Music Appreciation

 

So this is a music appreciation post. Where do I begin, music is something that I have always had and always appreciate it. I can honestly say that I to listen to everything, I have favorites from certain genres but I don’t like the genre. That is equivalent to likening a single track on an album but disliking the whole album.

Music in general is too vast to really talk about or write about because the post will never end. So I’ll discuss certain music I like what they mean to me as a creative human . So I mentioned that I listened to everything but I have my bands or artist that are mine, that doesn’t make sense so let me explain.

When I was very young, I listened to Blue, Britney Spears, Usher, Avril lagvine and Evanescence. I knew nothing about genres or music just that I liked it. As I grew up, and let’s face it became an angsty adolescent I listened to Evanescence, 12 Stones, Three Days Grace and Linkin Park. And well hello Rock or alternative Rock music to my life. I continued listening to these bands growing up. (I did listen to a lot more but those mentioned are the ones that still impact me today)

So what I mean by mine, is there are 3 bands that I cannot ever leave behind. Their music will forever be a part of me, because their music helped me become the person I am.

Those three bands are; Evanescence, Three Days Grace and Linkin Park. I’ll explain about each band separately really go into why their music till today, speaks to me and my inner self.

Starting with evanescence:

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Evanescence was a band my 10 year old self discovered while listing to Blue and Britney, I never really realized just how different the music was but my 10 year old self didn’t really care. Evanescence taught me something very unique, that basically it’s okay to be different. To have your own style. Amy Lee’s (the lead singer) has an almost operatic voice it’s so beautiful and mesmerizing yet powerful. Mixed in with the heavy drums and guitar it gave its very unique sound that even proclaimed rock haters enjoy. It was the music the mix of her vice and the music the followed hooked me. I can’t stay much about the lyrics as this something that never related to. Still love, but cannot just relate to it. Listening to their most famous song, Going under, you can really see the darkness of the music and her voice how they mesh so harmoniously, it’s captivating.

 

Now the band has changed and evolved, most of the original Members  have left the band now, only remaining is the lead singer, who has now created baby music and lullabies, not sure exactly what this means for evanescence the rock band but will see what the future holds.

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Three days grace, I am not really sure how to describe TDG but I’ll try. I discovered them through the movie by Hilary duff (what was also a favorite singer of mine) in the movie she protagonist goes to the concert of TDG and then drama follows. The thing is I was so captivated by the concert scene is that I clapped when the concert was done. In the movie , yes I clapped for my tv screen. I am not sure how I processed things at the time. But this is what I was hooked on three days grace, I found them online, “just like you” was one of the first songs I heard. Then I was a fan for the release of the second album One X. That was everything, I had a Walkman even thought iPods were a thing. And this was the only CD inside. I loved it. Their music and words took me to a place where I felt safe. A world that was my own. And that is something that I can still have 10+ years later. Listening to Over and Over just a few days ago, still gives me goosebumps, it sends chills down my spin and provides me with a safe heaven. Today though while I am still a fan of the ban, the lead singer Adam Gontair has left the band to be an independent artist, and he was replaced by Frontman of My Darkest Days Malt Waltz who is also the brother of the guitarist Brad Waltz. Because of this their sound has changed, as Matt brought a different sound to the band, completely different to Adam’s voice. I will forever support them and if I am lucky enough to attend a concert I will be screaming at the top of my lungs, but their new music will never be home like their two first albums, Three Days Grace and One X.

 

 

 

 

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Linkin Park. Linkin Park. LINKIN PARK, where do I even begin, this band is my obsession I fell in love at 13, Numb from their second album Meteora was life. To say that their music gave me life is an understatement. I was an awkward kid, I didn’t have friends and was constantly bullied. But Linkin park saved my life. That is such a bold statement I know, but hear me out or well read. The first time I listened to their music to was their collaboration with Jay Z, funnily enough I had bought the featured CD for a friend and I never ended up giving it to them, I kept it for myself. This was my introduction to LP weeks later I YouTubed their music and found Numb. And that was it, I cried I found music that spoke to me. It really spoke to all the parts of my that had no voice, listening to Linkin Park I found a safe haven that hugged me and welcomed me to be part of them to sing with one voice. I learned because of Linkin Park I was never alone.

I researched their music and went to their first album Hybrid Theory and fell even harder. This music, these people were me and I was them. To be honest I have never crushed on any other band as hard as I crushed on Linkin park – till today I am turning 25 this month, and their music is home.

 

 

Today marks two months since the death of Chester Bennington, the lead singer of the band. I started this blog post around January of 2017. I honestly never knew how to put into words how much LP has done for me. Now, I realized. I did.

Wherever I was, wherever I am, I was always safe. Linkin Park is and will always be home.

Thank you Linkin Park.

Edit: To all the bands listed thank you for making sharing the darkest parts of you, in the lyrics, the music and on stage. The reason these bands resonate in me all those years later is because they spoke to me on a level that I didn’t think anyone could really. Times changes and things progress and as an adult I know that bands might break up or change or pass away. But irrespective of whether some bands will continue to make music or not. I will carry them with me forever.

 

Its Okay Not to Be Okay

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The final Piece

This piece is more than just an artwork. I lost count how many months I have been working on it, I believe it was sometime around May, that I just started this piece, and now in November, its finally done. but it was a struggle, and honestly thats okay.

I struggled, I really struggled, I stopped working for days, weeks at a time. refusing to start a new piece. I kept it on the aisle, refusing to remove it. It wasn’t going anyway. My usually self would have hidden the piece half finished waiting to be recycled. This time however I refused, breaking old habits is very hard. I wanted to face my self. That sometimes its okay, not to be okay.

