MUSIC-BASED ART

I make music-based art. Through experimental methods that combine my love of dioramas and miniatures, comics, collage, improv comedy, and things like mirrors and labyrinths, I try to give my audience a chance to become the main character traveling through the music, as it happens.

But of course, I couldn't really claim to make all that possible, without also making room for you to interact with and influence the course of these creations. This section of gtthomas.com is dedicated to my music-based artworks that do just that. If you scroll down, you'll find some examples.

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COLLAGE + REMIXES

(2018)

ARTWORK OVERVIEW:

This is an ongoing  collaborative artwork in the vein of "YOU COLLAGE IT, I REMIX IT," and it roughly works as such: 

  1. Every participant gets access to the same visual components, with which you can create a collage. (You can grab the "Collage Kit" for free, in the store just to check it out and have fun with it!)
  2. Depending on the degree of participation that feels right to you, I will create a unique musical track to accompany your resulting collage. Like the collages, every musical track will also be built upon the same building blocks as one another. The options for how much or little to participate are made very clear in the store, as well.
  3. Each audio building block will correspond directly to one of the visual layers. Therefore, each audio component will be present in your collage's musical track, with relation to how you used its corresponding *visual* component in your collage. 

As soon as the Collage + Remixes project gets underway, with completed collages and their accompanying remixes, on this page you'll find a gallery of this ever-growing collaborative artwork. For now, please click here to make a choice about what level of participation sounds right to you! Thanks for your interest in this project, I'm so stoked for it!

News will be announced as developments arise. Please check back soon, and if this area is of interest to you, don't forget to sign up for updates that appear right in your inbox!

Visit the store to find out how to participate in the "Collage + Remixes" collaborative artwork!

the Restart collection

(2017)

Artwork Overview:

The “Restart” collection consists of three diorama constructions (sometimes referred to as shadowboxes). Together, the three boxes tell the story of one complete, original song, listenable through headphones provided at each box (one set per box). The song is inspired in part by the science fiction novel “World of Null-A” by A.E. van Vogt and the multiple rebirths that the main character experiences throughout the story, as a super-human creature whose consciousness and memories are stored somewhere external from himself. The song and dioramas I’ve constructed trace three key moments I have continually encountered during the creative process – moments which have felt similar to this accessing of a consciousness stored outside oneself, and the way it feels to birth and rebirth the types of ideas and/or versions of oneself that seem linked to that place.

What follows is a description of each diorama.

"REVELATION," looks at the first key moment: a feeling of awakening that occurs when we have an idea that feels truly inspired. 

The elements of the box convey a feeling of “rendering” of a new idea.

Lights inside the box draw focus to similarity of the words “haha” and “aha” (the first “H” flickers and ceases to be lit part way through the song), as there’s often such a fine line between the absurd and the genius. The chorus of the song appears as the voice of an idea striking and asking you to accept its arrival into your life: “I’m alive. This time, I’ve arrived.” 

Approach this work by either simply viewing the scene through the hole, or by wearing the provided headphones to hear the musical accompaniment (duration of this music track is 1 minute 2 seconds). Complete song lyrics for "REVELATION" are to made available in print next to the artwork, and read as follows:

Waking up from a century-long nap, it was all I could do not to laugh as I stepped in the shower after the hour had passed. Observing the water begin trickling down this Human-Grade Skin™, like a guy in a novel who’s having a revelation. I’m alive. This time, I’ve arrived.”



“NO SUCH THING,” looks at the second key moment: a feeling of having been swept away to a grandiose and distant “place within,” where one must venture alone when developing one’s ideas. 

The interior reveals a large, elegant room overlooking villas by the sea. When the words “no such thing” are heard in the music, the interior lights cut out to reveal only a starlit sky. As the audio fades away, so too do all the lights, including even the stars, leaving a sense of complete desertion. 

For this scene, when the chorus of the song sings, “I’m alive. This time, I’ve arrived,” the feeling is one of being vibrantly alive in a world all one’s own, but that everything is partially suspended as long as you remain in this inner place. If you ever wish for your ideas to become real and experienceable, you must find a way to bring them back with you to the outside world (otherwise it’s “lights out” for your idea), so you know you cannot stay here forever. 

Approach this work by either simply viewing the scene through the hole, or by wearing the provided headphones to hear the musical accompaniment (duration of this music track is 1 minute 20 seconds). Complete song lyrics for “NO SUCH THING” are to be made available in print next to the artwork, and read as follows:

When you check in you think it looks great. The rooms are quite large and they’re closing the gate, 'To keep out the riff-raff,' they say, 'On your behalf.' But just wait. Every morning, there is no such thing. Every evening, there is no such thing. And for afternoon tea or a walk by the sea, no such thing. That’s why this is big: I’m alive. This time, I’ve arrived.”



“PULSATING YES,” looks at the third and final key moment: Reintegrating yourself, along with your new idea, back into the outside world, beyond the walls of these boxes or the walls of your own imagination. It’s time to take an action-step toward bringing your idea into physical form. Will you?

The message of this box is that in order to reintegrate, one must say “yes” to this challenge. To prove your commitment to do so, you are invited to sing along with the chorus that you’ve, by now, become familiar with: “I’m alive. This time, I’ve arrived.” 

Before you, was a darkened scene, where only an ominous pool can be seen, with an inviting doorway down a distant path beyond it. But as you sing, a microphone built into the box uses your voice to trigger an additional light to turn on. It reveals a glowing message: “YES.” By accepting the challenge to participate, and turn ideas into reality, something real-to-the-senses literally happens right before your very eyes. As such, this collection culminates as a collaboration with the viewer, only completed by those who make this commitment. 

Approach this work by either simply viewing the scene through the hole, or by wearing the provided headphones to hear the musical accompaniment (duration of this music track is 1 minute). Complete song lyrics for “PULSATING YES” are to be available in print next to the artwork, and read as follows:

All the lifetimes you’ve spent by the pool of obsidian cosmos and galaxy drool? It’s a common mistake that you’re bound to make, but it’s cool.  ‘Cause one day you will roll on your side and give up the deafening need to decide, and a pulsating 'YES' will ooze forth from whence you still hide.  And like me you’ll sing:  I’m alive. This time, I’ve arrived.”