’s Whore,

For in the end he’s Pollyanna’s Whore,

Like so many times before,

For in the end he’s Pollyanna’s Whore.

He rakes his skin, and all within, and runs

His tortured hands through wisps of thinning hair

What’s done is done, it’s had its run, he screams

It’s about the next big thing, that I care!

His life’s a mess, such sweet success he craves,

His madness rails from each and every pore,

Ambitions smeared, by YouTube seers, who preach

and lie – in bed with Pollyanna’s Whore.

Lie in bed with Pollyanna’s Whore,

And lie in bed with Pollyanna’s Whore,

Like so many times before,

For in the end he’s Pollyanna’s Whore.

On Song Writing – With a Home (like you can hear my sister chopping onions) Recording

woodstock-poster (detail)

I picked up the guitar last evening (after ages!) and strummed and hummed a bit.

The thing is, once you have a blog and four and twenty followers (thank you guys), and are trying to write seriously, ‘na-naaa-na–na’…doesn’t hack it as very lyrical content, however soulful the intonation.

Last night’s song writing process – snatching words out of thin air 

I’ve read that certain artists like Paul McCartney do the melody part first and then stick in the lyrics. Dylan does it the other way around, and writes the words first (he says as much in this great interview, a must watch for any Dylan enthusiast).

I always thought I belonged to the Dylan school, but last night I saw a lot of merit in switching camps.

This is what I wrote last night, and replaced the na–na-naa with:

Ah! if time could go backwards, then we’d see, we were tethered to the weeds, the likes of you and me.

Ah! the pieces of that broken jamboree, knee deep in the givin’ green, lives slippin’ between.

Cold hard livin’, broken songs at seventeen, I have seen.

Cold hard living, dream for me.

Ah! praise for all the kings and the has-beens, ah the things that they have seen, shining through in reams.

And here’s the song, with the lyrics above.

Intelligence, intuition…and good old fashioned luck!

I Just wanted to point out certain groups of words that came about simply because I was trying to be loyal to the meter of the humming.

‘tethered to the weeds’ was one such group, ‘broken jamboree’ was another and so was ‘kings and the has-beens’.

The image of being tethered to weeds, or that of a broken jamboree gave me a kick once I had them down. They seemed vivid and allegorical and I could not have come to them any other way.

When I snatched ‘broken jamboree’ out of thin air (it just happened to pop into my head, no reason) and appended it to the previous line, about ‘lives slipping between’, it took the song in a direction I was not planning, but one that inflamed my brain and gave me a head rush.

When Cat Stevens wrote, ‘When you crack the sky, scrapers fill the air, Will you keep on building higher, till there’s no more room up there?’ from the beautiful ‘Where do the Children Play?’, my feeling (purely conjecture) is he may have arrived at the vivid phrase ‘crack the sky’ this way.

Any artistic process is doing a balancing act between intelligence and intuition says Michael Tilson Thomas in this AMAZING talk on Music and Emotion through Time(below).

I think chance is a very important third component.

 

Featured image photo adapted from dbking on Flickr using CC by 2.0 license 

 

Tributes to Dylan in Kinetic Type – College Design Projects

I was, and still am, pretty obsessed with Bob Dylan.

The footage for ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ from D.A Pennebaker’s film ‘Don’t Look Back’ could arguably be described as one of the the first ‘motion type’ videos, couldn’t it? With that in mind, back in college, when we were doing a motion typography course, I thought I’d use his incredibly lyrical song for my project. Here’s what I had made:

Here’s the original clip of Dylan dropping ‘word cards’ along with Pennebaker’s commentary in the background. Apparently the alley still has construction work going on. 🙂

Here’s another one I did to the words from ‘Tambourine Man’ using completely analog means. I dropped hand written ‘word cards’ just like Dylan, only I dropped them from under a light table (a back lit table we used to use to trace stuff). I kept the unedited sound because it sounded nice and dark and spooky, and seemed to add value to the video. It was a happy accident, in keeping with my theory of how randomness helps me in design.

I was inspired to do this post by Blockader’s post ‘Now for something completely different’ in which he digs out a college comic project he did in the 1980s. Thanks Blockader.

It’s also interesting, when you dig into college work, to see what typefaces you used back then. Typeface preferences change so drastically. I’d probably never use Palace Script ever again, though it’s renegade ‘god save the queen’ sort of attitude’ mirrored my own approach to life back then. The cynicism I felt for the outdated flourishes in the script (using them as a parody almost) mirrored my own disparaging opinion of institutions.

Also It makes me miss the creative licence of the world of academia, and the truly ‘open’ approach to design, far from the conundrum of commercial art I mentioned in this post.