Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Interview - Jessica Bell
(AKA The Alliterative Allomorph)

Jessica Bell, also known as the Alliterative Allomorph, is with us here today! Did I just hear a small voice in the back asking who Jessica Bell is? 
Who, you ask?! 
Check out the following links and get acquainted with this wonderful multi-talented writer:
(-The Alliterative Allomorph blog)
(- Jessica’s personal website)
(-Jessica’s music)

So lets get started with one of Jessica’s favorite songs from her repertoire: 

[All the pictures over the music are embedded into the interview below, so I recommend just launching the music and scrolling on down]

01 Meet the Alliterative Allomorph
AW: Aloha Jessica. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today.
JCB: Thanks for having me!

AW: Let skip the basic questions that are readily answered on your blog, your website, and in your books- as we’ll all see as soon as they get published...
So instead, could you tell us about your creative approach?

JCB: I’m always seeking ways to unbottle emotion, usually emotion that is too ‘volatile’ to express on an everyday basis – if I did, I’d probably drive everyone around me insane. When one art form ceases to fulfill my need, I move onto another for a while. I’ll always come full circle back to the beginning though, and I’ll always end up spending the most time on writing.

More often than not, melancholy sparks the need to create – especially music wise. But I’ve noticed, since I’ve started writing, sadness and loneliness are not the only forces that drive me. When I write, I experience a more solid fulfillment than I do through any other art form, which in itself causes me to feel a whole new array of emotions anyway; emotions that take me far far way from my typical melancholia. And I get precious glimpses of happiness and highs when I’m satisfied with what I’ve created, which can last for days. I suppose writing to me is like a drug. I’m addicted. Usually when I write music, I feel worse. I think that’s why I’ve taken such a long break from it – a whole year now to be exact.

Before I started writing my only consistent outlet was music. But I soon realised it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t express exactly how I felt. I think that was because I was limited by my weak guitar skills. I never learnt how to play properly. I taught myself how to play and write music by ear.

AW: From 2002 to 2004 you were isolated on Ithaca, a small Greek island in the Ionian sea; in that time you’ve said that you pushed yourself to “grow creatively”. Could you tell us about that experience?
JCB: Ah, that time. HA! Horrible period for me. I was in my early twenties and desperate to get my life started but I was stuck on Ithaca, which was my only safe haven from getting deported back to Australia. I was waiting for my residency permit, which I was told would take two months, but took two years due to rampant court and lawyer strikes and arbitrary differences between details on my legal documents vs. my parents’. I was only allowed to stay in the country for six months with a tourist visa, so I couldn’t leave without paying a whopping fine and being forbidden from reentering the country. I couldn’t get a job. I couldn’t do anything but stay put until I was legal.

Anyway, to cut a long story short. I was BORED and needed to use my brain. In that time, I wrote my first book (which I eventually erased from my hard drive because it was, for lack of a better word, SHITE!); I wrote and recorded an entire album, and also wrote various poems and lyrics which I never ended up using.

AW: It’s hard to miss that your creative output, your photography, your music, your writing, balances positive and negative energy; that you dare to represent imperfection as well as beauty. How representative of your worldview is that?
JCB: Wow. What an amazing question. Well, firstly, one cannot exist without the other. I try to represent the reality of what lies before me, so yes, it is totally representative of my worldview.

This balance is what I call honesty. Honesty fascinates me because I think it is ‘the’ most difficult human value to portray realistically. In my writing I endeavor to create a real world, an honest world, a world where imperfection is beautiful merely because it is real. Imperfection cannot be masked. One way or another, a person’s imperfections will be revealed, no matter how hard they try to hide them. In fact, I believe the more one does try to hide their imperfections, the more they show. So why try to hide them?
02 Jessica looking cool

AW: You have several things to share with us, would you care to comment about what we’ll be seeing?
JCB: Ok, you’ve already seen photos 1 and 2 that are a part of a collection of self-portraits called ‘waves’. I took these pictures of myself as promo shots for my new album, which I co-wrote and recorded with my mother, entitled Mess of Me. Each shot features some form of a ‘wave’: for instance, the cover of my album (see photo 3) is of an actual wave in negative format, and also because it metaphorically stands for ‘sound waves’…
03 Wave

Photo 4 is of a sunrise from the ferry leaving Ithaca. Nothing special about that, I just thought it was beautiful and wanted to capture it. Though I have to add, I like the main features in landscape photographs to be on the side, for some reason. That probably says something about my personality, but I couldn’t say what.
04 Leaving Ithaca
Photos 5 and 6 are in the mountains in Kalavrita, a couple of hours out of Athens. These mountains are more than 1000 meters above sea level. The sun was desperate to be noticed behind the clouds that day. The shots were just waiting to be taken.
05 Kalavrita

For number six, I really wanted to capture all of that open flat space below, with the family playing in it and the little cabin. It shows just how vast and wide the land is there and how so much space tempts you to run and play in it. Just like when you are a kid, and autumn leaves are covering the ground and you want to interrupt its peace, make your mark.
06 Kalavrita

This next picture is of a place in Northern Greece called Meteora. Meteora means "suspended rocks", "suspended in the air" or "in the heavens above". There are six monasteries which are built right on the tips of these natural sandstone rock pillars. These were built approx 9th Century AD more than 550m high. How? Hmmm ... now try to convince me that aliens don't exist ...
 07 Meteora

AW: On a lighter note, congratulations on your betrothal! By the way, I’ve read you have a dog, what’s its name? Do you have any fun dog-owner anecdotes to share?
JCB: Betrothal? Haha, it’s no biggie. Just a legal document that’s going to allow me to stay in Greece permanently and allow S and I to lead an easier life. It has nothing to do with love. Love was present before and remains unchanged after the dreaded signed piece of paper. : )

My dog’s name is Holly [pic. 8]. She’s three years old. Anecdotes? Erm ... well, through the eyes of Holly: "A door is what I am perpetually on the wrong side of."
08 Holly looking picturesque

AW: Thanks again for answering all these questions Jessica. You have my best wishes on your publishing endeavors.
JCB: Thank you so much!

And for more Jessica, hop on over to Zoe Courtman’s for the current the (pen?)"ultimate interview" of the famed Alliterative Allomorph.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Photos - Oliver Schwarzwald: Breakfast art

Oliver Scharzwald is a german photographer who has created artistic montages from some of the breakfasts of several countries around the world. They might not be the most accurate in terms of national breakfasts, but they are cool looking.
His website is here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010