Saturday, March 23, 2013

Last Lap

This week we are taking some major decisions for Sapney. We are looking at what we have learnt and how we are going to grow. Today is the day of number crunching - power point making and business plan reviewing --- eeek! So to keep this poor soul going I turned to my favorite ally - MUSIC!

After having commiserated with several friends about working on saturdays (you know who you are!) I thought it would be nice to share the same music through the day. So, I have made a youtube playlist of my itunes playlist (er...) so we can all listen to this music and get happy together!

Last Lap Playlist on Youtube

Here is my playlist to get things rocking and hopefully rolling along.
Name Artist
Life In Technicolor (Dualist Bootleg remix) Dualist Inquiry
Good Time (feat. Carly Rae Jepsen) Owl City
I'll Be Yours Those Dancing Days
Change of Seasons Sweet Thing
Manja Amit Trivedi
Nothing But Time Opus Orange
London Breeze (Navigatorz Mix) The Mothership Orchestra
Miracle (Beatbox) Matisyahu
5 Years Time Noah And The Whale
Kasio Taru
Main Kya Karoon Nikhil Paul George
2 Atoms In A Molecule Noah And The Whale
Subha Hone Na De Mika Singh, Shefali Alvares
Satellites The Cinema
Let's Go Home (Sound Remedy Remix) Carousel
Alright Supergrass
Des Mera Indian Ocean
Love Love Love Avalanche City
Meethi Boliyaan Amit Trivedi, Mili Nair
Battlescars The Travelling Band
Keep The Girls Away Teen Daze
Good Reggae Music Torch
Summertime Rocks Smoke (Ashu & Dhruv)
KikliKalerdi (Punjabi version) Amit Trivedi , Pinky Maidasani 
Kyon Papon, Sunidhi Chauhan
May Belle Epoque
Life Is Crazy Shankar Mahadevan, Uday Benegal
Folk You Junkyard Groove
Udaan Amit Trivedi
Dreams Passion Pit
London Paris New York Ali Zafar, Sunidhi Chauhan
Darkmatter Andrew Bird
Let You Go Junkyard Groove
The Rafters Moby
Magenta (WAY YES Remix) Slothpop
Police Dogs Bonfire Lazyboy
Tropisms The Soft
Look On the Floor (Angel City Extended Remix) Bananarama
No Turning Back Sound Remedy
Medicine (Sound Remedy Remix) Daughter

Happy Listening!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Flesh and Bone

It has been over a year since I wrote and writing again - typing again - feels so vital, so organic that I wonder now why I stayed away.

The last year and half  - okay - 3 years - seem to have happened to another person altogether. I feel like I was stuck in Fringe-verse and AltMona just found her way back up the rabbit hole.

H.e.l.l.o. W.o.r.l.d.

I have missed you and I have missed myself.
This is me - in the now - in the vital verse - in flesh and bone.
I long to see the outcome of the new hidden me-s that must have emerged in this time and I feel certain we are all going to get along like a house on acid!

This year I promise to find what I have lost once again and make friends with all the facets that are there old and new. To that end - I am going to start writing - once a month is my target but I hope to express much, much more.

Time to discover what I am made of! Time to discover the giant men we descend from inside.

The song that started it all - Killers - Flesh and Bone:

I've gone through life white-knuckled
In the moments that left me behind
Refusing to heed the yield
I penetrate the force fields in the blind
They say I'll adjust
God knows I must
But I'm not sure how
This natural selection picked me out to be
A dark horse running in a fantasy

(Flesh and bone)
And I'm running out of time,
(Flesh and bone)

He faces forward,
Trading in his blindness for the glow of love,
And time is raging, may it rage in vain,
And you always had it, but you never knew,
So boots and saddles, get on your feet,
There's no surrender, 'cause there's no retreat,
The bells are sobbing, in this monster land,
We are the descendants of giant men.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Viral Love Story...

Indie bands using viral videos to gain visibility is not new but this particular one is unique. It is essentially an online love letter that went viral and the story is one that I absolutely had to share!

This video was done by Walter May in November 2010. When Walter knew that his girlfriend was going across the country for graduate school, he made this video as an online love letter for her. His friends just happened to be the band The Daylights who helped him write the song and put the video together.

Besides being a fantastic video which you really should share with everyone you know - this is a really interesting exercise in viral marketing. Walter asked all his friends to put a gag order on his girlfriend on facebook and other social media so she wouldn't hear about this song from common acquaintances.

He posted the video on a Monday and asked all 132 employees in his company to put it on their facebook, twitter and blog pages. By the end of the day, the video had >45,000 hits. Katy Perry heard about this and loved it so much that she posted it to her Twitter account and with that the popularity just skyrocketed. This video went viral so fast that it popped up in his girlfriends feed in just 2 days!

Of course the fact that the song is great, the story is wonderfully romantic and the video is smart helped make this viral exercise so successful. So here's a lesson for long-distance romance -- ahem ---
1. Write a fantastic song (or find friends in a good band)
2. Make a really cool video
3. Get the attention of a celebrity

so easy na....... ^^

Do purchase the song from iTunes or Amazon for $0.99.

