Flight from the City image 1

YouTube cover video of Flight from the City’ from Orphée

I never heard of Jóhann Jóhannsson until his music caught my ear when it played on a Spotify. Maybe it was the mood I was in, or maybe it was its feeling of calmness in its repeating, catchy, and captivating sound effects. Or maybe it was the beauty of the piano. Whatever the it was, I knew to portray this music all I needed were the first four measures. For me, that was a breakthrough in a problem that I realized at a gallery hanging.

Photo 1: Flight from the City the canvases: A center 20 by 40 inches, and two side panels for the speakers each 10 by 20 inches.
Photo 2: Flight from the City with the notes in the spacing test, 65 inches in length.
YouTube video of Jóhann Jóhannsson playing Flight from the City. To my surprise he passed away in 2018 at the age 48.


Going Deeper:


The slide show below includes snapshots of three artworks, Martha My Dear, Beethoven 5th, and Crazy at Gallery 1802 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, after the hanging. The dangling power chords and brick I saw as an issue. I understand people would put whatever in front of the artwork. To solve, and maybe retrofit pass works, this current artwork will have a lithium battery as its primary source of power. This removes the need for a nearby plug and the clutter of a power brick and cords. Another issue was the size of my artworks compared to everything else in the gallery.

My artworks are big. In the gallery only the Beethoven 5th work (with an actual couch in front) is under six feet. In its setting it looked good to everyone that day. Like my other two artworks, they all dominated their wall space and their area, certainly standing out from the rest of the gallery artists.

My fellow artist, Christy, 3 works hanging next to Martha my Dear. An obvious size difference example.

This slide show includes three artworks and three Gallery 1802 other images:

From left to right Aubrey, me, Christy, and Mark the Gallery owner

Gallery 1802 in La Crosse is the first showing of three of the seven artists in our art group, EmptyWallsArt. Because this group is aggressively searching and applying in the Midwest for more shows, this first group showing is a preview of what’s coming. Because of the size of my artworks, to travel they all needed to be broken down into smaller pieces, packaged and loaded carefully for traveling to the gallery. That was followed by the time consuming putting them back together, and their hanging that took over an hour with the help.

Creating big works is what this art has always been comfortable with. My question to myself is, are these large gallery works practical for display for group shows? Even though Gallery 1802 is a large gallery, my available wall space was for three works. I had brought four. The rest of the empty walls were for the two other artists.

My big works need big spaces to set them off. That got me thinking that if I could produce somewhat smaller music boxes, that might benefit my display options. Right now, my current available works range from 6 to 10 feet. If we have a group show of all seven of us, spare wall space may be a difficult to find for my larger works. That is when I thought of Theo’s wife marketing Vincent Van Gogh.

My group display plan came into focus when I recalled Johanna van Gogh-Bonger and how she marketed Vincent Van Gogh. To keep it short, she would exhibit a major work, not for sale, and then, alongside would be lesser works that were for sale. The galleries did not like that, but she knew the impact of a major artwork’s unavailability would create more interest in smaller works. I am going to follow that same concept by displaying one major large artwork alongside smaller, more affordable works that would require less wall space. That is where Flight of the City comes in as I move toward a new line of shorter music boxes. I know even these smaller works are still going to be kinda big. At less the side works won’t be huge, which helps empty wall chances and may benefit collectors who have their own wall limits.


Roger’s poem: My younger Brother Roger passed away a year ago this last August. In a tribute to him I wrote this story poem that at his celebration of life, this last June 4th, I read. I believe this poem contains universal relatable moments and meanings about the difficulties of losing someone close to you. It is a story poem offering the choice of moving ahead in life with them.

(This poem is in fifteen parts or sections and with each new blog post, there will be added one additional part. I am currently posting sections 1-12)


Roger’s poem

The sun in winter
is all too short.
Who knew as you move through our lives,
that yours would follow the winter sun.

Winter arrests time
for thought and reflection
that February afternoon.
Dressed for warmth
we venture out,
Into the soft light,
surrounded by stillness,
not an oak leaf stirring. 

The cold of that yesterday
 is heard in the crackling crunch
 of fresh fallen snow, 
 as I straddled previous steps
 along a well-worn path,
 deep into the woods.

