Quality Assurance (How To Be Authentic)

Authenticity can be difficult to achieve in the arts, whether you are a painter, a musician, an actor, a writer, a photographer or designer, the list of creative professionals this concept affects and is effected by goes on and on. Authenticity is especially difficult if you are a historian, collector or curator. Questions of who authored the work, when it was made, and its relationship to the culture it’s associated with abound.

And what if the originator isn’t in question at all, but quality of the work against said genius and their oeurve is in question? That’s a tough question too, but believe me I haven’t even addressed one of most difficult questions just yet. The one which I suspect most of you were leaning towards when the word first came to mind – how sincere, thoughtful, and genuine the output of the work is and whether the artist is demonstrating passion in their efforts. That question is one for the ages and something I struggle with too.

Feel like I’m writing a lot of nonsense already dear readers? That I’m going over your heads? That’s because I haven’t even touched the subject proper yet, and we’ve already uncovered a number of definitions and issues with the topic at hand.

This of course is because no matter what level of investment in the arts you ultimately have, the word authenticity itself is difficult to define and important to address in context.

But for the sake of fleshing out an argument, let’s take the definition which I indicated many of you were leaning towards to begin with. Merriam-Webster defines authenticity as follows –

authenticity – true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character

Now as an artist, a lover of language both visual and written, I thought it would be fun to run an exercise to break down the definition and build it back up again, in case there are some outliers in our midst. Here is what Merriam-Webster has to say about the words which make up the basic definition of authenticity, as it relates to the individual, in particular the artist.

true  –being in accordance with the actual state of affairs

personality – the set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving, etc., that makes a person different from other people

spirit – the inner quality or nature of a person

character – the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves

Now let’s add that definition back in, with a little more detail (my highlighted selections above) and see what happens with the results.

authenticity – being in accordance to one’s own emotional qualities, inner quality, or the way someone thinks

If you sit with that explanation for a minute, it gives a true picture of what authenticity means for an artist if they wish to be sincere with their work and marry that with passion proper. In fact, the words that help explain the word authenticity are composed of the same sorts of words themselves in their own definitions.

What that means for us is that there are commonalities and that at the root authenticity is about quality. Without proper quality something or someone no longer has worth.

5souaga

Let’s put it another way.

You see friends, I have this theory that in order to be authentic, you have to know what you are made up of, what your personal experiences have been. Then and only then can you start to address your emotional qualities, your inner quality or nature, and the way that you think about life and then act upon it. What this means for you is that you are fully capable of changing the world and participating in it, but you have to sort out your doorstep first.

You are valuable, but no one is going to sell your worth for you, you have to figure it out first, begin selling yourself and become part of the global marketplace. Sure there are experts who can appreciate potential, but they know just as I do, that the experience of sorting yourself out is invaluable, and has to come from within.

We’ll touch upon the subject more in future posts (in all forms), but for now, I’m out of theories friends. Share this with an artist and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. See you tomorrow with something melodic.

Tim!

Awaited In Valhalla (Amon Amarth, Jomsviking review)

Why are we so damn fascinated by Vikings? Their scandinavian hair cuts, combinations of metal, leather, and wood do depict a very specific aesthetic, don’t they dear readers?

Initially thought of as barbarians who dabbled in piracy, thuggery, and nomadic culture, we’ve slowly learned that they carried a unique culture and, though I cringe to write this, a viable counter-culture alternative to the Roman way of life that was spreading throughout the European climate of the time.

So what does that have to do with today’s Melodic Monday entry? Let’s take a look see.

 

 

 

Amon Amarth – Jomsviking
released March 25, 2016
******** 8/10

original

Amon Amarth is a Swedish melodic death metal band, which has been around for the almost 25 years. Composed of vocalist Johan Hegg, with Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Soderberg on guitar, and Ted Lundstrom as the bassist.

Jomsviking is their 10th studio album, and if you haven’t guessed it yet, the lyrics and tone of the album deals mostly with the mythology surrounding vikings and the full album plays out a viking story, which is why Amon Amarth is sometimes called viking metal.

I’ve said this before, but I’m not a huge metal enthusiast, well, at least not consciously. But I can appreciate a good story, and which focus their effort to produce something with meaning and real thought behind it. Which is why it’s really cool that the band takes its name from one of the mountain which houses Sauron, in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. Yeah, Mount Doom.

