My Way of Doing “Art”

LiB2014 Light at first Sunset

I am finding myself looking for more and more ways to express myself. I quit my job at a big data firm a little over a year ago and decided to start teaching yoga; I think this was my first step into a much larger world of self-expression and performance based art. I’m not say that teaching a yoga class is a performance, but it is definitely entertainment to some degree. Even this blog is a type of performance, though I am not sure where it will go.

I have a lot of influences that I feel compelled to explain, to better understand where I am coming from when I create things.

We have to start this conversation in my childhood, because there are some core personality traits about me that you should understand. I almost perfectly fit the symptom categorization of someone with Attention Deficit Disorder; that is to say that I have a brain where my neurons keep my brain focused on background information rather than the stimuli that can keep a brain focused on an object. This is coupled with the ability to intensely focus on objects for smaller periods of time, that neurologists call hyper-focusing. Its like a muscle, you learn how to use it more and more as you get older, as long as you are aware of it. For a long time I was seeking the greatest stimulation for my mind, interactive media was a huge part of my life. But then I found yoga and detachment from my entire life and shifted towards a new dimension of my personality, a second language and seemingly predestined experiences in Europe.

I don’t think saying you have a destiny is selfish, even though it is definitely something that is focused on the ego. Having a purpose is the single greatest conundrum of all life; there is no justifiable or provable reason for existence. We explain all kinds of theory around what the possibilities are; indeed, mythology achieved this as we matured into societies and civilization, but this is still completely unknown to us. Even Descartes famous “proof” is nothing more than self-referring circular logic and there is no way to say that this is not one dream, inside of another. But in this vast sea of unknown, we have a beacon of hope, the brightest lights that exist in the known universe; we have consciousness.

Still unexplained, still undefined, consciousness is ever eluding; though modern neuroscientists have made extraordinary strides to define cognition, dysfunction, neurology, and the function of specific neurons in the brain. But the field of psychology is still young and barely 100 years old.

This story starts with my neurological make-up, as the biggest contributor to my art is my brain, and why I am different.

Be forewarned that this is a multi-article series that will be completed over time, but I have previewed the articles for you below.

Please check back soon for the completed articles:

ADD

When I was young, I did a lot of stupid shit. Like pouring water buckets onto other kids heads, or pushing kids off slides, or kicking my sister. I was a pretty wild kid, with a lot of energy and my mom would take me to the park a lot to run around and scream. This translated nicely when it came to sports, but in school, it was no-good. My first grade teacher was the first to say, he is disruptive but he seems to be learning the information just fine himself, he’s distracting the other children. Cue the dramatic music and thus begins my relationship with drugs, particularly amphetamine analogues, and this would continue into my 20s. But I was better at school. I even won student of the month. One time, in first grade. I don’t think I was a very good student, as far as the teachers were concerned though, I had great relationships with most of my younger teachers, but as I grew older I grew more disagreeable with my teachers.

Thinking Differently

I can’t remember when my interest with psychology started, but it was probably around 2nd or 3rd grade. I wasn’t yet aware of anything abnormal as far as my own prescription went because my parents were very good about assimilating my mindset to what I had to take. I took a lot of acupuncture herbs and feared those far more than Ritalin. But sports were how I learned to focus my attention, soccer was great at first, but I became passionate about basketball, in a big way. I was big compared to other kids when I was younger (wider, not thinner.) so I played a lot of contact sports, eventually leading to football and rugby. But my interest in video games would always compete with my love of sports, but eventually it led me to get a job in technology. I’ve always been good with computers, they just make sense to me.

Catholic Schools

I have a very unique relationship with Jesus and god, developed from being a part of the church when I was very young. I used to go every week, especially when I was younger and can remember the whole thing. Maybe it was going to Jesuit school for 8 years, but logically, the divinity of Christ doesn’t make sense to me, personally. I prefer to think of him like an ancient scientist, similar to Socrates, who unlocked ways to cure various ailments and psychology illnesses in the ancient world. There are a lot of useful symbols in the bible that are improperly analyzed due to being taken literally, or not worked on in Ancient Greek; in order to really understand the bible’s meaning, you have to understand the ancient greek that the bible was written in. Apart from that, I really believe that everyone should read the dead sea scrolls; it offers a very different and provocative view of Jesus, less of a god and more of a man. After all, god has to have been invented by humans, at least the recognition of the idea. This doesn’t mean it isn’t real, but that it is our adaptation, even the definition is inherently human, but the feeling of god is truly indescribable.