Although I think
we are alone,
Zelda knows better,
her actions are telling. 
Life and the deer are about. 
Stopping with her tail up,
head sharply flipping, 
to-and-fro sensing something_, 
I also pause,
feeling a stirring in the air.
With her nose to the snow, 
Zelda looks to turn off the known path, 
to explore another trail, 
far less traveled. 
Her interest, I cannot foresee,
or know where it leads. 

Before I can call her back
to the safe way forward,
Winter freezes my momentum,
with a stinging breeze
across my cheeks,
breaking the silence,
awakening concerns.
Had I dressed warm enough?
I feel and pat
my coat,
all was there.
Then it came to me,
that it was not the cold,
but the wind, returning to me
moments once set
quietly away.
I wondered why on a
cold Winter’s Day
on this made-up path,
at this crossroad
in these common woods, 
this walk halted,
by an unforeseen breeze
sending a shiver
tumbling inside, 
then out into the light.
Why over all my many memories,
did I find this one exposed
from beneath Winter’s blanket_,
a consciousness,
an awareness,
that once_, 
was you? 

But time was fleeting.
I had let pass 
the diminishing forest light
and our late start.
Fearing the coming darkness
will hide this path,
I call Zelda back
to the safe way home. 
For Home is where we want to be. 
What choice have I,
but to be on our way. 
We had to turn back,
for time does not. 
I could only turn away. 

Those moments have passed
this another Winter’s Day,
although the cold
is harder to ignore,
our routine beckons. 
Although she cares less,
I dressed Zelda in a purple coat
and I in my heaviest hooded jacket,
thankful that each new walk
the sun grows nearer,
and longer,
and the return less concerning.  

Along the way
Zelda repeats her many stops,
on our well-walked path. 
And for a distance
all seems as it should,
until the quiet is interrupted
by a strong gust
pressing against my coat,
pausing our step. 
I feel this air’s warmth, 
as I look to see Zelda stopped ahead, 
her ears pushed back 
by the wind, standing at that 
barely a crossroad 
from yesterday. 
Her brown nose twitching 
in this comforting air. 
Although surprised 
to see her at this divide, 
I have a smile of déjà vu, 
by a long-ago line, 
from a well-used book of poetry 
now gathering dust, 
from the poet Robert Frost__, 
“Two roads diverged in a wood…” 
Two roads, 
in a wood. 
that is all I recalled. 
With a sigh and interest 
I pursue 
this other trail upwards, 
to see it following 
the rush of rolling clouds, 
knowing soon these winter paths 
will turn to mud, 
preventing our return, 
until the frozen has left. 
Thus beginning the awakening, 
ending Winter’s parsing of time, 
with days merging all too quickly. 
We will lose ourselves 
to work to be done, 
and unforeseen tasks, 
demands and bills to pay, 
that surely will come. 

Though today 
Winter still decides, 
in the fast blanketing 
approach of low clouds 
bursting with snow 
and ice pellets, 
pirouetting down to us, 
if in an effort 
to hide our way, 
on this favored path. 

But wait! 
Where is Zelda? 
I see her brown eyes turned away 
as she slow trots 
along the untrampled path. 
Concerned I call her back 
when from behind 
I am shoved stepping forward, 
by a distant hum  
that becomes a gusting woosh, 
shaking the treetops, 
that then fads slowly 
to a murmuring sound, 
all so astonishingly familiar, 
awakening a time 
thought placed away_, 
when I held your hand, 
my eyes focus on your whispered breath, 
not knowing what would be your last_. 
Until now. 

For Winter’s calmness has returned.
And I am hearing only
my own breathing. 
And although I know 
that this air we can no longer share, 
as if to awaken
Winter’s silence, 
I inhale deeply in, 
then out that which gives me life, 
in a last hope, 
it may find you, 
and I may again 
hear a whisper of you_,
still here. 

But that time and faith
has passed by me,
leaving now only the understanding,
that I was meant to be
a part of your irreplaceable story,
a witness to your bravest 
moment of unselfish courage, 
that enveloped everyone 
in the room not of your choice, 
that became your 
last unforeseen loving gift__, 
the fearlessness of letting go__. 
That it was alright__, 
to let go. 
I see that now, 
what other choice have I, 
other than to love you_, 
and so I, 
let your hand, 
fall away, 
from mine. 

Sections 1-12 of fifteen.....to be continued.

Scott Von Holzen