Tag Archives: art

A piece of art

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Last week something important and, in a way, life-changing happened. I’d been planning on this for quite a while. I’d always wanted to do it, but I never really had the guts. Or maybe I was just lacking inspiration to deal with it any further. Until Christmas, when the boyfriend surprised me with the most amazing and, for me, totally unexpected present of – a tattoo voucher. He knew how much I wanted to have one because I kept talking about it whenever I saw someone with permanent ink on their skin walking by. I was SO excited! I went to the website of the studio he’d picked to take a look at the works of their artists – and I immediately knew who I wanted to make my tattoo. There was a girl which had done really amazing work, not just the average tattoo you can find on so many other people, but something that looked unique and had a style that was exactly my taste. Check!

Next up I needed to find my design. I wanted to have a design that meand something to me. That reflects a piece of myself. I wanted a piece of art to stay with me forever, not just something I picked on a whim. For the longest time, I was thinking of getting a tiny tattoo on my wrist. Something along the lines of “Believe” or something. Because that’s what I am. A believer. But I could instantly name at least 3 people I know who have something like that. And I didn’t want to be one of them. Then, one day in March, I came across what I’d been looking for. A picture by Jason Byron Nelson that had always spoken to me whenever I saw it. A girl that’s holding a gun to her head and the blood that drips from her wound is morphing into butterflies flying away. I just wanted to have the blood (or something similar) and the butterflies. So badly. I found it reflected so many times I’ve gone through in my life. Which were tough. And painful. But in the end lead to something beautiful. In fact, I think it’s a great metaphor for life in general. There’s good times and there’s bad times. The latter leave their traces on us, but they can’t stop us from letting the former dominate.

So I found my piece of art and went to the studio to make an appointment. May 7th was the day I was supposed to get inked. And that day came quicker than I thought. Suddenly it was time to head to the studio. I was pretty nervous. Not so much about the pain, but about the way it was gonna turn out. Something that was going to stick with me forever. I think that’s definitely something to be a little nervous about. I was glad the boyfriend came with me. And even more glad that the tattoo artist turned out to be as amazing as I thought she would be. She really took the time to work out the design with me. After a while I had a tattoo drawn on my arm and was ready to get it inked. My dream of getting a small tattoo on my wrist turned out to be a colourful painting stretching from my lower arm to my upper arm in the end. It is also pretty different from the original. We just took it as an example and developed it into something really unique. And I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I always knew I wanted to have a tattoo to show a piece of myself. My view on life. I also wanted something to be noticed by people. But also something I could hide from those who shouldn’t see this side of me. And that’s exactly what I got. Just like the message of said painting, I had to go through 4,5 hours of pain which was sometimes more, sometimes less bearable. And in the end, something beautiful was born.

It took me quite a few days to realize that I’ve really done it. That this picture is now going to stick with me forever. I have to giggle everytime I look at it. I know some people think I’m crazy (either in a good or a bad way) because I picked a fairly big tattoo for a first-timer. But it’s perfect to me. It’s a dream come true and I couldn’t be happier about it. Just look at it!!!

Luminale in Frankfurt

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As I promised a while ago, I wanted to make a special post for the final day of March’s photo challenge. I do realize it’s May already and to be honest I have no idea how we got there. But since I still wanted to share the pictures I (and to be precise, the boyfriend as well) took on that day, here you go!

The task of the day was to take 9 pictures throughout the day. I actually intended to document my day, but since it was a working day, there actually wouldn’t have been many interesting things to show. And to be honest, while working I just forgot about it. BUT! I had planned something special for that evening, so I decided to document that instead. And thanks to the boyfriend’s new DSLR we took some amazing pictures. We went to Luminale which is a “light festival” in Frankfurt meaning there are light installations all around the city. It’s a lot of fun to wander around and explore all the different sites, but there are far too many to see them all. This year, we went to Palmengarten, a botanical garden, and went for a stroll. It was a beautiful spring day which made it the perfect evening activity. I hope you enjoy the pictures. And make sure to visit Luminale if you’re ever in town when it’s on!