Video games

I still want to craft a light saber, Star Wars games were my favorite when I was younger, but my gaming history culminates with World of Warcraft. Think the whole 9 yards, raids, dungeons, guilds, even organizing raids and guilds at certain points, though I was never committed enough to really give 100% of my free time to the game, thankfully. But it is amazing how social games have become and I am waiting for the next big hit by playing Tales of Vesperia (an incredibly good xbox360 game, like a new age final fantasy or Zelda. I am also playing Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, which is an eye orgasm it’s so beautiful, and Starcraft II, in very small dosages. But I want to get the next-gen systems just to play some of the higher production value games, such as Destiny or Titanfall, but I just love seeing the technology evolve. My story really starts with my first computer…

Drawing, reading, remote control vehicles, warhammer 40K, karate, and sports

Reading has always been a passion of mine, but I didn’t like classical literature until I learned French. In my formative school years, I used to get really bored and would draw curves and lines and eventually got somewhat okay at drawing, though I think I like chewing the pen caps more than making pictures. It was more of an excess energy kind of thing, where I couldn’t sit still so I would get engrossed into some random drawing, I think that still, whatever I am doing, I have to be engrossed in it. So I’ve had lots of side projects that I have loved, like making a model airplane from balsa wood and plastic sheeting with an engine I mounted and inserted myself. It was pretty epic, until the wind tossed it and threw it down onto the concrete to die in its first flight.

Weed and high school

I grew up in California, I have ADD, I’ve been doing drugs since I was six, and I really like to smoke a joint here and there. You can judge me all you want, but if you drink at all then I suggest you don’t. The whole idea of anything being a “drug” is silly to me, honestly, because we are chemicals. It is the foundation for all of matter in the universe and marijuana is a damn plant that you can smoke and it doesn’t cause lung cancer! I also tend to feel more at peace, relaxed, and generally happy when I am high. People have been using substances for performance enhancement since history. That has to mean something. After years of adderoll and ritalin, it calms me down now.

Art History

I have a favorite teacher, out of anyone I’ve ever met, and the dude is crazy; both cool and smart. He is really the first person that taught me how to “see” to how to begin to take the pieces apart of something abstract and put it back together with meaning. This is what I believe true art is: reconstruction of an idea through the creation of an experience in the mind of a perceiver. The best experiences are the ones that you are in control of; something that art is just beginning to understand. I started off as a freshman in the Ancient Civilizations class and learned about the Olmec culture, Aztecs, Mayans, and some of the coolest ancient architecture (art was mostly architecture back in the day, at least that’s what we still have) in the world. But this was just beginning to learn to understand Matisse, Duchamp, and the most influential artists of history. It only increased in velocity as I graduated from high school and moved to Spokane to my first major depression, then Paris with my first love and visiting Monet’s Gardens together in the spring.

Yoga Experiences

I stepped into my first studio when I was 20, with my mom. It was an immediate attraction; the challenge and difficulty were perfect. I had done cross-fit with Dan Bunz a few times and had worked really hard at basketball and was a successful rugby player, but I had never felt anything like what these yoga poses were doing to me. I felt, invincible, so strong and I’m sure that I was. That first summer I spent most days in the hot rooms of East Wind Auburn and East Wind Roseville. Scott and Ryan were incredible teachers, so physical and mindful in their teaching practices. I was given some gifts to continue my practice while I travelled, a mat from my mom and a copy of the Baghava Gita, some meditations, and one recorded class from Rusty Wells and one recorded class from Bryan Kest. Those things together, changed my life while I was in Paris. I delved into the past to find why the West had developed to become what it is and fell in love with a harsh, cold, and beautifully ancient city perfect for a 20-year-old American (I got to drink all the time and my b-day wasn’t even that big of a deal!)

