S_V_H the shape of my heart final image

What you, the visitor, need to know:

Photo 1: This is the actual (not the one in the video) end image of the music box, Shape of my heart L85.25″x H34.5″x D5.5″
This is a sample of the cover music for this music box.
Photo 2: A more detailed image showing the TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 3000mAh Lithium ion Battery Pack
Photo 3: This is the backside of the artwork, with the speaker now facing the wall when hung.
Photo 3a: New two-way speaker with front cover.
Photo 4: This is a close of image of my now reversed scratch off technique.
Photo 5: The QR code location to play the artwork’s cover music
Photo 6: First attempted image of the added middle canvas


Going deeper:


My YouTube video discussing this finished music box artwork.

Photo 1 & 6: When I shot this video of this artwork, I thought I was finished. After posting it later that day I could no longer avoid my dislike for the empty center of the artwork. I had a growing feeling that I was looking at a throwback idea of the music being able to cast its shadows onto the wall. There was also an issue with the color relationship between the blue center canvas and the outer green speaker canvases. I concluded I needed to fill the empty center with another canvas.

I found a slightly used 24 x 30inch canvas that would fit the current artwork frame and prepared it for my scratch-off technique. For the base color I went with different shades of lighter browns. The top scratch-off layer was in green. I wanted to only leave a small amount of the green top layer but what was revealed on the base brown layer that not only was too light, but the browns chosen did not complement the wooden musical notes. I tried to rescue this canvas by painting it a darker green color and adding contrast with the dark Payne’s Gray, seen in photo 6. It was all too much.

Eventually, I remembered what I have always thought of my backgrounds, which is keep them simple and in the background where they belong. I ended up once again over painting the center canvas, but this time using the color Light Burnt Umber. This worked, for its tone was different, but close enough to the look of the music to pull together all the other canvases.

This project was exceptionable in pushing this art forward with four surprising changes.

Photo 4: The first change was to take my scratch-off technique and reverse its steps. Originally, I would paint on my top finished coat, add words, and then scratch that coat off to review the decorative base underneath. I reversed that process with this artwork. The major advantage is better control in that I now will scrap off the decorative layer instead of the main layer.

Photo 2: I will now offer, starting with this latest music box, the option to battery power my music boxes instead of using my standard plugin 12V 5A switching power supply. In the photo above the battery is connected to power the stereo system. Next to that connection is the 12V supply connection, that the user can switch out.

Photo 3 & 3a: The third change is the speakers. I have resolved many of my sound quality issues. With the switch to two-way 4 inch speakers that are open to the back. I now have a more open range of sound with cleaner highs, mid-tones and even a modest improvement of base, without the mud.

Photo 5: I have the concern not knowing the life expectancy of my stereo systems installed in these artworks. I now feel better with the addition of an attached QR code. When scanned, the user will be directly connected to my YouTube channel and the music of that music box. This option will last as long as the YouTube service is available. As a final backup all the masters of my music boxes are stored on Microsoft and Google’s servers.

QR code sample of the On-line version cover of the music box, The Shape of my heart.


What is Art?

This is a small updated definition that is built on other statements I have read, all attempting to define what is art. The key is “perception.” There is no way I can get around that word. Its simplistic honesty is shared in this familiar statement “Beauty (as is Art) is in the eye of the beholder”

All art is craft.
Not all craft is art.
The difference,
art was and always will be
an ever opening revolving door
of perception.
Craft is a product


Roger’s poem:
My younger Brother Roger passed away a year ago this last August. In a tribute to him I wrote a story poem that took months to complete. At his celebration of life, this last June 4th, I read it aloud, with encouragement and support from my family. I believe this poem contains universal relatable moments and meanings about the difficulties of losing someone close to you. It offers an understanding that loss is not about accepting and moving on. Instead, it is a story poem about 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 1-8)


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. 

sections 1-8 of fifteen.....to be continued.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Crazy Final Image

This is the final image of Crazy with its stands attached. When close to finishing an artwork, I will build the stands to allow better access to complete the work. The alternative would be to place the artwork on easels, making it difficult to access the stereo system, or the music notes attached to the canvas with magnets on the backside.

