A few days after I started filming the teaser videos for The Cold & Lovely I found a dead dragonfly on the sidewalk walking home. I scooped him up and placed him on the shelf with my other insects. In one sense dragonfly tells us of illusions and how to break them to bring out our best work. It's also about deeper thinking as well as prosperity, strength, good luck and purifying the mind and body. When Meg approached me about doing teaser videos I automatically said yes and sent them a link to some video work I had been doing. Nicole sent me a text a few minutes later. "We are laughing because this is exactly the type of visual we had in mind." Somehow our aesthetics had merged.
I live in New York City, home of grit, grime, and glamour. All of my video work so far has been filmed in NY. I had been talking with my friend Kate Black about a New York in my brain that doesn't exist. Kate reminded me it did indeed exist, it was that I wasn't born in a time to take part in it. The New York I'm referring to is Beat Generation NY through the late 80's. The NY I'm referring to is my own illusion, broken to pieces by the reality of what it is right now. And yet I have a fondness for the city and the secret places, amazing people, and magical events I have had the pleasure of taking part of. There's something shifting in the area of the arts, some special leaking in through the cracks. Something that is removing our own illusions and allowing creativity to flow freely, authentically.
I create magical worlds from concrete on video. I find secret places amongst the streets and stomp down rock paths at high tide in order to get the best shots. Sherene and I sipped cappuccino this evening at Cafe Cluny talking about illusion and dream worlds. "You create a NY aesthetic that people want to be a part of." I was showing her clips of footage I had shot earlier in the day. And with each of these teasers I did the same. My only direction from the band was to keep it nature based, and so I found my little slices of the natural world in between paved sidewalks and cement walls.
One of the many reasons I adore working with The Cold & Lovely is that with their music, they tap into that same energy. I created each vignette specifically for the chosen song, with the exception of "Red Eye" which I used one of my older vignettes because it fit so perfectly. Sometimes two things that already exist match up vibrationally. This is exactly what happened. I don't think about what I'm shooting a lot when I have my camera. I have a basic idea and let it form organically. In editing mode I listen to the song and place images not only by visual aesthetics but also by the rhythm of what I'm listening to. Even if timing isn't in sync, it has to have a flow. Idiosyncrasies are a gift. Come October we will be shooting a full length video for "Ellis Bell" To see all the teasers go here. I created all except "Ellis Bell".
It was late one evening when the message slipped it's way into my inbox. It was an unexpected surprise but something that seemed magic and significant. It was an invitation to design the cover for The Cold & Lovely's new EP. Nicole, Meg and I exchanged ideas and came up with a plan. This was back in May and just a few days ago the cover was released.
It started out as an idea. "Ellis Bell" was the pen name of Emily Bronte. Meg and Nicole sent along a few images of the sisters. The cover for the first single off the album was born. I spent a few hours researching real life photos of Emily but only found a few that could be. I played off the image above as well as vintage photographs for my own.
As the album began to progress so did the album art. The vibe shifted and so the original old fashioned photo became yet another idea, still vintage looking but with a lighter feel. Meg came to me with a different photo and the vision came to light. What I love about working with Meg and Nicole is their consistant vision of what the entire package will both look and feel like.
I shot the back cover at a local cemetery. The lights and darks of the image seemed perfect to keep with the energy of the cover. The new website is up and features a teaser from the first single off the album. Background image is mine as well. The album officially comes out Sept 24 and I can honestly say I'm so excited to be a part of it. As most of you know Nicole and I have known each other since pre-school and as I met other members of the band a connection was made. There are some people the moment you meet you already feel like old friends. As soon as I received the mixes I played them on repeat for a week. I can't wait for all of you to hear them too. Click the snapshot of the website to take a listen.
If you haven't seen my Hoodoo cabinet "Le Grand Zombi" or "Amy Winehouse" altar piece in person here is your chance. I'm part of a group show curated by Samantha Levin at Skylight gallery. This show will be up from 9/5 until 10/19 at Skylight Gallery, 538 West 29th Street, 2nd floor. Hours are Thursday nights, 6-9, Saturdays 11-6 and by appointment. Facebook invite can be found here.