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Musings on Music: When bands change

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Every once in a while I stumble over a band that I really love. Almost obsessively. When I do, I constantly need to listen to their music. I can go weeks with just one album on my iPod playlist without getting tired of it. This is basically my definition of good music. If I don’t get tired after a few days, it’s good in my book. Sometimes it’s bands I admire for their musical talent and genius. Muse and Biffy Clyro are such bands for me, for example. And then there are bands who impress me with their message, the deep meaning of their songs. Something that makes me feel really connected and understood. In that case music becomes much more than just that. It becomes a door to a whole new universe full of inspiration and things I can relate to.

I’ve actually only encountered one such band so far and this is 30 Seconds to Mars. Discovering them was almost like an epiphany to me. I was in a very crucial phase of my life back then and their music sparked something inside me. It was an inspiration to open my eyes to things which had already been there, but which I couldn’t quite grasp at the time. And after that initial experience (which actually brought me to making music myself in the end), of course, I wanted more. Back then the band had just finished touring for their 3rd album, so there was a lot to discover for a newbie like me. I listened to all their songs, I dug deep into the symbology that seemed to be present throughout their whole work. It was just amazing. I wanted to learn all about it, I wanted to become an expert. And I wanted to share my thoughts on the band and their work with like-minded people. Thanks to good old-fashioned message boards, I was able to find such people, online and later on even in real life. For the first time I felt like someone understood my fascination with this band and didn’t just think I was in it because the band members aren’t exactly ugly. And more importantly, they understood my view on life because they felt the same way.

Since I’d been pretty late to the party and I’d just gotten into the band before they went on tour hiatus to work on their fourth album, I felt like I’d missed out on a lot of things. But with that new album, I wanted to be in the forefront. I wanted to know all the news first and witness everything that happened with my own eyes and ears. I got extremely excited about every little tidbit the band was giving us, every little glimpse of the new music. And so did my friends. However, the more we got to hear, the more unsure I felt about the new stuff. It was quite different from the previous style which is kinda normal I guess. Repetition is usually never a good thing. I tried to like it real hard. I wanted to like it because it was Mars who’s music I loved. But there I was not really liking the new stuff. It was ok. I listened to it for a few weeks, but I quickly got bored. I basically listened to their previous album on an almost daily basis for  a year, so not feeling the same at all was a pretty big bummer. And what weighed even worse was that the deep meaning was missing this time. The reason I actually got so obsessed about this band in the first place was now almost completely missing in my opinion. Everything was now a tad more superficial and easier accessible. As stupid as it sounds, I did feel a little guilty about my opinion. But that’s the thing with music. It’s a question of taste and this particular album just didn’t float my boat.

Then another tour was announced and I thought, at least I’m going to get to hear some of the older songs and who knows maybe I’ll even like the live versions of some of the new stuff. So me and my friends planned out quite a few concert trips to such great places like Berlin and Nice. And I did have tons of fun. We’d all been waiting for this for a long time and now it was actually happening. And we who were mostly just conversing online got to experience it all together. How amazing was that! At the second show I went to I realized I knew exactly what was going to happen every single minute of the performance. I knew when the balloons were thrown into the crowd. I knew when we had to jump or to get down low. I knew when we had to say “Love, Lust, Faith & Dreams” in the respective language. I knew the setlist. There were a few changes here and there, but it was basically the same over and over again. At show No. 5 I had a hard time getting excited at all. I was still having fun, don’t get me wrong, but when a show is so predictable it does get boring after a while. At least for me. It was too much. It became a routine for me instead of something special.