Although I signed and dated this artwork on July 22nd, I soon realized that I was not done. I forgot all those interesting musical items that add interest to the work. I am referring to all those small white objects attached to the music that in musical terms are the dots, beams, sixteen notes, and staff lines.

Crazy W66.5″xH45″xD8″

Here are my, this-work-is-finally done, comments on the Music Box Crazy posted on YouTube:

I have created a new website, emptywallsart.com, to better market this art and to support and promote the works of 6 other artists that are a part of the group. Organizing artists was only made possible with the help of two of the other six members, Jeff Nelson and Christy Skuban. This website is to be used to sell group exhibitions for Galleries and Art organizations.
Our group has the foundational connection in that we are all three-dimensional artists. Four of us are wall mounted and two are sculptural artists. We then offer the flexibility to a gallery, for example, the option to choose which artists would fit their best interests. Because of the diversity and the talent in this group, there will be kinks to be worked out. A positive side of this collaboration will hopefully come with the larger resource in ideas and venue opportunities to promote and sell our three-dimensional art to ever larger markets. My thinking is that the group will become greater than the sum of its members.

This is the Home page for EmptyWallsArt

It is obvious, even to me, after reading a few of these blog posts, how frustrating it has been to find ways to, as I would say, “break on through to the other side.” I have tried Art fairs, in and outdoors, local and distant exhibitions, and websites to market this art, and they all eventually reach the same level and result: no movement in this art. A show begins and ends, an exhibition begins and ends, an art sale occasionally begins and ends. As a wise man at an outdoor art fair told me, all these art venues reset every year.

These types of art exhibitions are fine to add names and dates to an art resume, but that is all their worth. Understandably, this art is not your typical craft work (make up your own definition of craft versus art, mine way below) that fills these shows and is appealing to the public for their prettiness, highly polished look, or eye-catching use of color. Therefore, I have made this turning point: “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~ Albert Einstein.

Something I wish to document and share:

The one-year anniversary of the passing of my brother, Roger, is drawing near. In my tribute to him I wrote a story poem that took months for me to complete. At his celebration of life, this last June 4th, I read it aloud, with encouragement from my family. I believe this story poem contains many universal moments and meanings about the difficulties of losing someone close to you that others may relate to.

I started writing this story poem in early February and finished the last changes in early June. It took so long to produce that I felt for me and Roger’s memory I would release it slowly. The poem is in fifteen different sections. The plan, starting with this post, is to make public the first section of this poem. Then, in the next fourteen blog posts, I will add another section until the poem is complete. Here is the first of fifteen sections of my poem dedicated to my brother Roger Von Holzen.

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.

Scott Von Holzen

Art vs Craft

All art is craft
Not all craft is art.
the difference is
art was and always will be
an ever open revolving door
of perception.
Craft is a product

S_V_H Metamorphosis 2 Final Image

Metamorphoses 2 L122″xH31″xD7.5″ all dimensions can and will vary.

A would like to comment about the following video about Metamorphosis 2. This artwork is the last of three pieces dedicated to the architect Frank Gehry. I took the colors used on the canvases from a picture of The Neue Zollhof in Dusseldorf, Germany.
I made this video recovering from a terrible cold, not COVID. I never lost my sense of smell and taste and which I tested negative for. This video does not display my usual upbeat mood, and that comes not only from my cold but from my disappointment in the status of today’s Contemporary Art. To me, what I am seeing in today’s art is all crafty with a few words of deep thought and concerning in the artist’s statement to create the appearance of art and an artist that has deep principles and concerns. That seems to be all the rage in exhibitions and galleries, that and displaying master craftwork. It is all so blah blah, blah to me. I know craft can be desirable and valuable. Got that. It is just that I am not seeing any Art. I am not saying this artwork is Art. A lot of craft has gone into creating this physical music box. But unlike craft, I am not trying to create a pristine, finely polished, perfect technical skill object. What I am putting together may not be Art, but I don’t consider it as craft either. It is what I am. It is all that I am and will be. That is the only way I can put in the work and time needed for each of these music boxes.

Define what is and is not Art? OK, this is my revise version that I came up with after listening to dozens of different explanations of What is Art, at this Art Assignment YouTube Video and then realizing that I am not trying to define what is art, but in actuality I want to define what is not art. I quote five words from the Art Assignment video, for right now those words best represent what I am thinking. I am sure I will find my own substitutions in time.

