Final Project: Something Between a photo Album and A Concept Album

This semester has been really tough, I’ve said this every semester since my freshman year (perhaps because covid hit that year) but this semester has been my toughest semester yet. I would not be surprised if I failed half my classes, which sucks, But I feel as though I learned a lot about myself over the last 14 or so weeks, and I’ve learned a lot about what I want to do with all the weeks I’ve got left. So to commemorate this I wanted all of my final projects for the year to reflect how I have developed and changed, sort of like how a photo album documents how we as humans develop, I wanted my final projects to document my own growth. Obviously images would have been the best choice to document this change, but that would be boring. An actual album? Now that’s hip. And it has pictures? somebody stop me

Getting straight to the point my final project focuses on my development as an artist and how I have tried to connect with myself and others in isolation. The Plan was for it to consists of 2 parts, a concept album and a visual album of digital paintings. Now I am not a song writer, and i’d barely call myself an artist, but even if I was, creating a full album in 3 weeks would be a little absurd and probably very poorly written, let alone the digital paintings. So what I was aiming for for this class was 3 songs with 3 accompanying digital paintings, based on paintings I had completed at different times in my life. Sadly the shift to digital painting was significantly more difficult that I anticipated it to be. Just figuring out proportions and hand eye coordination with a tablet took me a few days, then construction and shading

One last hit Original Ink Painting

Recreating this single piece took up all of the time I had between my other final projects and the music I was trying to write, and I wore my tablet nib down to a nub, but I leaned a lot while making it. to anyone interested in getting into digital painting I highly recommend it.

Final Digital version

One of things I wanted to accomplish when I made the digital version was that I wanted to correct some of my anatomy errors from the original version and make it look more like myself. As you can see the digital version brought its own issues to the table.

I could only complete one piece to an acceptable level in the end, and even this piece I would prefer to just delete and redo but we no longer have time for that so i’ll have to dot hat on my own time. I had similar troubles on the musical side of things. I was able to scrape together 2 almost songs. They might pass a class but they weren’t up to my standard. On the other hand I am very proud of the finished product of the third song so Overall i am going to count it as a win.

The first piece in the album is one I have been working on for the whole semester, and it lays the foundation for the rest of the album. The piece deals with how I started out as a musician and where I hope to go; it is written for string quartet, which calls back to the days of orchestra class, and is meant to capture what I feel I missed out on in my musical experience prior to college. The digital painting that accompanies it is a recreation of a piece I made in high school, which deals with addiction and substance abuse, as well as grief and loneliness, feelings which I thought were fitting considering the year we all went through.

what was missing a musical composition for string quartet

The next two pieces are meant to juxtapose one another. The first is about trying to show your true self to others and and beauty that exists in that connection and the second is about being unable to connect with others, either due to differing experiences, differing beliefs or just because of the distance. all 3 pieces had to be created and performed using midi software which is a bit unruly. I have the bones for 2 other pieces, however these two are not complete. I do like the direction they’re moving in though and I am hopeful for the finished product. The accompanying digital paintings for the piece also juxtapose one another, one capturing the feeling of love and acceptance and the other pain and rejection.

Unstable Connection

The main reason I felt this song wasn’t where I wanted it was because rather than capturing a sense of anxiety pain or sorrow, it seemed to capture a sense of fear or anger, and I wasn’t sure how to move forward with this melody.

Another Concept I was playing with

The third excerpt was from the more upbeat piece, but it was difficult to work with because I started off with a massive orchestration and a tempo and rhythm that was more like a march or fanfare, and less like a ballade which is where i wanted it. i still think this could make some cool music but it needs more work.

I put a lot of effort into all of these pieces individually and as a whole, but I think that the project fell short of what I was expecting. Usually I would spend more than 3 weeks on just a single painting, so to try and transfer it to digital media and create 3 pieces and write 3 pieces of music… I think I may have bit off more than I can chew. Perhaps looking at it as a Concept for a Concept album would be more sufficient. when thinking about these pieces as drafts or frame works to build upon, then I think I would give myself an A. Actually even if I were to assess all of my short comings for this project I would still give myself an A.

Listen, to my fellow students, it has been Rough out here. I don’t know about y’all but this has been some of the hardest days of my life, I’ve been isolated I’ve been scared, I’ve lost my job, I’ve lost loved ones, and I know a lot of you are going through the same things. Although I wish we didn’t have to go through all of this, I think it is amazing what we have been able to accomplish despite the world literally being on fire at times. I’m proud of the work I have been able to create here, especially since it is my first time doing digital painting or composing my own songs, and I am proud of the work we have all done in this class together. I think all of our work and all of us a lot of potential. I had a lot of fun and I’m excited to see what we create going forward.

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