Chain 20

Jungle Land
Medium: Photograph

These branches are so tangled. But there is beauty within the chaos. When you look at all of the branches there are names all etched into the bark and it’s really very chaotic. The wind was really blowing the day I took this photo and things were really jumping around. The forest was very turbulent, but there was something calm about the incredible beauty within the chaos. So the question for me was “how do I create something beautiful in what could be seen as a very messy, dysfunctional situation?” The names carved into the tree trunks bothered me so I thought, ‘I want to restore this tree’s natural beauty.’ Taking this photo was really about finding beauty in the face of damage.

November, bleak, I set out to take a picture of November but nothing stuck me at cedar tree neck. I thought ok maybe I’ll try taking a picture of grass blowing in the wind but that didn’t scratch my itch. Then I’m walking back to my car and I think maybe I’ll shoot a specific tree I’ve always liked and wanted to photograph and as I get there I see that it is back lit and the original shot I thought I’d get has been transformed people have marked their names on the tree but when I realized the tree was back lit I saw that it was glowing. It’s branches are so tangled and I found the angle with the most geometrical angelature.

This is beauty within chaos. When you look at all of the branches and the names all etched into the bark it’s really very chaotic. The wind was really blowing that day and things were really blowing around. Things were very turbulent. But there was something about the incredible beauty in the chaos. So the question was how to create something beautiful in what could be seen as a messy, dysfunctional situation. Also all the people’s named carved into the trunk bothered me and it always had so I thought: I want to restore this tree’s natural beauty. So taking the photo was really about finding beauty in the face of damage.

Peter Simon

Peter Simon is a nationally acclaimed photographer and author. Throughout his nearly 40-year career, he has covered an eclectic range of subjects, documenting everything from protest-filled 1960s, to the scenic beauty of his beloved Martha’s Vineyard. In 2008, Simon fulfilled a decade long dream and opened up his own gallery, the Simon Gallery, in Vineyard Haven. Simon’s work has been featured in many publications, including Time, Newsweek, People, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone.

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The Caged Bird Still Sings
By Scarlet Keys
The Caged Bird Still Sings
Medium: Music

My first thought was “Tangled.” This beautiful, messy natural place is tangled and complicated. There’s a lot going on and it’s not at all peaceful. Looking at the tangled branches and how the light’s getting through I realized that life within those branches must feel pretty trapped. The photo became a metaphor for life’s journey. How it can be hard and painful and messy but there’s beauty and light and hope that comes through despite it. The photo became about reaching a certain part of your life where you’ve had a dream and realizing it’s time for that dream to die but knowing that a new dream will come in to replace it. That’s where the “caged bird” metaphor came from. Where there is loss there is a next path and from that tangled darkness you can choose how you want to see and you can choose to turn into something beautiful just by reframing it in your mind.

Scarlet Keys

Professor of Songwriting at Berklee College of Music

“The thing I love the most about teaching is helping students discover themselves, helping them tell the stories of their lives through music, and encouraging them to grow as artists.”

“I create an environment in the classroom that is relaxed, fun, and creative because although craft is an intellectual pursuit, creativity needs to run rampant. It’s like a child learning to walk; it needs to have the freedom to try things out, to play and discover itself.”

“While focusing on the artistic endeavors of each student, I attempt to instill knowledge of the tools and awareness of commercial songwriting. This ensures a student will have the ability to reach as broad an audience as possible.”

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Heart Fly
Medium: Painting

I was personally moved by the music itself and the bittersweet feelings conveyed through the lyrics. For me, it is a song about liberation. It spoke to me of the strings that attach us to the world and how we allow ourselves to be bound by them, yet we know if we can give them up we can experience true freedom. Perhaps it is about the hell of being caught between desires and the longing to lose those desires. The song inspired hope and I set about working with colors and forms that flowed and felt as free as possible. I titled the piece Heart Fly to represent the inner soar experienced when we glimpse moments of truth and synchronicity, such as what I felt while hearing the music and translating it into the painting. Although I started out using oil, pastel and charcoal on wood In the end, the work was made with oil bar, pastels and conte crayon on paper in a process of blending and blurring as it progressed.

Mary Ann Wakeley

Mary Ann Wakeley was born September 17, 1961 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The eldest of six children, she spent her youth in the Philadelphia suburbs known as the Main Line. A quiet and reserved child, she spent time outside of school practicing piano and helping with the care of her siblings. She recalls time spent painting, drawing, teaching herself to play guitar, occasionally writing short stories and putting on plays with neighborhood friends. She has vividly colored memories associated with certain events of her youth. After high school she immediately began working in a number of fields from retail to corporate environments. The creative impulse remained with her. In the eighties and mid nineties she briefly attended the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences for drawing and design, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art for life drawing. In 2002 she committed to painting full time, beginning with portraits and quickly transitioning to the magical world of abstract painting where anything could be expressed in a beautiful way. Using mixed media, color and line, she freely explores feelings and relationships. She is inspired by nature, dreams, foreign places, and is profoundly moved by music. Her sensitivity and empathic nature are a part of each work she creates. Mary Ann has been sharing her paintings with the public via galleries and the internet since 2004. She works from her home studio in the Philadelphia area where she lives with her husband and dog. She is the mother of two adult sons, both of whom are artists.

