Monday, October 6, 2008

Artist Statement

For many years I have denied my love of artistic audio editing in favor of more practical endeavourers. This is not to say my previous work did not contain certain sound sculpting qualities, but producing radio documentaries and features only allows so much room for creative editing. My portfolio of these radio programs transcended their initial function or education and entertainment and became sound sculpted narratives.

I began my journey into sound in Fort Worth, Texas. It was here that I first discovered my love of music and was introduced to editing and manipulating audio. I moved to London in the mid 90’s to work on my undergraduate degree. I was introduced to an album that changed the way I thought not only of music, but what could be done with sound.

‘My Life in the Bush of Ghosts’ is an album recorded entirely of samples. By today’ standards this might not mean much. Most albums, especially electronic/dance records are comprised entirely of samples. But in 1981, they were not.

What set this album apart was how this album was recorded. The content was good, but the recording process was great! The album was created entirely from found sounds. Tape loops contained pre-recorded sounds that were sampled and played back as specific parts of each track. This had never been before.

I was inspired to learn how records were made. I wanted to record and sculpt sound. I wanted to record a door and a tin and manipulate the sounds so they became a drum kit.

I finished my degree and began working in recording studios in London. My love of music exploded as I began referencing recording techniques on a variety of albums. My ears were beginning to change and I heard music in a different way.

As I moved through the studio system, I was getting deeper into music. I became in the stories behind the recording process. I know how records were made, but not I want to find out why. Recording studio would never be able to do that.

As my record collection grew, I noticed that certain records fit together. They were the same label, had a similar sound or were just an incredible body of work from a particular artist. I wanted to tell the story of these albums.

When the BBC launched 6Music I found my home. My love of audio and music were combined. It was here I began making radio documentaries. My collection was exploding and I found myself with many records from the label 4AD. The music was incredible, but the record covers were unlike anything I had seen before! 4AD and more specifically the work of Vaughn Oliver became my new inspiration.

Maybe it was due to the lack of open doors or maybe I wasn’t done with my radio work yet or maybe it just wasn’t the right time to fully explore my love of sound and vision.

I became a freelance radio journalist and in 2005 I found myself living in Brooklyn. My interests had moved beyond documenting bands and scenes. My features and documentaries were encompassing more arts and culture. I was growing, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I would labor over features and documentaries sculpting sounds and creating narratives. My editors did not share my love of sound. I began to feel as thought my sound sculputes were falling on deaf ears.

In 2008 it looked like I would forever be stuck in a rut of producing boring radio features. I have too much passion for sound and my love of visuals was growing on a daily basis. I wanted to find a way to combine my love of sound with my growing desire to work in a visual based medium.

I can no longer deny my heart and soul. I must find a way to express my love for sound and vision in a beautiful way. At 33 years of age, I feel as if my life is about to begin.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

So you are never going to get married and other lies

Another week and more lies. This one is a bit bigger than “I’m not going to ever play video games”. This one is huge and life changing. “I’m not ever going to get married”. What can I say? I suppose I always knew, but never thought it was possible. Then I met Annie. She destroyed my old life and made me realize I am to become the man I am meant to be. Without her, I doubt very much I would even be here writing this blog (no, I still don’t enjoy them)

It seems to me, this year has been all about self-exploration and really looking at who I am and what I want my life to be.

I know I love Annie and want to be with her forever. So, I am getting married. I also love art. So, I am going to declare myself an artist.

This is what I am going to do with my life. No more radio journalist, no more radio presenter or producer. No more musicology and defiantly no more real estate. I have always been an artist, but I have never thought of myself as one. Until now, I didn’t know what I was. I was just me. I did lots of different things, but I didn’t know how everything fit together. This is what I want. This makes sense. This is my future and the future is now!

Artist statement next week

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I like the idea of adding more lies of what I am and what I am going to become in comparison to my old life. Here are a few lies I have told myself

I do not play video games (this does not include Ms Pac Man. It’s not just a game, it’s a life time commitment!). I have a life and like interacting with people not machines.

I never have and never will play a Sony PS3 or a Wii or any other of the game consoles. As I do not play games, I do not use anything associated with them.

I am defiantly NOT going to ever design a video game. I don’t play them, so why the fuck would I want to design one?

So that was before and for a long time I stuck to those statements. Now like most aspects of my life, that is out the window.

Over the weekend I attended a “Game Jam” where I had 24 hours to create a level in the new game “Little Big Planet”. As this was required for this course, there was no way I could get out of it.

