This is the first image of the Music Box project titled One shows the primary 3 by 5-foot canvas. Next to it are the 4 10 x 20 inches smaller canvases to be attached horizontally across the main canvas. As for the words on the big canvas, they are not from the lyrics of the music. They are from ChatGPT.
What I did was ask ChatGPT to write me a poem using the lyrics from the song One by U2. I started with two versions and then added a third. Originally, I was going to pick random phrases and sentences from ChatGPT. I changed that idea after reading the beginning lines of one of Chat’s poems. I decided I write those words on the 5-foot canvas. Of course, ChatGPT is using words from the song to create the poem. But thankfully, the only words that stand out from the lyrics are found at the beginning of the poem. All three of ChatGPT’s poems begin with those first four words from the lyrics. After that, each of Chat’s poems separate, picking random meanings and words to fit their rhymes.
Over the years, cautiously and sparingly, words from the lyrics are used in these artworks. Their purpose is to add interest between the music and the artwork. I also pay for the right to cover copyrighted music. I am guessing and presuming copyright may also apply to the lyrics. I wish to respect lyrical rights. So when I use words from the lyrics of a song, they are a few and are pulled from edited phrases or sentences. I then make sure that the words on the artwork can have a commonplace meaning.
Lately, I have expanded the use of words by experimenting with a graffiti style. I now mix up sentences or short phrases from the lyrics. On the artwork I either leave them partially covered up or better scratch them away in order to create an age graffiti wall look. This accomplishes my word use goal, which also includes making sure the words are difficult to impossible to read or connect to the music. The words I used basically end up being a decoration of lettering. If there was ever a complaint, I would update the painting to eliminate any controversy. Everything is about money. So until these works are sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, I think I am okay with my wordy style for now, and into the future.
As 2022 moved along into 2023, I rethought larger works. I ended the year and early 2023 with two small works, Everglow and Shenandoah. Each used one large canvas sized 16 by 40 inches. These size works are a lot easier to handle, and a little less time to build. They also use a less expensive stereo system and somewhat less in material costs. But their size, Everglow 58 inches and Shenandoah 64 inches, as far as wall art size choices go, these two works would be extra large. I see them differently.
I define them as small works, but that does not mean they are bargain-priced. It takes about a month from start to finish for a new music box, even smaller works. I live in a semi-rural Midwest Wisconsin city, so the pricing where I live, right now I feel comfortable with, is from 1000 to 1500 dollars a week’s time spent per artwork. That then means even the small works are going to be pricey. I would certainly like to sell to my market. My problem is I don’t think it exists. Therefore, I have the privilege of charging what I wish. I also have the honor of not selling as well. As I have said several times: this art is about the art and not about selling a product. Besides, Although I have tried that idea in the past by creating very tiny music works. Of all of them, I sold two small Beethoven works, one for 150 and another for 300 dollars years ago. The last on display of these tiny, now classic works, was recently at a winery down along the Mississippi River. I priced them to sell at 600 to 700 dollars each. That pricing was on the high side for what sells in this gallery. Of course, nothing sold, nor was there a word of interest heard. Thankfully, I have all three little works back and safe in storage.
I guess I am free to return to working on larger-sized projects. For 2023 that is what I am now doing. Of course, I am lucky to have a new larger vehicle with more space. That will help my new projects to be bigger, but not too big to travel.
Scott Von Holzen