Classical Music is Dead*

Trust Your Intuition

Posted in Uncategorized by The Nouveau Classical Project on 03/27/2009

promo_shot

We had a chance to interview artist Elsie Hill,whose latest work, a series entitled Pangaea, will be the inspiration for the next Nouveau Classical event. Check out her work at Nabi Gallery from April 16 to May 30. 

Until then, hear what Ms. Hill has to say about Pangaea, the value of intuition, and the challenges of an artist.

What inspired these paintings?

My initial idea was to give every painting its own character. I started looking at fables at first, but early on in the process the animals began to represent my own stories. I created these paintings over a period of two years. Much of the time the narratives would flow from a combination of influences: what was happening in my life, what I was listening to on the radio, or what was happening around the world that I wanted to comment on.

Is there anything you want to say about the style in particular?

Intuition was a vital part of the style. I really had to trust myself in terms of when to repeat or when to switch directions. I have spent a lot of time trying to learn different techniques and I felt like it was time to really dig into my arsenal and see what I could do. I felt like style was so closely related to technique and process for me that using just one style of painting would be too limiting for this work. The technical choices that I made were not random. They were guided by intuition and experience and it was a lot of fun to just let loose and see where it took me.

Are there any reasons for the particular choices of animals?

crabsWhat I love about animal imagery is that the symbolism is both fixed and un-fixed. Even though there is not a universal defined meaning attached to a particular animal, I used many animals that evoke common ideas.
For instance, the sheep: those paintings were about identity for me. Of course the idea that sheep are followers is pretty common in our culture but I thought about the pressures on artists to be unique and make something new.
The mating horseshoe crabs were the first paintings that I made in this series. I made so many, it seems like they reproduced themselves- kind of the genesis of the project, which is fitting since horseshoe crabs are actually living fossils. It is also how came up with the title for the show, Pangaea : horseshoe crabs existed 250 million years ago at the same time as the super-continent Pangaea.
I chose animal imagery so that these paintings would be open to interpretation. I’m not sure if that is because I want to keep my interpretations private or just open to change.

How have these paintings affected your growth or path as an artist?

daredevils

Dare Devils I & II, 2008

My most recent work was of landscapes and seascapes, subjects that reminded me of home. Landscape painting is also an in-between space for me that I go to when I need to feel relaxed as a painter. I am really excited to see that with this work, even though it is not the landscape, I feel very relaxed like I am actually getting closer to my own voice.
When I was writing my artist’s statement, I thought of how these paintings are partly about who I am as a painter and partly about who I would like to be. A lot of ambition is contained in this work. Before, I would come up with a motif and then make variations on that theme. I’m not saying that this work doesn’t have a theme, but trusting my intuition to curate the body of work as I made it has pushed me to find connections that I would not normally look for.

What are some challenges you’ve encountered on your artistic journey?

I was a commission portrait artist for ten years until I was about 29 years old. Mostly I painted what I guess you could call heirloom portraits, paintings that you would hand down to your children. Debutantes, businessmen, their dogs, etc. It gave me so much self confidence as a painter. When I wasn’t doing commissions I focused on techniques and I didn’t worry about content so much. I just painted whatever I wanted since my day job was painting what I was told. When I stopped doing commissions, I began to feel unsatisfied with my own work. I felt like I didn’t have anything to say and I certainly didn’t know what to do with my skills. Getting myself to a point where I felt freedom and confidence when it comes to content and skill brought me to New York and to a new set of challenges. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that these paintings are so varied, it seems like I have always worked that way, though for different reasons. Luckily the paintings have always kept coming…

Advertisements

Mezze and Metal

Posted in Uncategorized by The Nouveau Classical Project on 03/20/2009

Just got back from an amazing dinner at a Greek restaurant in Queens, where my studio mates (as in, musicians who study with the same teacher), EJ and I indulged ourselves in a set of 20 assorted mezze. By the end, as one of us put it, “My stomach [was] screaming!”

19 more like this on the way...here we go!

19 more like this on the way...here we go!

And of course, like most pianists who tend to be slightly obsessed with practicing (okay, absolutely obsessed…I won’t deny it!) we would, out of habit, place our hands in position on the table to check how firm our bridges are (the bridge is that row of knuckles that connects the fingers to the palms). Totally nerdy. But whatever, people check their Crackberries at the dinner table, we check our bridges. It all evens out in the end.