And there were other obvious changes which bothered me, too. The band has always been very active on social media, always looking for ways to interact with fans. But over time, it all turned into a huge selling show. Buy this, buy that. And the occasional generic tweet in between. My timeline was flooded with stuff I wasn’t interested in. And it made me upset. Then I went to the Facebook fanpages I frequented and all people were discussing were the newest paparazzi pics, haircuts, hotness and alleged dates of the band members. It felt like being on a Justin Bieber or One Direction fanpage and truly I believe that the core fanbase nowadays can largely be found in that age group. I’m not sure what triggered what, but it is clear that the band is catering to that audience now. I’m not blaming them. Not anymore. It’s a business after all. And the music business surely is one of the toughest out there. But it took me quite a while to be ok with that. By the end of last year I got so upset about the whole way things were now that I was complaining all the time. I was only able to see the bad stuff. But that was exactly how I never wanted to be. I never wanted to be one of these fans who can’t let go and who glorify the olden days. I realized that I was too involved, too obsessed with everything that was happening. I needed to pull myself out for a while to put things into perspective. So I unfollowed all of the band’s accounts on social media. I avoided the fanpages. I even stayed away from my beloved forum for a while. And you  know what: It feels so much better! I don’t have to know everything that happens in the Mars universe anymore. But when something important  happens, I’ll still know because someone will tell me sooner or later. And that way I can choose to deal with the stuff I’m really interested in. The music, live shows and the artistic side of it all which can still be found somewhere under the superficial layers.

Tomorrow I’m off to France to see Mars again. I’m not as excited as I used to be. I’m excited to see my friends again and to have a fun time. But about the show itself I’m rather indifferent. I haven’t listened to the music in ages and I don’t think I will before the show. I think this is going to be my last show for a while. I’m kinda done for now. But I’m not ready to let go just yet. I’ll still follow what the band’s doing. I’ll still discuss these things with my friends. I’ll still support them when I feel like doing so.Things have definitely changed. And so have I and my attitude towards the band, my investment within this fanbase. I don’t have to buy everything and like everything they do. When I don’t like something I’ll just stay away from it. It’s really just as easy as that. And one thing certainly hasn’t changed: This band will always have a special place in my heart for inspiring me. No matter which path they’re going to take in the future. And what I’m most grateful for are the great people I got to know just because of the simple fact we like the same band. And the great thing is that our mutual interests don’t just end there. We have a lot more things in common to talk about. And this is something noone’s gonna take away from us. This is my 100th post on this blog and I wanna dedicate it to these amazing people. I can’t wait to rock with you this weekend! And many more times after that, hopefully!

I have never… been to Zurich

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Last weekend the boyfriend had a gig with the cover band he occasionally plays guitar for. In Zurich, Switzerland. And since one of my plans for this year is to travel more, I was absolutely keen on accompanying him. Despite the fact that we were still in the middle of our move and I’d just had an almost 50 hour work week behind me. Sure, I was pretty exhausted, but certainly a change of scenery would do me good. So we got up early on Saturday morning, packed a bag and off we went.

I really have a thing for road trips. I just love blasting loud music through the speakers while watching the world pass by. Seeing new people and places. It took us about 4,5 hours and a stop at Burger King (where I normally never ever eat) until we got to Zurich. We even saw some snow on the way which was pretty exciting since we didn’t have any here so far in Frankfurt this winter. We caught a first glimpse of Zurich on the way to the venue where we were supposed to meet the rest of the band and I immediately liked it. There was something very laid-back (well, the Swiss I guess) about the city. The venue the band was supposed to play at was located behind the station area. When we walked around later we saw that it was somewhat of a red-light district mixed with artistic kind of places. It reminded me a little of the main station area here in Frankfurt. The venue itself was located in an old barracks building which was just so cool! I wish we had venues like this here, I’d definitely be a regular there. After we had a brief look at the venue we went over to the hotel the organizer had booked for us (girlfriends included, yay!). Again I was pretty surprised. I’d expected some cheap accomodation and actually prepared myself for the risk of having to look for a hotel room myself, but the place was pretty ok. Spartan, yes, but clean and the bed was really comfy. I don’t need much, especially not when it’s paid for by someone else. As long as it’s clean I’m fine and this place definitely was.

