AN ARTIST STEREOTYPICAL
"MULTIMEDIA ARTIST", it's such a loaded title. Literally taken, the name implies that the artist works in various medias. Definitively, it implies that the artist does not just work outside the box but also inside many boxes at once. I am a Photographer, Filmmaker, Sound Designer, Musician, and Graphic Designer who dabbles in 3D Modeling, Game Design, Gestural Interfacing and most recently VR and immersive media.
As is often ordinary with stereotypical people, my journey began in college. I grew close to a particular sociology professor during my first 2 years. He took me under his wing and we often traded stories, music and books. He spent most of his adult lifetime in a penitentiary for a petty drug charge. During that time he earned multiple Doctorate Degrees and strove to turn his future into a life worth living.
He saw a bit of himself in me and truthfully, I saw a bit of myself in him as well. He told me often that no matter how much I fought it, I was ultimately doomed to become a teacher someday. He said that all great stage performers are secretly teachers, and all great teachers are secretly performers.
He died in 2006 and I dropped out of college.
I eventually returned to school. This time I wanted to study Web Design. I quickly learned that I hated it. I was becoming more of a Designer than a web guru. My love of design lead me down the road to Photo-Manipulation and then on to Photography, eventually falling in love and staying in love with Video Production.
As a lifelong musician my music career was growing at this time and my experiences with animation lead me to experiment with incorporating live video elements into my own stage shows. I began writing my own sound reactive video programs. Other bands, DJ's, and performers started asking me questions about the software I was using and the plugins I was building, they began hiring me to make their shows look as good as mine and I accidentally stumbled into becoming a freelance VJ.
After a while, I was invited to compete at my first big VJ competition. I organized a stunning array of custom designed audio reactive visuals and tuned my system to run immaculately. My big opportunity was finally here. After years of hard knocks and a newly found sense of direction I stood up in front of a crowd of my peers and I failed in front of them horribly.
There was no sound. None. There was only silence.
I stood awkwardly between a crowd and a dead black screen. It was the longest 2 minutes of my life. I had painstakingly designed every detail of my entire set to be triggered by various aspects of the sonic spectrum. I spent weeks designing it all and here I was standing on a stage with nothing to show for any of it. I was not prepared for silence. I had nothing to present without sound for my programs to react to.
I was devastated. In the past 15 years of being a performer I had never failed so profoundly, so unexpectedly, or in front of so many people whose opinion mattered to me.
“All great stage performers are secretly teachers, and all great teachers are secretly performers.”
I saw a noticeable decline in paid work afterwards but I kept going. I wrote some gimmicky 3D visuals for a few electronic music performances, and I created an interactive art installation with a collaborator, utilizing an interesting combination of gestural interfacing, self generating music, and sound reactivity. I started selling my own VJ clips on a few stock websites, and got a steady gig doing visuals for a Goth/Industrial night club. Meanwhile, I became part owner in a print shop business. (Spoiler alert) don't buy a print shop business. Nobody prints photographs anymore!
.....Our print shop closed after a good run. Despite having a cult following of professional clientelle who would have followed us to the end of the earth, we just simply didn't make enough to keep the lights on. In the end I came away from it with invaluable experiences and a trained eye from color grading thousands of images per day.
My underground music career was peaking now. After a time I semi-retired from the world of breakcore leaving the moniker ALEPH.NULL behind, I began leading a performance art troupe titled SHADOWCASTER.
SHADOWCASTER was my excuse to experiment wildly with whatever new tech I could get my hands on, to DIY anything and everything I could dream up and to heavily invest myself into deeply researching mythology, ancient history and esotericism.
In our stage shows we used professional movie makeup effects, bizarre DIY lighting concepts, collaborated with a number of famous personalities, and even pierced and suspended people with hooks through their bodies. We smashed a piano on stage and recorded the sounds of the audience destroying it. I made an ambient album from the recordings and we sold limited edition copies of it as specialty merchandise. We even started our own private online library of banned, rare, and burned books for our cult like following.
In 2011 SHADOWCASTER::THE ALCHEMICAL VISIONS OF ZOSIMOS won the Denver Underground Film Festival.
Today, I have helped make over 50 film projects come to life. I am a professional filmmaker now, studio musician, rare book aficionado, yoga practitioner and music educator.
I currently hold a part time position working in marketing for a big tobacco client. I have worked in marketing for Camel, Vuse, Newport, Intel, Adobe, and Samsung.