This week I’m having a limited Edition CD Blowout Sale! Twelve Stars and Phasing Moments will each be available for $7 for ONE WEEK ONLY! You get: a limited edition CD, the online download, a surprise in each package and the knowledge that you support the Arts! Visit www.troyramos.bandcamp.com to purchase! Only 28 copies exist for BOTH, that’s TOTAL! It’ll never happen again so get yours now!
This is a video of the sound and light installation “Connections: Blue (2019) by Troy Ramos. It was unveiled in Kalamazoo, Michigan at Art Hop on March 1. The next display of this work is TBD. Support for this work provided by the Kalamazoo Artistic Development Initiative, a program of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, by our Go Fund Me campaign and by ArtHouse 43.
CONNECTIONS: BLUE AND RED
Sound and Light Installation
These works are a harmony of sound and light entities. The spaces themselves are a big part of the work and help to shape how visitors experience it. The process for creating these works began with the spaces. Both the sound and light elements were created and curated in a way which allowed the results to feel as though they emanated from the structure of the space itself.
This sounds for this work are based off of sounds which existed in the rooms already. These recordings were then transformed into the works you hear in both rooms. Within each room, Blueand Red, you hear the sounds from a different visual perspective.
This past weekend I unveiled a new sound and light installation called “Connections: Blue and Red.” It premiered in downtown Kalamazoo at Art Hop and was featured alongside works by six other artists. The work was made possible in part by funding from the KADL grant awarded by Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, all of the awesome donors to my Go Fund Me campaign and ArtHouse 43.
In typical recent fashion, I was given my own room, some sort of former office space, to create this work. I was also allowed to use the room next to it, which was similar in style but smaller. As you may/may not know, I like the works to emanate from the structure of the space. I like to curate the lights in such a way that they feel in harmony with the flow of the room. And for the sounds, it’s the same thing, although, this time, I actually recorded some naturally occurring sounds in the room (fans, odd buzzing. heater noises, and created a sound work based on that.
I think everything turned out really well and the turnout was solid. It’s also always great to have a show because you get to connect with new friends and reconnect with supportive old ones. In some of my conversations I had some interesting epiphanies that I will talk about on the podcast, ArtHouse Radio, so please look for that; probably this week’s episode.
You can get a basic idea of the work through these pictures. I’m also working on a promotional video and that should be up sometime this week or early next week. Thanks to everyone for their support for this show and I’m looking forward to the next one. Onward and upward!
Support provided by the Kalamazoo Artistic Development Initiative, a program of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, by our Go Fund Me campaign and by ArtHouse 43.
Connections: Blue and Red (2019)
This photo by Justin Andert
This photo by Justin Andert
This photo by Justin Andert
Artist Troy Ramos has been generously awarded the KADL Immediate Needs grant by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo for a new work to be unveiled at Art Hop on March 1. The work will be located at Arcadia Commons at 225 N. Rose St in downtown Kalamazoo.
Ramos’s work will be a brand new sound and light installation and will have its own space within the building where several artists will also have works exhibited.
“This work is like a harmony of identities, light and sound, where they combine to allow visitors to have a unique experience through their interaction with the art,” says Ramos. “It’s a platform for observers to experience the work, themselves, or whatever they wish. This is a highly reflective work and visitors are encouraged to stay for as long as they wish.”
This work is called “Connections” and will feature a new installation of lights and a new sound art work composed specifically for this exhibit. “Although there are always pre-planned designs, the work has to emanate from the space. I want the lights and sounds to be as much a part of the structure of the space as possible.”
Ramos was also able to crowdsource funds for this project through his Go Fund Me campaign. “I’m not smart enough to articulate just how great it feels to have supporters who consistently back my work. It’s amazing to have so many friends, family and colleagues who contribute to art and take positive action to make it stronger. Their support means everything to me.”
Connections will be on display Friday, March 1 starting at 5pm and will also be on display Saturday March 2 during the day (hours TBD). To learn more about Ramos’s art visit www.arthouse43.com/troystar. And to contribute to his Go Fund Me campaign visit www.gofundme.com/ArtHopConnections. You can follow Troy on Instagram @troystond, on Twitter @MrTroystar and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/soundsliketroy.
Since Detroit-based artist Troy Ramos moved back to Michigan a few years ago, he hasn’t wasted much time connecting his work to the arts communities here. He works with sound, light and video, creating experiences in artistic spaces he refers to as: “..kind of the art work itself”. On March 1, he’ll premiere another new work at ArtHop in Kalamazoo, MI. This new work is a sound and light installation called Connections.
