I was selected to create the 2011 Bumbershoot Fine Arts poster. “Sustenance” is a combination of photos and music notation, where the raindrops are musical notes and the clouds are phrase markings used in musical notation. A representation of a three-movement composition, it consists of contrasting parts titled nourishment, endurance and strength. The accompanying musical composition will be available as a free download beginning a week prior to the festival.
Human Rights Legacy
Civil rights, and human rights for all, are a reoccurring theme in my art. My current public art project involves the community of Tacoma, WA and the city’s human rights legacy. Before the artwork is created for People’s Park, I will have met with numerous community organizations and completed residencies as a teaching artist at two elementary schools, a middle school, and the Boys and Girls Club. For the past four months, I’ve enjoyed finding new ways to creatively engage the community and encourage dialogue on the important issue of human rights in the past, present, and future.
Every object has a sound. I enjoy performing in galleries and creating live, improvised sonic interpretations of artwork, whether it’s paintings from the Renaissance Period, or modern sculptures. I have performed live sonic interpretations of works such as Nick Cave’s sound suit exhibit, Meet Me at the Center of the Earth, sculpture by Alexander Calder, and various paintings throughout the Baroque Room of the Seattle Art Museum.
In the Air
Since I was a child I’ve had a fascination with planes and flight. When I was 12, I was a cadet with the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the US Air Force that promotes aerospace education. A regular activity for the squadron was weekend flights. For the past few years, I’ve integrated flight into my art. This picture of me in the 1920’s Bi-Plane was part of a public art project sponsored by 4Culture in which I created work based on the walking trail system in King County. In 2010, I participated in a pilot program by the Vintage Aircraft Association in which I had the opportunity to ride in the legendary B-17 Bomber and created a film based on the experience. With less than 10 still actively flying, this was a wonderful rare opportunity.
Scratch Sound is an interactive performance utilizing custom-made scratch tickets that determine the mood of the improviser. Audience members are given scratch tickets with three circles and 10 possibilities including 8 basic emotions: (acceptance, anger, anticipation, disgust, joy, fear, sadness, surprise). Not all cards are winners; some scratches will reveal that you must “Try Again.” If “2X BONUS!” is exposed, the participant scratches another circle and receives double that emotion!
I have performed and shown artwork inside both active prisons and the historic Alcatraz prison. I feel that it’s important to talk about prison issues in as many places as possible. The main goal of this work is to encourage dialogue about mass incarceration, and the prison industrial complex.
In 2010 I had the honor of being invited for a residency at the Pilchuck School of Glass. During this time, I had two and a half weeks of experimentation with I medium I knew little about. I created musical instruments from blown glass – such as the Seussaphone shown here – and exploring other techniques such as sand casting, print making, mold blown and cold working.
Sounds Like… is a sound installation without sound. The four pairings of large images and video are based on the classic elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Each pairing also represents a significant event in US history relating to Americans of African descent, and their experiences. From broken promises associated with 40 acres and a mule, to the horrors of lynching, and the murder of Emmett Till, as well as honoring the spirit of those who fought for their rights.
“Why Us? Left Behind and Dying” (2010)
“Why Us? Left Behind and Dying” is an in-depth examination of the reasons why HIV rates are disproportionately high in black communities. It was made from the point of view of a small group of inner-city African-American teenagers, ages 14-17, from Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, PA.
Scribe Send Sound
Audience members will be invited to send stories, poems and other writing to the band, before and during the show. New compositions will be created based on the messages received. Writers will also be invited to bring laptops and other mobile devices and write. The hope is to provide a space to create.
Water from Rattlesnake Lake was used along with leaves, twigs, grass, and branches to paint pieces that I interpreted on cello. Participants were provided with paper and non-staining watercolor paint.
Cello concert of improvised compositions inspired by original clay sculptures created by the audience.
“The Key of G” (2007)
THE KEY OF G is an award-winning feature documentary about disability, care giving and interdependence. The film follows Gannet, a charismatic 22-year-old with physical and developmental disabilities, as he leaves his mother’s home to share an apartment with a close-knit group of artists and musicians who support him, not only as paid caregivers, but also as friends. Together they create a uniquely successful model of supported living, and a compelling alternative to institutionalized care.
Strange Fruit - Solo Cello Performance Video
Paul Rucker performs an original composition that was used in his interactive sound installation Four Score.
Strange Fruit is a composition in which 6 different cello parts are layered. This series is a part of 50 solo cello concerts performed all over King County in Washington State sponsored by 4Culture.
Art can tell stories. For years I would talk about injustice by reciting numbers and statistics. When you say, “We have over 2.3 million people in prison,” it’s a large number to comprehend. Doing research at a prison issues-themed residency at the Blue Mountain Center in New York, I found some maps that I felt could help tell the story. This project shows the proliferation of the US prison system if seen from a celestial point of view. Using different colors to indicate different eras, the viewer can clearly see the astonishing growth of this system over time.
A play on Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, and four graphic musical scores. The viewer is given an MP3 player and listens to corresponding compositions and arrangements. Each score measure 40 inches x 60 inches.
Puzzle Pieces is a live interactive piece for musicians, and audience participation. Graphic music scores in jars are assembled by the audience, and then performed by musicians.
Trails of Vapor
The 32-channel permanent sound installation commissioned by the Museum of Flight in Seattle presented the opportunity to integrate sound in a one-of-a-kind structure. The 40-minute program of soundscapes, field recordings and new compositions offered a new delivery method for my art. This piece incorporates such elements as recorded Boeing airplanes on the assembly line, the Blue Angels in flight, and new compositions.
Happy Ending Machine
“Happy Ending Machine” enables viewers to rearrange the instrumentation by breaking laser beams. Each laser beam corresponds to a different instrument (saxophone, bass/piano, drums, and guitar), which starts and stops by hand movement. The participant is the Conductor with full control.
Wall of Pieces
“Wall of Pieces,” which was on display at Consolidated Works in Seattle , involves 88 images that correspond to 88 keys on a keyboard. Each key plays a composition I’ve composed over the past 25 years. Multiple compositions can be played at one time to create soundscapes of cacophony.
Eleven Conversations is an interactive sound and video installation that allows the viewer to manipulate a video of eleven different cello performances by waving a hand over an infrared beam. The sensor responds to the proximity and speed of the hand. The different compositions mimic different types of conversations, discussions that involve conflict, nostalgia, sadness, and small talk. The use of a low-pass filter processing the audio in real-time creates the illusion that the performance is slowing down and speeding up as it is manipulated by the listener/viewer.
“Catalyst,” which was recently shown at the Jack Straw New Media Gallery in Seattle, WA employs a touch screen using xy technology (x being the horizontal coordinate and y being the vertical coordinate on the touch pad): where you touch the screen determines which aspects of the video/audio are altered.
“Busker” is a performance art piece. This is a 2 minute excerpt from a 40 minute performance near a busy intersection. During the performance not a single note is played.