Paris, Amsterdam, and death in Poland

Some powerful experiences in my life  occurred in Poland, Paris, and the year I spent in Europe. My best friend is from Nandy, which is just outside of Paris, and he is really the reason why I got into French, so I learn to communicate with my friend. It became a minor in college and then I decided to switch my major from business to French so that I could spent both semesters of my junior year in Paris, instead of just the first one. This ended up being an extremely powerful life-altering decision, as I met my first love at the beginning of the second semester, I think that it was even the night that I returned to Paris from returning home for Winter break. Let’s just say that it’s really hard for me to believe in coincidences at this point, because my first girl was perfect for me at that time and I think we were exactly what each other needed, especially after I got back from Poland. I needed to believe in love again. Needless to say the relationship continued, but this vastly altered my previously formed friendships with people from all over the globe (Algeria, Morocco, England, Columbia, Martinique, China, India, Germany, Spain, really there was more diversity there than I have ever experienced and it was astonishingly refreshing. I couldn’t spend as much time playing video games with my Columbia friend, then smoking a smidgen of hash and going out to drink that night.

Love and my first girlfriend

My first relationship was really the death of my idealism for love and marriage. I honestly though I would only love one person, ever, for my entire life. I don’t think that love works that way for me, its more of a spectrum, where I have varying degrees of respect and factors of attraction that aim at a happy medium of stimulation and stillness. To be honest, you can love someone and know that it can’t work for you and that what happened to me. It’s hard to explain feeling like that, but while I was in Boston, for those two years, I became really unhappy. It wasn’t just my girlfriend, but my first time being in a cubicle, stuck, at the bottom of the company, a nobody that didn’t make very much at all. It felt like the brakes had been strapped on me for the first time in my life and I retreated deep into video games, my yoga practice was forgotten for the first time in a year. But I was happy, for a time.

End College and Work

Its funny, it took moving across the world for me to finally start doing my work and pushing myself in school. I got to France ready to know it all and found myself embarrassingly bad at French for having studied it for seven years. Over the first four months especially, I worked every day translating with my dictionary and would go to my best friend’s house to practice speaking and listen to their fluent conversations that would catapult me to extremely high levels of understanding of the familiar and spoken aspects of the language. This is how I got my first real job in Boston, I was bilingual and technologically savvy so I was hired to do French customer support for their expanding international data division.

Quitting Work

I left work as a product manager, the product owner of an engineering team with five member that absolutely sprinted across finish lines and was extremely fun to work with. I think I am difficult to manage, though I do try really hard, but sometimes its just in my nature to rebel against authority, especially when I have none. I am not too sure I can work for someone else, my passion leads me to put everything I am into what I am doing, this is not so good for a work/life balance, so I looked for better ways to balance myself through teaching yoga, which has been an incredibly great experience both grounding and enlightening.

Getting into writing, then painting, then music

At the same time I teach yoga, I am learning to express myself in new ways. This blog is definitely one of those, but I really don’t like to limit my mediums. I am so glad that I started doing this every few days a year ago, it is very personally fulfilling and I would recommend getting your own blog if you like writing, for yourself. So I write, mostly, though right now I can’t stop making music so I am mostly doing that. I also paint, as you might have seen from my latest completed painting and work towards Matisse, Van Gogh, and Impressionistic surrealism. I love to write and actually have a world that I am waiting to write more about, until I become a bit better at writing conflict. I don’t believe that focusing on just one medium is something I can accomplish, though I do spend the majority of my focus on yoga then do this stuff on the side, as temporary projects mostly that I work on sporadically.

Music

Music is different for me, I am not even looking to create rhythm or beat at this point, but to work with specific frequencies and to learn to control the Ableton Live software. But I am finding myself absolutely in love with making the music and adjusting waveforms and learning more about the software and am spending multiple hours every day working on new music. I am not sure, but if I continue to spend this much time on production and sound design, it will probably be what I develop the most alongside my yoga, next to continuing to write. Painting is not something that I feel compelled to do often, but music is something I naturally do every day anyways, and I have an enormous appetite for music, most particularly electronic music. My time at the clubs in Paris paid off and I listened to the Human After All album the entire time I was in the Paris subway, it was pretty awesome. But I am looking now to start making dance music as opposed to experimental ambient music and hopefully I will have something good soon! I bought an APC20 for $50 from Guitar Center so I am looking forward to Monday when it arrives. Oh, and my album on kickstarter failed to get funded, I guess that’s what I get for not spamming my facebook friends with it. I believe in Karma in a big way, so I am just going to keep spending time that makes me feel awesome working hard to make something cool.