JULIE PUTTGEN (paintings, prelude animation, website)

Partway through making the Cloudmapping series of paintings, I realized they alluded to some narrative unknown to me, and asked Stephanie (aka JS) whether she'd be interested in writing text related to the images. She agreed. Jim then expressed an interest in composing music to expand the collaboration, and the project you see here was born. On one level, Unless & Until tells the story of Unless and Until, two creatures of indeterminate gender and rich acquaintance, who are returning to the pleasures of domestic existence, while attempting to remember the details of a fantastical journey they have largely forgotten.  On another level, the project is a celebration of the act of creation & the experience of revelation.  We start from found information and imperfect understanding, and elaborate a world.  The painter begins with chaotic watercolor washes, and creates pictorial space.  The writer finds enigmatic paintings, and creates a narrative.  The composer is given lyric text, and creates melody.  The animator joins all of the above into a new whole. Each of these acts is a reflection of our capacity to learn from the unfolding stories of our lives.

 

 

JS van BUSKIRK (text, lyrics, reading vocals)

As the designated writer, it is my job to construct the narrative based on Julie's paintings, write the text, and compose the lyrics. Which tells you that Julie's paintings came first and that the narrative is based on them. It also tells you there is music, with singing. You might also be interested to know that Julie was not allowed to see any of the text or know about the story until she had finished the paintings. Jim came into the collaboration a little later, but - oddly enough - there was already a lyric in the text for him to set as music. The lack of a song in the very first chapter later led to the addition of the Prelude.

This is not a children's story. It is not a graphic novel. This is something I don't quite know what it is yet, nor what it will be. The paintings exist, the narrative arises from them and includes them as themselves, as paintings, and the music knits all together. I think it will be quite wonderful.

   

 

JAMES R. CARLSON (music, song vocals, sound recording)

When I first started working on Unless and Until, I was particularly struck by the way Julie's Cloudmapping paintings looked like surreal storybook illustrations. JS is writing a story that incorporates elements of the paintings. It has songs and places for musical interludes that I will compose, using diverse musical styles (folk, popular, classical and ambient) to reflect the surrealism of the paintings and specific references in the story. We are still exploring various presentation possibilities, but we will surely create a book with an accompanying DVD.

 

 

 

MATT GILBERT (digital animations)

Before meeting the UnUn artists, I had the urge to do some video work with more rich and strange characters and stories as material, a departure from working with Sonic Generator on minimalist music pieces, for example. I replied to Julie's email looking for a animator to collaborate on the project to the ArtNews list after being charmed by Julie's images, JS's wit, and Jim's flexibility. As a late addition to the crew, it's my job to respond to the mass of material created by the others and to flesh out time-based visual elements for the project that support and extend the paintings, music, and writing. It's a pleasure getting to know Julie, JS, Jim, Unless & Until.

 

 
   
 
     
 
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