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New Directions – Developing a system for creative work



Creating something everyday is multifaceted challenge which presents a lot of opportunities, as well as hurdles. Some issues are easy to imagine, where as others appear only after a direction has been established. Based on last year's work I knew a few issues that present themselves in advance.


Last year I hosted the entire project on Tumblr, which I found out about halfway through was quite insufficient. It was simple enough, but there are issues with audio on Tumblr, and sometimes the artwork would vanish mysteriously. This year I put more planning into the platform, and went with wordpress. From there I can publish to many platforms at once, as well as create a feed for a podcast. A little planning goes a lot way.



With Daily Ambient I have created a framework with limitations, rules, and sensibilities which act as a structure from which to build. These limits and rules need not be strict, but having them in place does a lot to aid in the construction of new work, and to glue the separate pieces together to form a cohesive body of work. They also help to eliminate the "blank page" effect. That paralysis felt when starting a new piece of work. Each day tends to evolve from the previous in terms of process.



Inspiration is much less an issue than you might imagine when working inside a framework. Creativity can be wielded very deliberately and effectively when you have a solid direction to jump from. This is the strength of the framework approach. Once there is a "universe" to work within interesting opportunities reveal themselves.



A big challenge is simple time allotment. I have a very young kid, so free time tends to be hard to come by. The work tends to be done in the evenings. Over the course of last year's project, I was able to get the process of writing, rendering and publishing down to about 1.5 hours. Most of that time is spent writing.



The artwork is a challenge in itself. Last year the idea came about very organically. Over a few evenings I recorded live ambient tracks, and thought it would be cool to make a tumblr page out of them. Tumblr offered a space for an image with the track and so I had to find something. An old harddrive had a bunch of images of doors I had taken on a vacation to Greece, and so that became the theme.


This year I wanted to dig deeper into the possibilities , and so spent a few weeks trying different options. Again I wanted to create a framework which fulfilled several criteria.


To be effective it needed to:

  • Be quick to create. Nothing too involved or time consuming.
  • Be open enough to afford experimentation. I didn't want to get sick of it or get backed into a corner creatively.
  • Be interesting as a system. They all need to work together and feel a part of the same body of work.

After quite some trials, I decided to jump from the idea of cinemagraphs in the "subtle gifs" thread here. I chose to stylize the clips with a 2 color limit to simplify, but also to give each a more impressionistic feeling. The result is flexible, but recognizable. The video clips are easy to make. I can take a camera out and get 10-15 in an outing, and then pass them though a few filters and render a gif. The result is quite interesting and simple.






I hope that you all find the project to be interesting and inspiring! For me it's a great way to dig deeper into a specific direction in music, and art.


Stay tuned for more from Daily Ambient.


- Ryan


Recommended Comments

Guest Frankie5fingers


you present some very interesting ideas Ryan. Im starting to think that maybe i should take a page from your book and try to make a song every day instead of waiting until i find "inspiration" (which has become a synonym for procrastination. lol).

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I find it to be liberating really. You only have a set amount of time, and can't go back to get too fussy about things. You learn to make decisions and commit and move on. :) That's the best part!

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