Wake up and climb.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend who has been doing my website and album art for more than a decade told me he can’t do the job anymore. Total bummer because he is brilliantly talented, but wonderful because the reasoning is that his more substantial work is taking off and he deserves it.

I have been working hard on all of websites and socials, getting everything uniform and rebranded in preparation for my Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary residency that starts next month, so it was rather frustrating timing. I moved forward quickly and met up with another graphic designing friend who has come up with an outstanding new logo for me, but she can’t really commit to designing the plethora of cover photos and headers and album art I need at once.

I found myself feeling so angry and frustrated yesterday. I really want to present myself as an artist in a professional way, but there is only so much I can expect from other artists on a budget/barter system. Honestly, that is exactly how it should be. As I work harder to respect my own work, it is imperative that I respect and lift up the work of others. But that left me feeling frustrated and discouraged. That nagging voice came back to me that says “This is why you should just stop this bullshit. You are making plenty of money as a teacher. You can’t be an artist. It’s too hard. It’s too complicated. You’re not good enough. Get a real job!

I stewed about it most of the day, but at some point a little glimmer came through: “you can do it yourself.” Continue reading →

Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary Residency

If you follow me on social media you have probably noticed a recent influx of cuddly animal photos. Specifically, photos of those animals who reside at Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary. Perhaps you have been asking yourself what I’m up to, or maybe you have been too overwhelmed with the desire to cuddle said cuddly animals to think about anything else. Either way, I have some news: starting September 1st, I will be the first ever Artist-in-Residence at Tamerlaine Farm!

Continue reading →

Tentative Armor Reworks

Remixes!

As you may recall I worked with Tenlegs Arts and Media Network to gather some producers to remix my album. I had a really great response, and added to that group some musicians I deeply respect. here we have it! Tentative Armor Reworks has arrived. I am really so thrilled with how this came out. Christopher Willits at Overlap Studios in San Francisco mastered the tracks. I think he is a genius and felt so honored to have him work on this project as well. Graphical guru John Ong designed the cover art. Always a pleasure to work with that guy! Read on for some information about each of the artists and their process around the work. Oh yeah, you can download the entire album for free right here. Continue reading →

The One With The Vision

Chris Buck’s “Five Tips For Becoming a Professional Photographer” came across my newsfeed a few days ago, and while I am not striving to become a professional photographer, I’m drawn to posts like this.  I am always curious about what working artists have to say about how they got where they are.  I found this quote especially compelling:

 “It seems that there are two kinds of people in New York, those with a vision, and those without who work for peanuts for those who do.”

Continue reading →

Bulletpoints of Awe and Wonder

Life has been a whirlwind of…well… horsepuckey, honestly, for the last 6 months or so, but I am back on top, in a great new apartment, and occupied only with projects that bring me fulfillment and/or cash. I’m a little overwhelmed with how to update, so I will fall back on my ADD-addled mind’s best friend, the bullet point. Continue reading →

Remix Collaboration With Tenlegs

I released the Tentative Armor album and book under a Creative Commons license because I really love the idea of people taking my work apart and putting it back together as they see fit. With that in mind, I decided to try something new. With help from Tenlegs Arts and Media Network I am releasing all of the stems for each track on the album and inviting people to create their own remixes. The final result will be professionally mastered and released for free under a Creative Commons license through my online shop.

If you’d like to participate, create a Tenlegs account (if you don’t have one already) and then stop by the Tentative Armor Project Page. There you’ll be able to listen to the album and decide which track you’d like to remix. Once I add you as a collaborator to the project, you’ll have access to download everything you’ll need from the various pages within the project. I’d love to have the finished remixes no later than February 15th. Continue reading →

yokogasms

There isn’t any other artist who inspires me in the same way that Yoko Ono does. She creates work in so many different mediums and does so fearlessly, in a way that seems to be free from reaction to how people respond to her work.

I was so thrilled to get to hear her talk about her work Tuesday night at The Paley Center for Media here in NYC. My good friend luke kurtis had an extra ticket so he invited me along. He and I actually met in the 90’s through a Yoko Ono fan group we were both members of. The talk was moderated by Rolling Stone‘s Anthony DeCurtis  and the two chatted casually about Yoko’s full body of work.

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It’s interesting for me seeing her now. I’ve heard her speak before, but this is the first time since I have begun producing my own work. Where before she inspired the question, “how can I start making work?” now I ask, “how can I start making more geniuine work?”

I was thinking last night about my song “Invocation.” How would Yoko handle that vocal improvisation section in the middle?

I have been telling myself I never want to perform that song again. Even when I recorded that part in the studio I felt self-concious. Embarassed. What are people thinking of this? For me this track has a built in conflict. That “hootin’ and hollerin'” section in the middle is. I mean, it just is. It’s part of the song that just showed up with the rest of it. How do I get to a place of performing it as it is supposed to be without getting nervous, or uncomfortable, or…..apologetic about what I am doing? WWYD?

Hearing Yoko talk about her work, and just experiencing her energy in that setting makes me want to reach deeper into letting go of my fear and apology about the type of work I want to create. I feel inspired to move into the direction of the world I want to see, rather than move against the parts of the world I dislike. Indeed, Yoko reminds me that it’s all possible. It is, right?

In summary: Yoko inspires. She’s one of the few on the short list of celebrities I’d love to sit and chat with over tea. Someone set this up for me, wouldja?

 

Tentative Armor Release Recap

 

luke kurtis took this photo during tech at Dixon Place.

luke kurtis took this photo during tech at Dixon Place.

I had a blast at the Tentative Armor Album and Book Release show last Tuesday at Dixon Place. It was amazing. The process of producing the album and book and then coordinating everything for the show was too much. I don’t know if I have ever felt so overwhelmed.  I kept joking with people that I was dealing with it by taking lots of naps. But I wasn’t joking, really. I thought maybe I was depressed, but really.  It was just so much. So many naps. So much panic.

Anyway, I made it. I finished writing the piece I used to open the show with my string players the morning of the show. I also got everything running on my laptop that morning as well. I cut it all so close, but by the time the show was about to start I just dove in and had fun. Thank you all for being there, and thanks to the bevy of people who helped out throughout this whole process.

"When It Will Bloom" photo by Melissa Hsiung

“When It Will Bloom” photo by Melissa Hsiung

I especially want to thank luke kurtis. It was his idea to make the Tentative Armor book (buy it in my online shop, Amazon or iTunes) which inspired me to go ahead with the album. I couldn’t imagine what an album based on my show would be like, considering the various types of music in the show. Having an accompanying book, really pulled the whole idea together. luke’s video installation for the release show brought a particular magic to the show, I don’t think I could have achieved otherwise.

A kickstarter update: I will have download codes for you all soon, those who are entitled to a download of the iBook that is. I am currently waiting for the t-shirts, truth be told, I just ordered them today. I apologized for that delay before, and here it is again. I went over my budget for the project, so this last bit had to wait until I had the cash on hand. I hope you all understand. I hope to send out everyones rewards (books, CDs and t-shirts) in the next couple of weeks.

So, there we go. It’s all made, this first biggest project ever made…by me. It’s so nice to have this under my belt. Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible.