words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Posts tagged “Performance Art

The Fun House @ Highwire Gallery: 1991 / Dreaming in Future Tense / a 2011 remix

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“Sometimes we turn the pages in the Book of Memories and come to remember the children who dream in future tense”…..

The Highwire Gallery production of The Fun House
workshop began in March 1991 at the Sayre Morris Community Center in West
Philadelphia and concluded with a performance in May. Funded by the PA Council
on the Arts, the goal was to bring together a group of children and introduce
them to the arts. Our focus would be on dance, performance, music and the visual
arts. Another important part of the workshop was for it to be a community
service, which merged different ethnic backgrounds and communities. For the
eleven girls who participated in the workshop, the hope was to inspire personal
challenges and the pursuit of their dreams. Everyone involved, the artists of
Highwire Gallery, the kids, Empress our musical director, Sandra Lynn our choreographer,
and “DADA” (Dancers Against Drug Abuse) met the challenge and worked hard to
make the program a huge success.

How do we encourage our children to dream, a dream that
inspires, enriches and motivates them to reach for the sky, and to touch just one of the millions of snowflakes that
can be found in the realm of possibilities? How do we lead them by the hand,
through the garden of hopes and dreams?

The Kids at Sandy Beach 2011

I think we do it one child at a time, one school at a time, one
project at a time, and as one community. Children love to discover, and be creative.
I strongly believe that the arts will provide them with the tools they will need for exploring their
imagination and giving birth to their dreams.

What do you feel is our children’s greatest need? What resources in our society would you like to see be provided for the well being and growth of our children? Do you believe that the arts, especially at a young age, is a vital tool for encouraging creative thinking and problem solving?

What do you think?

Select the link below for a dream-like journey into a contemporary child’s lullaby.

http://youtu.be/p3HGyXa0mjM

Winter Poem by Nikki Giovanni 

once a snowflake fell

on my brow and i loved

it so much and i kissed

it and it was happy and called its cousins

and brothers and a web

of snow engulfed me then

i reached to love them all

and i squeezed them and they became

a spring rain and i stood perfectly

still and was a flower

— Author and poet Nikki Giovanni

From “The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni”

And last but not least in this journey of dreams…a short animation.

http://youtu.be/e-sj8_UvD2A


In the Reflective Mirror / Various Artistic Influences 04: searching for moments of meaning in a catalogue of events

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When searching for meaning in a catalogue of artistic events,
does one art form influence another?

Looking back through my history of art exhibits, shows, and performances,
I wonder how these events have influenced my art to date.  In pondering this rather profound question, I
also must ask how the art of others have influenced my work as well. Can I be,
as well as my art, a product of both a historical and contemporary mindset of various
artistic disciplines? Does art from such masters as Salvador Dali, or Matisse
in painting, or Rodin in sculpture, or performance and visual art from my peers
Lili White, Constance Kocs, or Paul Curci respectively, and the post-modern dance / avant-garde operas of Pina Bausch compel
the creative spark as well as say a musical performance by jazz artist John
Coltrane or minimalist Steve Reich?

As an artist, I’ve always thought it was extremely important
to be both creative and observant.  Art
flows through the eyes of the artist, into the interpreting mind, through the reflective
soul and back into world.

I began drawing and painting at an early age while listening
to “Soul” music from such artists as The Temptations, Sam and Dave, Diana Ross and
Marvin Gaye.  But in 1970 at age 14 while
browsing through my older cousins’ record collection, I came across two visually
stunning album covers. They were Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies and Miles Davis’
Kind of Blue. I had never heard of these musicians, but the combination of the on
stage black background and their psychedelic shirts full of abstract color led
me to investigate. The music was incredible. It was provocative, edgy, exploratory,
and new. Here is a perfect example of how visual stimulation of one kind led to
the discovery of something completely new in the form of sound and improvisational
composition.

Yes, with our imagination, one art form can influence the
discovery of another and how it is translated into a new vision.

Over the years, as I moved from painting to digital art, I continued
to maintain a traditional approach to my art while simultaneously embracing and
supplementing it with all things contemporary. I would like to think that my
digital art can and does incorporate the movement of dance in its lines, the conceptualization
of operatic design in its production, the intricate sound and improvisation of minimalism,
and jazz in its syncopated patterns.  And color…lots of color, insight, intuition,
and emotion—full of warmth, that when observed closely can be found in the arts
of old and new.

What do you think? As an artist, musician, poet, dancer,
patron, blogger, or lover of creativity, does one form of art influence
another?

For me it is interesting that as I explore this new
expression called blogging, my subliminal intent is to somehow have art
influence how I blog and the tool of blogging become part of the process of
creating art.

In the meantime enjoy the slide show: In the Reflective
Mirror / Various Artistic Influences 04: searching for moments of meaning in a
catalogue of events.

  • Towards the Reflection of Art, Digital Artist,
    Walter Smith
  • 19 American Artists, Highwire Gallery, Berkgerk,
    Deventer 1990
  • Constance Kocs, Highwire Artist
  • Meredith Monk: 1987 Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn
    Academy of Music
  • Dance at BAM: Next Wave Festival , Digital Remix
    2011 Walter Smith
  • Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, Gebirge: 1984 Next Wave Festival,
    Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, Arien: 1984 Next Wave Festival,
    Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Philadelphia Artists Cooperative (Highwire
    Gallery) founded 1987
  • Sometimes in the Waking the Reality is More
    Pressing than the Dream, review, City Paper,
    2000
  • Pina Bausch, Steve Reich, Next Wave Festival,
    Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Statements After the Arrest Under the Immorality
    Act, Wilma Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa
  • Louvre, Paris, France 1990
  • Lili White, Highwire Artist
  • Paul Curci, Highwire Artist, City Paper
    Publisher, Philadelphia, Pa
  • Steve Reich, minimalist composer
  • Miles Davis, jazz composer
  • Dance at BAM: Next Wave Festival , Digital Remix
    2011 Walter Smith
  • The Birth
    of the Poet
    : 1985 Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, photo
    Beatriz Schiller,  Digital Remix 2011, Walter
    Smith
  • Billie Holiday & Dechen Shak-Dagsay
  • Stigmata, (Michael Davenport & George
    Wolstenholme) electronic music composers
  • Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker,
    jazz composers
  • Post Canvas and Paint Series 10.14.2010.8:07.a.m.
    Digital Artist, Walter Smith