... And most of all share this love online with your loved ones.....

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hunger politics

The Anna Hazare hunger strike and now the subsequent victory as the government accedes to the demands have captured the attention of the nation for the past two weeks and I have watched it all with growing unease.

Let us think about what the Jan Lokpal Bill essentially wants to do:
1. Set up a body of citizens - well-awarded and respected citizens - to oversee charges of corruption levied on public officials
2. This citizens body will oversee ALL current offices that tackle corruption including CBI and CVC

Essentially - it wants to set up a vigilante committee of well-meaning or well-respected citizens to do something that we already have elected officials for. I am not denying that corruption is a very serious problem in our government, but we cannot fix the problem by subverting and minimizing our own elected government. It is ridiculously naive and romantic to assume that all the well-awarded citizens have only the best interests of the nation at heart. It sounds exactly like the ineffective socialist/communist speak that I grew up with in Kolkata that ultimately came to nothing in terms of systems or processes or successful governance.

I have only the utmost respect for the immense courage and conviction that Mr. Hazare showed by undertaking his fast unto death but I will not thank him for blackmailing my government. I believe it was sincere, but once the fast was announced, there really was not going to be any other outcome. I mean - what democratic government willingly allows its citizens to die? It was unfair to both the government and ultimately to the people who deserved an open debate away from emotional blackmail. The entire issue became about the person and not the Bill and the impact it would have on our future as a nation.

My unease was more because I was unable to voice this opinion in front of friends who had undertaken this quest to join in with Anna Hazare. The almost total lack of contrary voices among the public scares me. After all this time will we as a people and a democracy allow this kind of blackmail to force our government into a corner? I really hope not. Despite everything that our naysayers will throw at us - we are essentially a democratic people. This has been hard won and I refuse to accept the subversion of that institution when we haven't even tried to fix things from the inside. We have a long, long way to go - 60 years is nothing in the lifetime of a nation. There are so many changes to make in our processes. We as a people need to fight for those changes to fix the machinery before we bring in a new one.

I hope that now that the hunger politics have died down, real democratic processes will start and the we will get an opportunity to be part of a public debate on what is the right way to tackle corruption.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Project in Acrylic - Part III

7. In Search of Love and Peace
I did these covers right after I saw the documentary "Exit through the Gift Shop". It is a fascinating (and maybe faux - though I can't tell) documentary on street art and the narrator is Banksy who is perhaps the most amazing;y talented and creative street artist out there. His stencils are so unique and evocative! The girl with the balloon is the only cd cover where the theme is copied directly from somewhere. I couldn't resist as this is my second favorite after the girl with the baloons on the West Bank wall. For this one I did want to get the background just right. I thought of replicating the texture there is on a wall and decided to make it pink and white to retain the innocence that I associate this with.

I decided to keep the second in the series very simple with single strokes depicting a dove with the heart-shaped balloon. You can't tell, but the main theme in this painting is really the background. I wanted to get a bright and shiny background to offset the pink and white dove and heart. This background actually took me an hour as I did several layers and created a 'hatched' texture with a very thin needle. This created depth without giving the rough edge that is there in the other paintings.
It was easy to pick the photo-themes for this CD cover. I thought the dove with the Buddha and the heart at the feet of Ganesh captured why I did this painting.

8. The Siren's Song
This CD cover happened almost immediately after I saw Neil Jordan's 'Ondine'. It is the story of a fisherman played by Colin Farrell who find a girl in his fishing net and starts to believe that she is a mermaid when his luck changes. It is a wistful and haunting movie and if this is how Jordan does fantasy then I wish he would do a lot more....
I wanted to make a painting that was story-book but at the same time sort of rough.
I decided to make a turbulent sea but like the Phoenix painting, I thought of communicating the turbulence through my strokes and decided on a yellow ochre base with lemon and white. I used 3 different size brushes to get the effect before the paint dried. The base came out so beautifully that I was afraid to paint too much over it :). I was thinking of Neeru and how she would like the story of the Little Mermaid and knew that the mermaid had to have red hair! There are no real details except the sort of wind-blowing and waves billowing at her feet. I wanted to avoid making the waves like typical strokes, so instead in a moment of inspiration, I decided to put the paint into my toothpaste cap and dab on the 'waves'. The effect was exactly as I wanted it!

9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I was reading Alexander Pope's poem again sometime last week - parts of it that I have written down, not all of it - it is a looooong poem!.... The poem reminded me of Clementine and Joel and I wanted to make a painting that captured Eloisa and ultimately Clementine's quest for forgetfulness ...

How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each Pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd ...

When I started this painting I knew I would make a literal 'head full of sunshine' theme but I also knew that it would be Clementine and not Joel. Maybe because her idiosyncrasies makes her the most honest character in the entire movie for me. The painting is flat but the deepest texture is in the head. I painted about 4 layers in the same colour but every time with a little more texture. I wanted it to represent the fact that deleting memories from the mind just whitewashes things keeping the deeper experiences and the changes in our soul intact.