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A Caged Bird
Medium: Dance

Jacob’s interpretation of the song: The song felt messy and tangled. In my head I saw a girl trapped in a room with light pouring in. She could see out but never travel into the world because her wings had been clipped. The shadows haunt and taunt her until a new way of thinking about her circumstances enters her mind and a new light is shed on her situation. With this new way of seeing, she feels freedom of hope and is distracted from her trapped-ness until she can see her purpose again. Jill’s dance represents the bird and I am the hope that enters her mind, helping her to find freedom within her confinement.

Jacob Jonnas & Jill Wilson

Jacob Jonas and Jill Wilson are an artistic couple who combine different styles of dance into an athletic, partnering duet. Jacob and Jill were first recognized on Paula Abdul’s “Live to Dance” on CBS where they became semi-finalists. Continuing to create work, they were awarded the national RAW Performing Artist of 2012, the largest independent art award in the world. Furthermore they were featured in Jordan Matter’s New York Times bestselling book, Dancers Among Us. They are now working on their creative company, Jacob Jonas The Company, which will be premiering its first full-length show Summer 2014.

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Medium: Perfume

Over and over, I was drawn into the center of the painting, the white portion and the tiny geometric diamond formed by the brushstrokes. The sacred geometry of it reminded me of a gardenia. For me, this white, meditative middle was a visual oasis in the sea of mad color and texture. The flower’s beauty juxtaposed the overlaying chaos. I could journey out into the sea of color knowing I could retreat back to this calm center for a visual break, and upon focusing there, my tension would be eased. For the core of the composition, I chose the rare and precious 100% natural Gardenia Fragrans from Colombia. Once I focused on the gardenia in the painting, the fragrance was clear. I decided to incorporate the other colors in the piece as the synthetic components surrounding the white flower.

About The Fragrance: Most everyone has smelled a real gardenia flower, it is a fragrance that perfume makers have been trying to recreate since the beginnings of perfume making. The concentrated essence of the flower itself however (being practically unattainable) has not been experienced by many, and so there is no way to possess that fragrance and carry it with you: no way to “bottle it”, like rose or jasmine. Genuine gardenia essence is almost impossible to find, and wildly expensive when it can be sourced. All mass-market perfumes that list gardenia among the notes are synthetic recreations. For the core of the composition, I chose the rare and precious 100% natural Gardenia Fragrans from Colombia.

Christi Meshell

House of Matriarch’s perfumer, Christi Meshell, is “the Nose” behind some of the most compelling fragrances hitting the niche fragrance scene.  In August 2013 Christi received Top Artisan Perfumer at the International Fragrance Awards and, in December, Cafleurebon named Matriarch the Top Indie Fragrance House of 2013. Her work has been praised in Men’s Journal, Hint, Sunset, and Seattle Magazine. Her versatility as both Creative Director and Fragrance Composer allow her to develop a concept from inspiration through final display.

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Ferris Wheel
Medium: Sculpture

In the dance I remember grace and movement: a strong center and liquid grace. I felt that without the music I was able to work more freely. The dance itself elicited a sense of calm. The silkscreened image on the Ferris wheel is birds in flight (the female dancer). The structure holding the wheel is printed with an image of a forest (represents the strength of the male dancer). Making the wheel so that it would move was important to me but difficult to execute. Finishing the piece off with the addition of the figure, the lady in a red dress, entailed going to a model train store and finding just the right figure. That was a lot of fun.

Liz Shepherd

Liz Shepherd is a sculptor and printmaker originally from NYC. Her sculpture has been exhibited widely in New England. She has had three solo exhibitions at the Boston Sculpture Gallery. In 2013 she had a solo exhibition at the Trustman Gallery at Simmons College. Her prints are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Edinburgh (Scotland) College of Art, Syracuse University, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston Public Library and numerous corporate and private collections. She received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where she’s lived since 1981 and owns Shepherd Print Studio.

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Yes and No
Medium: Screenplay

I remember that the perfume felt like a lie. It had this sweetness on the outside but was musky on the inside. I felt like I wanted to be enveloped in the sensuality of it but that the sweetness shut me out. The fragrance elicited a sensation of tearing, of sadness and longing. The story that evolved from was that of this housewife, Sarah who sits in a park remembering an experience she had when she was 10, meeting with a social worker. She’d had an inappropriate encounter with a male teacher and was brought in to discuss it. At the time she’d said nothing. She’d had too much guilt and shame around the encounter. But in retrospect, the truth was that she still longed to be with the teacher. In her mental recreation, Sarah is imagining what a stronger version of her 10 year old self would’ve said and done in the social worker’s office. This is where this character named Yvonne comes in. In the recollection, Yvonne is 10 year old Sarah’s protector and defense against her shame. My translation of the perfume is really about the confusion a young person goes through being interested in sex and their sexuality but not knowing the difference between physical and sexual maturity.

Eliza Ryan

Eliza Ryan has acted, written, choreographed, and created theater and films in Boston, DC, and New York. She has taught for The New York Film Academy at Harvard and in New York, and she has guest taught at Boston University and Columbia. She has been a company member with Blessed Unrest, The Movement Workshop Group, Way Theater Artists, and The Stanislavsky Theater Studio.

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