Interestingly enough, Jomsviking is the first concept album that Amon Amarth have ever done.

It’ts a story about the Jomsvikings and their universe of violence and revenge. Essentially the story deals with a young man who has lost his love to an arranged marriage and the consequences of his decisions to take revenge and get her back.

Having never listened to any of their other work, but knowing a decent amount about metal, storytelling, and music in general, I can tell you very assuredly that this is an excellent listen. This band has a deep love for Nordic culture and they are arranging the elements to produce an epic that portrays the world that the Jomsvikings live in. It’s incredibly easy to follow, and once you get lost in the style of music, you begin to appreciate the subtle emotions that naturally attach to the genre.

It feels genuinely authentic. Which is so refreshing and well placed.

Opening rather courageously with the track First Kill, the record is well placed to get you chanting and rooting for it’s characters. I read one reviewer say that this kind of album can increase your deadlift strength, and he just might be right.

One of my personal favourites is Raise Your Horns, which perfectly encapsulates the myth of the viking – featuring warbling vocals by Hegg, chanting in the background, and the war drums of new drummer Tobias Gustafsson. It’s quickly followed by The Way of Vikingsm, which amps up the story one more notch.

Vengeance is my name has a classic sounding death metal ring to it, and of course A Dream That Cannot Be is just so sad, and I can’t really ruin it at this point, but the tragedy captured by featuring Doro Pesch on vocals alongside Hegg is quite apt and fits well.

If you are looking for a way to ease yourself into death metal, or you are sick of substitutes, you should give Jomsviking a listen, you won’t be disappointed. I personally was so happy I bought this album, especially after a couple of listens.

 

 

 

Amon Amarth are in a unique position. After almost 25 years of producing the same style of music, they have become the face of viking metal, a proud and noble group which has not modified their sound to keep up with trends and tastes, if anything this concept album proves they are going to dig their heels in deeper if necessary.

What’s interesting to me though, is that they get most of their success from touring, as is often the case with most long-standing rock groups. People are willing to spend a little bit more money to support a band which stands for an ideal or a belief system, and that’s why Amon Amarth are so interesting. They celebrate a culture and an obsession of it in their music, while simultaneously providing a legacy for it.

And that’s something we should all strive for. But maybe that’s just my theory. See you tomorrow for something theatrical friends.
Tim!

timotheories presents Tim Kuefler (Allegory of the Collage series)

Well, I have finally done it. My real “identity” is out there.

I had to do this because I promised you a peek into my art practice going forward, and today I deliver, dear readers.

Now is the time of great reckoning for I’m putting up personal elements of myself for display and inspection, and potentially for sale as well. It wasn’t an easy decision, but if I am going to further refine and evolve this project of curating, creating, and collaborating, I need to inject myself into the mix.

Let’s go over my back story a bit more so before I open up the floor to some of my art.

I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art & Design from the University of Alberta in the spring of 2007. My major focuses during that time were painting, drawing, and sculpture. Pretty classic examples of fine art education. I didn’t always believe this, but I am very fortunate to have a university education and to have studied with professors that had invested their own art practices in both the modernist and post-modernist eras of art making. I believe this because it informed my own decisions about art.

You see dear readers, by dealing with two specific schools of thought constantly it either fueled or resulted in a great split in my mind and own practice about the very nature of art making. I began to produce work that was either conceptual or technical, and sometimes both. It felt rather like a struggle with divorcing parents, and as a child (student), I couldn’t possibly know which parent was the right one to pick (school of thought), so I did what I’ve always done in my life, I chose to do something different.

I made art for myself and specifically to both impress and disrupt my professors. This was almost ten years ago. And so I share with you an ongoing series of work I’ve been creating since my senior year of university, which has inspired paintings and drawings, some of which I will share later on in coming months.

At one point I called the series below, the Allegory of The Cave, because I was self-prescribing philosophy when I first started to deal with my issues of doubt and frustration at institution and with routine. Something which comes naturally for a lot of artists. #realtalk

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Almost ten years later, I have a blog that is gaining real traction thanks to readers like you, and I am working on community with artists of all walks of life. This blog serves as a platform for my vision of more accessible community across the arts, a soapbox for my theories and other artist theories on the arts, a theatre for collaboration, now a gallery for my own art, and eventually a lounge and studio for both art enthusiasts and artists. More on that last bit in future posts. Please hold me to it.

