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Local music video director making art with a message – SooToday.com

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About a week ago, local music institution Dustin Jones released a music video for the first single Don’t Want To Come Down by his new band, The Conspirators. The group is made up of himself, Darrin Pfeiffer (Goldfinger/The Salads) on drums and Chuck Dailey (I Mother Earth/The Salads) on bass.

Although Brendan Garlick defers the actual meaning of the song to songwriter Dustin Jones, he notes the video concept is an ironic play on the title of the tune. “The video interprets the meaning of ‘Don’t Want to Come Down’ to not wanting to give up a certain lifestyle, or not wanting to grow up.”

According to their social media page, The Conspirators’ high energy songs were built to prove that “rock and roll is still alive and well”. The Garlick-directed accompanying video was clearly directed to capture that same energy.

Garlick notes that Jones first approached him about making a video for the Conspirators back in 2017. Since that time, the duo had bounced around a number of ideas before landing on a concept.

“We came up with the idea for this one in early summer,” said Garlick. “With that concept, we wanted to find an actress with a youthful look, someone who seemed defiant to play the main protagonist.”

The perfect actress turned out to be Hannah Rausch, a local secondary school student. “Hannah was the winner of a high school songwriting contest and she was recording a couple of really great songs with Dustin at Mission Control Studios. Dustin cast her in the video and she was perfect.”

Garlick noted that Rausch’s instinct for the character in the video was spot on. 

“The entire wardrobe was her own. We didn’t ask her to dress in any specific way. She would just show up and Dustin and I would both say, ‘That’s exactly the look we were going for.’ All we added was a leather jacket that we found at Value Village for one scene. She was able to capture that defiant alt teen look with a touch of goth.”

The filming for the video took place through August and September.

“The shots are slowed down and then (we) sped it up to give it a specific effect.”  

In one scene, Rausch stands in front of a wall with multi-coloured paint running down the walls at an unusual pace. In another, she stands passively in front of a flaming lawnmower.

One of Garlick’s friends and former bandmates, Aaron Allessandrini, was essential in helping make some of these scenes happen.

“I pulled him into the shoot and he contributed a lot to this video. The guy is really talented. He was the key grip behind the scenes and was instrumental in it.”

Allessandrini figured out how to make some of the slowed down scenes work.

“We had a piece of plywood clamped on a carpenter’s bench. The idea was to make use of the sped up effect, so Aaron would take a scoop of paint and let it run down the board to great effect.”

For the flaming lawnmower concept that Garlick had come up with earlier, it was Allessandrini who helped make it happen.

“At first we thought, ‘no, that could be a hazard’. But the night before one of the shoots, I found an electric lawnmower on Kijiji. Someone was giving it away. So I talked Dustin into it.”

Allessandrini was off screen and had figured out how to use a squirt bottle to add gasoline to the lawnmower to give it a billowing effect, while ensuring there was no danger or risk.

Filming the video at a lower speed and then increasing he final version meant their actress could not lip-sync to the song in real time.

“We slowed the song down by 300 percent. I like to refer to it as a Cthulhu remix,” he laughs. “We only had to do one take of each scene. Hannah really nailed it.”

After the video was released, Garlick jokingly asked Rausch if she felt like a celebrity. Her response?  “Not quite.”

“Hannah has aspiration to do more in terms of songwriting. So my hope is if she goes on this meteoric rise, I can say I was there at the beginning,” he laughs. 

For the band portion of the video, some clever coordination had to take place.

Drummer Darrin Pfeiffer was in Los Angeles and Chuck Dailey was in Toronto. As luck would have it, both were performing as part of Amy Gabba and the Almost Famous’ CD Release in Toronto.

So taking advantage of Pfeiffer being flown into Toronto for the show, Jones and Garlick hopped in a car and drove down to meet them during their practice session for the CD Release.

“This was the first time the guys have been in the same room together in a couple years. They were in the jam rehearsal space practicing for their CD release. When Amy and the guitarist left after their practice finished, I shot the live segment of the video with Chuck, Darren and Dustin. We did it quickly, within an hour.”

The filming wrapped up by the end of September and editing was done before Halloween. “We’ve been sitting on the video waiting for the album’s release.”

