What a great summer and fall! Mama mia! Many of you may remember that I was selected by ArtPrize for their Pitch Night Detroit Award back in May, which meant they awarded me $5,000 to create a new sound and light installation that was featured at ArtPrize 10 in Grand Rapids. It went smashingly great! Thousands of visitors came to see my work, I was on the ArtPrize public vote leaderboard for most votes during the entire festival and the reviews and feedback were fantastic!
Thank you to everyone who supported me and came out, to ArtPrize and to my friends and family for their continued support!
This video is a three minute synopsis of what it was like to walk around the space and you get to hear some of the sounds, as well. This work, the lights, sounds, everything, was created specifically for the space and was designed to be a reflective space for visitors to experience themselves, or whatever they wish.
This work will be hosted again at another venue in the near future. But until then, please enjoy this video!
And here’s a link to some media interviews I did:
“Sound Space turned out great and I’m so lucky to have had this experience. So many people who walked out of the exhibit said some of the kindest and most inspiring things anybody has ever said to me. I was already motivated to create works that connect me to people, connects people to whatever they want and to provide a platform for reflection. But now I’m even more motivated after this experience. I feel like I can accomplish anything!,” said artist Troy Ramos.
Thank you to everyone who supported Troy and came out, thanks to ArtPrize and to friends and family for their continued support!
This work, the lights, sounds, everything, were created specifically for the space and were designed to be a reflective space for visitors to experience themselves, or whatever they wish. Sound Space will be hosted again at another venue in the near future.
And here’s a link to some media interviews Troy did about the work:
Detroit Pitch Night Winner 2018
The Fifth Third Center
111 Lyon Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49053
“As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being. If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted yesterday, I’m likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. But suppose you could answer, “It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.” -Alan Watts
In order to be strongly interested in what’s happening now, we need, in some way, to connect with the openness of finding meaningful experiences. Often we go into artistic spaces to look for the specific works…the painting, the video installation, the sculpture, and so on. As significant as the actual works are, I think there is something at least equally meaningful beyond that idea, which is: the experience of having an interaction with art. Sound Space is about creating experiences which encourage reflection and pause, and asks the visitor to interact with the artwork for a longer period of time- not for the benefit of the work, rather for the potential benefit of the observer. This work is about what the experience does to you, the effect your experience has on the work, others around you, and the space you’re in. This work encourages art as being connected with human experience.
Sound Space is a sound and light installation. The space is the visual aspect, curated to set the stage for what observers hear and experience. I’m interested in creating a platform in which these human experiences can happen. Sound Space would invite connections between the visitor and the work, opening up the possibility for anything to occur to them or happen during their visit. Sound Space is a platform for observers to experience themselves.
The setting is designed to encourage the visitor to stay and listen to the work for as long as they wish. The sound work for Sound Space was created specially for this ArtPrize 10 project. The work was composed after the venue and space were determined so that the spirit of the venue and space were in my thoughts as I created this sound work.
To hear past original works, I’d invite you to visit the following sites: iTunes, Amazon and at www.troyramos.bandcamp.com.
He did it! Last night artist Troy Ramos took home the Pitch Night Detroit Award after successfully convincing a panel of wonderful art experts that the sound and light installation Sound Space needed to be brought into existence. The event took place in Hamtramck (like a Detroit neighborhood but it’s its own city) at Bank Suey and was put on by ArtPrize of Grand Rapids. The winner, c’est Troy!, got $5,000 and a high profile venue spot at this year’s ArtPrize 10.
The other 4 finalists were great and it was an honor to listen to all their wonderful pitches! We look forward to hopefully seeing their work at ArtPrize in September!
If you’re unfamiliar, ArtPrize is, we believe, the biggest arts competition in the world. Certainly at the top, if not the biggest. Every year about 1500 artists set up works at venues throughout downtown Grand Rapids and compete for the top spots. There are category prizes, and two big top prizes: $200K for most public votes and $200K for juried award winner. Wowser!
