Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Emotion is the masterpiece of an artist's tools

This weekend the idea of extracting emotion from someone with writing or a photograph came into my head many times. Whether it was a photograph that I gifted someone and combined it with my writing or reading reports on the terrible wreckage of the tsunami in Japan and seeing the devastation it caused, the ability to make an effect on someone’s emotions is a powerful thing.
My goal as a writer and photographer (or “artist” if you consider it that) has always been to create an emotion out of my audience. Whether it is a smile, a surprise, a frown, or a tear, I take every emotion as a specific critique just as if a chef served their first dish of the evening and watched the customer’s reaction to the dish. Is it too spicy? Too sweet? Not enough flavor or a little more? All of these questions are how I improve my craft as anyone in a similar field would. And as they say, only a writer improves by reading other writers’ work and this also applies for artists. The more work you see, the more creative you can expand (or restrict) your work.

One artist that I came across from a friend via Facebook is named Candy Chang has taken pretty much ALL of my passions (aside from sports) into her urban artwork. To give it a brief description before sending you over to her website, let me explain her genius… This artist has covered quite a range of amazing loves of mine as you can count by my *s. She taken an abandoned home in one of my favorite cities, New Orleans*, and decided to create a little human experiment or test of society’s pulse*. She has done a little carpentry* to create a 41-foot chalkboard alongside this abandoned home. Then has spray panted the words “Before I die, I want to… __________” over 70 times down the board. Then like a fire to gasoline, let the experiment take shape by putting out a big basket of chalk to see what people say they want to do before they die.
“I turned the side of an abandoned house in my neighborhood into a giant chalkboard where residents can fill in the blank and remember what is important to them in life. It’s also about turning a neglected space into a constructive one where we can learn the hopes and aspirations of the people around us.”

This assessment of human priorities is truly fascinating to me. Being a big advocate of writing out your thoughts and feelings as a constructive release, I cannot think of a simpler way to express your emotions in such a beautiful manner for the public to see. Then giving the project a voice by putting it online* with frequent photographs* and updates to the board* is beyond genius. An urban artscape with raw, physical and human emotion and beauty is hard to come by—especially in such a devastated city like New Orleans. What makes me smile the most are the responses that give such a taste to the city itself. It is difficult to explain the pulse of such a vibrant city with deep roots and present heartbreaks, but for a glimpse into something special, you must take a look at this website… http://candychang.com/before-i-die-in-nola/

For me, this artist is doing exactly what I have dreamed of doing IN New Orleans. If you ask people that know me well, they know that I was effected significantly by going down to New Orleans to help in Katrina cleanup and since then I have wanted to group all of my passions into something within the city but to give back to the city as well. Apparently Candy Chang has beaten me to it, but someday I hope to make an artistic, emotional, economical, and significant impact on such a tremendous city. Browse the rest of her site, as it is truly incredible.

Perhaps you might have some creative ideas or comments on my work at http://michaeltirone.com and my photographs that you think I might be able to do something similar that Candy has done. Just like any good restaurant, there are comment cards for reason to improve. As a visually virtual chef of photographs, I want me dishes to have some flavor and get some emotion… but it’s difficult to see smiles, tears, frowns, etc via a computer screen.

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