S_V_H Blood Brothers (My Brothers) final image

•02/24/2020 • Comments Off on S_V_H Blood Brothers (My Brothers) final image

My Brothers, wood metal, canvas, acrylic paint L43.5″ x H41″ x D4.25

This is the final image of the project Blood Brothers, now titled as My Brothers.  This artwork has run its course.  My worksheet has a beginning date of 12-29-2019.  I finished this work on the twentieth of February.   Thankfully, my time was not all spent on finishing this project.

I finally step it up and built a new website, updated the links to https:// and had it installed with the help of Brett Widmann a friend from my old workdays. This new main site will be easier to maintain.  It also gives me the opportunity to present a greater range of personal artist insight and videos that explain the art.  On line and in these blog entries hopefully, I can build a stronger connection with the viewer.

My style with My Brothers now completes a phase of this evolution that started early last year.  I have seen good progress but would like even more changes in how I represent visually music.  One option I am looking at is to build my artworks in smaller sections and then mount them on some kind of background. If nothing else, I am looking at breaking away from the regimented look of my flow that still resembles sheet music. The music it is displaying will still define the art, but for 99.9 percent of all viewers, the fewer notation rules I follow the more interesting art.  And finally, I have to figure out how to better integrate the visual with the audio.   Like I mentioned, my audio is no longer that easy to follow along with the flow of the artwork.  So, that means most viewers don’t know what to do.   Either they can look randomly at the artwork while listening to the music or pay no attention to the artwork while listening.   Or finally, stick with how it used to be by trying to follow the flow of the artwork when listening to the music.  My challenge is to make the viewing of the artwork and the listening to the audio a seamless experience.  Once I figure out how to do that.  I think I am on my way.

My final thought on this artwork is that I like the scratched and dent look.  This artwork presents a real-life image with plenty of meaning, without preaching or lecturing the viewer. This look comes from the lyrics from the song Blood Brothers:

“On through the houses of the dead past those fallen in their tracks
Always movin’ ahead and never lookin’ back
Now I don’t know how I feel, I don’t know how I feel tonight
If I’ve fallen ‘neath the wheel, if I’ve lost or I’ve gained sight
I don’t even know why, I don’t know why I made this call
Or if any of this matters anymore after all
But the stars are burnin’ bright like some mystery uncovered
I’ll keep movin’ through the dark with you in my heart
My blood brother”  – Bruce Springsteen

Finally, moving along.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Blood Brothers image 4

•02/07/2020 • Comments Off on S_V_H Blood Brothers image 4

I already mention the influence of Will the Circle Be Unbroken on this project.  My explanation for the scratching and scuffing of The Circle was that I thought a less finished look better represented the edginess, the struggles, the roughness, and difficulties of the growth of early Country Music. The lyrics from the music represented the fear of lost and had nothing to do with the look of the artwork.  Although Blood Brothers also features a lot of scratches and scuffs, unlike The Circle, this time it is the lyrics from the music that shape, and define the physical flaws in the artwork. These are the lyrics from the song Blood Brothers that I built this artwork around:

“I don’t even know why, I don’t know why I made this call
Or if any of this matters anymore after all
But the stars are burnin’ bright like some mystery uncovered
I’ll keep movin’ through the dark with you in my heart
My blood brother” – Bruce Springsteen

These words and others from the lyrics reinforce in me the difficulties it is to keep near close and understanding relationships with those dear to us as the years pass by.  Unlike The Circle where the scratches and scuffs represent more the history of Country Music, in Blood Brothers all these deep cuts, scratches and scuffs although not stained with blood,  are stained with blue, red, and violet colors, which represents the flesh of three Brothers.  All those chips, and doubts, dents, and fears, cuts, and regrets, flaws, and disappointments, stand for decades of lives being lived day to day. That is what defines this artwork.

Scott Von Holzen

 

S_V_H Blood Brothers image 3

•02/07/2020 • 1 Comment

When I turn away from the computer image of Blood Brothers and look at the artwork, the difference is startling.  Although that is predictable, I cannot underestimate the visual difference. To see these artworks in person pulls the viewer closer, at less out of curiosity.  Then they see the push button that draws them dangerously near to the artwork. They press the green button.  Surprised, they realized that they have touched the artwork, breaking one of Art’s greatest taboos.  The music plays. It pushes them a step back to notice the depth, the precision,  and the diverse texture of the painted wood and canvas.  The artworks overall presence pops into their view.  The song ends. They move on.  That could be an experience of a gallery visitor or not as they pass by without more than a glance. It all depends.  Seeing this art being experience by strangers is an award. The problem is finding enough public visibility. Up to now, my best efforts to show these artworks have been by absorbing expenses and fees to apply to group exhibitions or even worse art displayed in tents at Art Fairs.  Last year was my best showing in exhibitions. The results from all those public viewings were zero responses.   Add that zero to the many other zeros of creating artworks for shows and not being juror’d in.