The winning work, called Sound Space, is going to be a sound and light installation that will provide visitors with a platform for reflection and pause. Ramos wants it to be a space where people can physically go inside this artwork and have their own experience. It’s very important that people have their own experience.
Troy looks forward to putting this together and seeing how people react to it. Thanks to everyone who came out to the event! We had such a great time and got to meet so many great people. And we really look forward to working with everyone at ArtPrize. It’s gonna be fantastic!
Twelve Stars ia available on Bandcamp, with digital downloads available AND a limited edition of CDs, with each CD sent out being 'unique'! Give it a listen and support an artist! Troy Ramos need you, friends! Check the work out: www.troyramos.bandcamp.com!
The following articles was written by the artist, Troy Ramos:
“These twelve piano works were created in the same moment in time. They are all part of one idea. Multiple melodic lines drift calmly around each other throughout the entire album. All of these sounds were pulled from somewhere in the cosmos and simply organized by one person. In other words, this work is a cosmotic sound sculpture.
I hope you enjoy my sonic sculptures.” - Troy Ramos
I was living in Lansing, a fine, gritty midsized city in the middle of Michigan, drifting from one week to the next. I was working tirelessly during the day to pay my rent, and feverishly creating art projects at night, desperately trying to construct an escape route from the monotonous, underpaid life of the everyday American worker in the hopes of simply being able to make it as an artist. Even if I was a poor artist, barely surviving, I would take that scenario every time.
I think every artist has to develop their own process. I’m not sure if it’s possible to create interesting works without a tailor made, fantastic process. Maybe somebody can create art without it, I don’t know. But I can’t. And it was around this time that I completely embraced the process that has worked for me ever since. It’s a pattern that fits me like a glove and, somehow, through some weird stroke of fortune, it produces the most interesting works I’ve ever done, as well.
I call this process Naturalism, mostly because it comes naturally to me. It basically means that, when I create something, I trust the artistic skills I’ve been developing for nearly 25 years and allow them to work without my analytical brain getting in the way. The goal is to avoid the ‘paralysis-by-analysis’ trap and just write.
But another strong aspect of my process is time: I think (for me) it’s important to create works in as short a time span as possible, so as to create something which encapsulates a specific point in space and time. For myself, if time is passing and it’s taking longer and longer to finish work, this work ends up becoming a representation of different mindsets and different perspectives. And I don’t want that. I want it to be from a particular point in my life.
And this is exactly the process I used to create this album, “Twelve Stars”.
Sometimes I hesitate to tell people how quickly I can write something because they may dismiss it as a work that hasn’t been thought through or has been rushed, etc. But that’s not the case for me. Works that I write quickly are my best works, in every regard. And so for this work, “Twelve Stars”, I wanted to write two piano works per day, for six days straight. I wanted to have this album done within a week. The mixing and editing process always takes a few weeks after that, but I wanted the composition of the content to be done in one week. And that’s exactly what happened here. And I honestly don’t think anybody would listen to this and tell me that it sounds like it was done that quickly. It’s always the opposite reaction that I get.
The way that I layer these works gives it so much depth, I think. I always start with one line, and then I add in another line, and then I maybe add another voice (in this case, a piano voice). And I do that until it’s finished.
I think if you listen to this album from start to finish, you will quickly see that it encourages a certain type of reflective mood. But as you listen on, or listen more intensely, if you wish, I think you also hear a lot of themes that pop up throughout the album. It’s a soft, thoughtful and thematic album, full of mellow-vibes and timelessness.
This is easily one of my favorite works I’ve ever created. I hope that you enjoy it and I hope that you will consider supporting me by purchasing the album via the link below. I used to put my works on iTunes and Amazon, but they take such a large cut that I try to avoid using them. Bandcamp is great because it allows me to set a minimum price and people can pay whatever they wish beyond that. Thank you for reading this and please feel free to send me any thoughts or questions you may have about the album. I’d love to hear from you.