Who's is the strongest? I think the girl on the right in the purple shirt...okay that's me. I'm a bit biased

Who's is the strongest? I think the girl on the right in the purple shirt...okay that's me. I'm a bit biased

EJ and I had worked up our appetites beforehand at the Gemma Redux jewelry trunk show at debut, where we had consumed champagne on empty stomachs. I had the chance to meet Rachel Dooley briefly, the mind behind the metal. I asked her what Gemma Redux means, and she said that it is Latin for “gems reconstructed.” Apparently she and her father love Latin and he helped her come up with the name.

Gemma Redux, consisting largely of intertwined metal chains and chunky stones, makes a bold statement through excess and contrast. It reminds me of the Baroque era. At that time, music was highly ornamented and had more elaborate harmonies than the music from the era prior, to put it loosely. In GR pieces, a counterpoint exists between the regularity of the chain patterns and the various stones attached to them.

Hmm…maybe we’ll send along some Bach to GR and see if some Bach-inspired jewelry emerges!

Rachel Dooley, right

Rachel Dooley, right

 

"Baroque" is derived from a Portugese word that means "an irregularly shaped pearl." In this piece, fools gold, with is natural and irregular rough edges are intertwined with smooth gold chains, providing a strking contrast between rawness and refinement.

"Baroque" is derived from a Portugese word that means "an irregularly shaped pearl." In this piece, fools gold, with its natural and irregular rough edges, are intertwined with smooth gold chains, providing a striking contrast between rawness and refinement.

Tagged with: , , , , ,

Burning the Midnight Oil

Posted in Uncategorized by The Nouveau Classical Project on 03/14/2009
Our staff was busy last night working on the new website…
sorry if you missed the photo, it was up for a limited time only!

debut at début

Posted in Uncategorized by The Nouveau Classical Project on 03/13/2009

Took a break from Project planning and had some fun at début new york, who was hosting a cocktail party for custom-handbag line The Gentlemen’s League, complete with fabulous people, champagne, and strawberries (and the bags of course!).

We unfortunately didn’t have a chance to meet the designers, but we did meet some very lovely people.

Oh, and this is a P.S. for the “Thank You” post: a HUGE Thank You to Jessica Bliemaster from Bluestripe PR! She does the PR for début, and she has been so tremendously helpful to us. We heart you! 

 

the bags, by The Gentlemen's League

the bags, by The Gentlemen's League

Alexa Wilson Executive Director of Marketing at Marie Claire; Bria Maguire (one of my best friends/NCP fan :D); Simon Collins, Dean of Fashion, Parsons

Alexa Wilson Executive Director of Marketing at Marie Claire; Bria Maguire (one of my best friends/NCP fan :D); Simon Collins, Dean of Fashion, Parsons

 

Jenine and Ji Strike a Pose

Jenine and Ji Strike a Pose

 

chilling at a cafe...playing Scrabble on Bria's iPhone (we were winning!)

chilling at a cafe...playing Scrabble on Bria's iPhone (we were winning!)

Tagged with:

The Latest Buzz

Posted in Uncategorized by The Nouveau Classical Project on 03/12/2009
Bees, by Elsie Hill

Bees, by Elsie Hill

We have just confirmed our dates with Nabi Gallery for our next event, which will take place on May 28, 29, and 30. The gallery will be featuring the art of Elsie Hill (not the same one from the Congressional Union of Women’s Suffrage that pops up when you google her name…but maybe they’re related?). We have been listening to tons of music and have almost finalized the program. The music will be based on not just what we see on the canvas, but also on the bigger themes and ideas behind the artist’s work.

Interview with the artist herself coming soon. After this, we choose the fashion!! Can’t wait…

Tagged with: , ,

They Can’t Be Serious…

Posted in Uncategorized by The Nouveau Classical Project on 03/08/2009

Overheard that as soon as Asuka and I walked out in our Cathy Pill dresses someone said, “They’re obviously not serious musicians.”

…we’re sure the second we sat down and played our first note they changed their minds ;-).

Here are some photos! Enjoy!

Thank You!

Posted in Uncategorized by The Nouveau Classical Project on 03/02/2009

First off, thank you to everyone who came to Expressionist+Reflections last week! The events sold out and were a huge success, with a listing in time out new york and coverage from style.com.  Pictures coming soon…

We’d like to thank Val Schaffner of Nabi Gallery, debut new york, Daniele Foods, our photographer Paul Kim, and our fabulous volunteer staff for making this event amazing.