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So, I recently decided to change the title of the series to the Allegory of the Collage, because This series represents the complex narrative I am weaving for myself and my local community, by using material from local publications, with local characters and events that don’t have a distinct meaning in the image just yet, but an abstract and big-picture feeling. And frankly, because it is succinct in it’s purpose and as a metaphor for timotheories itself – to create art by combining different materials together with a solid backing.

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More importantly, creating art for the purpose of joining people and ideas together has always been important to me, and because I want art that looks good in my own home, I have an obligation to produce that which is interesting and entertaining. The discipline of writing 5 days a week, and producing a minimum of 2 videos a month is all related to the passion of creating to be at peace and to fulfil what often feels like a compulsion to share.

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It is very important to me that the work a produce be authentic and related to myself and what I experience in this life, so I always make work which ties back to that creed. I learned that lesson from a professor in my second year of university, and whether he truly believes it or was just lecturing, it’s solid advice.

This series is made up of text and pictures that are taken from local events, people, and ideas, and is naturally authentic for those reasons.

In sharing my work on my blog, I want to challenge others to make their own work better, to become full-fledged entrepreneurs in a time when we are entering back into cottage industry practices because of the access the internet provides to us on a global scale; an era of modern craft. And so I developed this post, to begin the process of adding my gallery of artwork into the blog in some capacity, eventually with piece titles, prices and everything, but I felt a visual introduction and artist statement was a good start for now.

If you are interested in commissions, prices of the work I’ve included in today’s post, or if you want more information about the series, please leave some comments below or email me at timotheories@outlook.com.

And of course, please follow me to get even more awesome content in the future. I interview visual artists, designers, musicians, actors, and other creative types every month. I also write reviews on film and music as they relate to my theory of film as the great narrative of our culture, and I always have some wisdom, events, and theories to share. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you on Sunday with a new Cross Talk episode!

Tim!

100% Certified (Space:Nunz interview, Authenticity)

In what seems to be a backlog of entries… Special thanks to my car problems and computer problems for delaying the last post of this kind, this post, and one more future post.. I have ANOTHER delayed post to deliver up.

One which is now 4 months in the making… That’s right, I’m releasing another featured artist (or should I say artists) on timotheories interviews!

But that’s not all, this is a two-for-one and a first ever experience for us here at timotheories!

So strap in and hold on tight because it’s time to pump up the jams! The Space Jams! Okay, actually that’s not true, I hear the word space and Bugs Bunny immediately comes to mind, damn you Michael Jordan and your well-aging bio-pic that features the Looney Tunes!

This time when I refer to space I’m hyping up a band of nuns from space – Space:Nunz.

They aren’t actually nuns though. It’s just a clever name for a fun and friendly band. You guessed it, our next episode of the timotheories interviews series features this likable and neat act.

You see, dear readers, Space:Nunz are an Edmonton based folk feminist comedy musical duo with big dreams and even bigger hearts. Social justice warriors with a penchant for the atypical topics of the audio arena, Laura Stolte and Nathalie Feehan are making comedy music that is purposefully not sexist, racist or problematic at all. Their humour is part of a refreshing brand of comedy which has been emerging out of Edmonton in the past few years. Though it pains me to write the newness of that mentality here.

Space:Nunz just finished their first-ever curated event this month, and are ready to take the world by storm. How you ask? They manage to ride the line between music and comedy, which lets them operate in both realms and expose all kinds of audiences to their satire.

Think a better version of Flight Of The Conchords and Alanis Morissette and your on your way to understanding their work.

But that’s enough from me, as promised here is Episode 6 of timotheories interviews, featuring Space:Nunz.

And if you want to check out more videos from us, please visit our YouTube channel. Leave some comments and of course subscribe to the feed if you haven’t yet.

Please also check out Space:Nunz Facebook page and like their stuff.

And of course my sincerest thanks for Laura and Nathalie for being lively and neat, logical and noble, lovely and new, and lastly, leaders and nice.

Tim!