Carson Brooks:”Sometime During Eternity,” a Beat video

MTSU’s Carson Brooks is a multi-talented individual: an award-winning essayist, a musician, a Certified Personal Trainer at Campus Recreation, a poet, and, in this case, a creator of video. The video was made for an Introduction to Literature class in which Carson was enrolled in the spring of 2018. In an accompanying artist’s statement, Carson describes his creative process:

“I created a video for Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem ‘Sometime During Eternity,’ a sarcastic critique of some of the claims made about the life of Jesus Christ. I used footage from several films, all religious in nature, as well as several images and miscellaneous clips from Google images and Youtube. I edited the video using Wondershare’s Filmora program on my Windows 10 PC, and I recorded and edited my music and vocal recital of the poem in Audacity. I enjoy witty poetry, the kind that encourages smirking and prodding elbows to the few among the audience that really ‘get it.’ Poets from the San Francisco Renaissance such as Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg connect with me in a way that most mainstream poets don’t, and ‘Sometime During Eternity’ set my imagination running with ideas for my video project.

“I decided early in the editing process to use Jesus Christ Superstar to fulfill my visual requirements of Jesus and his crucifixion. The orange color palette perfectly suited the “ancient” context of the poem, signifying the aging of time, and most of the video reflects that, with exceptions for contrasting blue visuals that are commonly paired with orange. I certainly took some intentional risks, such as the rapid cuts of the news anchors and the split-second reference to Saint Peter, but I believe that my visuals appropriately communicated the dark comedy of the poem.

“I decided late in the editing process that an urgent, up-tempo jazz number could hilariously interact with a vaguely Allen Ginsberg-modeled delivery of the poem. I spent many hours listening to bebop and hard bop jazz, a subgenre that I wouldn’t otherwise listen to, only to discover a track belonging to the original soundtrack of an anime called Cowboy Bebop, a format that I wouldn’t otherwise watch. Having spent time in the past as an at-home amateur in both video and audio production, I knew that I would have to tinker with everything to make it fit well with the duration of the poem. I cut the song into several pieces that I could rearrange and edited them on top of my vocal recording, cutting a tenth of a second here or there to make everything flow correctly and sound natural.

The use of sound and video effects came spontaneously during the editing process. I considered my increasingly Beat-themed project, with its conversational delivery and jazzy score, and realized an additional element of that San Francisco Renaissance aesthetic could be easily implemented. A few downloads later and some audio editing and my video presents a casually lit cigarette as its introduction. Around halfway through the video, I decided to chase an urge to emphasize the line ‘or at least 1947 of them, to be exact’ with bold, stamped text that spins into a doomed film reel that burns away into an image of Christ. It compromised the delivery of the poem, not quite agreeing with how the lines of the poem are formatted, but it flowed well. Exploring comedic timing through matching my visual and auditory elements was my goal, and I am pleased with the final project.”

Carson Brooks
Carson Brooks

 

 

Letterpress posters for MLK Day

On the cold Friday afternoon of January 18th, students met under the leadership of Professor Kathleen O’Connell to make letterpress posters celebrating the life and words and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The posters were to be used the next day for The March commemorating Martin Luther King Day.

on the press

Unlike the outdoors, Todd 350/351, home of the letterpress print studio, was warm and inviting. Work on the first prints was already underway when I arrived, and work on a second was beginning. The letterpress process is quite intriguing. Though technically, any variety of materials can used to create type and images, only wood blocks were being used for these posters. Each line of type of is first laid out in a composition stick, used to make sure the lines are of a consistent length, then transferred to a galley tray, where the entire text is collected and before being moved to the press. This preparation, the arrangement of letter and spacing blocks, looked both fun and painstaking. I suppose you get the knack of reading things backward.

When complete, the galley of type is moved onto the bed of the press and locked into place using compression. The type is then inked—using an automated roller system on the presses used Friday—and an initial galley proof, a test-print, is run.

After that, the process becomes more methodical…and physical! Pieces of paper are attached one at a time to cylinder and literally pulled through the press using a geared crank. Finished prints/posters are then placed in a drying rack, and the process begins again. Having a team of workers helps speed the process and sharing the more physical aspects reduces fatigue.

