Having spent the last two and a half months entrenched in administrative work, behind the scenes, I finally feel like I can come up for air again, to breathe, and to escape the unshakable machine of my resolve, which never sleeps.

Consciousness is a battle field. It is an everyday confrontation of abstract forces at work, each fighting to command space and time within the Self. And when the mind and spirit are fully engaged and unified in their efforts, they are relentless in achieving their objectives, furiously striving to conquer a perpetual new set of conditions that challenge each new goal.

Thankfully (for me), I no longer consult my conscience for permission to carve out creative time. I have fostered my expressiveness long enough that it is indelibly linked to all activity born in me. After all, the story expressed in the image is the heart and soul of my endeavor, regardless of obstacles or barriers that require breaching. And the encounter itself, which can be defined by any number of circumstances, is a human experience… not just my own.

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I started this blog in 2012, not entirely sure what purpose it would serve or from where I’d draw inspiration, amid such a broad spectrum of ideologies, methodologies, experiences, observations, and inner dialogue. Yet, despite the ambiguity of the endeavor, this blog has remained a faithful companion who has inadvertently become a quiet proving ground for a much larger campaign, one I hadn’t initially planned to undertake (though, in essence, I needed to learn); that of Content Marketing.

Guided by a furious undercurrent of “Urgency”, a steady persistence to avert starvation and remain steadily afloat this now fluid landscape (of online marketing), I’ve relished the opportunity to conduct my own research with every published entry, using Analytics to evaluate Reach, Engagement, and other measurable Insights on a diverse array of topics. And while the amalgamation has not been entirely seamless, it is also not far fetched to believe that, with just a little more consistency, I can efficiently synthesize my professional/creative life with its parallel universe, in cyberspace.

New Work, 2011/2012

“Becoming Aware” copyright 2012, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

I am an introvert by design. So the real significance and beauty of Social Media is that it furnishes even the most reclusive person with the ability to reach beyond his/her own confines and engage with the outside world. This intermittent interaction has not only kept me sane at times, when fully imbued with the creative fire, but it has also improved many important relationships that, in the past, merely hung in limbo during those prolonged creative periods. Social Media has allowed me to remain both isolated and connected. But more important, it has taught me to listen in a new way… by observing metrics (through which you, my audience, have a voice). Truly “Listening”, after all, is about being present and becoming wholly aware of one’s Self and one’s environment, whose conditions include the internet.

Learning to listen with the entire Self is certainly an obtuse idea. And yet, when carefully considered, it’s not difficult to recognize that when we are truly present in the moment, we not only listen with our ears, but also with our bodies, and with our consciousness, which tells us how we affect and fit into our surroundings. We listen not only to our own voice of reason, but also to our intuition, when internal signals are triggered by an external influence not always seen. But even more profound, is the idea that everything is relative, inexorably because everything we personally encounter is filtered through our own interpretation. This implies, incidentally, that the people we think we are… and the people we are perceived to be… are oftentimes two very different individuals. And I’ll be the thirst to admit that since I finally removed the proud suit of armor I once wore, to preserve “Who and What I am” , I have learned more about myself than I would have previously dared admit was possible. That’s not to say that I’ve altered my natural way of being, but instead, that I have improved the way I present myself, by listening. So as I pursue a state of complete harmony with the universe, learning to enhance intimacy with significant others, to understand my own inherent and indelible Self, etc… Listening has become a permanently open door to such discovery. And it has become the foundation upon which I now build a career from a quiet, creative life.

New Work, 2011/2012

“Projectile”  copyright 2012, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

In 2012, I was only just beginning my journey, fully committed for the first time. However, by acknowledging the fact that I had no idea how to tackle the enormous task of “Building a Brand”, I allowed myself to accept the universe’s guidance, through Active Engagement and through Discourse… through the everyday conversation of Life. I immerse myself daily, now, in that aura of mutual exchange, and it has enabled my own design and destiny to reveal and express themselves, oftentimes incalculably, simply by getting out of my own way and  admitting that I don’t have all the answers, even though I may clearly see my destination and have already embraced my dream as my reality.

You and I, when engaged, occupy the same time and space

And are outward projections, taking place

Whether actively or passively… You and I

Through inner-dialogue are conceived

Beginning with a question, asked privately

For in that moment, discovering

One’s Self within the other

We are then compelled to participate

And to seek some revelation in that exchange

Whether you are pursued as a confirmation that I exist

Or I’m received as a reflection of your own expressiveness

Everything is relative.

And everything is intertwined…

Through your eyes and mine

Where we are both roots

And where we are furnished with the potential to grow

Into one cohesive truth

Though we all go our separate ways, we all still lean on one another for balance… All of us, finding strength and weakness in each other, at some point, are perfect compliments and our own contradictions, all born into this same union, this vast sentience that resembles a single body in turmoil, a tumultuous dream, and a frenzied dance within time and space where the push and pull of Life are always at odds, yet simultaneous, congruent, and a continuous ebb and flow, sometimes giving and other times receiving, until one at a time our cups are full and we recede into the light, the long enduring shadow still in view, shoved into the margins of our consciousness, but never quite forgotten, and never quite a memory, because all that is buried remains a seed.

