Getting Uncomfortably Comfortable In Art

Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Getting Uncomfortably Comfortable In Art
Jay Hardin and Karl Schindler

Jay Hardin and Karl Schindler are living the stuff of every artists’ dream. Or nightmare. It depends on how you look at it. Jay is a painter and Karl is a musician. Together they are creating a unique art installation called “2ENSES” at Phoenix College (PC) that will push them both past their comfort zone. 

In a series of three installations, the pair will create an interactive experience that’s never been done. In the first installation, Jay, a painter, will create a piece of art then hand it over to Karl, the musician, who will design the music or “soundscape” he felt inspired to create as a result of the piece. Next, Karl composes music and Jay creates a visual representation he felt inspired to create as a result of Karl’s work. 

Here’s where it gets tricky: In the final installation, each artist steps outside of their specialty, entering into each other’s space. Jay will create music (which is not his area of expertise) and Karl will create an art piece (not his area of expertise). Displaying an art piece that’s outside of your wheelhouse would leave most artists quaking.

In this fast-paced world, most people glance at art and move on – rarely giving it more than 30 seconds of thought. Jay and Karl are hoping to change that with an exhibit that challenges the viewer to experience multiple art forms at once – having to pay attention and appreciate it. 

“2ENSES really seeks to touch on three aspects: One is to produce a visual piece and an audio piece – exploring how each of us is inspired when we are creating,” says Hardin. “Second, it’s about working together and showing how artists can collaborate. Third, it’s about reversing roles – stepping out of your comfort zone to experiment with a new medium, but also appreciate another art form.”

“It’s inspirational to watch how other artists create, how we process what we see and experience art,” says Schindler. “As an artist, you can get stuck in a rut and get comfortable. Pushing yourself in a different medium can bring you out of that routine.” 

Because, at heart, Jay and Karl are teachers, they will also use the exhibit to teach by illustrating the process of putting together the show itself. They plan to display sketches of initial concepts, thoughts, colors and textures. “We, as artists, use the same language – but to different ends. Like texture – in art I use texture all the time, but a musician does too. So, it’s about exploring what Karl means when he says ‘texture’… it’s about finding those commonalities and merging them,” says Hardin. 

Most challenging for Karl will be composing sounds for a static art piece as opposed to making sounds and music that follow the cadence and flow of a video or animation that lasts the length of the piece. It’s those kinds of challenges that make the project exciting and have already pushed both artists to explore new areas. 

The two are mostly creating their respective pieces in isolation, revealing the finished product when they are done. “We are hoping that when people listen to the sounds or music that’s themed to go alongside the image, they can appreciate the individual work but it will also create an even deeper connection to both pieces,” explains Hardin. 

“It’s like a film soundtrack,” says Schindler, “If you listen to the soundtrack without the movie, you may really enjoy it. But when you see the film with the soundtrack together, it makes the art form deeper and richer. We want it to stimulate thinking, connecting with the viewer emotionally and thoughtfully.” 

If you go: There are two galleries within PC’s larger Eric Fischl Gallery. There is an opening reception January 13, 2020 from 5:30-8:00 pm. The exhibit is open January 13-30, 2020. 


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