As part of our exhibition, Portraits of Life: The Art of Storytelling, Elaine Weiner-Reed and I expanded on her "Every Painting is a Song" concept and held collaboration events with musicians and poets.
Many of the poets commented about how the colors in our work were so much more vibrant than the images Elaine Weiner-Reed and I shared with them and that they really came to life in person. They were in awe of our work and several said they were planning or interested in writing pieces to more of the paintings.
One asked how we had selected which paintings to share with the writers in preparation for the event and my response was that we attempted to select paintings where we thought the story would be most appealing. His response was that they all were wonderful stories and all of them would have been great options.
This was a wonderful thing to hear since my goal in all my paintings is to share a story that I've seen and to hope others see stories of their own in my paintings. My favorite experience is when someone shares their memories that they felt when view my work.
Well this week I not only got to experience stories through poetry, but also to hear my work through musical improvisation and song. I will never forget this experience. Two of my paintings had two poems and a structured musical improvisation written to them. So many different perspectives on the story behind my art nearly brought me to tears.
I was especially taken back by the story encapsulated in a beautiful poem by Will Becker, where he envisioned the thoughts and memories of a young cellist who was busking as she played her instrument in a walkway tunnel.
Follow that with learning what Natalie Spehar, the cellist from ROGUE COLLECTIVE (our featured musicians), had to say about this painting. She related to the image in a personal way, explaining how when practicing a piece she thinks about the parts played by other musicians. She could imagine the woman in the painting doing the same. The ROGUE COLLECTIVE performance started with Natalie performing a solo, the two violinists (Alexa Cantalupo and Kaitlin Moreno) acted as people in a crowd listening quietly and periodically dropping coins in a can. They then began to play their violins, simulating the thoughts of the cellist imagining the other parts of the orchestra. What a powerful piece of music. The audience at our event was mesmerized by ROGUE COLLECTIVE; no whispering, not a sound as they were fully engaged.
|In Her Own World by April M Rimpo|
The atmosphere the cellist created in the tunnel in Central Park was amazing and made me wonder about her story and what she was thinking. As a result this painting, In Her Own World, was born. Now through the poems and the insights of musicians some of my wondering has been filled. When I paint images like this I can only imagine the story and often I can only wonder at the possibilities.
I'll be creating short videos for those poets and musicians who gave us permission to share their wonderful new creations. My goal is to have these done over the next couple weeks and I'll share them as they are completed.
You can follow ROGUE COLLECTIVE on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/roguecollectivedc/
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