I began to familiarize myself with the game the week before by playing it and spending time researching it. I had never seen anything like it before. It looks like the Clangers ( and is fun to play. What struck me most about this game are the choices the players can make. This is a game about choices and so I used that as a concept when designing the level.

The level is too complicated to discuss here. I tried writing it out and realized that it’s more of a visual experience instead of a written one. I will try to post a screenshot of the level when I get a copy of it.

The concept is what I really took away from creating this level and its here I will share it here with you. There are many different ways to play this level (13 to be exact), but it breaks down to a basic easy and hard way. The easy way can be played very quick and is very boring. Players don’t have a chance to gain points or play tasks. They just finish the level and get no rewards.

The hard way takes longer, has places to gain lots of points and has more tasks to complete. There are twists in the level as well. At the very end, the player must conquer his/her fear of a dragon on fire by running through it to collect lots of bonus points. If the player tries to go around the dragon, they do not gain as many points

But this is not what this blog entry is about. Nor is it about how I am telling myself lies. I believe that was already covered. What this blog is about is about the choices we make. The game that was created wasn’t simply about running around a computer screen collecting points and killing monsters. I feel mine is more significant. It actually means something. We have choices we make everyday in life. Some are hard and some are easy.

And what I love about me level, what I really gets me excited is the way it ends. For most of the game you are taught to be smart and work hard and you will get the most points and have more fun. In the finale, the user must face a dragon that is on fire. The obvious way is to go around the dragon, but its very difficult. Instead, the only way to win the game is to go through the dragon. But going through the fiery dragon you get lots of points and get to win the game. It’s the twists at the end that makes it most life like. Life is full of choices and twists and turns. If life is too easy it’s dull. At the same time it shouldn’t be so hard. There is a balance between working smarter instead of harder and that’s when you get to have the most fun.

I should go now; I keep seeing the screen move and little creature bounce around. Sleep deprivation is lots of fun ☺

Monday, September 15, 2008

Turnstiels of Fun

Problem Statement

• The turnstile moves in a counter-clockwise position. This is counter-intuitive and seems to confuse the user. The users are never sure where the neutral position is and find it difficult to know when they should swipe their card and when they should pass through the gate.
• The turnstile is not good for moving large object: baby buggies, wheel chars, suitcase or large packages.
• The turnstile is not good for people with handicaps. If you have crutches or a wheel chair, you will not go through.

Context Analysis

The main goal of turnstiles in the MTA Subway system is for the movement in and out of the MTA system. People entering the MTA must swipe their Metro Card to gain access. Users leaving the MTA do not have to swipe their cards to leave.


Users of the turnstile include anyone who wants to use the MTA to travel in New York.

Proposed Solution

Very little can be done to redesign these turnstiles. The design in not intuitive as it runs in a counter-clockwise direction. It is also not able to fit in users with handicaps or large packages.



This new design still forces users of the MTA to pay and go through the turnstiles quickly, but does not confuse the user as to which way to enter. This turnstile is also good for those who are handicapped or have large packages.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My First Entry

I said I would never do this. I swore up and down that the last thing I was ever going to do was to write a blog. I am being dragged kicking and screaming (silently of course) into the world of blogs.

Writing this now has made me think of other lies like 'I am never going to write a blog'. In the past I have said things such as 'I'm never going back to school', 'I'm never living in America again' and 'I'm always going to work in music radio'. These are all lies, but for a while I believed them.

If you start breaking some rules and opening the world up by making previous true statements false, where can it end?

This is what I am here to find out. This is what I am here to do. This is my new life I have been granted. I feel lucky and scared and uncertain and hopeful.

Over the next few years I will update this site. Some things will change and some things will remain the same, some things will grow and some things will die. On my first entry, here is a list of who and what I am. Let’s see what turns out to be a lie and what remains true.

I am 33 years old
I love my girlfriend Annie
I am in my first semester of my graduate degree
I live in Park Slope
I am listening to Godspeed You Black Emperor
I am inspired by sound
I am inspired by sight
I see the world as my playground
I am a brother
I am a son
I am good friend to some and a better friend to others
I believe I can build the world I want to live in
I do not believe in limitations
I need to feel good music
I am not a husband
I am not a father
I do not have a Masters degree
I do not know how to pull the images I see out of my head
I am scared about my new life
I have left my comfort zone
I am driving blind

I know everything will be ok

I have no choice but to carry on and live the life I was meant to