Friday, August 31, 2012

What Inspires You?

Last week in digital media we were asked what inspires us - what is it that fuels our passion.  Being a dancer, it was difficult to place my finger on exactly what it is that inspires me.  So many things affect my dancing: friends, nature, family.  Even the weather might inspire me one day.  But what is the most prominent driving force behind it all?  It didn’t dawn on me until sometime last Wednesday or Thursday that much of my life is inspired by music.  However, music was merely a topic, and I needed a theme.  For the past couple weeks I’ve been extremely homesick, so every time I came into my room I would turn on Pandora and listen to piano music to calm me down.  It seemed to be one of the few things that could easily cheer me up.  At last the idea hit me: the power behind the music would be my theme.  What better way to create an image of something or bring up/subdue an emotion than with music?

So there I was with my theme at hand: the power of music.  What an awesome and wonderful inspiration to portray.  My mind started playing with the idea of comparing two songs and illustrating the emotions that they both evoked in contrasting ways.  However, I was then faced with the choice of modern versus classical music.  Through my DMA Facebook group, I was presented with some eye-opening insight to this dilemma.  I learned that “classical music was as modern as anything once and [that] there is nothing new about human emotion.”  How much truer can it get?  Thanks to my friend, I decided to go with something in between.  Knowing that I wanted to draw, the idea then grew into a plan to use an instrumental piano song I had created on garage band a few years ago as my “inspiration” for my artwork.  This song had power and beauty and made me feel joyful each time I listened to it.  From here, I went on to choose my subject: a horse, a symbol of power as well as beauty.  However, I was unsure of how to portray the joy of the song.  I even went as far as to ask my parents for their thoughts on the picture.  Luckily, my mother suggested conveying the emotion through the background or the landscape.  I absolutely loved this idea and took hold of it with both hands.

I finally began to create this artwork but not without first using my trusty friend Google to find a horse I could model my own drawing after.  Once I had found a picture I liked well enough to use, I set up my camera and opened my sketch book, ready to draw.  Now deciding how and where to start drawing was somewhat challenging.  I didn’t want the horse to seem too big or awkwardly proportioned, but after a few minutes of pondering, I started with the shoulders, and slowly but surely worked my way through the neck, head, body, legs, finishing it off with the mane and tail.  Proud of what I had done so far, I then moved on to the background of my drawing.  There were so many joyful landscapes I could experiment with: flowery fields, calming forests, and (my personal favorite) majestic mountains.  So, because of my love for the mountains, I chose to draw two with the sun shining between them, representing the joyous emotion that bursts forth from the song.  I filmed the page as I drew with the hope of creating a video I could show while the song played.  After finishing my last shading, I was ready to put my video together.

Now came the hard part.  Little did I know it would be the most frustrating aspect of the project as well.  After waiting for my videos to upload from my camera to my laptop, I began to meticulously crop them and piece them together in iMovie.  Once I was happy with their sequence, I began to look for directions on speeding up the tempo of the video clips.  I searched and searched through the iMovie help guide and even on the Apple website itself until I came across some disappointing information.  Apparently I needed iMovie ’09 and I was currently working with ’08.  So I began to look for ways to either download the newer version or even a way to upgrade what I had.  After an hour or more of reading and exploring the Apple site, I discovered that I would have to update my entire software system in order to have what I needed.  Devastated, as well as exhausted, I chose to get some rest and ask for help in the morning.  The next day I went straight to my DMA class where I was able to successfully reload my videos onto the iMacs and adjust the speed of my videos the way I had originally intended.  At last, I placed the song over my video and let out a giant sigh of relief knowing that my project had at last come together and that I had nothing more to stress over.  I then quickly created a Google account and uploaded my video to YouTube, excited to see how others would react to my artwork.

It has been really wonderful to see the work come together as a whole.  I really enjoyed being able to express myself through something other than dance.  The way the power and beauty of the song paralleled with the power and beauty of the picture really made this project enjoyable for me.  Even though I probably could have managed my time more effectively, I had fun.  To say the least, this week turned out to be a success, and I am looking forward to seeing what next week’s project brings.