Monday, October 5, 2009

'When Johnny (or maybe 'Jose'?) strikes up the band'

(Yes, I've borrowed a Warren Zevon song title - Thanks so much for your work, Warren - RIP.)

Here I am, banging the 'improvisation' drum, once again.
(Don't hope I will stop anytime soon, forget about that one, it just won't happen.)

I've had 4 negatives of these crazy 'mariachi monkeys', for over a decade.
They were shot at the 'Musee Mechanique' at Cliff House in S.F., and at certain times of year, the light coming thru the west-facing windows did lots of interesting things to the MM's contents.

I did this one at the end of a darkroom session when I had a few hours left, and the developer wasn't 'coffee brown', yet.
The proof sheets of monkeys, and the landscape/clouds, landed on my work table next to each other... and.. well, that was all the license I needed, it just popped into my head.
I didn't know how it would turn out, I just knew I had to do it - what could I lose (or waste) but a few sheets of paper, and an hour or so?
I did four prints of this image, exposing the landscape/clouds the same, on four sheets... & then adding the mariachi monkeys, differently for each of them.

I recently saw a video clip of the Grateful Dead, playing live, circa 1971 or '72 - it was all improvisation... working 'without a net', of any kind - Garcia, Weir, Lesh, Kreutzman - that was it, all *blowin* at the same time.
And I read an interview w/ Francis Ford Coppolla, who said that 'asking a question you don't know the answer to...' is at the heart of creativity.
As I was working my way through writing this, wouldn't ya just know it, something popped up in the media that took all the words outta my mouth:

This is impossible to capsulize in any way, I'd be an idiot to try - click on the link, and play the music file.
If you don't already know Keith Jarrett's work, you should get to know it,
he is a master of improvisation on the piano, & has been so for decades.

Several quotes that struck me?

'Jarrett emphasizes, paradoxically, how critical it is to clear his mind and set himself free from his own knowledge and habit's...

"Risk-taking is central"

"How do you get past your own [understanding]? Those are barriers."

'This is an astonishing notion: that, in order to tap into your most provocative creative possibilities, you need to not do what comes natural, not do what is most instinctive and habitual.'
'I just move my hand [away] and say: "Do something." '

Yeah, exactly, ... "just do something" :-)

Let it rip!!


As always, larger images of all four prints at my web page: