S_V_H JS Bach BWV 974 Adagio final

J S Bach BWV 974 Adagio
≈H79 x W29 x D3.5 inches

I have a few other vertical artworks, including Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Schindler’s List, and an early Patsy Cline artwork titled Crazy. On this project, I increased the tempo (no longer Adagio) of this Bach piece to give it a more upbeat modern sound. Doing that allowed me to go vertical so I could cascade the music. Turning around from my computer screen and seeing this vertical artwork for real is a different experience. In the studio, its depth is obvious. In print with a white background, everything looks flat and 2 dimensional. That is an ongoing display issue that I feel I can now change because other things have changed.

Since 2013 I have been selling prints of my artwork on Etsy. I have also sold prints until recently on Amazon. What that required me to do is to cut the artworks out of their original backgrounds to print them on a white canvas matte. That was easier to do when my artworks were simple, all-inclusive rectangles. Over the years, the time spend cutting them out grew to many hours when I started working with wooden notes and metal frames. Those newer artworks happened because I wanted to add more depth. I wanted to better represent the width and depth that is music. But that change did not sell on Etsy.

What became obvious over the years with my Etsy sales was that my older, simpler, and rectangle-painted only artworks were the only images that sold. Lately, I have quit adding my newer works to my Etsy Catalog, because these works, with their ever-increasing depth, do not show well on a flat print. Until recently with Shenandoah, I still was cutting them out of their original background when displaying them on websites and applications, which still required a white background. Now, I have found, with the help of just the right shade of background gray and with the help of Photoshop, a better way to image my artwork. What I am doing is keeping the original background. That means the photos of my artwork now include the original background along with the artwork shadowing. This then improves their three-dimensional presence.

I do not think I am going to start another vertical artwork similar to this one. Instead, I see this project as offering me a new direction, moving away from my so-named, by another, boxy look. The problem with that is with the use of all these rectangle canvases, besides reducing my inventory, they easily added outstanding depth to my artworks. Their use allowed me to create large works that are strong and sturdy, making them easy to store and travel with. Right now I have no clue what direction this new direction will affect my direction forward. What is known is that I will continue to take this art from here to there.

But that is enough of that. Below is a 9-minute video that I even found interesting and fairly entertaining. It tells a little more of the story of this Bach project and the artist as well.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Shenandoah final image

Shenandoah ≈ L58″ x H37″ D4″
In Studio image of Shenandoah
Five minutes of rambling, hands in my pockets, discussion of the music box Shenandoah, and playing the cover music.

My worksheet for this minor project has a start date of March 10. That seems like a long time. I realized that some of that timeline was used for preparing for two small new shows, picture below, including converting artworks to music boxes. Both events came from the efforts of members of EmptyWallsArt, an organization to find alternative ways to promote art.

For the Elmaro show I needed to dig out from storage older smaller size artworks that better fit their space and customer price range. On the left side is Like a Rock dated 2018. A favorite of mind is on the right: The Water is Wide, another traditional folk song, dated 2017. Both works were converted to music boxes. In the middle is an early 2018 music box of Beethoven’s 5th symphony.

Elmaro Winery Trempealeau Wis. along the gorgeous Wisconsin Mississippi river valley

For the other April show hanging I arrived late losing wall space to the other members of EmptyWallsArt. I hung only two of the three works. The nearer is the 2019 project Over the Rainbow. This artwork was converted to a Music Box. The update to Over the Rainbow was completed around January 29th and posted only on Instagram. Hung too low to the right of Rainbow, is the wonderful Frank Gehry styled major 2022 work Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. This is the same artwork that was well staged at 1802 Gallery in La Crosse early in the year.


The Forage a local banquet and meeting business

Going Deeper:

This is the second of a three music box series where I purchase a Vincent Van Gogh print and create an artwork around it.

Since this project is not a major work, I am powering the Shenandoah music box with two 3 inch speakers and a 2 watt stereo system. This smaller stereo is half the cost, and easier to build and configure compared to the 20 watt stereo which I use for all major works. The trade off with 2 watts of power is considerable. I have no need nor is there a volume control with the 2 watt system. The maximum volume from this system is barely above average conversation. Actually, whenever I show my music boxes, I am asked or suggested that the volume be soft.

That reminds me of the saying “If it’s too loud, you’re too old” which I researched and found it not attributed to any one person. My take on that saying probably comes from the music of Meat Loaf, and his song Everything Louder Than Everything Else.

Because the music box’s 2 watt system does not have the power to fill a small room if needed, I will adjust the individual sound of the instruments and their nuances so that the sound of the music box is clear and balanced. This concern over the softer volume has led me to create simpler arrangements for a 2 watt system to prevent muddiness.

After thoughts:

I am seriously thinking of doing another different series of Amazon wall art prints converted into artworks for EmptyWalls. I did not get any positive reviews or even any comments about my first Van Gogh artwork, Everglow. That intrigued me. To continue sticking it to the art establishment (they don’t care. So this is silly. I am going ahead anyway). My plan, if I choose to do, is to keep these music boxes small and cheap, and wait for a reaction, if ever any, from anywhere, to be shared with the world. Although, this may take some patience and time. I must take into consideration my opening video line: “Hello I am the unknown, unknown artist……………..”

Scott Von Holzen