”I create works which function like contemporary art that you can walk into,” says Ramos. “The experience of having a full body and mind interaction with the art is, in some ways, the art work itself. This artwork, Connections, creates a sense of timelessness for observers. The work will be in its own room, with a visual display of minimalist lights and a new sound-art work playing on speakers throughout the room. The space itself is a big part of the experience. “
Ramos’s work is often about creating calm, reflective environments which allow us to question how we think of art and existence. For this new work, Connections, visitors are encouraged to use this space however they wish and to stay for as long as necessary. This work is about the interaction with art being the art itself, in many ways. It's a platform for visitors to experience themselves and the universes around them.
The sound and visuals for this project are created, organized, curated and implemented by the artist Troy Ramos. This is a new art work and will be premiered at opening night at ArtHop on March 1, 2019 at 225 Rose St. in downtown Kalamazoo. This space will have numerous other artists showing work throughout the building.
About the Artist
TROY RAMOS (b. 1975)
BA: Western Michigan University ('04), Music & German
MA: University of York in UK, Music Composition ('08)
Troy Ramos is an artist, composer and curator based in Detroit, Michigan. He’s also the founder of ArtHouse 43. He creates sound, light and video installations and has had his work shown across the US. He has received numerous grants and awards. Most recently he received the KADL Grant from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo for his sound and light installation Connections, which opened at ArtHop in Kalamazoo. He was also recently the recipient of the $5,000 Pitch Night Detroit Award from ArtPrize for his sound and light installation Sound Space, which premiered at ArtPrize 10.
Mr. Ramos earned his MA in Music Composition from the University of York (England) in 2008. Since then he has worked in artistic spaces and also releases sound works on iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp www.troyramos.bandcamp.com.
I am an artist, composer and curator. I'm aiming to create non-directional works with a sense of timelessness. Without the need to be somewhere, the works are free. They are allowed to be themselves, allowed to be anywhere and nowhere.
My works almost have no ending and no beginning. They are part of a loop, just like myself. Everything I create is part of a continuous process. And any idea I have, any work I present, is just a small part of a larger work. And so each individual work also functions as a departure point toward some other idea.
I create sound works because I want to confront silence. These sound ideas are like objects that I transform into something completely new, or into familiar objects that are being described in a different way. And I present these works as albums, or with light or video installations, which I create so that observers can sit in the spaces I’ve constructed and experience themselves and the universe around them, hopefully in a thoughtful way. How listeners experience my works is up to them, of course. In time, the works hopefully become clearer.
I do not project meanings onto my artworks. They have their own meaning: themselves. I intentionally avoid the literal because I want to maintain a level of abstraction, always. I don’t wanna break the fiction, I don’t want to tell anyone. I want to live in the story and imagine. Everyone’s different, of course. But I’m looking for more articulate moments of my own, and this is reflected in how I perceive and approach creating my own works.
Artist Troy Ramos has announced the release of Sound Space, the sound art element of his sound and light installation which premiered at ArtPrize 10. This album officially releases on March 7 and is already his second release of 2019. This album is available exclusively on Bandcamp: https://troyramos.bandcamp.com/album/sound-space
“I’ve been watching a lot of motivational videos,” joked Ramos about his productive year so far. “After a few big events last year, I’ve been fortunate enough to have more opportunities come my way. And I fully intend to be there waiting for what’s to come with my best efforts right next to me. And I’m happy that I also love what I’d do. That goes a long way when you’re putting in long hours day after day.”
Ramos won the Pitch Night Detroit Award given out by ArtPrize last year. The award came with $5,000 and a prime venue for one of the largest arts festivals in the world in Grand Rapids. “It was such a great experience. I met so many awesome people and got amazing feedback and responses to my work.”Again
His work, Sound Space, had thousands of visitors and was one of the top voted artworks in the Public Vote category. Several months after this experience, Ramos feels it’s time to make his sound work available to the public. “Although people won’t experience the visual aspect normally associated with this work, the sound element to this work is such a massive part of the experience. It’s an interaction worth your time, I promise you.”
Again, This album is available exclusively on Bandcamp: https://troyramos.bandcamp.com/album/sound-space. Below is artist statement on the work, adjusted for the context of the release of the album:
SOUND SPACE (2018)
Originally Premiered as a Sound and Light Installation
“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, so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being. If I ask you what you did yesterday, I’m likely to get nothing more than a 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
Often we go into artistic spaces to look for the specific works: the painting, sculpture, etc. As significant as the actual works are, I think there's something at least equally as meaningful beyond that idea, which is: the experience of having an interaction with art. This includes entering into a listening space, of course, to have an interaction with a sound work.