If the Conspirator video wasn’t enough, Garlick also directed a video that was released in those months after the wrap. This one for local songwriter Jay Case.

The video for Case’s first single Intend to Be from his album foundation came out about a month ago.  

“Jay’s video has a different groove. When I went into it, I definitely did try to match the feeling of the song to the video. Jay’s song is more laid back than the Conspirators’ song which is high tempo.”

Intend to Be was filmed on the shore of Havilland Bay.

“We drove out to this cool house for the shoot. They had a nice little dock with a break wall. We got really lucky and had ducks going by and a mist on the water. So we capitalized on it.”

With this video, Garlick was trying to capture an atmosphere rather than tell a story.

“The more I can do in trying to create an atmosphere, the more successful I am going to be.”

Unlike the Conspirators’ video, the Jay Case shoot was less planned and done quickly. “We shot it in a couple of hours,” says Garlick. “We didn’t plan much out ahead. I listened to the song a couple of times and had this idea about Jay preparing a dinner. We left the ending open ended and we never know who it was on the other side of the door.”

As a filmmaker, Garlick has to live in both worlds and be ready to work in planned and unplanned shoots.

He notes that many clients don’t know exactly what they want, but they know what they don’t want.

“On the creative side, it is really challenging to just trust yourself. You have to know that the client may not see what I am seeing. You have to try to figure out what they need.”

Although Garlick has most recently been working in the directing world, he notes that there is another world: the organization side.

“I started my career in filmmaking on the organization side of things working on a film called All Hallows Eve: October 30th. I went from slate as a volunteer to assistant director in 3 days. I am very time organized and the crew didn’t have anyone in terms of set organization. So, I just slipped into that role.”

Those organizational skills were handy in his role as a band member too. “In Gnaeus, I was the guy who kept track of shows, of when are we practicing, and how are we going to get the gear to the shows. Aaron [Allessandrini] would write the words and melodies and handled things like the art work.”

So for Garlick, his most recent experiences working with Dustin Jones and the Tidal Records artists, was a big shift from the organizational side  to the vision side of the equation.

“Working with Dustin, I was able to supply some of that vision. I would lead shots by default.”

Garlick has come a long way from his early roots working with Shaw Cable to stream City Council meetings, as a wedding videographer or even as part of the All Hallows Eve: October 30th crew. He has learned from his earlier music videos for local band K.I.C.K. and songwriter Brendan Hodgson

“My initial videos were done by trying to get artists together and film performance shots.”

As a fan of the MuchMusic and MTV music era, he has been working to develop his skills to match a video to the song.

“With limited resources, it is often hard to tell a convincing story. You can look really amateurish the more you try to show a consistent A to B to C. So, I like to get into these abstract ideas where you can gain in innovativeness and eye catchiness to make up for what you don’t have in terms of lenses or lighting gear.”

Garlick remembers the impact of videos like Madonna’s Like a Prayer video had on him.

“Even as a 10-year old, I loved those videos. I knew there was an underlying message there but I wasn’t sure what it was. I didn’t totally get it, but knew it was there.

Aside from music and film, Garlick has developed his own comics.

The Spaceman Chronicles he describes as a combination of Star Trek and Magic Schoolbus. 

“It was a six part series that followed a group of six space explorers.” The catch was that at the end of each episode, the explorer died.

He is currently working on another called Detox: A Love Story.

“I have all the pages laid out. I am going panel by panel. My hope is to find a way to finance an outside illustrator.”

The concept stemmed from a placement he had at a withdrawal management centre while he was in school.

“I also have a personal history that involves experiences in that realm. So this comic will be about addiction and the way it overlaps with other aspects of people’s lives. I want it to be for people who actually have that experience, people who are in the middle of it. I want it to be universally accessible.”

Garlick is philosophical about his art. 

“I loved Calvin and Hobbes when I was young. At first I saw it as trivial. Looking back, it has so much philosophical messaging, so much emotional development. It is also so simplistic as a format. If you look at so called ‘low culture’ media, including music videos and comic books.”

Garlick wants to imbue those mediums with the same sort of meaning you would find in Dostoyevsky or Dickens.

