Art is Necessary

The other day I was talking to a vocal student about Da Capo arias from the Baroque. I once had them explained to me as “One emotion or sentiment is expressed, then a major mood shift, then back to the original”. It works, it gets the point across.

As I was discussing it with my student I got a little carried away and it sent me on a thought tangent. I mentioned how everything in humanity evolves together–music, architecture, technology, even human thoughts and emotional processing–because the human mind collectively evolves together the more and more we come in contact with one another. So, for example, now that we have the internet, intellectuals gain vocabulary and ideas from one another within hours of their thoughts having been thought and shared. Everyone who reads their words and allows them to expand their knowledge will evolve to a new level of understanding and have new words to express something more specifically than it was expressed before. Whereas before we had as quick and constant of communication as the internet and motor travel allows us, there were certainly intellectuals, but the further we go back in history the harder it was for their words to have been read by the majority of the population. Its not that individuals with their own thoughts didn’t have brilliant ideas and amazing words for to express those thoughts, but not everyone was reading those words, or hearing them, let alone thinking critically about them. Our thought is evolving exponentially faster because of the potential for shared information on the internet–even false information. Those of us willing to read, to access, to critically think and consider, we are growing and learning daily from the collective hive mind of the internet.

As for emotions, I mentioned to my student that our expression and our understanding of complex processes like grief or heartbreak were fully felt, and often written about–but not always shared or spread as quickly as they are now. Van Gogh was a brilliant painter with the ability to use color so that it depicted emotions. He painted how he felt, not necessarily how reality would see. Still, it took his death for his artwork to be appreciated. Gaius Valerius Catullus (84-54 BCE) wrote words which were beautifully expressive of the process of heartbreak. Those words were written before the common era and waited until 1982 to meet their musical match in Argento’s composition “I Hate and I Love”. I don’t think any other genre or time period could have expressed the intensity of those words, their imagery, their pain, quite the same as Argento’s did. It took 2,000 years for them to be communicated in a genre beyond written words.

Historically, there were literally less words in the human vocabulary, less specific and universal understanding of those words, less techniques of uninhibited artistic expression with which to convey those words.

Music grew, in depth and understanding, from the simplistic understanding of emotion through da capo arias, and by the romantic era you have through-composed arias which literally change feeling from phrase to phrase, moment to moment, bar to bar, note to note–all as a result of the developments that came before it being reinterpreted and pushed further. THAT is much more accurate, to me, of the process of going through intense emotions like grief or ecstasy–even the involvement of both together in an emotional process. It’s more cognitive of the individual thoughts that lead us through those processes.

Not to say that before then we didn’t have the emotions or didn’t feel as deeply, but our understanding was limited, and those with understanding didn’t have their expression shared as easily as now. Without the words, or the composition/technical development, or the social/political FREEDOM to express, or the communication for that expression to be widely heard, or the cognition to hear the thoughts that are triggered by our feelings, or the psychology to understand thoughts as thoughts and not as messages from a god–how could some minds develop beyond the necessities of survival and forced beliefs, beyond political and religious censorship?

Words further musical expression. Musical expression furthers written and spoken expression. Art influences art. Art in different mediums makes understanding and emotional growth more accessible. Emotional and intellectual evolution is fueled by artistic expression of the human condition. Art is necessary for humanity to grow.

Art is NECESSARY for our intellectual and emotional evolution as individuals and as a collective existence. It is necessary to our self discovery as humans. It challenges humanity to look at itself in a way that politics and religion fail to do on their own.

Art is necessary.

Advertisements

To Be or not to Be…art is the answer.

 

Being an artist has nothing to do with your level of education or your ability to be paid for your work. Being an artist is about how you think, how you feel, how you express. It has to do with the way you see the world, the way a sunset or the glimmer in a child’s eye, or disaster or the tragic death of a young person can make you feel the infinite extremes of opposing emotions. It has to do with your willingness to create, to discover, to mold, learn, grow and change. It has to do with a survival need to create.

For me–art is about a constant need to find the good in the world, to find beauty where there is pain and to see possibility where there is no hope. I seek these things through my vision and expression because half of my mind wants to die and the other half desperately wants to show it there’s a reason to live. For me–art is literally my life. It is how I think and feel and exist. It has never not been present. It has always been around me in the form of my interpretation of the world in which I live. It’s hard to recognize it sometimes but it is always there. Art is something I need for ME. Any sharing of that expression with others may be beneficial for them, but even that is for me. I need art. I need it in my life and I need it in my mind. I can’t breathe when I deny myself the opportunity to see the entire world as an active work of artistic creation and expression which is constantly being molded and changed by everything in existence.

We are all artists and creators–making an impact and an expressive change to everything we come in contact with. I think it’s just that many people are afraid to recognize themselves as an artist or a creator. But art is not about any one medium–painting, singing, Crochet–making you money. It is about your willingness to see that you, too, are a creator of worlds simply because you exist in this one.

Choosing to recognize this in myself has been very difficult–and continues to be. But with it comes direction and purpose. It’s not an easy path for sure–but I couldn’t deny it if I wanted to. (Trust me, I’ve tried.)

