Annie Clark’s been making waves in the art-rock scene since 2006 under the name St. Vincent. At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, she claimed her first Grammy for Best Alternative Album, the first female solo-artist to do so since Sinead O’Connor in 1991. She triumphed over the fierce competition of Jack White, Alt-J, and Arcade Fire, and accepted the award while on world tour in Australia. She’s been touring non-stop since 2014, and if you saw her perform at Stage AE back in April you know how magnificent her performances are. She co-ordinates dance moves while playing guitar and adjusting effect pedals. She’s intense, she’s talented, and she’s out there doing her thing.
St. Vincent can’t be bothered by people who say her music’s weird and unusual—to her ugliness is its own type of power. To write music that challenges expectations and norms, yet keeps you coming back despite yourself, is her specialty. In an interview with tUnE-yArDs’ Merill Garbus she once said “I feel like every time somebody asks ‘what’s it like to be a woman in music’ the only difference is, you get asked ‘what’s it like to be a woman in music.” She strives for the control of her narrative, to not be fenced in by reporters into being the poor girl in a boy’s industry. It seems she’d rather teach an interviewer a few of her soccer tricks, or talk about that one time she wandered naked through a desert, than follow a gendered line of questioning.
Respecting this, I’ll only say once more how great it is for a female solo-artist to take a Best Alternative Album again. For artists like Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, and Bjork to be nominated multiple times over decades to no avail, and for all aspiring Indie-Rock artists, to see a 24-year draught in female winners come to an end is a big deal. For St. Vincent, the Grammy’s an honor that’s being mailed home so her mother can display it in the living room. For decades we’ve lived in a world where women write the year’s best albums, it’s important for the Grammy’s to acknowledge this, but you can’t put your life on hold for an award show. She has to pack her bags in Australia, do a show in Taiwan, then three in Japan closing off February, before doing a South-American leg in March.
I don’t know if that embed code’s going to work, so on the off chance that it doesn’t and the podcast can’t speak for itself, I will. This is what I’m probably spending three hours a week working on, a podcast for Broadchurch, a drama from the UK. You’ve read my feelings about the show before, but I don’t know if I’ve talked at length about podcasting. It’s fun work, and to have over a hundred listeners in two weeks makes me feel great. If you like Broadchurch, please give it a go! Right now me and my friend Emily are the only ones out there producing a dedicated Broadchurch podcast.
It’s been a year since I registered this domain name on a whim of sorts, congratulations to me: this is by far the longest I’ve ever maintained a blog. I should collect some meta-data about how many posts I make a week, see when I’m busiest, and things like that, for now though, let’s celebrate a year of blogging with the release of a new GlitchFox track, “Summer ’74” which samples Kool & The Gang’s 1974 release “Summer Madness.” It is the first time I’ve worked with sampling somebody else’s music, and with luck, it won’t be the last.
I am being stupidly productive this Spring Break. I started and finished three separate piece of work today, back-to-back, and honestly I should probably get up from my chair because being sedentary for this long isn’t healthy. After doing two more Olly-Moss inspired illustrations, I needed a break, so I decided to do a Geometric piece of art, namely this Amish-Quilt inspired “Sunset Star.” This might look like it took some time to do, but honestly, it’s a lot faster than making an illustration. Once all of my diamonds are in place, it’s just a matter of choosing the right colors for the job, so really, this was the perfect project to take a break for. It was fast, fun, and I’m left with a nice-looking, satisfactory product.
If you’re not familiar with Olly Moss’ work, you should go check it out, because it’s incredible. I believe a lot of people would describe his work as “minimalist,” though one should be careful to remember that minimalism is not the same as “lacking detail.” Anyways, Olly Moss has these fantastic illustrations of Pokemon that use interesting color palettes and gradients that breath new life into these decade-old designs. Olly Moss worked on Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle; the classics, but I wanted to try my hand at recreating some of my favorites: the poison type Pokemon.
Grimer was the first I worked on: since they’re blobs of toxic goo, it made sense to work with them first, as they’d be composed of simple shapes. There’s a single body, two arms, eyes, a mouth; basic stuff, and then I gave it some ripples in the goo in order to add a final touch. I think Grimer came out fairly well; cute little guy, a good start. Zubat was my second piece, and gave me a chance to work with more complicated shapes, and three separate gradients. Getting the tails on Zubat just right was the hardest part, because they had to be skinny, and equally so. If one was just a few pixels larger than the other, you’d notice, and even in the final product they aren’t perfect – but close enough. In Weezing, the final piece, I reduced the number of gradients down to two, but the number of shapes went up significantly. I had a lot of fun turning Weezing from this suffering Pokemon into one that looked happy, and layering each part of Weezing’s body proved a valuable exercise in object management.
This was a fun project, and I love it when learning new techniques is fun.