Painting with Silence

There’s no light without dark. No joy without sadness. No victory without defeat. And no sound without silence.

Sound and silence are two sides of the same coin, fully dependent on one another. They are equal entities, and yet one is formally defined as the mere absence of the other.

zsun-fu-775149-unsplash.jpgPhoto by ZSun Fu

Merriam-Webster defines silence as “forbearance from speech or noise; muteness–often used interjectionally” (Silence). In other words, silence is the absence of a thing but not a thing itself. This is a limiting view of silence. A canvas is white to begin with, but that does not mean that a painter has no need for white paint. To the contrary, white paint is used to create highlights, adding the dimensionality that brings a subject to life. Often, white paint is responsible for the most emotional, powerful details of a painting—the spark in one’s iris, the trail of a tear, the breaking of clouds, the crest of a wave. Without white paint, the colors on the canvas would be overwhelming, flat, and ultimately meaningless. The same can be said about silence, but before an artist can begin painting with it, she must recognize it as a color of its own. Continue reading

Behind the Silver Curtain

The Magic of Foley Sound Design

The magician’s task is to trick. He deceives in order to achieve his greater purpose: to entertain. Magicians accomplish this greater purpose by taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary. And this mysterious transformation of mundane to magical happens on stage, front and center, before the audience’s very eyes.

A film is a different kind of magic show—a fabricated reality designed to trick the viewer into believing that the spectacle unfolding on screen was, in some world and at some point in time, real. The task of a filmmaker is therefore not unlike that of a magician: deceive in order to entertain. But while the magician must remain visible throughout the show to avoid suspicion, the filmmaker must remain removed from the audience entirely. The role of magician and assistant are divided among numerous cast and crew for the filmmaker; and the big screen serves as a silver curtain, forever drawn and concealing the magic of the movies. Continue reading

Florence in Black & White

They say a black and white portrait can capture a person’s soul.

What about a city’s?

Here, I will share with you some of my favorite black and white photos from my favorite city in Italy. Draining the color from such vibrant subject matter may seem a bit like bleeding a butterfly dry. But, ironically, that’s when I feel its pulse the most. Continue reading

Tattooed Grandmother

To me, Italy is “the old country.” My great-grandparents emigrated from Italy to the United States in the early 1920s. But no matter your heritage, there is no denying that Italy is an old, old country. It’s ancient. And though its soil may not be any older than that found across the ocean, it has both carried empires and consumed them.

Matter is the most ambiguous and resilient thing out there. It cannot be created nor destroyed. Everything that ever was still is in one form or another, and the dust, the soil we live on, is uniquely privileged to taste it all. The weather, and the people, and the legends, and the wars. If the spice of life was more than a metaphor, if it was something to be held, I think it’d have to be the dirt we walk upon. It’s made of life. And when you think of dust that way, not as oblivion, but as everything that ever was and ever will be, then Italian soil is exceptionally flavorful. Continue reading

Eataly: The Basics

“Hey, you’re back! How was Italy?”

“It was incredible! I—”

“How was the food?!”

I totally get it. No need to dance around the juicy stuff. Especially if that juicy stuff is the greatest steak I’ve ever eaten in my entire life from the Ristorante La Spada in Florence. And I’m grateful too, because I honestly don’t know how to begin answering the question “How was Italy?” It’s a bit difficult to summarize except to say it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. But even that’s an understatement.

Food, though. I can talk about food. Continue reading

So … this is the Sistine Chapel?

While I was in Rome, I visited the Sistine Chapel. Only, I didn’t know I was in the Sistine Chapel (not for a couple of minutes anyways).

How can that be? The Sistine Chapel is arguably the greatest artistic achievement of the greatest Renaissance artist who ever lived. And yet, there I was, surrounded by Michelangelo’s genius and completely unaware. Seriously, how did that happen? Continue reading

Dirty Train Window

I’m a weirdo who always ate my veggies, even as a child. No ranch or coercion necessary—just knock off the dirt and we’re good. I realize, however, that a lot of children need to learn to like their vegetables. Parents tell kids that veggies will make them grow big and strong and, when all else fails, permit them to play with their food in order to make it more appetizing. Even I would pretend I was a lumberjack and my broccoli were trees ready for the chipper.

My weekend trip to Pompei was a lot like broccoli. Not exactly good, but good for you. And by the end of it all, I learned to really like it. Continue reading