To be an artist in practice is to be a constant student of the universe. Always seeking a deeper understanding of your medium or purpose or expression. Always becoming a little better, and never putting your discovery on a timeline. I do not wish to master anything, per se, but to continue the spiral of learning, finding more and deeper ways to express the miracles of existence within certain mediums. There’s no hurry. The discoveries are infinite. Being an artist isn’t a mountain you suddenly reach the top of and know you’re there and never leaving. Being an artist is 100% about the process of creation. The process is more important than the end–for us. And by focusing on the process and creating for the sake of creation, you assure there is no end to what you can learn to express.

Being an artist has nothing to do with your level of education or your ability to be paid for your work. Being an artist is about how you think, how you feel, how you express. It has to do with the way you see the world, the way a sunset or the glimmer in a child’s eye, or disaster or the tragic death of a young person can make you feel the infinite extremes of opposing emotions. It has to do with your willingness to create, to discover, to mold, learn, grow and change. It has to do with a survival need to create.

For me–art is about a constant need to find the good in the world, to find beauty where there is pain and to see possibility where there is no hope. I seek these things through my vision and expression because half of my mind wants to die and the other half desperately wants to show it there’s a reason to live. For me–art is literally my life. It is how I think and feel and exist. It has never not been present. It has always been around me in the form of my interpretation of the world in which I live. It’s hard to recognize it sometimes but it is always there. Art is something I need for ME. Any sharing of that expression with others may be beneficial for them, but even that is for me. I need art. I need it in my life and I need it in my mind. I can’t breathe when I deny myself the opportunity to see the entire world as an active work of artistic creation and expression which is constantly being molded and changed by everything in existence.

We are all artists and creators–making an impact and an expressive change to everything we come in contact with. I think it’s just that many people are afraid to recognize themselves as an artist or a creator. But art is not about any one medium–painting, singing, Crochet–making you money. It is about your willingness to see that you, too, are a creator of worlds simply because you exist in this one.

Choosing to recognize this in myself has been very difficult–and continues to be. But with it comes direction and purpose. It’s not an easy path for sure–but I couldn’t deny it if I wanted to. Trust me, I’ve tried. I don’t have a choice. The severity of my need for creation combined with my great aversion to people, drama, and responsibility over other human lives makes it so my only coping means of creation is self expression onto inanimate mediums. There is no question for me of whether or not I can live this life without art. I live this life as an artist or not at all. To be or not to be may be the question, but for me the answer is art and creation.

To be an artist, in practice, is to be a constant student of the universe. Always seeking a deeper understanding of your medium or purpose or expression. Always becoming a little better, and never putting your discovery on a timeline. I do not wish to master anything, per se, but to continue the spiral of learning, finding more and deeper ways to express the miracles of existence within certain mediums. The mediums are a projection of my inner experience. Truly–I am art and through my expression I am creating myself.

There’s no hurry. The discoveries are infinite. The more I discover about myself and the universe, the more I have to discover. Being an artist isn’t a mountain you suddenly reach the top of and know you’re there and never leaving. Being an artist is 100% about the process of creation. The process is more important than the end–for us. And by focusing on the process and creating for the sake of creation, you assure there is no end to what you can learn to express.

Living in the Grey (Original Song)

 

In a night of dark introspection, I wrote the first verse, then the second, without their final rhymes. This song began as lost as its first stanzas. No direction. No identity. Just a smeared vision coming into focus at the end of a dark tunnel.

After the first verses, it struck me as a hymn, and I decided to honor the elements–water, air, fire, earth– and the universal flowing spirit of Divinity. It quickly became an ode to my secret spiritual awareness as a witch. I knew I needed a refrain for it to be a hymn. I heard the melody cadence in my mind but I could not hear the words. I continued to write.

Before finishing the final verse, the refrain came to me– …living in the grey. It terrified me–and rightfully so. The grey means so many different things, each one as haunting as the last. Psychologically, it refers to the state of my mind–constantly on edge with anxiety and fighting through dark moments of my major depression. Walking through the darkest memories and emotions of my past, attempting to live in light, usually falling somewhere in the middle. Spiritually, it refers to the grey witch in me.

The grey refers to the matter in which I live my life. Somewhere between the paths of dark and light, good and evil, there lies a multitude of little paths, some travelled by members of antiquity, others being blazed anew by the brazen courage of a curious heart. Though I am unsure whether I am blazing a new or previously travelled road, it is certain that it is not one of the 2 extremes I was led to believe were the limitations of options for my existence.

I finished the song in less than an hour, with the exception of few musical changes. Even after admitting to, and even celebrating the refrain, it made me uneasy. It felt like a commitment. I know it isn’t, its just a song. Still, each piece somehow seems like a promise all its own, a little creation which captures the promise of  moment. Once the moment passes, the emotions live on through the song, which reaches out to a kindred soul to haunt.

Though this is a less than perfect performance of this song, I want to share it, so I forgive myself the imperfections of my performance. I hope you will forgive those things also and enjoy this piece of my soul, this moment of my history, this thing which makes me.

Living in the Grey

I’m sailing on a sea.
Nobody is here with me.
I’m lonely but I’m free
–living in the grey.