“Good art has to have meaning, but that doesn’t have to mean that you need to say things explicitly. That’s the trick. If you say things explicitly people will reject it or they will tune it out. Great art tricks you into emotionally connecting. Afterwards you say, ‘oh shoot, I can see things from a different perspective now.’”

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What are NFTs? Behind the crypto trend revolutionizing the art world – Toronto Star

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The cherub looks like it’s ready to strike. Hovering idly in outer space, it points a hooked spear at the earth below and steadies its hand.

Grimes, the Canadian musician and visual artist, posted this unsettling image to an art auctioning site earlier in February. It’s part of a broader collection of digital artwork, called “WarNymphs,” that she codesigned with her brother.

Within hours of posting it online, hundreds of copies of the supersized demon baby had sold for $7,500 (U.S.) each. Total sales from her collection reached closer to $6 million.

At first, the frenzy may seem confounding. The image exists solely online. It’s not a physical painting or a photo. Those who bought it could easily have taken a screen grab and made it their desktop background for free.

Why spend all that money on a digital picture?

In short, the answer lies in a newly popular acronym: NFT.

Otherwise known as nonfungible tokens, NFTs are unique computer codes used to identify the authenticity of a digital item — often an image, animation or a video. The code is attached to the item to verify its originality, indicating which item is the original and which is a duplicate.

Items containing NFTs are bought and sold using blockchain, an online technology that records monetary transactions made in cryptocurrency.

To make this easier on the brain, think of “non-fungible” in terms of physical objects. A postcard of Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” for example, is fungible: swap it for another identical postcard and you have the exact same thing. The original “Starry Night,” however, is non-fungible: swap it for a replica and you no longer have the original.

The NFT distinguishes the real from the fake. How value is assigned to the original items is just as subjective as any other form of art.

“If you visit my living room, you’ll see original-sized pictures of Monet paintings. They’re really nice, and really fancy, but they’re clearly not actual Monet paintings,” explains Andreas Park, an associate professor of finance at the University of Toronto who researches cryptocurrency.

“If I could have the original, I’d be thrilled.”

In effect, the NFT has introduced the concept of originality to the online world.

For artists whose work exists solely in the digital world, it’s an opportunity to attach a monetary value to their work. For buyers, it’s an opportunity to support artists they like, and hold artwork as assets — hoping the value of the artwork goes up so it can be sold for a profit.

The trend has also benefited from the internet’s typical eccentricity. A clip of LeBron James dunking a basketball sold for $99,999. Pink socks sold for $60,000. An image of beans, scooped in a ladle, sold for $469. The proud new owners of these items can brag about holding the originals.

It’s also being taken seriously by companies hoping to get in on the trend. Christie’s, the famed British auction house, recently became the first major auctioneer to sell a digital, NFT-based artwork. The featured artist, a popular digital designer known as Beeple, made $3.5 million in a single weekend from Christie’s sales.

More recently, Kings of Leon announced their new album will be released as an NFT in partnership with a tech startup called Yellowheart.

Nike, meanwhile, holds a patent for “blockchain-based NFT-sneakers,” called Cryptokicks (a sentence that, as confusing as it is now, would be completely indecipherable to anyone 10 years ago).

In the art world, the rise of NFTs and crypto art has sprouted a wide array of new platforms and online marketplaces where people can buy and sell art as they please.

Grimes’ latest collection premiered on a website called Nifty Gateway, owned by serial entrepreneurs Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (of “The Social Network” fame), which functions as an online marketplace where users can sell they art they’ve bought at a higher price. Not sure if they’re selling the original image? Check for an NFT.

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Park, who’s followed the rise of blockchain and NFTs for the past several years, says the token is here to stay, though some of the recent excitement is likely temporary.

“Right now, there’s a sense of novelty that’s driving the appeal for NFT artwork. It’s like Beanie Babies: they were popular for a while, because people liked them, and then it died out,” he said.

“But, more broadly, this is a very useful record-keeping technology. It’s easy to imagine NFTs being used as proof of ownership for a variety of things in the future.”

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Bridging connections with online art | wellandtribune.ca – WellandTribune.ca

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Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre seeks to help bridge the gaps between people with its first-ever online exhibition launched Feb. 27.

