first off: i liked his overall look. he wore a casual black buttondown with contrast stitching, untucked from his faded black jeans; his old and worn boots unzipped. his voice was pleasant, his hair was messy and his glasses were tortoise shell. he looked like the kind of artist that holds great pride in his work; an artist that both presents his work outside of himself and allows it to embody and own him. during his piano performance, he transformed into son lux, moving with a sense of improvised choreography, ducking from the microphone into the piano keys; he seemed to hover on the edge of the piano bench, his fingers touching the keys with utmost care and precision. you could tell he was a true artist, and not one that hid behind or tried to maximize his artistic presence by looking or dressing a certain way. he made it look effortless and natural.
ryan spoke honestly in the q&a portion of the rainy evening program, taking time to consider each question before jumping into an answer. his answers were raw and unrehearsed, leading into the next thought and the next. he spoke like a creative mind with phrases like "good friction," "emotional hard work," and "idiomatic." from the phrase "scoring her movement" (love that) when telling of working with his wife, a dancer, an immediate scene played out in my mind: him at the piano and computer, toying with melodies and layering sounds and musical textures, running his hands through his hair and shifting his glasses. swinging around on the piano looking for inspiration in the design of her limber dancing. she'd leap through the air and land, light as a feather, on the floor, and twist into a seating position facing him. by way of expressing how blessed he is to spend his days working on what he loves he commented, there's "no shortage of talent" but an "incredible shortage of opportunity." how true that is! how many of us have the chance in life to dive wholeheartedly into what we love and spend everyday doing it? i don't. i wish i could. maybe someday i will. one last thing he said that i took note of: "amazing things happen when you focus on people around you." this was in his answer to the importance of the relationships he has with those in his life; their effect on his work. truth, again. profound in its simplicity.
sitting in such an intimate space, only a few rows from him, listening to him play and speak stirred my creative spirit. i grabbed the pen and paper from our printed tickets and started scribbling notes from the artistic conversation forming in my head.
- what is my creative process?
- what fuels my creativity?
- creative habits/ritual
- what are my creative gifts/talents?
- what fulfills me? creatively?
- would i work with my husband? in what way?
- get lots in words more than content/story line; development of words, sentences, phrases
- art -- re-humanizing the world
- is my art art?
- does it matter?
his grasp on reality and his candor was impressive. it's rare finding those elements in an artist. often they're so caught up in playing the role of artist they forget to be human. he was very human, even moved by emotion at one point.
he closed his san francisco performing debut with some incredible and vigourous excerpts from his lanterns album (alternate worlds is awesome). we later found him in the verdi club bar and shook hands, thanking him for a wonderful evening. he signed my page of notes: "you don't have to be afraid. xoxo." a small piece of me melted. ("don't be afraid" is from plan the escape on lanterns.)
these photos my own