Mike Brunt [donmigueltheabsurd]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
My paintings are mostly surreal in the style of Latin-American artists such as Rufino Tamayo, Gonzalo Cienfuegos etc. I like to use lot's of color contrasts in my work and tend to paint fairly quickly and am currently intermingling my painting with music. I created the cover for my first collaborative music album with Alexandra Bwye; the album can be heard here http://co-opera.bandcamp.com/album/dismal-land
There are examples of all my paintings here http://www.donmigueltheabsurd.com/
What is your message?
That no matter what time of life you are in, it is never too late nor early to be creative. Live life with passion and love.
Your biography in four lines.
I was born in the UK, was a DJ and had a blues band called "Cruising Power". I moved to the USA in 1994 and changed careers from business management to computer software/server engineer. In 2003 I started painting and now have over 40 works. In 2009 I started composing music and have 1 album released, http://co-opera.bandcamp.com/album/dismal-land
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
Yes I have two web sites one for music http://co-opera.bandcamp.com/album/dismal-land and another for my art http://www.donmigueltheabsurd.com/
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
A lot of my art was inspired by relationships in my life and also by music, for which I have a very eclectic taste. I do walk a lot, on the beach and sometimes ideas come to me during those times of oneness with nature. I did paint one commission for a painting to hang in a music room. My music has very similar influences and inspirations.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
In my painting I have not yet graduated to digital art but I do have the necessary tools, so perhaps will do some digital work soon. In my music technology is very prominent, most of my work is via a midi interface and Propellerhead Reason and Record.
What is art?
Art to me is a communication mechanism which I can use to express feelings in a creative way.
When do you get your best ideas?
Some of my strongest works have come at times of sufferings, not that I have suffered terribly in my life but I have had times of relationship issues and passion and love is very important to me.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
I evaluate that as it unfolds and as I add to it. Both in my painting and music, I leave them where I can see or hear them and add to them as I am seized by something that looks or sounds right in my mind.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
The pen, the printing press and the computer.
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
Back in 2003 when I went as a DJ to an informal art therapy session in San Francisco CA; I was persuaded to try painting which I did and surprised myself. After that I simply continued. There was a period when I painted little but then I met a lady whom I fell in love with and whom became my muse, that was in 2006.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
I believe it is because they have volatile personalities and that they are driven to creative pursuits in order to have an outlet for possible turmoils inside, we could say they turn their turmoils into oils.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
That is a label that is do narrow for where I have been and might go, I would describe what I do as passionate surrealism.
How should a work of art be evaluated?
A work of art should be evaluated by its ability to inspire emotional responses in my opinion.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
An artist does invent herself, himself with each piece of work, so no, not every day.
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
The most influential of all is Rufino Tamayo from Mexico, his use of colours is amazing to me, sometimes almost imperceptible in transition, yet, profound. Frida Kahlo also, her self portraits are infused with passion and emotion. Picasso in his cubist period, LS Lowry for his depiction of working class woes with colour; those are the main influences and they influenced me by the emotions they stirred in me.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
I think it should be a priority because so much satisfaction for the human race comes out of its application.
Is art necessary?
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
The way I currently sell my art is as a very high quality print of the original on canvas and I limit the number to a maximum of 10. I did have one commission where I let go of the original and I was happy to think it would grace that place where it hangs.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
It is always the work of art that is purchased and then an artist may be engaged for a commission and then the artist should create pieces of art that are worthy of being purchased. The main part being that if we feel we are being bought to be compromised we ought not to allow that to happen.
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
It is what is at the root of art, when it just feels right, in my opinion.
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
I think it matters little, it is what the consumers of art want to see and I for one really don't care if my art is appreciated in my lifetime because I paint not for sustainance but for the joy of it.
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
I have been fortunate to deal directly with buyers but I suppose if I really need to get my art out there I may need to deal with a middle tier, we shall see.
What types of jobs do you usually do?
I have only accepted commissions that I wanted to carry out, as my art is driven by passion, that is how I would like it to stay.
Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
I am lucky enough to really enjoy my main job, helping large web sites to handle more traffic. Painting and making music really bring out my creativity.
Do you personally collect any items?
Only music in reality, which, since since the advent of MP3's, has become so much easier to do.
Which websites do you frequently visit?
MySpace Mixcloud http://www.mixcloud.com/coopera/il-verdetto/player/ (a great piece from Alexandra) and SoundCloud http://soundcloud.com/search?q[fulltext]=Coopera&q[type]=&q[duration]=
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
Pursue whatever creativity brings to you and most of all really, really enjoy it, to the full.
What do you do? What is your musical specialty?
My start in music was back in the 1960's as the leader of a blues band in Northern England; "Cruising Power". I played electric bass, blues harmonica (harp) and sang, those are still with me today. In 2009 I was privileged to spend some time with an exceptional, musician, composer and producer; Shueh-Li Ong of Zenovibes http://shuehli.com/. I learned a lot, at that time, about "home" studio recording. In early 2010, with the help of a great friend and collaborator, Alexandra Bwye http://www.enlightenprinciple.com/ I began making music using Propellerhead Reason and Record via midi keyboards, M-Audio Axiom 25 and 49, Fender Jazz Bass and my trusty harmonicas. The music in based around electronica, ambient, trip-hop and trance.