An example is the finely finished little artwork, Where Have All the Flowers Gone.  This project I made especially for a local exhibition that also features paired floral arrangements that harmonize with each artwork.  This is the local Pablo’s Center’s largest attended show. This artwork titled, Where have all the Flowers gone, I thought would be a perfect match for any florist. Where have all the flowers gone? Look there they are in the vase next to the painting.   As for this current project,  Blood Brothers, I am in search for exhibitions options.  The look of Blood Brothers and more on the influence of the artwork, Will the Circle Be Unbroken

Scott Von Holzen

 

S_V_H Blood Brothers image2

•01/29/2020 • Comments Off on S_V_H Blood Brothers image2

This image two of Blood Brothers I have staged to show the music before I attach it to the background.   My original idea was to attach two photos of me and my two brothers.  The first image placed at the beginning of the artwork would have been an early childhood image with me holding Jeff the youngest.  Then at the end of the artwork I planned to place a recent image of us three brothers.  The more I thought about this artwork and the great time being spent on its creation,  I decided to eliminated the photos.  I do not produce a lot of artworks in a year.  A personalize artwork would hurt its meaning.  The theme of this artwork, the bond of brothers, is  universal.  I left the photos out of this project and instead changed the white color of the music’s disks.

Instead of photographs representing my brothers,  I picked three different colors to represent we three brothers.  For the top section of the artwork I painted all the disks blue.  That color represents my brother Jeff, and the color of Chevrolet blue, that is his business over many years.  The middle color is a violet color to represent Roger. Violet is a color band from the Rainbow flag.  Finally, I choose a red color for me.   I have always signed my artworks in red.  That comes from Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature.  I did a paint test of these three colors.  I went with the artistic norm of the day and painted them in plastic solid colors.  Solid shades of color that I call baby colors did not look to be a part of the artwork.   Changing my mind, I took a damp cloth to remove the paint.  I stopped when my random removal of paint resulted in a look that worked with the artwork.  I then took a file and scraped each note hastily.  I then lightly sanded each disk.  Last,  I applied a light-colored  glaze that matched the note color.  There is some thought behind why I damaged the paint.

This art made a breakthrough with the artwork, Will the Circle by unbroken (rejected this year, my the Trout Museum SECURA exhibition).  I gave that artwork a rough worn look that I thought better represented the story of this classic country song,  and early Country Music.  I continued that look and idea of that theme with Blood Brothers I think the lyrics of this song tells a story of struggle, personal flaws, and faith in a family no matter the shortcomings or misunderstandings.  Maybe this music speaks to life full of complicated conflicts. That is what this artwork reflects in its lack of exhibition quality prettiness.    No bright, perfect art here. There is enough of that crap out there already.  Here you find bits of the truth in canvas,  wood and paint.   This art’s meaning is in the emotions of seeing that first paint scratch on your shiny new car, the red wine spilled on white linen, that decision you should have never made,  or the perfect life, that you never had.  Each morning we pick up the pieces of ourselves, and press on.  So it is with this artwork.

 

Scott Von Holzen.

S_V_H Where have All the Flowers Gone Final Image

•12/27/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Where have All the Flowers Gone Final Image

 

36″ Length x 26″ Height x 3″ Depth

I have finished the artwork for the music, Where have all the Flowers Gone.   I am going with a short title of, Flowers because the words on the artwork say it all.  I want to explain why my little circles of music are all white.  They are that way because the flowers are all missing from the artwork.  That should then be a convincing incentive for the Pablo center to have a local florist create an arrangement of flowers to display with the artwork.  The floral and art reception is March 18th through the 22nd.

 

I am thinking that I heard this 1962 version on the radio sung by Peter Paul and Mary:

Although I have finished this artwork,  the audio addition is not.   I am waiting for parts. Once done, I will post a video.

There are two things different with this artwork that most viewers will miss.  The most important change is that the stems are flat but wide.  The extra width of the stems allows me to better adhere them to the frame.  Also, the shorter stem height makes them less vulnerable to be twisted loose when being carried or shipped to an exhibition.  Of lesser importance, on the top section, the second and the fifth stems have no connection to their extensions.  I like this idea and plan to carry this forward from now on.  I also taped all the stems for each section together.  This allowed me to paint images across multiple stems, before mounting them.

