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Thursday, 7 October 2010

Neon Ska Trees and a Dirty Rainbow

'Neon Ska Tree' Ska full album music drawing, 134 x173cm
Arts Council Funding & Dada Film
A bit of good news in a bad climate! The summer of admin and furious drawing seems to have paid off, ACE have accepted my application to develop my practice, with a focus on music drawings. This includes the funds to carry out a participatory Music Drawing event at 'Band on The Wall' in collaboration with the general public, musicians, dancers and using silent disco equipment. The Event will be on January the 27th 2011, watch this space for details!

I have also been commissioned by 'Dada Fest 10 International' to make a short film in collaboration with filmmaker Mark Morreau. Mark, who interestingly has amounst his broad experience, filmed many circus performers, will be filming me from above and ‘ground level’ as I draw an album length drawing of a selection of hip hop. The film will be shown Thursday 18 November – Friday 3 December on BBC Big Screens Nationally.
DadaVisions link

Drawing with a Dancer

Playing with music drawing and dance (One) from Naomi Kendrick on Vimeo.

Dancer Gemma Connell and I have been exploring links between drawing music and dancing. We have drawn music together, so Gemma can understand how it works, and for me to discover more about how people respond to drawing music. My response to seeing Gemma dance in the film above was to say "How you look is what is happening in my head when I draw" I do not imagine myself to be dancing, or try to. Watching Gemma is like a visualization of how I feel when drawing, she looks as if she is consumed by sound, where in fact her discipline means she is the one, if deceptively, in control.

Talking to Gemma has revealed a strong shared understanding, in terms of the mental processes found in both disciplines. It seems there are crossovers in the language you can use to describe both dancing and drawing. Gemma also said that from her perspective as a dancer it was “Amazing” as through drawing a song, rather than just 'hearing it' she had really listened, and learnt the song straight away. Usually she has to hear something several times before being able to create a dance around it, and even suggested dancers should use this as a method.
Dancer Gemma Connell

'Untitled' Full album drawing, 'Plastic Beach' by The Gorillaz 89 x 114cm
New Drawings
'Brian Eno track 1 part 1' A1 aprox
During a recent conversation, in which I was trying to get over the hurdle of articulating the process and defining what music drawing is. I used the expression ‘hand to mouth’ a very sensory sounding term though with negative connotations. Perhaps it is my dyslexic processing but this term still feels like it fits. Drawing music forces mind, body and meaning, to pull together and work simultaneously.
I am expressing something through making a visual artwork though my 'subject', sound, has no visual form. What I am actually drawing is the experience of listening, what that evokes in me. I am in effect removing symbolism. Instead of using familiar imagery to represent my emotional state and experience of something I am drawing it directly, in real time, 'hand to mouth'. Sometimes drawings don't 'work', after wards I can recognize in a drawing where I have lost focus or chosen materials unwisely. This is where vision comes back to the fore, and repeat drawing and careful editing become an important part of the process.

'Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley' A1 aprox
The drawings I have been doing over the summer have fallen in to two categories, 'individual song'' and 'full album'. The 'Individual songs' are by their nature faster, which can be thrilling. And I tend to work on a smaller scale, making the most of the limited number of marks one song can 'hold'

The ‘full album’ drawings are much more physical, often exhausting to do. I position myself on the floor in the center of a huge piece of paper, and draw along, around and between myself whilst focusing on an hour of music. There are current arguments within the music industry for listening to whole albums rather than individual tracks, as the itunes generation tends to do, the same debate could be applied to my drawing process. Working with an entire album is more like going to a concert, or club night. You become absorbed by the whole, rather than a series of individual items. I begin to merge with the drawing, visually if you were to watch me do it, but also in the resulting drawing which reveals the bodily experience that occurred during its making. This is an aspect of my drawing that I have found people are particularly interested in. I am not a dancer or performer but people are drawn to the idea of seeing me in the act. Interestingly for me, when in that act (and as my participants have and will find) you have little awareness of your outer appearance. The place in which you draw is entirely inside yourself.

'Untitled' whole album drawing 'Stories from the city, stories from the sea' by PJ Harvey. 135 x 175cm

'Dirty Rainbow' Whole album drawing 'Panic Prevention' Jamie T, 135 x 170cm
To see all recent drawings...
Naomi Kendrick Music Drawings link

Photography by Andrew Brooks

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