January Bleh

The new year has begun with a nasty cold and a cough that won’t quit. I’m sitting here sucking on Halls cough drops and I just realized that each wrapper has a little saying written on it.

“Nothing you can’t handle.”
“Conquer today.”
“Don’t wait to get started.”
“Put your game face on.”
“Push on!”

…thanks, Halls. I wouldn’t have considered any of those things without first examining your tiny beige wrappers.

The old year ended much nicer than I expected, yet it all happened very quickly. Since September, the days and weeks seemed to have melted together to form some formless flash of a time warp. A lot took place during said warp.

The highlight of October was most certainly the weekend of the first annual San Diego Comic Fest where I got to meet, assist, and hang out with the one and only Paul Krassner! The event as a whole took Comicon back to its roots, bringing together all comics and cartoon enthusiasts for book signings, panels, interviews, and mingling. No hoards of screaming teenage girls wetting themselves, no idiots busking around the outside crowds for cash, no big Hollywood casts of movies that have little or nothing to do with the art of comics… it was all so magical in its simplicity and sense of celebrated common interest. By the end of the day, I had met and conversed with a wide range of fascinating fellow human beings, all whose words somehow recharged my motivation kick the rest of the semester’s ass, of course particularly the words and encouragement of Paul and Nancy.

Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast shortly after that weekend. Despite getting lost in the throes of final projects and papers, I felt a sense of heaviness in me. The people I know who would be affected by it turned out to be okay, but these kinds of natural disasters nonetheless remain on my consciousness for a while, especially the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster. I remember thinking how I should seriously keep any sincere whining to a minimum when the other side of the country was looking like this:

Once November came around, I started watching my step. November and I have had a tumultuous relationship for the past four straight years or so, due to the timing of heartbreaks and food poisoning, neither of which I’d wish on my worst enemy. Well, neither of those things happened this time, but I did have an unexpectedly violent hangover with a terrible subsequent panic attack over absolutely nothing on the last Monday night, so, Cecilia: 0, November: 4.

Then came the upswing in December. The minute my last class was dismissed, I packed my bags and headed north for the winter. By north, I mean Los Angeles from San Diego where I spent ten wonderful days with the people who make me the happiest in the world. Highlights included endless cozying by the fire watching dozens of movies, eating all kinds of delicious food, working on paintings, traversing to thrift shops, cruising through Candy Cane Lane, helping to host a backyard concert and barbecue, a rainy night on the town, and ringing in the new year with friends I can’t believe how lucky I am to have. This is what most days looked like:

I was so sure back in 2007 that we might actually see the end of the world in our lifetime, and I only slowly realized that the world ends every day somewhere, for someone, for even whole groups of people at a time. The dreaded day came and went without a hiccup it seemed, and I ended up having the most wonderful December of all.

It’s 2013; what will be different? Well, both my dad and I have started the year with debilitating colds, so it’s been difficult to give a shit about any resolutions, strict or otherwise. But! I am looking forward to the spring semester. I will be starting some part-time work on campus in two weeks, and soon into the groove of things I’ll be scrambling to figure out summer work and independent study plans. Regarding health, I should probably quit some vices and start taking vitamins more regularly. Cardio exercise just feels like a lost cause for me, but I can say I’ll try.

Onwards about art!

…I agree. Here’s some recent stuff I’ve done. I’m still playing with ink, although now I’m slowly tapping in to liquid acrylics which are more opaque and slightly more viscous, but still sexy:


I still have a few days left of winter break and will sure try to get some more done, but I’m also going to try to write more as well as spend time pouring over some books I’ve been meaning to read. The book queue at this point has no top and no bottom and now’s as good a time as any to get to it.

 

This is Reggie. He will cute you to death.

Cheers to a new year!

-C

September Speculations

It’s still early in the game, but after only two weeks into grad school, I’m already tossing around ideas for my thesis. Considering my background and my experiences in the world of visual and auditory culture, I lean towards exploring the science and psychology of sound, if not the senses in general: what constitutes pleasure? discomfort? What is it about that one, two, ten or a hundred songs that stops you dead in your tracks to listen? There are tons of scholarly books written on the topic, even on how sound can be inflicted as a method of torture. While I intend to write a review or two on recent publications of said books, I’m thumb-tacking this concept to the wall as a possibility to explore or include in my thesis when the time comes. The thing is, I’m turned on by everything. I’m only two weeks in and everything that’s already going on in my seminars is exciting the hell out of my spongy little brain. Learning about a variety of schools of thought on the “literariness” of literature, different devices used in different genres of literature for purposes worth speculating… it’s all fascinating. And while it’s still early, I want to be sure to craft the exact right topic for me to research, and my gut is telling me not to ignore the trends of poetic/artistic/literary/lyrical/musical pains and pleasures in my experiences and observations over the past ten years. It’s a broad scope, but I hope to soon pare it down to a more manageable focus.

I don’t know how to transition to my next train of thought, so I’m jumping the tracks.

I have this idea that a good song is like the moon. When looking at the moon, sometimes it feels like it’s looking back at you and only you. Likewise with a song, no matter what genre it might come from, if it means something to you, then it feels like it was created and performed for you and only you, despite how many other fans are also listening/looking at the moon. There’s a step towards self-preservation that only the individual experiencing the sight of the moon or the tune of the song can sense. These are just my theories.