Sound Space is a sound art album about creating experiences which encourage reflection and pause, and it asks the listener 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 listener. This work is about what the experience does to you and the effect your interaction with it has on your world afterwards. This work encourages sound art as being connected with human experience.
Sound Space premiered as an award-winning sound and light installation at ArtPrize 10 in Grand Rapids. Although the artist’s visual aspect is obviously missing from the experience of listening to the work, it remains a platform for observers to experience themselves. This is one, 30 minute work. The sounds you hear and the experience you have from listening to the work are as much of a work of art as the work itself.
releases March 7, 2019 This album is available exclusively on Bandcamp: https://troyramos.bandcamp.com/album/sound-space
Sound artist Troy Ramos has announced the release of his 5th album titled “Rumble”. It releases Valentines Day but you can Pre-Order now & get a sneak-peek track. This new work is once again available exclusively on Bandcamp at www.troyramos.bandcamp.com.
This album is described as: “Industrial ambient. This album is a composite of field recordings of factories in operation, buses moving through the city and invented sounds which are organized into vast spaces of minimalistic sound art. These sounds are themselves ‘beings’, consisting of intricate rhythmic patterns, carefully sculpted sound worlds and whispers of industrial ideas you’ll recognize. These works speak their own language, but they communicate in a way that you'll understand what they're saying if the interaction is genuine and attentive.”
”This is very different from past works, yet there’s still that common thread of ambience and sound quality found in all my works,” Ramos said. “I’m constantly pushing myself, pushing my art works, trying to explore new possibilities,” he said. “Everything I do is simultaneously a work on its own and a part of some larger, overarching work.”
”Rumble” consists of three tracks, each similar in length, and, as is usually the case with Ramos’s works, invites the listener to have a longer interaction with the work. “I thought about this album for years. Sometimes things happen quickly and sometimes it takes time,” he said. “Considering the amount of time that I’ve put into this, I hope people can have an honest, genuine and thoughtful interaction with it. My works always require it. I think the result of this lengthy relationship is beneficial for both the work itself and the listener.”
”Rumble” releases on February 14. It’s available now for Pre-Order.
Hello! I’m Troy and I’m a composer, artist and curator. I create sound, light and video installations for art spaces (galleries, museums and art shows). I’ve won grants, awards and often get paid to do art... it’s almost my job! (Slowly getting there!) You can check out work I've already done here: www.arthouse43.com/troystar
I’ve got a new sound and light installation for an art event called ArtHop in Kalamazoo, MI. I was asked by a friend and colleague to create a new work in his space for this event. I need support to help pay for materials to create this work and install it, for travel costs so I can be there to set it up and be there during the event, and for promotional costs so that people know it's happening.I’ve applied for a $500 grant at the Kalamazoo Arts Council to help make this art work happen, but it’s a matching grant; that is, I have to raise $500 to match their donation. That’s why I’m here on Go Fund Me, to ask for your support!
You can support on Go Fund Me at: www.gofundme.com/arthopconnections
You can also support on this site (I’m the Director at ArtHouse 43): www.arthouse43.com/donate
Your support, anything you can give, would mean everything. It would also mean that a brand new art work will be created, exhibited and will allow art lovers in Kalamazoo a chance to interact with my work. It’ll be a great experience for me and will hopefully be a positive experience for the Kalamazoo community.
This project has a VERY tight timeline. The art show is March 1-2, 2019. I would need to buy materials by mid February (at the latest) and then have travel costs ready and begin setting up on Feb. 25. I need your help to make this happen!
Here's a timeline overview of the project:
Jan. 2-Feb. 1: Planning begins/Testing of materials begins.
Jan. 8: Meeting at the space in Kalamazoo.
Feb. 10-17: All materials must be purchased. Accommodations for setup/opening night should be reserved.
Feb. 25-28: Installation at 225 Rose begins.
March 1: Opening Night. Project is unveiled.
March 2: Exhibit continues for an extra day.
March 2-3: Teardown of exhibit.
And here's a description of the work, which is titled "Connections":
Every installation I create, every art show I have, makes me a better artist. I create works which function like contemporary art that you can walk into. The experience of having a full body and mind interaction with the art is, in some ways, the art work itself.
