Art & Music

Music Mediums as Art

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A record sits delicately on a vintage, barely held together record player. As it crackles & spins, it plays out its job as muse. Watching the record player, the vinyl continues to spin and then begins to warp. But the song does not become affected. The warping continues until a single wing sprouts, then two. And upon the next revolution--magic occurs. The wings give life and sprout out, spawning a multiplicity of vinyl birds that take flight on the very notes of the song playing. Exponentially, they multiply and ascend up the wall. Then, abruptly, they freeze. The moment is captured and the magic is preserved to be shared.

Such is my imagining of how inspiration may have found artist Paul Villinski for his 'Diaspora' installation at Indy's Alexander hotel.

Music is a powerful muse. So powerful, in fact, that it can break the actual record into pieces. These are the pieces that artists like Lobyn Hamilton meticulously arrange into composite likenesses of the namesake artists. From ErykagBadi to Prince, Lauryn Hill to J. Dilla, Kanye West to Run DMC, Hamilton brings life to these shattered pieces. By crafting them into amalgamated representations of some of the most iconic images of these artists, he brings a new song to the eyes; one that is threaded through the grooves of these many pieces of broken vinyl.

In similar vein of such threads, artists like Erika Iris Simmons weave iconic images of our most revered pop icons in another musical medium manner; making the best use of tangled cassette innards in a creative way. With equal parts inspiration, patience and grace, and to much better effect than our own adolescent tape cat's cradles, Simmons' simple demagnetized plastic string tapestries canonize classic poses of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and even the quiet king of pop himself. Her innovation is not lost on present musicians either, as even pop favorite Bruno Mars was inspired by her uniqueness for his 'Just The Way You Are' video from his debut album, merging his talents with her techniques in a bold, moving new way.

So put on that new album. Dust off that old turnbelt player, and dig out your ghetto blaster from the old garage. For what you may find while searching for past feelings in those old mediums is inspiration to use the medium themselves in an entirely new way to share with the world.

And that, dear reader, is art.

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