Foot Fingers (After Ard), 2016.
48 x 58.5 in (121.92 x 148.59 cm). digital art print.
Contrary to Horace’s statement, the art lies in revealing, not “concealing,” the art.
It takes a lot of passion and patience to carefully translate a contemporary, Caribbean inspired Jazz tune into an art object. However, as a humanist and interdisciplinary teaching artist interested in systems, I am deeply committed to this type of demystifying work. To make a still, silent, and simultaneous sight out of a song is to offer a more inclusive way to look critically at the (sublime) systems that underlie it, especially for those with little to no traditional training who are not able to read sheet music or other forms of colorless notation.
For example, beyond being able to now see (instead of only hear) the use of repetition and variation on a theme, the intriguing color palettes and patterns provided in the harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic textures of Foot Fingers are now apparent for visual appreciation as well.
Based on peer-reviewed research and the understanding that a low “C” on the staff should appear darker in (reddish) hue than one that is higher up, I color mapped all twelve tones by developing a series of watercolor swatches that I hand painted, scanned, and then digitally pasted into geometric shapes without the need of masking medium. The risk-reward of using professional liquid watercolors to construct this counter-narrative was as enticing to me as designing a trompe l'oeil rendering of a 2-D abstract painting on a laptop and overseeing the quality of each 4-color (CMYK) process semi-archival print.
My ongoing collaboration with the composer, Washington State University’s guitar music instructor Brad Ard, continues to create a sincere sense of appreciation for academia and purpose to help perpetuate visual music as the synesthetic world that Bauhaus luminaries like Kandinsky first began to explore over a century ago.