Saturday, April 18, 2009

The things we do for art

Hillary Wanted to share some thoughts she had while working on a project recently:

I looked down at my feet and the chain between my toes and took a moment to consider what I was doing. I had a chain between my toes to test the comfort level for a potential project. As I removed the chain and wiped it with an anti-bacterial wipe, I shook my head and said, "the things I do for art" . I have stuck a chain in between my toes, soaked a metal turtle in water (to test how well it would hold up), lost sleep, completed a complex necklace in 10 days, created a dance from start to performance in 3 weeks, practically fallen on my head from a piano bench, sat in the sun for hours, changed backstage in 3 numbers, gone into a diary queen and not gotten ice cream (to sing), wire wrapped a necklace (my first wire wrapped piece, I might add) on the spot at a craft show, and drawn dance steps out of a hat, to list a few. Artists do some bizarre things to arrive at the result they want, and I know I always feel a little crazy when I do it, but when it works out, it makes the whole experience that much more satisfying.

Amanda Palmer, on a whim, bought a Ukulele (NSFW link) just to see if she could learn a few songs, and now plays the three songs she knows during her regular shows to a wildly excited audience. She shows up at performances with musicians who don't typically fit her genre, plays shows with them, has a blast, and usually gains more fans in the process. If that's not crazy enough for you, I don't know if she knows the last time she had eyebrows. Honestly, she is the epitome of "crazy creativity" and both her solo performances and The Dresden Dolls shows are constantly packed. She says she never gets tired of he love she gets from fans. She seems to be really happy every time one of her off the wall ideas works, like asking fans to twitter requests at her shows or letting just about anyone who has an idea perform (possibly NSFW) in some way at the Dresden Dolls shows.

Tilly and the Wall is a band that has a Tap dancer for a percussionist. I'm a tap dancer, I love music and I even sing, and I never would have thought of this one--honestly, it's one of the more bizarre Ideas I've ever heard. Crazy ideas and all, this band is well loved, and even was featured on sesame street recently. In a feature article on Venus Zine, the percussionist Jamie Pressnall talks about how it took 5 or 6 hours to set up mics each time they wanted to create a different sound. Aside from all that, what Jamie does is a feat of rhythm, strength and stamina. As I said, I am dancer, but I could not dance for the length of an entire rock show, and I could not flawlessly perform the same precise rhythms night after night. What she does is really hard, and I would definitely call it crazy, but she does it for the love of her art.

So the next time I find myself upside down, or with chains between my toes, or glitter on my face, I will think back on these guys and on my experiences and remember: The things I do for art are always worth it (even if they do get me strange looks from my family).

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