I'm listening

Last time I wrote about what was visually appealing and inspiring to me, but auditory stimuli play an equally important role in my creative process. I rarely create music playing. What tickles my ear drums on any given art day varies depending on my task at hand, my surrounding environment, or my mood.  Some days I plan out a thematic play list. Some days I only want to hear the sounds of one singer/band. Some days I just hit shuffle and leave it to the fates. Some days I forgo music altogether and listen to comedy podcasts and the sound of my own laughter. 

I'm a rock chic at my musical heart. As a Gen X-er (and I'm totally dating myself here) rock in my world means grunge/alternative. As I alluded to in my first two journal drawings, my two favorite bands in the whole wide universe are Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine.

I live for that driving, building, but melodic electric guitar refrain, overlaid with poetic and political lyrics. (Sidenote: I also credit Rage with kicking my interest in Latin America to the forefront of my brain. It may have otherwise hibernated in my own personal cultural limbo forever. But that's for another post.)

I usually listen to rock music when I'm drawing rather than painting. One, because I'm still learning how to paint and am super diligent in my hand movement. And two, because I have never had a space of my own to paint with freedom. Since I began painting last summer I have always been hovered over someone else's living room coffee table or kitchen dining table. I'm just as concerned with not ruining their furniture as I am with what I'm putting on the canvas. I hope to someday soon paint with reckless abandon while blasting rock music on full volume. A girl can dream.

While I still  listen to my two classics, my current rock taste gravitates to The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, and Rocco DeLuca. All have an alternative rock and bluesy fusion thing going on. Apparently I am also attracted to the musicality of groomed beards. Who knew?

Latin music plays a big part in my visual inspiration by reminding me of the cultural vibrancy I want to portray in my art. My recent music obsession, Las Cafeteras, is a group of Xicanos from the LA area creating a modern take on the traditional Son Jarocho music of Mexico. Not only does their unique sound have that lovely Latin groove, but the lyrics carry a message of love to change the culture of social injustice.

Last, but definitely not least, podcasts. Nothing keeps my serotonin flowing like a good laugh. No matter how crappy a day I am having, listening to others satirize the ridiculous and the wonderful of life always improves my mood. I am the chic on the #9 CATS bus with the teal cord headphones laughing out loud to herself because shit is just too funny to contain it.

I have long been a fan of NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, but when I gave up my car it became difficult to listen to on a regular basis. Now having it accessible in podcast form makes my nerdy, academia, news junkie brain happy. A happy brain makes for joyful, colorful paintings.

I stumbled across The Nerdist podcast purely by accident. A group of comedian friends get together to discuss the things in life that they nerd out about and then interview other famous actors and performers to discuss what their own creative process and what they nerd out about. It is such a simple concept: Talk about what you love. Talk about how you create what you love to do. Laugh along the way. I want to apply this method to all my interests and tasks in life, not just my art.

I'm always taking my music and my artwork to work at local cafés around Charlotte. If you see me and my teal cord headphones bopping around Amelie's, Central Coffee, or Starbucks-East Blvd come discuss music and your creative process. And maybe we'll laugh about it.