This is what this painting means to me, I wasn’t okay, I don’t know why. I was just not okay. Family and friends were all good. Work was progressing, usual stress nothing out of the ordinary. But I just wasn’t okay. I couldn’t paint. I couldn’t make something, I guess it was some sort of an artist’s block. I am not sure. I spent hours just staring at this canvas. It didn’t come naturally to me as it usually did. I was facing a wall I never knew existed.

I am not sure why the wall was there, maybe subconsciously I wasn’t okay and this was my method of coping. Which is horrible, because it only made things worse. I felt useless as an artist. I wasn’t an artist. I couldn’t paint something so simple. I felt broken. That may by an exaggeration, lets not take it literally, but thats what it felt like. Broken.

During this time I was participating in Ink October, I could draw or sketch. But I couldn’t paint. So I felt broken, like a part of my body just stopped functioning or my brain just couldn’t comprehend. At moments I would just get angry, and yell at the canvas, that for obvious reasons didn’t solve anything but it made me feel better, momentarily at least.

I cried, yes, I did, because I booked a time to paint, got everything ready, then for 3 hours staring into the painting, the paints drying out on the palette. I did nothing. I packed everything up, ‘I hate this’ and I cried. Might seem utterly and completely foolish or silly. But It was me accepting momentary defeat.

I persevered though. Because I finished the piece. I would like to say I am over joyed and screaming from the roof tops, but no I am just content. I am sure there is something that I could have done better, but right now. Its good. and I am good. 

I am not sure if over came my block or If I am better. I honestly don’t know. Because I don’t know what caused it. All I do know is that I didn’t give up. I fought to break my old habits and faced myself without inspiration or bursts of creativity. I fought myself through it, by realizing that sometimes you are not okay, for no reason at all, and thats Okay. Just keep fighting.


Below are my trials

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Ink October

What is ink October?

Ink October was an initiative started by Jake Parker, he started back in 2009 and wanted to improve his skills in drawing so every October he creates 31 ink drawing for the 31 one days of October – you can read more about this work here mrjakeparker.com/inktober –

I had no idea what Ink October was, My co-worker fresh from her return from study leave informed me about it. She an amazing artist herself encouraged me to participate. And so I did. Albite I didn’t create 31 drawings.. .I created 9 * Avoiding eye contact*  BUT I am actually very proud of the drawings that I did. I was so hesitant when I first started, I wasn’t sure what do to. I took so much time, a little too much time.

The second piece, I dreaded doing I was thinking – great! now how the hell do I top myself –  about And I decided to do something wacky and weird. Like my brain, and me in general. When I was done was so hesitant of positing it and publishing it for the world to see. HOWEVER! To my surprise I got the most feedback on my wacky – random drawings.

It opened up eyes to see that sometimes putting yourself out there can be a little frighting but you can so much back. The amount of love and encouragement I received really helped my achieve one of my mini goals for Ink October, which was to draw directly in pen and not sketch it out. And I did – Happy monkey dance – 

 

To see all my Ink October drawings, please go to the artwork tab for Ink October.

 

PS. I am not afflicted with MR.Jack Parker or mrjakeparker.com/inktober

 

The Beginning

I never really had any formal training in painting before. I did have the privilege of taking art in school but we focused mostly on, the color theory, different periods of arts and still life drawings. It wasn’t until my final year, taking AS Level art did I have the opportunity to explore concept development and mixing my own style. However, I never really painted. I was always to afraid, and would stick to what I knew; which was Pencils and pattern designs.

At University I didn’t really have the time to practice my art, I majored in Strategic Communication. Apart of my course was advertising, here I had the opportunity to learn Digital Design; Creating layouts, logos, and concepts. I loved learning how to re-create my hand drawn designs into logo’s or patterns.  I explored into a field which was new to me, and helps me today at work. However, I promised myself that I’ll learn how to paint. What ever it takes to learn.

After Graduating University, I signed up for one – on – one art classes, it was the best thing I did for myself. My instructor was amazing, she was extremely talented and she was constantly pushing me to do better. I explained to her that I wanted to paint like the greats; like Degas, referencing his  The Ballet Class,  I wanted to learn how to create paintings from the post impression and impression periods.

We began by painting “The one” referencing a painting from an Italian Artist’ that was being sold at the store. We focused on one section of the artists’ painting.

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Mapping out the drawing, I did go into much detail, something I had to learn not do while painting. I had to adapt to do fast sketching and relay on my painting to fill in the blanks.

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The mountains, painting them was an eye opening experience, I was so afraid of mixing colors on the canvas and not per-mixing the colors. I gained confidence in painting straight from the tube.

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The sky! The Sky! The sky, it did it for me, I couldn’t believe it. How simple yet effective painting was. How to angle your brush to get the effect. Painting the sky reflected into painting the Sea. I loved reflected the mountains into the Sea. That really gave it the realistic feel.

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The Railing, this by far was the most difficult for me to paint. I have an issue with perspective, I just couldn’t see it. I had to struggle to see the perspective. Honestly this was the first time during the classes that I was struggling. I found it very frustration to focus and using the right colors. I remember being very annoyed with myself that I just couldn’t seem to figure it out. But with the help if my instructor I learned. Today I do avoid elements with perspective as I am not that confident, but it doesn’t stop me from trying.

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All most there. Having the shrubs and tree there really brought the piece together.

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‘The One’
I called The One, because it is the painting that started it all for me, I began to believe in myself. This painting took almost 10 hours in total, one hour sessions.

The journey of this paint was transformative. I realized that I do have a talent I just needed to work on it. Writing this now its been almost year since I painted it. I never realized how much emotion it brings to me. I was a fresh graduate, just started at my job. This painting has a piece of my heart because it made me believe in myself.

I was always told art was a hobby and I shouldn’t waste time on it, painting this piece was the moment I said to myself its no longer a hobby, it is who I am. I am an artist. And art is what I shall make.