After we had a little rest, we went back to the venue because the band had to prepare for soundcheck and then the gig. The whole gig was part of a 60s festival with several cover bands from The Doors to Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix performing (the boyfriend plays in a Doors band). I’m not a huge fan of this kind of music and I’ve probably had enough of The Doors for the rest of my life already, but I do find it exciting to watch the boyfriend play. I was really surprised at how young the crowd was there. Usually, people are in their 40s or 50s or maybe even older, but this time there were a lot of people who looked like they were barely 18. And they had fun. They danced and cheered and it was just an awesome atmosphere. While I couldn’t get myself to be enthusiastic about the music I really enjoyed watching people. And seeing the band getting applause for what they love doing. We didn’t stay too long after the show because we were both pretty tired from the past weeks and the long drive and all, so we called it an early night. And I slept so well which I usually never do the first night I’m sleeping somewhere else. Score!

Unfortunately, the next day it was raining, so we weren’t really in the mood to do sightseeing. I really would’ve loved to have a look around the city, but cold and rain aren’t the best companions in my opinion. But at least I wanted to have a look at the lake once before we left, so we went on a little drive through the city. Which was really pretty! I would love to come back again when it’s a little warmer and nicer to explore it. Because it just looks like a really interesting and fun place. I don’t know how else to describe it, but there’s a really artistic vibe about the whole city. Something I do miss here sometimes. There were lots of galleries, little bars and cafes and things that are just inviting people to explore them. So I really hope I’ll get the chance to do so some day. When I’ve saved the money for it that is. Because of course there’s also the expensive side of Zurich (we paid 25€ for 2 coffees and 2 sandwiches at Starbucks!). Looking back I really had a fun weekend in Zurich despite the short time we spent there. And it totally made me want to get our band thingy rolling again. Because what could be greater than combining travelling and making music, right!

Musings on Music: The Living Room Gig

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As I mentioned before, me and the boyfriend had the opportunity to play an acoustic set at this little charity event which was organised by Charlotte (from Sherbet and Sparkles) and Ben (who is a very talented musician, check him out here). When I saw the announcement on Facebook and the call for other musicians/artists to join in, I knew we had to go for it. You know sometimes there are these opportunities that are a little scary (and performing in front of an audience still is a very big deal for me), but you know exactly that if you won’t do it you’ll ask yourself ‘what if’ until the end of time. So I did what we had to do and it worked out.

The day of the event I wasn’t feeling very well. I was having a little cold and I really just wanted to lie down on the couch. But as the starting time came closer and closer, adrenaline kicked in and I couldn’t feel my body aching anymore. So the boyfriend and I grabbed the guitar and off we went. The gig was held in this awesome flat in the main station area. It was huge and I was actually surprised that you can find such a decent place to live in an area that still is a rather dodgy part of town. While we were starting to set up our stuff, people slowly arrived and before I knew it the flat was quite crowded with people. I was very happy that two of my friends could make it to support us which was very much appreciated since I was freaking nervous. We were the first to play which scared the fuck out of me. I mean I can imagine it’s kind of a hard job to warm up the crowd and get it in the mood. But in this case we really didn’t have to worry. After a few words of introduction by the organisers, it was our turn. I hadn’t thought that much about what to say, how to introduce us and our songs because I like it to come naturally. But since I was so horribly nervous I didn’t talk that much at all. It’s kind of strange, I feel kind of safe when singing because I know what to do and when, but talking in front of an audience makes me feel pretty uneasy. I really hope this will turn into something like routine the more I’m doing it. The same goes for the whole performance. I was nervous almost the entire time, for various reasons. First of all, there were quite a lot of people there. Something around 50 which is the biggest crowd I’ve ever performed for. Since this was taking place in a private flat, it all felt kind of personal which was good. But it also made me feel more nervous because there wasn’t any real distance to the audience. No stage, no background talking. Just us on chairs and a crowd sitting on the floor only focused on our performance.

