Coachella 2014 Report: The Art

Our excitement for music festivals goes beyond the music spilling into our interest in the artistic expressions at every event. At Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival the installations are epic.

Large-scale installations create a new Coachella Festival skyline each year. They skyscrapers this year consisted of a twisted pink-and-purple light-pretzel, an erect robot, epic strings of balloons and a gigantic astronaut.

Pictured above, the astronaut scoots around on a rolling platform to interact with fans. At night, video images change in his helmet. Designed by the same team who crafted perhaps the most popular art piece in Coachella history—last year’s “Helix Poeticus,” a.k.a. The Coachella Snail—"Poetic Kinetics" of Los Angeles is setting the standard for temporary public art.

 By far my favorite was the robotic bird. Built by Festo.com and remotely controlled by this guy...

CC and I wondered how many of these fell to their tangled death before the operator could safely navigate the bird in the breezy skies. The movement of this bird are so natural, if not for its size I would have been fooled.

I was charmed by the five-story-high robot "Becoming Human," by Christian Ristow. The Bot holds in his right hand a blue flower that he lifts to his nose throughout the weekend. He is the central point on the festival grounds and the place where we all met if we lost each other.

Saturday evening a dust storm blew in and turned the atmosphere to a scene from Mad Max. The wind blew so hard and sustained for so long that all the shade structures in the massive camping area attached to the grounds were shredded or carried away. We were informed that it wasn't as bad as last year...note taken.

Lightweaver, designed by Los Angeles artist Alexis Rochas is a continuous coil of fabric zipped onto a metal structure.

It provided much needed shade on the sunny days.

The Yuma tent is an enclosed disco room that we ducked into every day to get our groove on and cool off. Among the disco balls is a disco shark. I don't know what to say...it's so awesome I am speechless. Designed by Kevin McHugh.

Speaking of disco, the Sahara tent is an Ibizia dream come true. On my "Decade 40" bucket list is a trip to Ibizia, the island off the coast of Spain that is party central for dance clubs of the world. And although the tent itself isn's art—albeit impressive—the art is the light shows that accompany the DJs music.

CC and I were so deeply influenced by our immersion in the innovative sights and sounds of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival that we literally invented a new product! Look out for announcements in the Fall. Yay!

Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival 2014

CC and I are on a mission to hit every awesome music festival in existence. Coachella is a coveted ticket and has always been high on the list. Thanks to a generous friend and planets aligning in every solar system this side of forever, we were graced with the opportunity to attend the 2014 festival in the desert.

It was an epic event since neither of us has been to a music festival this large. Last count we heard was 300,000 people in attendance, and on Saturday it felt like it. The mass was so dense we couldn’t get within earshot of the music in the Sahara tent for Fat Boy Slim (my only bummer in the weekend).

Later, the wind kicked up and sustained a dust storm from 5pm to close making any hiding spaces scarce. Overall, the 3-day weekend was like walking around in my Pandora Stations. Hit after hit closed out every show, groove masters in every corner and under every tent, breathtaking light shows, and the most diverse parade of attendees I have ever seen in one place.


(Click on the photo above to see the fine print.)

We were pretty much knocked out by every band, but our standing favorites for what we saw are ZZ Ward, Ellie Goulding, Lorde, Bastille, DJ Falcon, Capital Cities, Frank Turner, Trombone Shorty, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Business, Poolside, and Flight Facilities.

Not to mention the enclosed Yuma tent in general. It was a continuous dance party in the dark from 11am past midnight. The mirror ball Mako shark was Awe-Some! I finally wore my dance pants out. Didn’t think it was possible.

The Music. The Art. The Life. It was amazing. Next post up is an Art Report. The installations this year (as every year) are epic. Stay tuned…

Supplies for inspired camping

Here is the list of supplies I bring with me wherever I go.

Opaque Watercolors.
I love the intense color I get from using opaque watercolors. My favorite so far are Pelikan brand. I get these at DickBlick.com.

Really, Really nice paint brushes.
More than anything I use, a great paintbrush keeps me painting. My finest brush I bought over 20 years ago and it still performs beautifully. It’s so old Windsor & Newton doesn’t make it anymore, but there are equals out there. Generally the more expensive brushes (exceeding $20) are handmade of natural hairs. If you invest as I have done, and care for them, you will love the act of painting for many years to come. A great final painting is just a bonus!

Watercolor Paper.
Watercolor blocks
are great for full coverage since the edges of the paper are held tight until dry. I carry a butter knife with me to separate the pages, but any flat tool will do as long as its not sharp like a knife. If that’s all you got be careful. I have sliced through many nice pieces with my pocket knife.

Another great canvas-on-the-go to have is a watercolor field journal. I use this when I am working on several paintings at the same time, or I am just sketching and don’t mind if the paper gets a little warped.

A cup for your water.
While this is very elementary and hardly worth mentioning, I thought I would share a bit of a discovery about using a collapsible cup. The pill holder part of the cup (you can see in the photo below) creates two water reservoirs which was handy as I worked with different color intensities at the same time. When I was done creating all my colored stripes I was left with “dirty” water that had enough pigment in it to create a beautiful taupe color that coordinated with the rest of my piece.

These little color explorations were a joy to do, and the capture the spirit and colors of the Grand Canyon as I experienced them in Havasupai Falls. This coming weekend we are going to Coachella Music Festival. I am interested to see how different the colors are and what inspires me (besides the music.) I can’t wait!

Inspiration in Havasupai Falls

Every April we head into the Grand Canyon to visit the many natural wonders near the Native American village of Supai. The campground between Havasupai Falls and Mooney Falls is surrounded by red canyon walls, clear blue rivers, and lush greenery. April is the time for fields of blooms in every color and the sound of croaking frogs in the afternoon. CC and I brought our supplies and painted every day.

In our campsite we found a book that had been ruined by the rain and left behind by a previous camper. CC took this opportunity to craft one afternoon as she filled her journal with inspirations from our trip.

I was inspired by the sheer cliff walls and the colors around me. These stripes represent the rocks, water, trees, flowers, and dusty soil underfoot as I sat at the picnic table and observed.

My last mark on this painting is reference to one of the many holes the squirrels left as they chewed their way through our camp looking for nuts and other edibles. They made off with 9 Kind bars, 5 separate bags of nuts, a giant bag of peanut M&Ms, and what we estimated to be 4 pounds of cooked quinoa. Not one of us could have consumed all that in one whole day. They were in and out in just a few hours as we took a hike down river.

One of my greatest joys was to set up camp near a field of blooming Mallows. I saw dozens of other specimens growing in their native habitats. Springtime in the Grand Canyon can not be beat!

 

A Brene class complete

This week I completed Brene Brown’s fantastic e-course Gifts of Imperfection. I have already purchased my next journal and signed up for Part 2 that starts in April. Looking forward to continuing this great work with my circle of friends and Brene. If you are ready for a transformative experience in creativity I highly recommend this course!

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