I believe there’s an intimacy between the mind of the songwriter and the minds he’s about to influence when he performs that song. That which transpires between those minds is what I’m interested in quantifying. Yes, it’s music. It’s sound. It’s a drum track that mimics and dances with the human pulse. It’s vocal harmonies and distorted vibrations and profound or not-so-profound lyrics, but I’m of the opinion that there’s so much more than that. Music inspires experimentation and visual creations. It begets artists and perpetuates art. Literature, visuals and sound all start in one mind and end in another. These are the unpredictable interconnected cognitive lightning storms I’ve been chasing with no destination yet in sight, but I intend to never stop logging the journey.

With that, I leave you with this, a favorite, in honor of Roger Waters’ 69th birthday:

 

Origins and Ink

For those who have no idea what Madcap Vision is about, here is a rundown of how it all began!

  • It launched in 2008 when my main focus was concert and promotional photography for local bands as well as logo & graphic art for fliers. I decided I wanted a business name when work and projects started piling up on me.
  • The name Madcap Vision came from a play on my initials and the association to Syd Barret’s solo album “The Madcap Laughs.”
  • My undergraduate studies had me dabble with so many different media of art that I didn’t know what I was actually going to do for a career. I decided to do what made me happy, which was switch up my methods whenever I damn well pleased and showcase them online or in galleries while I continue my education in a more focused area of interest.

While I was lucky enough to have had the finances for a solid four years studying art, I give the most credit to music for lubricating my imagination enough to release whatever artistic inhibitions I had when it came to producing stuff. Music nearly parallels the importance of nourishing vitamins and minerals, and there have been several studies conducted to prove it. Music has kept me going for the past 25 years. When I was a kid, my dad taught me about the classics, my mom about country music. I actually picked up the violin for about a year and the guitar for another two years, but sadly I neglected the practice and forgot how to read music, though I still understand basic theory & fundamentals. In my teenage years, there were the tunes of major rock & roll, metal, alternative and prog rock bands that alleviated the shittiness of hormones and self-imposed alienation from the world.

When I was 17 I received my first Nikon D50 and started photographing my musician friends onstage. It was then that I relished almost too much capturing that moment when someone is lost in his element, strumming, drumming, singing, sweating, rocking out to the rhythm of sound mixed together in yet another unique fashion. The creation, practice, performance, and sheer enjoyment of a good song can really externalize someone’s soul, I’ve come to find. For me, my undying love and appreciation include the music of not only the big names, and not only the music of a particular genre or set of genres, and not only music! I draw an equally deep amount of inspiration from these areas as I do from the art and music of my friends, their bands, art shows, poetry readings, plays, impromptu jam sessions, and both general merriment and challenging experiences with them. I’m lucky enough to be acquainted with so many talented people, and my intention as I said in my first entry is to not only keep you up to date with my work but to talk about music, projects, collaborations, and other artists!

Today’s big plug is a band whose members I’ve known since high school, whose drummer I have the pseudo-sisterly curse/honor of living with. I remember the very day the original members congealed and brainstormed the name the group would thenceforth be known as: The Dread Crew of Oddwood. Today, they embark on their first international summer tour as they head as far north as Vancouver. The Dread Crew of Oddwood is a “pirate-themed band that blends Heavy Metal, Celtic Folk and Progressive Rock.” Their live performances revel in absurdity and endless amounts of antics, not thinking twice about who they might offend with their admittedly hilarious lyrics that will make you shake your head thinking “wow” or “too soon” or “why am I laughing? That’s disgusting” while smiling or chuckling. The bottom line is no one can dispute their talents as musicians. All of them have had several years of professional and classical training, and their practice is evident in each of their tracks.  I worked with them on their second album “Rocktopus,” writing some lyrics and photographing/designing the layout as well as covering their shows. Their most recent album, “Heavy Mahogany,” is their best yet and is highly recommended to those with an flexible sense of humor.

If you find yourself near their stops on tour, check them out and have a tankard of brew!

As for what’s going on with me and my art, I’m continuing to test the waters with new media. My most recent love affair is with India ink. Until August 15th, I am accepting requests for small ink paintings but in exchange for either a creation of your own, a donation, or a shout out to my page! Here’s the kind of stuff I’ve got going on so far!

 

 

Signing off now and leaving you with some words to think about and an incredible high-quality music video of one of my favorite songs by another one of my favorite bands out of Los Angeles, King Washington!

 

“[We] played the subway system here in LA last night. The cops tried to stop us at the Hollywood station, so we hopped on the trains and started entertaining single cars. At first we’d walk in and you could feel the nervous energy of the passengers. But once we started playing, faces started lighting up, and after every song it went from a dreary group of strangers (who rarely so much as look at each other) to a brotherhood of music lovers. You could really feel the change. Several people bought another ticket to keep hanging and listening. It was pretty cool.”
-George Krikes, vocalist/lead guitarist of KW

 

 

 

-C

Sweet! First Post!

Hello, good people! I am very excited to finally have this website up and looking good thanks to my awesome web-developing buddy, Mr. Shane Stranahan! With these blog posts, I hope to keep everyone up to date on my art, photo and writing endeavors as well as throw in some shameless plugs for other projects, bands, collaborations, fellow artists and musicians. Thanks and cheers!

A sweet abandoned factory near Niland, CA. You'll come to learn that I have an affinity for abandoned, run-down, shitty ghost or almost ghost towns and buildings.