I’m whistling on the wind,
waiting on the call of a friend.
My song, it has no end.
Existing for today,
and I’m living in the grey.

I’m burning at the core,
always fighting, asking for more.
But from the ashes I will soar,
A Phoenix, bird of prey,
and I’m living in the grey.

I’m home and I am whole.
The soil has paid my demon’s toll,
and there’s no burden on my soul.
The moon is just a breath away,
and she’s living in the grey.

Sweet Spirit, come to me.
Our Lady of Divinity,
teach me how to live and be.

The moon is just a breath away
for a Phoenix, bird of prey
who’s existing for today,
when you’re living in the Grey.

Follow me on instagram @mooncraft.music for more.

 

Femme Power Dance Church

Last month I attended Broke LA with my dear friend Ilana (The Indiecation), at which we were told about another show. So on May 2nd, we went to this other show. It turned out to be a great residency at The Bootleg–Gavin Turek– that night also featured Res and Alina Bea.

These women inspired me. All of them.

Alina was really impressive to me. I think I could listen to Alina’s music all the time. Her music is dark and sometimes a little heavy, but that’s entirely up my alley. Not to mention, her lyrics and some of the rhythmic choices in the prose was so empowering. This is some woke music, if I may say so. She kept making jokes about how the next song was going to be happier. I personally think her music needs no change in mood. Music, and art, does not have to be always happy to be powerful–and heavy doesn’t necessarily mean unhappy. Her music understands emotional complexity. Its very powerful, and very empowering. Her lyrics, persona and artistry are another force to be reckoned with–like Gavin.

By the time Gavin came out, I was ready to dance. Luckily, her music inspired such action, which persisted after leaving the venue, going home and falling asleep. I think I was still shaking my hips as I slept that night.

If you have not yet heard or seen Gavin perform then you absolutely must. She is a force of absolute girl power, clad in an armor of fringe and self confidence. She was moving the entire time–sometimes just spinning in circles to allow her fringe some spotlight time.

As a singer myself, I have no idea how she does it. Then I remember– she’s a dancer. That’s how. She has clearly had many years of training and experience with dance and music. It is evident in her performance, her music, her vocals, her understanding, etc. She is a well trained, intelligent, free and unconfined artist–my favorite kind.

Another good friend, Cynthia (For Swooners Only), likes to call moments like this “Dance Church”. I think this is incredibly accurate–as any kind of dancing can be an empowering spiritual experience. It gives us a chance to be present in our entire bodies, to lose ourselves, to literally shake off all the stagnant energy and vibrate higher! In the same way that going to mass on a Sunday renews someone’s spirit for the week ahead, dancing this night gave me life for the month.

The empowerment I experienced from watching these women perform inspired my inner girl power. I feel so proud of my femininity, and feel like I personally redefine what it means to be feminine in my own life. I think this is important.

Although it is often denied, or pushed off as less important, it is still commonly known that women are not treated as equals in this world. We are, and have been for millennia, treated as second class citizens. Anyone in a position of oppression must find empowerment within themselves, and it is different for every oppressed group.

I have been told, for years, that my emotional vulnerability, my sensitivity, my nurturing capacity and my sexuality were reasons people would seek to hurt me. They were always presented to me as weaknesses which I had to overcome in order to be respected and powerful. This coupled with the pressure to comply with the white patriarchy have destroyed my sense of self love, pride, and feminine power.

I recognizing though, these things are how I personally define my femininity. I recognize that the definition is different for others– and I love that! What fun would this world be if we all thought exactly the same?! (boring). However, it is a long road I’ve been traveling and just now am I starting to see the path. The trail to personal power, as it has been blazed by the women who have come before me, as it will continue to blaze for those who come after.

For me, this is what Femme Power Dance Church is all about. Its about respecting that path toward empowerment, respecting how each person finds and defines it, and empowering others to go forth and do so for themselves–and all through the powerful expression of music and dance.

While inequalities are definitely systemic issues, we still have to find the power within ourselves to rise above the system, as much as possible. After all, without that rise and recognition, how will we ever see the wrongs of the system and expect more of it? How will we implement changes toward equality? How will we know how it is we deserve to be treated and demand that of those we interact with?

Anyway, all this to say, dancing is incredibly empowering, rejuvenating, and straight up flawsome (awesome in all beauty and “flaws”). It does not require good moves, or rhythm, or an understanding of the music. It does not require a particular setting or an education. It only requires sound and movement. Sounds which come from other humans, from nature, from movies, from music, from the world. Movements which come from the heart. Dancing is bringing the introspective self to the surface. Dancing is allowing that light in your heart to shine and be seen by others. This is why it is empowering. This is why, on Monday, May 23, we dance with Gavin.

So my friends and I invite you to join us for this concert, the last one of Gavin’s residency with The Bootleg, and dance your ass off. Dance for the sake of yourself! Dance for the sake of humanity! We all want to know and see that glowing light in you. Please, share it with us all and with these incredible musicians.

Check out Alina Bea’s music video for “Live Undone”

 

and Gaven killing it at the Bootleg