Art vs Craft

All art is craft
Not all craft is art
the difference is
art was and always will be
an open and ever evolving
Craft is a product.

I started this project on April 9th and completed it on May 25th with the installation of the music. The cover music I put together starting on April 9th. That is the first step of these current projects. Unlike pervious covers, my working cover music for Metamorphosis 2 was the final version in need of tweaking only. In the past I would put together my cover music in the notation software Notion, using the piano, no matter if that was the main instrument or not. Once satisfied with the flow of the music, I would then create the artwork. Finishing the artwork, I would then return the cover music and to add other instruments and improve the sound quality in my DAW, StudioOne, before installing it. Because this artwork took almost seven weeks to complete, I was totally out of touch with the original cover music. Thankfully, I kept this project limited to one instrument, the piano, which simplified the entire cover music process, in Notion and StudioOne. Finally, on the 26th I added interest items which were all those narrow horizontal pieces attached to the notes, completing this project.

My biggest surprise with the cover music was how loud it could be, and the sound quality of the piano, which I thought was good and almost comparable to my computer’s Bose stereo system. I think I have reached a good level of speaker box development considering the limitations. Here is the final licensed cover music for Metamorphosis 2.

I no longer can think of or remember my feelings toward creating this cover music and this music box. It has taken so long to complete this project that all the emotions that have gone into creating this artwork have faded. I am happy to have finished it. I enjoy the music and like the look and the size of this artwork, which is more my style with little concern for market friendliness. The next artwork will start soon although I don’t have a clue what music I will paint next.

I am already evolving

Art vs Craft
(new version 2)

All art is craft
Not all craft is art.
the difference is
art was and always will be
an ever open revolving door
of perception.
Craft is a product

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Beethoven’s 5th Symphony final image

April 3rd Beethoven’s 5th Symphony about L68″xH48″xD8″
with all of my Incidentals in place.

I dated this work April 1st as finished (seen in the image below) then realized that I forgot the finishing touches. In the video I mention those still-to-do-things calling them Incidentals. My term is broader than the musical notation term Accidentals that only cover sharps, flats, and naturals. My term Incidentals covers those items and everything else, not my notes.

April 1st image with missing Incidentals except for the two word boards.

All of my projects, including these music boxes, are built from my cover sheet music. This sheet is used to create the project guide and music for the artwork. Of course, out of necessity and choice, I separate these artworks from sheet music, eliminating as many pieces of notation as possible, leaving this arts foundation, the up and down flow of the music. I then have the option, for artistic reasons, of putting back parts of my cover sheets’ information. For example, in the finished image above, I have added two eighth note rests. I rarely do this anymore. I included them in this project, for no other reason, then visual interest.

Musical Notation:
Eighth Note Rest

I am surprised by the sound quality of this Music Box, considering the smaller size of the speaker boxes. Besides improving box design, what may contribute to the better sound quality are my production skills. Those improvements in my understanding of the software I use comes slowly. On average, my time spent on each project is around four weeks, with my actual music production taking only a few of those days. I did have a start date of March 8th for this Beethoven piece, which is a quicker turnaround time only because of the visual part of this project comprised only nine notes. Here is the finished music for this project.

The final music box music for Beethoven 5th Allegro non brio

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Just Another Day image 3

Just another Day L64″xH44″xD6″

This is the project Just Another Day, with the artwork music in place. I changed the original design by dropping the bottom canvas lower, which allows easier access for attaching the music.

The Dancing house images from the LACMA exhibition catalog.

I have found the inspiration for this artwork in the architecture of Frank Gehry. It is his freedom from standard architectural rules, made possible through computer software, that allows him to create the buildings that match his imagination. His accomplishments give me the encouragement to break completely from any of my own artificial limitations I made up for this art. Now what works for me, I will make work for these artworks. That sounds simple, but the getting to this understanding has taken years.

The definition of this art starts with sheet music and accordion lessons when I was seven. My appreciation of music has grown ever since, including the grasping of music theory and my interest in learning to play different musical instruments. It was knowing the fundamentals of reading sheet music that I discovered a unique painting technique.