This album is available here on Bandcamp here: Twelve Stars LP
“Project 100” is the idea where you donate $25 to www.ArtHouse43.com and in return artist Troy Ramos, will write a composition/sound work for you! This work can be specifically for you or based on something of your choice... a photo, a poem, your name, a word, an image, whatever, anything! This is the ultimate collaboration with a max of 100 people who can participate. It'll become one, big sound project with up to 100 different elements! Just click Support and commission your ORIGINAL music composition for only $25. Then send Troy anything you want him to focus on, theme-wise, if any, and he’ll write the work.
“This is your chance to be a part of something unique that hasn't been created before. These works will only exist if you help bring them into existence,” says Troy Ramos.
”I love writing works for people. It’s such a great way to have a positive interaction. We’re all looking for connections, we’re all floating around looking for significance or something meaningful. This could easily be one of those moments.”
Want to hear an example? Here is one work that a friend of ours requested after telling us a story he thought of and left it to the composer to create something (or not) based off of that story. After listening to his story, Ramos came up with Birth of a Ghost Bike. This is the story behind Birth of a Ghost Bike:
“This story was described to me like this: somebody was enjoying themselves on an evening with friends and drinking, having a great time. After a while, they started riding their bike home after the party, when surprisingly, they are blindsidedly hit in the face with a lead pipe. There was really no further part of the story, but that was more than enough to get me started on this work.”
With that in mind, this is what Troy came up with. The beginning is obviously light and fun and playful, but then towards the end it gets a little bit grittier than he normally writes, almost like a sound dragon breathing fire on to the ears of the universe.
The works of course aren’t representative. They already have their own meaning and Ramos would never project anything, even as interesting as a story as this is, or a poem or a person might be, onto the work itself. But the inspiration for creating works can come from anywhere. That has no limits, in his opinion. But for the “Birth of a Ghost Bike”, the artist really enjoyed this story and writing a new work based off of it. Troy can’t wait to compose more of these so send them in!”
And there are still slots to participate in Project 100, if you're interested. Simply go to www.arthouse43.com, click on "Support" at the top of the page, donate $25 and tell him if you have a basis for a sound work (you don't have to have an idea, btw!) and he'll write you a work!
Recently I couldn’t help but think about the persons who may or may not come in contact with any work that I create. What are my goals, in terms of whom I’m connecting with? Am I trying to control the “target audienc” too much? If so, is that a good thing? If I wanted to change that, HOW would I go about doing that?
Enter my new sound project called "Music for Strangers". It's an experiment into interacting with random people and spaces through the composition of new musical works. It's also about the loss of control of what we create and freeing the works from the hands of the artist.
Composer Toru Takemitsu once said about his works, with regard to having possession of them: "Should I leave them unsigned?" In this work, #MusicForStrangers, I take that approach, but address our possible expectations with what happens to the works themselves after they've been created and attempt to become part of the universe.
Beginning Saturday, October 22,, 2016, I will compose many short, musical works for one calendar year and then post them in random public spaces or offer them to random strangers. The copies I send or leave will be the ONLY copies. In other words, the fate of these notated sound works lies entirely on the shoulders of the strangers who come in contact with them.
Each one will be signed, photoed and numbered for the project. Once written, what happens to these works will no longer be in the control of the artist. Whatever happens to these pieces, happens to them. If they live on, they live on. If they are to be discarded forever, that's up to the people who find them or the people who ignore them.
One year. Musical works posted/given away randomly, in as many cities as I frequent. #MusicForStrangers.
Music for Strangers
by Troy Ramos, Artist
Sonic Sketches is an hour-long sound art piece for piano and electronics which was released on iTunes and Amazon on May 11, 2015. This work experiments with big, sonic spaces and welcomes a thoughtful, reflective atmosphere. It is an exploration into themes which unravel into spaces that hint at structure but remain in a state of free movement.
”With each work I create I’m getting some stronger sense of clarity, both for the actual works themselves and the process by which I construct them,” said Ramos. “I’m really proud of this album and I really hope it gets supported. It’s true I’d create art no matter what, I really don’t want to have to go down that road. If we want to support art, we have to support the artists; particularly those artists who are perhaps winding their way through the woods, and especially those artists who are sensing some sort of daylight.”