Archive for the ‘Y-Y Ma’ Category

An all-seeing eye is watching

Saturday, August 3rd, 2019

“Mastering music is more than learning technical skills. Practicing is about quality, not quantity. Some days I practice for hours; other days it will be just a few minutes.”
— Yo-Yo Ma

Mombo gets a lot of junk mail — a ridiculous amount — but, at the age of 94, she is long past having any interest in it. When I care for her, the current stash provides scrap for compositional studies created while she rests.

We all need to practice something, don’t we?

Untitled (cyclopea)
collage experiment by J A Dixon
7.5 x 7.5 inches
not for sale

a birthday salute . . .

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

“In 1998, Ma founded Silkroad, a nonprofit outfit that connects diverse cultures and musicians not only through Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble (for which more than 80 pieces have been commissioned), but also by supporting education and cross-cultural business and artistic partnerships.”

Today is the 60th birthday of Yo-Yo Ma, among the world’s most impressive creative individuals. When he brought his Silk Road Ensemble to my hometown in 2013, I was inspired to begin a series of collage poems dedicated to East-West understanding. I can think of no living artist with a greater curiosity for diverse influences, or a wider versatility, fusing cultural traditions with innovative experimentation.

Silk Road Details
digital compilation by J A Dixon
a birthday salute to Yo-Yo Ma

Odes to influence, invention, inspiration . . .

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

“I’ve never met a tradition that is not the result of successful invention. As soon as you invent something that everybody wants, unless you evolve that tradition, it starts to get smaller. I think of the Silk Road, in many ways, as the Internet of antiquity. Today it’s much faster but we had essentially the same results. When people met at the borders, you traded; you figured out who you are; do I trust you? Can we do business together? Can we be friends?”
— Yo-Yo Ma

A week after finishing my 31-miniatures-in-31-days exercise, which culminated in a “Silk Road” collage series, I am able to look at the month’s output with a bit of perspective. A period of sustained experimentation collided with a catalytic event (attending a performance of the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma), and suddenly I was off on a ride of intense thematic exploration. I am now able to link the end result to a piece I created seven years ago as a tribute to Kurt Schwitters. I felt strongly at the time that by transcending the individual characteristics of ingredient elements, the totality of a compositional effect could take on a reverential tone. I have nothing against irreverence, satire, or sarcasm in art, but I am increasingly comfortable with the idea that when I step beyond an inspirational experience, my natural tendency is to seek beauty, harmony, and perhaps even “the sacred” in a work of collage.

Sacred Ode To Merz
J A Dixon, 2006
homage to K Schwitters
16 x 20 inches (framed)
private collection