I'm sitting in the train, back to Vienna. Just left Mrs. Henry and the Flying Fish aka. Weixi, Flo and Gloria. I was on tour with them for one week now. On tour. Something that I haven't expected to happen for me anymore, since I stopped practicing the piano with 15 (my piano teacher was awful not my discipline, of course). I'm an artist. I am drawing. That's my thing. I always say that, when it comes to the "Are you playing an instrument?" question.
I was with those three luminaries of melancholic acoustic pop on the road to Graz, Ljubljana, Bratislava, St. Pölten, Brno and Linz. Sometimes in concerts, sometimes we did street music. Gloria sings, composes and plays guitar and ukulele. Weixi plays the Guitar and Flo the double base. I played my pen on the paper during all their gigs.
I had the dream to connect to the band in an artistic way. It worked for sure, if you put some Beuys into your picture of the world. Because music is not only music. And it is also not only practicing. It is the whole life around the artist. It is also recording a CD. Celling it at the concerts. Ask the people every time again, if they want one. It is also to let the hat go through the audience and hope that they would leave some money there, so the band can pay the fuel for the tour vehicles. Then it is carrying the instruments and all the other technical stuff like the amplifier and the speakers and all the cables and stuff, into the place and than to the car again.
For me the part of being together as a group was a world I loved to get to know. As a band you not only have to fit together as artists, but also as persons with all their characteristic peculiarities. It is like a romantic relationship with more than one person. Like marrying a bunch of people with one project. Everything has to be planed and organized and coordinated. You have to define your personal borders and also to respect the borders of the other members your are depending on. At least on tour.
On tour you are also happy about every bar, where the owner understand your musician life. So you don't have to trade the conditions you actually deserve for the work and hard owned skills that are part of being there, playing your songs. The lifeblood and creativity that you put into this concept of life, that brought you there.
That, at least, is how I got to know the musicians life this week.
The life of a visual artist is very comparable but different. The time based music is totally exposing the moment of creating. It is comparable to the state you're in when you draw a line, that shouldn't be occupied by your own expectations. The line that wants to be accepted as itself. The moment of doing something unexpected and just let it happen. But when I draw, nobody is watching me as concentrated as a musician on the stage is observed during pushing out their precious inner world. The moment of being present. The moment of flow. Is exposed to the audience. That was new for me, to experience.
This moment of performing, I could try out on that tour. To feel it and to see, what has to be defined by myself. To define the picture I want to represent sitting beside the band during their concert and also to define the role I'm playing within a habit of a concept of a concert, that doesn't contain me being there, drawing.
On the paper I could connect to the lyrics.
Gloria uses a lot of metaphors, which is obviously easy to translate in pictures.
Then I just had to get the right state of being present, which wasn't easy on a the tour life, that didn't expect me being there. At the first concert I was pretty nervous. Also at other concerts. When I felt comfortable at a place, it made a great difference of the quality of my drawings. Also the place makes a big difference of the motif that occurs on the paper. So it is very much connected to the atmosphere of the place and the people.
At Parque del Sol in St. Pölten for example the atmosphere was so open, chilled and creative that I made the best drawings of the tour. I also already had some tour habits when we came there, so I could build the right atmosphere inside myself. I knew the place and already connected some good memories with it, that also helped I guess.
At the concerts in small bars it was the worst atmosphere for me. The owners just saw some lost guests in the table and the chair I was occupying. I think some also disliked the disturbance of the wonderful music the band was spreading into their lovingly created place. They felt sometimes also betrayed, I think, because they just agreed to a band. Now I would talk to them before starting the gig. It would have created a better atmosphere for me.
The motifs where very well-behaved and dreamy at the beginning. The dreamyness came from Glorias poetic lyrics. The well-behaving from my insecureness in this unusual position I was in.
It was good to have a fixed reason to draw and also to do it within a community. To position my artistic practice directly into a social structure. Musicians are very suitable for that, because they appreciate creativity in general. The musicians I managed to get to know better this last week appeared for me as very thirsty for knowledge and they mostly had a very open and chilled access to learn and to perceive new experiences.
Gloria, Flo, Weixi.
THANK YOU FOR THAT WONDERFUL WEEK.