Do you work alone or in a group? If in a group, who are the others you work with?
The name of our collaboration is Co-Opera and there are currently two members, myself and Alexandra Bwye. Alexandra is a trained classical pianist and has been a great inspiration to me and helps me to extend my somewhat limited playing skills.
Is there a web address where one can listen, see, or read some of your work?
Yes, we have released an EP and Album which can be heard here...
We have some longer pieces here...
Also there are extra tracks here...
For album covers (which we evolve ourselves)...
Please list discography in which you have participated.
Coda for Coding EP: http://co-opera.bandcamp.com/album/coda-for-coding
Dismal-Land Album: http://co-opera.bandcamp.com/album/dismal-land
How did you begin making music? Who introduced you?
My "false-start" ;o) back in the 1960's was inspired by the great music around me, blues giants such as Sonny Boy Williamson, Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters and amazing bands such as The Yardbirds, Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, as the 60's ended so did that part of my music making.
In mid 2009 Shueh-Li Ong a very talented musician, composer and producer http://shuehli.com/ spent some time at the Hermosa Beach studio. I learned a lot from that visit.
In late 2009 I obtained Propellerhead Reason and Record and with the inspiration and assistance of Alexandra Bwye began creating music in earnest and this is no false start as there is already and EP and Album.
What was your musical education?
I am totally self-taught using sounds I hear and instructional videos.
When did you realise that making music could be a way of life for you?
Right from being in my mid-teens I wanted to have a career in music but to be honest I could never make enough money doing so. I am fortunate at present to have a well paying job in technology which I really like which affords me time to get back into music.
What is your creative process?
This is very multi-faceted, as far as inspiration goes, for instance, for our first album, "Dismal-Land" was inspired by all the things we perceive need to be changed here in the USA. The second album, currently in progress, "The Witches of Pendle" was inspired by a true story. I create the music in the same way I paint, I leave a track looping continuously for hours and add something as the feeling to do so comes to me.
When do you have your most lucid moments, in the morning or night?
At both times, in actual fact. Walking on the beach in the morning with the ocean brushing my feet often stirs things and after my work day, at night before and after eating are times of inspiration and creativity, also.
How do you know when a song is finished or needs no more changes?
This, once again, applies to my paintings and to my musical creations. I just know when things are finished from my perspective, I do not have an outside producer but will often consult with Alexandra to see what she thinks.
How did you discover your creative territory? How would you describe it?
My studio is an old beach house in Hermosa Beach, California. Old by US standards and built in 1927. It is stand-alone, white plastered walls with blue trim almost looking like it should be on a Greek Island. Inside I have an office, a music room and a recreation area and have thought of pieces in all places, pieces being art or music. I paint in a corner near the office at the front. The ceilings inside are coved in a Spanish style and the atmosphere, the ambiance is totally amazing. This is a place I shall never forget, no matter where else I compose and paint.
What part of your job is your least favourite?
Without doubt, administration and paperwork.
How often do you practice?
I practice every day unless traveling for about 1.5 hours on average.
How do you feel right before going out on stage?
We are very new and have not been on tour at all and perhaps never will because we enjoy creating and then distributing.
Which musicians or groups have been inspiring to your career?
Jacqueline Dupre, Jimi Hendrix, Sonny Boy Williamson, Armando Mansanero, The Beatles, The Yardbirds, ColdCut, The Orb, FSOL, Glen Gould, Trent Resnor; there are so many but these stand out.
List three songs that are key to your life.
Elgar's Cello Concerto - Jacqueline Dupre
I Am The Walrus - The Beatles
I Guess I Just Wasn't Made For These Times - The Beach Boys
What should be done to stop piracy?
Totally get rid of as many levels in between musicians and their listeners/fans; we will not stop progress.
What type of music do you detest?
I do not detest any kind of music, there is good in all. My least favorite genre would be Country Music.
What time did you get up this morning?
I live with the birds, the non-nocturnal ones; 6:15AM.
How do you sell yourself? What has been your experience with record companies and representatives?
Yes this is a weak point on my part, I do this with the great help of Alexandra, it is self distribution and self promotion and weak though it might be I like it like that, in reality.
What other things have you done to make a living?
I have another career, I troubleshoot and fix large web sites when in trouble and get them ready to take large increases in load without getting into trouble.
Have you ever played on the street or in the subway? How much did you collect each day?
No I have never done that.
Who would you play with, without a doubt?
Brian Eno, The Orb, ColdCut.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the business?
This sounds hackneyed, never give up and don't let others dispirit you.
|| ||DR. DEMOSTENES MARCIAL CHAVEZ GOMEZ|| |
|| ||SUDIP KUMAR CHATTERJEE|| |
|| ||Alan Roberts|| |