Thursday, June 18, 2015
What do you do?
I am a cellist,and I am devoted to interdisciplinary, collaborative art projects that connect people in meaningful, life-changing ways. I also have a strong penchant for performing in unusual places, and spaces. I recently started my own business, called CELLISTA, and through it, I am pursuing my love of artistic direction. My curated performing arts series, “Juxtapositions,” just found a regular venue in SF I am hoping to grow it, and bring it to San Jose very soon.
Where can we find your work?
Rarely in a concert hall. But if you do find me in the concert hall by chance, I will probably be wearing a “Joy Division” t-shirt, and Doc’s.
You can also check my website to find some of my session work with SF Bay area bands. I also tend to play out as much as I can in downtown San Jose. I’ve been busking outside Anno Domini on First Fridays since I moved here in 2010. Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/xcellistax
What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough?
Honestly, sometimes I feel like I haven’t worked hard enough to create my own material. I have done so much session work that I recently realized that I’ve never taken the time to create my own music.I feel incredibly fortunate to make music for a living, but at the same time, it means that personal projects tend to come last. I guess the process of creation is ongoing, though, whether I am “actively” creating or not.
What do you think is more important content/finished product or
I find a lot of joy in the process that leads to the finished product. One can’t exist without the other.
Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you?
I am so in love with the arts scene in San Jose. When I first moved here, I found so much love, and support from both the visual arts scene, and the music scene. I am inspired by San Jose. I love it.
What is the most incredible art moment for you so far?
My collaborative art project with Tulio Flores for SubZERO last year. I have never had a more meaningful moment in my life.Tulio was the first artist to approach me about doing installations involving performing artists. I think he literally changed my life with his artistic vision. We met when I was busking outside Anno Domini in 2011, and he contacted me to ask if I would collaborate with him. This lead to a couple projects, and a deep friendship. I was asked to participate in subZERO,and realized that I wanted to include Tulio in it. During our collaborative process, Tulio brought in Linnae Asiel of Asiel Designs to help him curate the project. The final product, the result of an intense artistic process, was truly transformative. A true merging of music, and art, and the voices of San Jose residents.I’ve been hooked on these interdisciplinary projects ever since.
When do you get your best ideas?
Usually while I’m journaling at Roy’s Coffee, listening to my weird, eclectic music mix on headphones.
What materials/tools do you use most to create your work?
My cello bow has sculpted my entire world.
Are you self-taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?
I am classically trained, but since 2011 I’ve been branching out considerably. Most of my work involves me coming on to various projects as a session player.I think being classically trained has some benefits. Overall, I’m not sure that it has helped me much in terms of creating. I really think that it has somewhat limited me in terms of confidence. I think a lot of classical players have pretty severe self-esteem issues that stem from the culture of classical music. We are really taught to doubt ourselves. It’s important in classical music to constantly assess what could better in performance, and in practice, but often classical musicians end up in a cloud of self-doubt that severely limits them. Maybe the culture is shifting though. More and more, I see classical musicians playing out the way any band would. I am running into more classical cats with rock bands, or busking, or just being on the scene.
Who would you most like to meet living or dead and why?
I really want to play cello for Snoop. I can’t lie. It’s my ultimate goal. I would die happy.I know it’s weird, and maybe a strange goal for a classical cellist, but I have a huge crush on him.I guess while I’m getting confessional here, I also have a thing for Brahms. The young Johannes. He was such a knock-out, and those bedroom eyes. Ah! I think we might have loved each other. I wish I could time travel back to 1853, right when he was just meeting the Schumann’s. A young thing in his twenties, just coming off a mega-tour as an accompanist (the classical version of session work), and wowing everyone with his talent, virtuosity, and gaining recognition as a composer, and soloist.
When you are not creating what do you like to do?
I feel like I am always actively creating. I guess I am the artistic director of my own life.
How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?
I think I realized that I had no interest in being in a concert hall. Or at least my ultimate goal is not the concert hall. I had realize my own limitations as a cellist, and also realize what I bring to the table. I may not be a virtuoso, I may not sight read as well as I’d like, but I love music. My love of playing, and of listening is valuable. I have always been creating, and I think everyone is an active creator. Everyone shapes their own life, makes decisions everyday that have an impact. I’ve made the choice to stop limiting myself because I worry about what other people think. More especially, I am in the process of trying to ignore my own self-doubt. If there are any barriers to my creative output, the barriers are coming from within.
What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures?
Enjoy the process.
at 9:00 PM