On the other hand, this intimacy made the gig even more special. I was looking closely at people and their reactions and I saw quite a few emotions and reassurance. Which made me so happy and blessed to be able to do this. You know, when you sit down and write songs and rehearse them over and over again by yourself, you start to dream a lot about what it’s going to be like to share them with people. And when you’re finally able to, it’s the most amazing thing in the world. I mean every song started with a line, a note in my head. And now it’s taken on a life of its own with the ability to evoke something in other people. Like some sort of chain reaction. Pure magic! And the fact that this gig was for charity made it even more special. In the end, over 300 Euro were raised for a charity that helps disabled children. And there were a lot of talented people involved who made this happen. In retrospective, I’m actually quite happy we were first up because the others set the bar pretty high. There was Simit with his guitar playing his so-called moanings (he doesn’t have titles for his songs). Hugo who was reading a self-written poem full of emotions (and probably the only person that was more nervous than me). A raffle with awesome prizes (I definitely would’ve loved the Pooh mug or the Japanese manga). And in the end, an amazing performance by Ben and his crew. While his music (I’d probably describe it as Soul-Pop) isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I could really imagine him going big one day. His voice is amazing and he’s definitely an entertainer. So all in all, it was an amazing night! I really love the concept of this charity gig thing and if there’s ever gonna be another event like this I’d love to be a part of it again. I also really enjoyed the company of other musicians and artsy people. It definitely was a step in the right direction.

I can feel the fire

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Since February definitely needs to be a more active and productive month than January, me and the boyfriend went on a little band-related trip last night. We went to an open stage night at Frankfurt Art Bar. Of course, we didn’t just go there to listen to some nice music and to enjoy the company of like-minded people. Which would’ve been totally valid. Oh no! We’re having a plan. And the first step is to finally share our music. And what better way is there to play at an open stage night. When we were first looking into this topic, we had to find out that there actually aren’t that many open stages in Frankfurt. If I’ve done my reasearch properly, it’s only 2 which is kinda sad. But anyway, the one at Art Bar sounded pretty nice, so we just went there to check out the competition.

I have to say that I really liked the atmosphere there. It felt like entering a cozy living room full of friendly people. We found a seat somwhere in the back and waited for the show to start. It was hosted by an Irish guy which I believe was the owner and I really liked that he introduced every person coming on stage with some warm words. It seemed like a lot of the performers were regulars, playing almost every week. While the music itself wasn’t really my taste (mostly folk and pop songs) I did enjoy listening to it. There was a fun mix of people, solo perfomers, groups, guitarists, people playing banjo, piano and even saxophone. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stay until the end because we both had to work the next day.

It was enough to spark the fire in me, though. The entire time I was sitting there watching, I wished I could hop on stage, that it would be us up there. And we soon will be, I promise! When we first came up with the idea of doing open stage I was a little scared. What if we failed? What if I’d be too nervous to even utter a sound? What if people didn’t like it? Now that I’ve seen the performers I’m feeling  a bit more confident to be honest. I mean there were some pretty talented singers and songwriters. But there were also people I thought we could definitely keep up with. I know that we can make it if we just practice some more. We’re currently thinking about some time in March. And I know it’s gonna be incredible. No matter if people like it or not. Even if we’re just doing this for us. Because all of this still seems pretty unbelievable to the girl who decided she wanted to make music just one year ago!

InspiraShot: Creative rebels

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I recently came across this quote while reading Paul Arden’s “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be” and couldn’t agree more. There’s a lot of truth lying in these words and it has never been clearer to me.

I think I’ve had a little rebel living inside of me from an early age. It’s just been showing in different ways over the years. I’ve always despised things you bought or did to be cool. That’s why I didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs in my teens, like other kids did. I just felt I didn’t need this for my life to be any better. It was like some kind of reversed rebellion I guess. In my mid-20s, I felt like I was about to be crushed by the career wheel, so I quit my job and left for Japan. Now that I’m 30, I still feel like there’s a lot to rebel against. And music is the perfect language to let it all out. You can be sad and desperate, aggressive and brave, triumphant and insane – all in one song if you please. What I’m fighting for today is the right to be myself and to live life by my own terms. I fight against the expectations others put on me, but that I’m not willing to fulfill.

I’ve also found that being creative sometimes means to rebel against your surroundings that are not supportive of what you’re doing. It actually fuels my inspiration when people doubt me, when they laugh at my dreams and think that I’ll never get anywhere. I like to prove people wrong and my weapon to do so is my creativity. So yeah, I love being a rebel!