Ballet Austin

Copyright 2005, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

The winds of change have begun to blow, moving through and around me in such a way that expresses who You are, You who are discernible and always present like the deep seeded vibration that awakens and animates one’s dreams, the quiet though resonant Om discovered in sustained meditation, the Vitality that must be recovered from misconception (each in our own tongues) so that You may be planted, nurtured, and harvested as Fruit. We have walked together, side  by side, for so long that I have not known a Life without You. Therefore… amid this change, amid the metamorphosis of my consciousness and the transformation of Life as I know It, I seek to discover You completely and in every capacity (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and in all periphery) so that we may (together) express the beauty of our union, the Poetry of that Promise which belongs to everyone!

~ Feeling Lifted

One of my current projects has become a technical experiment that has awakened the nerd in me. (Oh, yeah!) After showing “Symphony No.01”  for the first time, engaging in numerous conversations about “what it would sound like”, I decided to take the next step in developing the idea and am now converting this abstract piece into a Digital Soundscape, an audible version that will later be used as a second reference for mapping out an actual instrumental composition.

A recent breakthrough came about when I discovered that the software I’ve elected to use (which will be revealed along with the recording at a later date) is designed to read white patterns during the scanning process. That realization took me back to my days as a photographer and using colored filters to create black and white images. But before any scanning could be done, the image first had to reconfigured into a “scan ready” version… and that too has been a process.

Because the original painting was created as four (stacked) movements (as it appears here)…

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“Symphony No.01”

The image had to be converted into a single linear piece, comprised of all four movements in succession, side by side (shown here).

Symphony_Strip1_Eq

Then, by converting the image into Grayscale, I was able to isolate individual colors (using simulated filters in Photoshop) which allowed me to create 7 variations of the same piece (shown below), in two Color Spectrums: RGB (Red, Green, Blue) and CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black). But even after the conversion to grayscale was complete, I also had to invert black and white in each image so that the software would actually scan the painted portions of the piece instead of the background (because it only reads and interprets white).

The final example below is a loose rendition of this process, using a small section of “Symphony No.01”. It shows what the 8 components look like (the inverted b&w images, in both color spectrums, plus the original full-color version) before sound is created. Each individual layer, in the next phase, will be assigned different tones and recorded separately on different tracks before being combined into a single symphonic composition/recording.

Sample

To be continued…

~ Stay tuned, for updates!

I am simultaneously excited and wearied to be releasing a print of one of my most popular paintings, exploring new ways of sharing my work with a broader audience and learning to become more accommodating without compromising integrity. So it should be a joyous occasion, right? Except, I still have to promote and sell it. (Ugh!)

Regardless of my experience as a salesperson, I don’t think I’ll ever develop a comfort with the idea of selling myself. I absolutely loathe having to reverse the lens. It’s not that I don’t think I’m a bad@ss, but that I’ve never sought the limelight nor cared for the attention. I don’t even have to be liked. I simply want to be received for what I am, as an expression of a restless spirit that doesn’t know where it belongs. (There, I’ve said it.)

I know I play the proud and confident role well. And people generally like seeing others pursue a passion, because it’s not easy. But I almost don’t even think it was ever a choice for me. I’ve just always believed that we should have the right and freedom to express what nature has divined in us individually (for better or for worse). So I simply can’t help but embody what I am.

Yet, at the end of the day, like it or not, we still have to pay to play, no matter one’s path in Life. There is no escaping having to do what we have to do (to make money), so that we can do what we “want” to do (to comfortably be). And so… here I am, in my own clumsy manner, doing my part to keep the lights on, a roof over my head, and food on the table.

“The career I have chosen is full of opportunity. But it is also fraught with heartbreak and despair. And the bodies of those who have failed, if they were piled one atop another, would cast its shadow down upon all the pyramids of the earth.” ~ Og Mandino

That’s a lot of pressure, and a daunting image to overcome at times. And so I breathe… and find myself in the wake of dashed hope, only to leap again without wings… summoning wind and water; summoning the ache of fire, and all the things that exist without form… yearning to learn their secrets as I dissolve in a panic. “Is that mountain only a molehill?” I ask and then retreat, losing myself in the tangle of a myriad Being where nothing makes sense and nothing matters; except, that it does… which brings me back full-circle to the topic at hand.

Self-Promotion… (sigh)

Perhaps the most difficult part of promoting one’s self, specifically as an artist, is learning to find a healthy compromise between the creative side of the brain (who wants to experience and express) and the voice of reason (who wants to maintain the illusion of control). It’s a balancing act that seems self-defeating when we are conscious of all our different needs, not just as physical beings, but as a species that has discovered an intellect and spirituality. Indulging in one almost necessarily subdues the others, as it seeks to be defined. It is a conflict that resonates throughout all of history, when those very same  forces (which are both complimentary and contradictory) become personified and polarized outside the self, like a projected awareness that is looking back at us. The whole world takes on different meaning that way. And at this moment, I feel caught in that back-and-forth, like a pendulum that is never at rest, though I long to comprehend it’s sweeping movement, hoping to someday adopt its tranquil and hypnotic rhythm.

I’m not there yet. So my clumsy efforts will have to suffice, on my way to learning how to grace the stage without being noticed.

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“The Gemini In Me” copyright 2011, Michael Torres ~ All Rights Reserved

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