Titled “Connection,” the show presents submissions from its members, featuring a wide array of mediums. Besides a physical gallery still viewable at the centre under additional public protocols, it is also available on the centre’s website, with a guided virtual tour.

Curator Laurie Jones said she learned about the format from the Ontario Society of Artists and it was a way to improve access.

“Not everybody’s comfortable yet with being around, especially in public spaces,” Jones said.

The exhibition is an annual salon show, drawing from local talent, Jones said. The pandemic prompted the move to an online addition – and the theme for the show itself.

“It came up out of my own cravings for connections and missing people,” Jones said. “In many ways, we’re looking for alternate ways to connect.”

Artist Rosanna Dewey’s exhibition piece depicts one of those ways. It is an oil painting entitled “Zoom Room” depicting a call on the online meeting platform. She said the show’s theme was poignant.

“It’s so hard to be connected,” Dewey said. “It really made me think about what was going on and what my connections were.”

She said she had some skepticism about the online concept but found it turned out appealing.

“You want to be able to get up close to the artwork and you get more of a sense of the piece,” Dewey said. “But I found that people were still interested. People still needed to go and experience art, even if it was through a Zoom format.”

Arts and Crafts Festival on pause

But the community will miss one big way to connect with art in the summer. The Haliburton Art and Craft Festival – the gallery’s flagship event and fundraiser – is cancelled for the second straight year due to the pandemic, Jones said. She said it would be too logistically challenging to ensure safety amidst the pandemic.

“We don’t want to introduce any risk to our volunteers or staff or vendors or patrons,” Jones said. “Maintaining sanitary conditions would be impossible.”

Jones said the centre needs to decide early to inform artists and give them time to plan. She said there might be alternate programming, but that is being worked out.

For now, the Rails End is still putting on exhibitions and bringing arts to the community.

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“We’re not trying to sell anything. We’re trying to provide an experience,” Jones said. “Hopefully, they feel the connection with the creative arts.”

“Connection” runs until April 17 and is available at the centre itself or railsendgallery.com.

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Art Beat: Women's Day readings: Our Bodies – Coast Reporter

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Three B.C. writers are observing International Women’s Day with readings at an event entitled 3 Women: Our Bodies, at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 8. Robin Stevenson will read from My Body, My Choice: The Fight for Abortion Rights; Caitlin Hicks will read from her novel Kennedy Girl; and Terrie Hamazaki reads from O-heso (belly button), published in the anthology, Swelling with Pride: Queer Conception and Adoption Stories. The free event, sponsored by the Writers Union of Canada, is scheduled for 90 minutes. Access via Hicks’s Facebook page Some Kinda Woman.

Reclaiming the internet

What happens to your private information when you use your smart phone? That’s a question that will be explored in a reading on Saturday, March 6 at 7 p.m. at a Sunshine Coast Arts Council literary event with political science professor and author Ronald Diebert. Diebert will be reading from and chatting about his book, Reset: Reclaiming the internet for Civil Society. The Zoom event is free but pre-registration is required at the arts council’s website or eventbrite.ca.

Botanical drawing workshops

Visual artist Mehran Modarres-Sadeghi is teaching nature-drawing in a series of four Saturday afternoon workshops this month, starting March 6, hosted by the Sunshine Coast Arts Council. “In these workshops, you will develop skills in drawing plants and flowers from observation,” the council said in a release. “Using various drawing materials such as graphite pencil, pen, and coloured pencil, you will explore basic drawing techniques of line drawing, shading, stippling, and textural drawing.” The workshops are limited to 20 participants. The cost is $70 for members, $100 for non-members. Register at the art council’s website.

Live music

Friday, March 5 marks the return of live music at the Clubhouse Restaurant at the Pender Harbour Golf Club. Singer-songwriter Eddy Edrik kicks things off on Friday at 5 p.m. Then on Sunday, March 7, the Peter Van Trio performs, starting at 2 p.m. “Reserve a table for your bubble at 604-883-9542.” There’s a $5 cover on Sunday. A COVID safety plan is followed at the venue, which you can access on its website.

Space is limited in Art Beat but please let us know about your events at arts@coastreporter.net.

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