In conclusion, the complete set of 10+1 CD covers with the special last one made with the option to delete :).


Project in Acrylic - Part II

4. Cherry Blossom Theme:
I was thinking about Hugo and last year in Tokyo with him. We caught the last of the cherry blossoms together and it was one of my best holidays ever. I was feeling so bad about the destruction of one of my favourite cities, I wanted to paint my most beautiful memory of it. The character is not japanese though - it is the chinese character 'ai' which means love. Shout out Hugito-san and wishing health and peace to my friends in Japan.

5. The Phoenix Sun:
I had just watched 'The Way back' with Ranjan uncle and Rita aunty in Pune and there is a scene where the escapees were crossing the Gobi. The shot was so beautiful and also what struck me was that without any shapes to distract the horizon the colours of the setting sun did actually set off like stripes in the sky. Made me also think about a road trip Rak and I took from California to Phoenix to spend the weekend with Teeky.

With this cover, I was becoming more 'bold' and I decided to incorporate very strong strokes to get a deep texture as well as to capture the chaos that ensues on the boundaries of the colours mixing in the sky. If you zoom in, you will see that it really is not a very 'fine' painting and yet I am very satisfied with the fury of the strokes and the overall 'calm' result of the scene.

6. Peacock Tales:
In order to take the concept of utilizing the flap better, I thought it would be interesting to incorporate a classic 'peacock on a tree' theme. The peacock was an obvious choice as I could utilize the space with the tail and balance the immense amount of yellow I decided to use with the deeper colours of the peacock and the tree.

When I was looking for a photo theme, my vertical torans jumped out and I thought 'Bird on a wire' was an apt theme for this acrylic peacock.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Project in Acrylic - Part I

A month ago, I undertook a project to paint CD covers as an outlet for the stresses of things happening/not happening with Mrigya. The project turned out to be so much fun and was so fruitful that I thought I would write about it.

I have no idea how the thought of doing this project came to me. I basically saw these cute covers at Rightway Stationery (an insane local stationery store that has everything - their tagline should be 'we also do stationery') in 4 Bungalows and a box of acrylic paint next to them. Before my mind had an opportunity to question why - I had already paid for a dozen of the covers and the paints and was on my way to paint for the first time in almost 10 years!

I had never used acrylic paint before and had no idea how fast it dries! It was a fantastic experience and the best de-stress tool in the world as when I was painting, I had to react so quickly that I had absolutely no time to think about anything else. Another nice thing about acrylic was that I had no opportunity to draw anything so I had to directly paint which also made the work very spontaneous.

Since I was pasting the covers with the flap-side up, I also thought it interesting to paint utilizing the flap and the dynamics of having to open it or 'open the painting' in order to remove the CD inside. As you will see below, I have a very tentative start and then towards the end I really started taking risks with confidence. I have since sent all the covers out to people I thought of when I was painting them, but I did take some pictures around the house so I could remember them.

1. Royal Theme
The first CD cover was for a copy of the movie 'Ever After' and I decided to do something - 'royal' but also fantasy-like - so I used a very rich orange for the background and an elaborate 'kairi' design tinged with gold. I also thought that a picture with my 'royal' bull was fitting as the design is also ethnic.
You can tell that the background is a little patchy as I was still trying to figure out the consistency of the paint and how it dries. Though not perfect, I liked it as I was able to do a design over the flap. This was simple but a little tricky to paint directly without an outline as it needed to be very symmetrical to look good.

2. Fantasy Forest:
The second one is a fantasy forest theme. I was thinking about light filtering through a thick forest especially since I was reading Tad Williams' Shadowmarch where a shrouded mist keeps a fantastical and evil forest in shadow. ( Highly recommend the book for fantasy lovers as Tad outdoes himself in the depictions). It was challenging to mix colours seamlessly since they were drying so fast, so I decided to take a more 'rough' approach and it worked as I looked more to the texture of broad strokes rather than finesse.

My fantasy forest has a fantasy red tree which looked so good. I then embellished the tree with bright read nail polish to get a really gnarly texture and used my pearly nail-polish to give that brightness for the flower and the single star at the edge. I don't think dark forests with magical trees are necessarily a bad thing - but the added silver certainly completes the magic.

3. The Wedding Theme:
I was thinking about Aimee's wedding (Big shout-out Aimee-jee!) and how wonderful it was to be a part of it. I was not there for long, but the last 3 days before her wedding were wonderful with all that last minute planning and picking up favours and themes. The next two covers are boxes with wedding presents. The first one was easy with the classic black and white box and the huge bow. The second one I wanted to be more retro, hence the bright stripes. Also if you haven't noticed already - I was feel insanely corny, so almost every cover I painted has a 'heart' somewhere. Since this was for friends I love, I thought it fitting (and terribly corny, soap-oepra-y as well)

<-- Retro (I was thinking french!) Wedding box

<--Classic B&W Wedding Box

More in the next post!