This artwork, Connections, creates a sense timelessness for observers. The work will be in its own room, with a visual display of minimalist lights and a new sound-art work playing on speakers throughout the room. The space itself is part of the experience. My work is about creating calm, reflective environments which allow us to question everything we think about art and existence. Visitors are encouraged to use this space however they wish and to stay for as long as necessary. This work is about the interaction with art being the art itself, in many ways. It's a platform for visitors to experience themselves and the universes around them.
This project will be created, organized, curated and implemented by the artist/applicant Troy Ramos. This is a new art work and will be premiered at opening night on ArtHop on March 1, 2019 at 225 Rose St. in downtown Kalamazoo. Thank you! Please support my work, it would mean everything!
What a great summer and fall! Ma-ma 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 again 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!
Thank you to everyone who supported me and came out, to ArtPrize and to my 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 I 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 experiencescan 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.
I did it! Last night I took home the Pitch Night Detroit Award after successfully convincing a panel of wonderful art experts that 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 moi!, 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 be on the stage with them! I look forward to hopefully seeing their work at ArtPrize in September!
If you’re unfamiliar, ArtPrize is, I think, 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!
My work, called Sound Space, is going to be a sound and light installation that will provide visitors with a platform for reflection and pause. I want this 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.
I look forward to putting this together and seeing how people react to it. Thanks to everyone who came out to the event! I had such a great time and I got to meet so many great people. And I really look forward to working with everyone at ArtPrize. It’s gonna be fantastic!
“Project 100” is the idea where you donate $25 to www.ArtHouse43.com and in return I, 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 me anything you want me to focus on, theme-wise, if any, and I'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 requested after telling me 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, I 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 Ramos 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’d normally write, 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 the artists say he 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”, Ramos says he really enjoyed this story and writing a new work based off of it and he 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!
Listen and buy Birth of a Ghost Bike on Bandcamp: https://troyramos.bandcamp.com/track/birth-of-a-ghost-bike
After a fantastic opening weekend for the art show “Phasing Moments”, a collection of 9 connected works by brothers Troy and Chris Ramos, Troy Ramos has released his works for the public to view online for free.
“Although it was a really great turn out, I know a lot of people still couldn’t make it to the show so I wanted to give everyone a chance to see some of the works,” Troy Ramos said. “I think you can watch these works and still enjoy the videos and the sound works on their own. It was a show featuring 9 works, which are connected to each other, of course. But they all still have their own identities. It’s almost like a harmony of 9 works, connected in some ways, yes, but still independent of each other enough to be considered their own work.“
The interesting collaborative element to all this is that all 9 art works were created in the spirit of the works created before them. Using video, sound and painting, the artists took an idea, started with one medium and then passed this idea back and forth, using the previous works as a starting point to create a new work. This process was then repeated every time, with each work of art being connected to all of the previous works in some way.
“Everything in this world emanates from something that already exists. Art is no different.”, says Troy Ramos. “We simply wanted to create a collection of artworks that were more strongly connected to each other, rather than with some outside force.”
So below you will see the video works and their paired sound works, simultaneously. So you’ll hear two of these nine works when you watch one of the videos. And by watching all three videos, you’ll have experienced six of the nine works.
”The video art works were mostly filmed in Detroit. You’ll quickly get a sense of minimalism when you first watch these videos and hear the sound works playing along with them,” said Ramos. “I don’t even know if the right word is minimalism. I don’t necessarily like that word. It’s appropriate to use, of course. But essentially, these works have the exact number of sounds and the exact number of images they needed. Nothing more. Whatever you want to call that, that’s what it is.”
60 Calhoun St
Battle Creek, MI 49017
Troy Ramos, Video & Sound
Chris Ramos, Paintings
From our press release just before the show opened on Oct. 13, 2017:
ArtHouse 43 presents Phasing Moments, an art show created by Troy Ramos and Chris Ramos! This show features artworks using three mediums: video, sound and paintings. These works were created using the naturalism approach (a term coined by Troy Ramos), which is a momentary-form where works are created in as short amount of time as possible, so as to capture the state of mind at a particular point in time and space. There are 9 total works: three paintings, three videos and three sound works.
These works also have an interesting collaborative, twist, however. The art works were created in the spirit of the works created before them. Using video, sound and painting, the artists took an idea, started with one medium and then passed this idea back and forth, using the previous works as a starting point to create a new work. This process was then repeated every time, with each work of art being connected to all of the previous works in some way.
“Everything in this world emanates from something that already exists. Art is no different.”, says Troy Ramos. “We simply wanted to create a collection of artworks that were more strongly connected to each other, rather than with some outside force.”