Before I started painting music, I searched “art in music” and what I found were paintings of people playing musical instruments, or abstract images given a title of a song. I chose a different way to paint music by using the up and down flow of a song seen in its sheet music. I felt I could paint this approach if I kept this art to only representing this movement. I wanted the viewer to visualize the music in an artwork built around a song’s pitch changes, and not a painting of sheet music. Now, with Frank Gehry’s creative push over-the-ledge, I am letting go of those artistic restraints that have forever defined these music works. It just took me forever to get to this point of seeing the value of Gehry’s designs, along with a little help from Bach.

I see Gehry’s finish, especially his commercial projects, as high craft, especially in his use of speculator materials like titanium. I do not consider my artwork high craft and do not present them that way. I understand the beauty and high craftsmanship of great art that is favored. I just think it is a waste of time and has little to do with my message. I see my approach, for example, in the varied model pictures of Frank Gehry’s “the Dancing House.” I feel these models harmonize better with my artistic style. Add to that a little help from a rediscovered 2020 Bach project.

J S Bach Minuet 1067

This Bach artwork was experimental, for it allowed me to slide the music sections about using mounted arms. Those two white mounted arms in the lower middle of the artwork are examples of what I used to connect the music to with bolts and wing nuts. When loosen, this then allows the music to slide up and down those arms. This Bach work is the first attempt at what I now take for granted. The problem back then was how to secure the arms of the artwork, which turned out to be not reliable.

It was the CVA show the summer of 2021, that this Bach artwork got the worse of it, coming home with pieces of it in a tote. This artwork was a mess, and an irritation that I ignored for months. The worse issue was the mounting arms that pushed out the music a lot further from the canvas. This exposure and the weakness of the mounts resulted in more parts of the artwork being loosened or even falling off at the show and breaking loose on the U-Haul truck rental drive home. Eventually to store, I repaired the damaged from the CVA show. It surprised me I was only missing one small piece. Although still fragile to the touch, I took what I have learned since its build to strengthen the attachment of the artwork to the canvases.

After the repairs were done, I took another look at this work, and how the music stood out three inches from the canvas surface. This distance creates an amazing look of depth lost in a picture. Also, the beautiful curved white shapes give a superior strong look of motion across the artwork.

Taking my current mood, the depth and style of the Bach’s work, and Gehry’s let-it-all-hang-out style, the results are in. Just another Day’s looks results from the largest canvas being painted like the look of corrugated sheet metal, the curving of wood pieces, and an eighteen-inch steel plate, resulting in an artwork with a depth of six inches.

I believe in my early days of group exhibitions, I could only find one standard art genre name that fit somewhat, which was Mixed Media. When I added a push button to play the music, the artwork was portraying, I then went all-art-genre-in and came up with the description of Interactive constructive sculpture. I now have simplified this genre down to Sculptural Music box. We will see how long that lasts.

Up next, I will work on the installation of the stereo system, which will complete this music box project.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Your Song Final image & music

Your Song L102″xH31″xD3.5″
The background artwork L100.5xH24″

Your Song, which I started with composing the cover music on December 26th, is now finished.

The piano is the foundation that carries the cover music for Your Song. While the violin, viola, flute and the added clarinet are the voices of this music. I have decent four inch speakers, but with so many instruments competing to be heard, the music sounded a little muddy. It needed clarity. I found the issue probably was with a narrow band of the lower mid range. I improved what I could after first removing all my questionable equalizer settings. I then adjusted the master volume headroom, and finished with small volume tweaks here-and-there. That all helped enough to get to this final music version posted below.

This video is full of wandering opinions and my thoughts on this music box project and the cover music.
Slightly different from the video music here is the current final of the final music cover for the music box, Your Song.

I am a little amazed by how much the audio for this music boxes has continuously improved with each new project. As my understanding of music and this art has deepened over the years, I have also noticed a change in me. I am today hard wired to music and art that would have been beyond my dreams as a youngling when I started painting music in early 2006.

I feel blessed that my Guardian Angel saved me, which made possible the growth of my determination that sprang from a heritage starting with my Grandpa Casper first coming to America and his hard work to build a life in the cheese business, my father’s determination to create his own version of the great American business executive, and my Mothers sparkling, and enlightening personality. They laid out the foundation. They showed the way. I found the path.

Scott Von Holzen