As a professional artist-turned-grad-student I've realized that a huge part of my practice is finding the balance between ability, passion, and permission in creative work. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is equally important to taking risks, taking on challenge, and letting excitement lead the way. Another post for another day.
I recently took on a passion project when Mali Sastri (Jaggery) bestowed upon me the honor of making a music video for the band's gorgeous song Garden. While I hadn't previously worked on video, excepting a small amount of commercial work, I had wanted to for some time... especially growing up as a music video junkie. I didn't originally intend on editing the piece myself, but as I immersed in the project there was a sort of beauty in the consistency of allowing my vision to organically take control of each aspect as I learned about the piece as a whole and what it needed to say. I'm beyond grateful to have so many wonderfully understanding producers in my life, this time Mali, that allow me to work fairly autonomously and fully trust my process, and enhancing my practice by discovering the power and use of dance for camera has been incredible.
This wasn't meant to be a post about process, so excuse the jump in flow. I recently rediscovered the pages in my notebook (below) with some very early and rough Garden sketches. One of my many methods in musing on new work is to have a seriously meditative drawing session. I'm by no means a visual artist and a rarely share my sketches as I wouldn't want them misinterpreted as product when they're simply part of my process, but this time around I can't help it. Below are the pages I sketched across while listening to the song on repeat. Further below is a gallery with film stills from the footage I shot, seriously representative of the sketches! What makes this exciting to me is that I didn't look back at the sketches after my initial session of doodling imagery, my fairly regular process. There was at least a month between drawing and filming, another chunk of time between extracting footage from the camera and starting to organize and edit, and yet there are so many consistencies in the images from my notebook and the film stills. Cool! (Or maybe I'm just geeking out...)
I might be the only individual that's taken by the similarity in this bank of images, I think because it's rare for me to not have a thought continuously morph and evolve as I create. Sure, while creating the movement I learned more about what the piece needed to be, and sure, while filming and editing more of the subtle story began to dictate itself, but my original bank of imagery held up throughout. I think this song, or my relationship to it and interpretation of it, has been clearly understood from the start.
The best news? The video premieres tomorrow! Join us at OBERON for Jaggery's Org: Black and White Ball at 8pm in Harvard Square for live performances, incredible music, and of course the Garden video debut.
Photos and video feature Luminarium's Jessica Chang, Melenie Diarbekirian, Katie McGrail, Merli V. Guerra and Alison McHorney.