Each stage of this metamorphosis produced an artwork formed by both the medium and its place in the process itself. The results of this process are what make up the art works in Phasing Moments. It is simply an art show that focuses on both process and the transformation of ideas which were passed through different phases, the result of each phase producing its own unique result and compiling an interesting collection of works overall.
“The process we developed to exchange one idea to the next was very interesting, and the resulting artwork leaves traces of what it was like to be inside the mind of the artists at each of the nine phases.” says Chris Ramos. "I think people will find the show captivating in that sense, and we are excited to see their reactions.”
This show is made possible through a generous grant by The Battle Creek Community Foundation. This project is also sponsored by the Art Center of Battle Creek and Battle Creatures, LLC.
“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
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 audience” 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
Artist Troy Ramos grew up in the small city if Battle Creek, where he watched the Cereal Titans of the world move from being the beloved stronghold of the people to becoming the untrusted source of economic hardships.
”BC is still overshadowed by the cereal companies. But for a long time it seemed like it pretty much ruled everything,” said artist Troy Ramos. “But then in the late 1990s Kellogg’s dropped a bombshell on the city and cut thousands of people out of a job by moving their cereal production to Mexico. That’s not something a small city recovers from quickly, if ever.”
Ramos said it felt like everyone had at least a portion of their family’s economic reality invested in the cereal company job market.
”My dad worked at Post and retired from there, too. It seemed like everyone had someone in their family who worked at Kellogg’s, Post or Ralston’s. It was a part of the city in a deep, historical and financial way.”
When Ramos started working on his video and sound installation for ArtWalk in downtown BC, he said he was inspired to create a work which was based on the distinct differences he saw between the city and its relationship with each of the two big cereal companies there: Kellogg’s and Post.
”In short, it seemed like one company abandoned the city’s workers and one company didn’t. That’s my understanding. And so I wanted to explore these experiences through sounds and images. What I did was I created video of several different abandoned Kellogg’s spots, an old plant parking lot, an old factory site, etc. And then I superimposed audio over that video which consisted of field recorded sounds of the still operational Post factory, just across the street basically, sounds which became sound art or musical works. So, Essentially, you’re experiencing two different histories through two different artistic mediums, simultaneously.”
At the opening night, Ramos said that he experienced something with visitors that he hadn’t really expected.
“It was a great turnout and lots of people came and experienced the work. There were, however, a handful of people who had strong emotional reactions to the work that I wasn’t expecting. In particular, there was one couple who had retired from Kellogg’s and worked at the main plant I had featured in my video. In one shot, I did a time-lapse video of the abandoned parking lot which showed a very unique bit of writing on the parking lot, writing which had “99 Dock” written in big letters. The couple told me that they had seen that (and other) marker(s) every day they worked at that site, for decades, They were very emotional about it. They watched the entire work several times in a row. The whole thing was pretty powerful to observe.”
This work is still available to watch on the artist’s Vimeo page, as well as on this blog post. Below is the artist statement which accompanied the work on opening night.
American, b. 1975
Somewhere Between Hope and Fear (2015)
Video and Sound
Running Time: 8’33
You know what the difference is between history and memory? History is knowing what happened in the past. Memory is asking yourself: what does that which happened in the past have to do with who I am today?
There are memories for an individual, and ones that we share collectively. We can know the history of our community. But how do our memories of our local history affect who we are today? Do you think about these things or have you moved on? If we look back in time and try to take the best things that have happened, and also try to move past (i.e. forget about) the bad things that have happened, aren’t we risking absorbing both? Is it even possible to take one and not the other? And how do we begin to talk about these things? Through art? How do these memories relate to art? Maybe they shouldn't relate to it. Maybe they should. Are you reading this looking for answers? Are we asking too many questions? If not these questions, which ones?
Somewhere Between Hope and Fear (2015) puts two potentially collective and individual memories in front of us: video of the abandoned-looking site of the formerly bustling Kellogg’s plant; and also various sounds recorded from outside the nearby Post plant (sounds which were then turned into a musical work). And after being put together, this work at once then becomes a harmony of memories. And because it combines two identities, identities which have very different histories and a very different relationship with the community, this piece also becomes a harmony of identities.
This artwork is really only concerned with the aesthetic quality of the images and sounds and how they function together. Beyond that, as mentioned, this work also happens to be inspired by thinking about the memories we have of events in our past, collectively and individually, thinking about them through potentially recognizable and/or symbolic images and sounds which may or may not trigger those memories, and how remembering a point in the past affects our thinking today as we experience them in a present setting and in an artistic context.
Somewhere Between Hope and Fear (2015)
©2015 Troy Ramos
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.”