It didn’t take a lot of coercing to get me to pull a print, and as with past art department events I’ve gone to as a documenter, I found myself wishing I could be more involved with the creative process taking place. I’ll be watching the Todd Art Gallery Facebook page, hoping for a future opportunity!

Text and photos by Alvin Knox

Sunshine Twin: Lindsey Larsen

Sunshine Twin

Lindsey Larsen is a freshman in the College of Media and Entertainment. She is also a member of the Sandbox student organization. She offers the following:

“I am an artist because it gives me an outlet to express my thoughts and feelings when I can’t put them into words.

My pieces normally consist of a more “cartoon” or “anime” style instead of being fully realistic and this is because of my animator role models.  Shows I watched as a child influence my art to this day.  I create my art normally on paper but occasionally go digital.  The idea I have behind my own work is to convey how I feel in the moment, and try to express it through my drawings.  My goals as an artist are to one day become an animator or a game artist.

I believe my art isn’t anywhere near what I would like it to be but I am trying to improve everyday.”

It is refreshing to have a freshman submit to MTSU Creates, which takes a share of courage. Lindsey’s already-apparent skill, determination, willingness to take risks, and desire to improve will undoubtedly serve her well.

The banner image in this post is a free download from pngtree.com

 

Art & Design Open House

On March 17th, I had the unusual opportunity to be on campus on a Saturday, and I was surprised by the amount of activity I found. Parking lots were full; visitors to campus strolled the wide sidewalks from Peck Hall to the Student Union. Though on campus for the Linguistics Olympiad, I had the chance to visit the Art and Design Open House in the Todd art building, and I soon found myself wishing I had nothing else to do. A variety of workshops and demonstrations beckoned from the galleries, classrooms, and hallways, and it was with regret that I moved far too rapidly from one to the next and still got to see less than half of what was offered. Of course, if I had been blessed with more time, I would have settled in at my first stop, rolled up my sleeves, tie dyed a tee shirt with Amanda Micheletto-Blouin, and seen nothing else.

A sign coming into the Todd Building suggested there were twelve activities, and I visited only six—an encaustic workshop, led by Erin Anfinson

the Art Ed Printmaking room with Mary Ellis and Brigette Adkins

an inking demonstration by Doug Dabbs

silk screening with Tanner Pancake

an etching demo by Kenny Page

Etching

and the tie dye workshop. Others I didn’t get to see included sculpture, letterpress, button making, vinyl cutting, sand casting, 3-d printing, and illustration. Hmmm…math isn’t my strong suit, but I’m guessing extra activities were added after the sign was made. Regardless, if a similar event comes along again, I will be there, ready to dig in and enjoy, and I hope you will be too!

Poster image

Over the Next Hill, by Dana Tri

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Dana Tri was born at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and has traveled most of her life.  She found the constant moving exhilarating and discovered she had a passion for culture and language.  She is a veteran of the United States Air Force and spent her time in service as a Korean Linguist.  Currently, she and her husband reside in Spring Hill, Tennessee.  After obtaining her Associate of Science at Columbia State Community College, she has now transferred to Middle Tennessee State University to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts where she plans to graduate in Spring of 2018.  Her medium of choice is oil, both on canvas and board.  She has had work published in print and web media.  Coordinating both nationally and internationally, she has completed personalized commisions in both traditional and digital mediums from places such as Hawaii, Florida, and England.

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Over the next hill
16X20 Acrylic and Oil on Canvas

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The essence of the human spirit is what I am driven to study.  It is not a path driven by religion, culture or politics, but rather one birthed from a desire to share and connect with individual members of society who, over time, have become increasingly more isolated and compartmentalized from one another.  In the creation of each piece, there is the ambition that each viewer of the finished product will feel a sense of community, unity and belonging.

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My process continues to evolve as I delve further into the field of oils.  Application of the paint in thin glazes over the initial background color enables deeper colors and sets the mood of the artwork.  Using the technique of glazes is a tool to better tell the story, to better describe the feelings I wish to evoke in the artwork.  The application of thicker paint is also a choice that involves the sensations I want to evoke.  The glazes allow for a luminescence, while the thicker paint is used for emphasis.  There is a sense of thoughtfulness within an artwork created this way, and I believe that the process along with the actual message of the piece are both equally as important for the final piece.

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See Dana’s online portfolio and sketchbook.