 

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Where have all the Flowers Gone image1

•12/21/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Where have all the Flowers Gone image1

This is my first image of the classic Folk song, Where have all the Flowers Gone.  This music is one of my Greatest Musical Hits, the Early Years.   I am guessing, but I believe it was the Kingston Trio version of this song that created that connection.   Here is a video from 1966 of The Kingston Trio on the Andy Williams show singing Where have all the Flowers gone:

This is a 1960s live video of Pete Seeger, who wrote the song, that starts at one minute forty seconds:

Finally, this is the 1986 live version of Where have all the Flowers Gone, by Peter Paul and Mary. This group’s musical diversity, through the sixties, kept alive my interest in Folk music even as my musical tastes turned to the Beatles and rock n’ roll music.

There are a lot of good reasons to paint Where have all the Flowers Gone, but in reality, it was this email that finally motivated me to set aside the time for this project:

“CALL FOR ARTISTS & FLORISTS

FABULOUS FLORALS & FINE ART

Pablo Center at the Confluence is seeking visual artists and floral designers to participate in Pablo Center’s group exhibit: Fabulous Florals & Fine Art. This popular annual exhibit will run March 18-22, 2020. Fabulous Florals & Fine Arts is a five-day exhibit paring visual art with floral interpretations of each art piece. We invite visual artists to submit images of their completed work for jury. Artists may submit up to three artworks. After artwork has been selected, images of the artwork will be sent to floral designers and will be the inspiration of their floral design. Selected works of art will be on exhibit at Pablo Center in the James Hansen Gallery.  APPLICATION DEADLINE IS JANUARY 11, 2020.”

This well-attended, and colorful exhibition,  comes at a good time in our Wisconsin winter.  I have submitted the last two years,  and both times I have received kind email rejections.  This year I am stepping it up.  I have kept this work small. The artwork will be full of colorful plant looking shapes, and for the first time, I will include playable music.  This artwork will also have an ironic title, Where Have All the Flowers Gone.  The color of the music, only white,  says where have all the flowers gone.  The florist will provide that answer.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Happy Christmas Final Image

•12/07/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Happy Christmas Final Image

37″L x 23″H x 2.75″ D

Happy Christmas surprised me by taking only two weeks from start to finish.  I like the melody in which I could stop at a good point in the lyrics.  This enabled me to leave out the ending of the first stanza, including these lyrics “let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.” This music is not only a Christmas song but an anti-war song.  Lennon recorded this music during the Vietnam War, in 1971.  Although those lyrics are still relevant,  I wanted this artwork to be a celebration of Christmas.

If I had not included the word “Christmas,” along with those giant snowflakes in the background,  visually this artwork is more in the style of the Blue Danube project, and nothing like my previous Christmas works.  Over the 14 years that I have created Christmas paintings, I never attempted to create anything new.  The take on all my Christmas artworks was to take the easy Christmas style route and create a summary work of the year.  My main challenge was to get it done.  Then I could take a picture, and print out a pile of eight-inch wide canvas prints, to put inside the year’s Christmas cards.  Once the cards were out the door, like past Christmases, I will quickly store the artwork away to remain an unknown unknown.

Left to do is the music.  I have some understanding of music theory but not so musical composition.  That means I am early in my understanding of how to create and arrange a decent sound.  That is why the music it not yet done.  This year has seen the improved sound quality of increasingly sophisticated arrangements that are now a part of each project.  I believe that adding sound to the artwork is becoming vitally important to the success of the artwork.  That makes sense. This art, from the start, has been about portraying music.

From the beginnings of this art back in 2006, it was all about displaying, in a semi-abstract way, the up and down flow of a piece of music.   What it never was about was to replicate sheet music which would stifle the creative effort.  That style defined this art until recently when I added the play button to my artworks.  I guess I thought my musical arrangements would allow me to follow the art.  I soon found that difficult. Although the arrangement and the artwork share the same music, their artistic presentations are widely different.  Like everyone else that enjoys this art, for now when I play the music I will listen.  When I look at the artwork, I will then enjoy the artwork as I have always done, as a portrait of the music.  So what we have is one sculpture with two features,  with this one caveat: the artwork is the value of the project that represents the project goal which is to present itself as Art.  The music is there only to support the Artwork.  That is the difference.  The Art can exist without the music.  My music is meaningless without the Art.

The Art is the portrait; the sound is the hook.

 

Scott Von Holzen