The most memorable class from my undergrad revolved around the creative process of writers. We analyzed Sylvia Plath’s frantic scrawls in the margins of Bee Poems and the variations (both large and minute) between F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Trimalchio and The Great Gatsby. I found immense intrigue and enjoyment from the minds that created such renowned pieces. My desire to explore the creative process of others hasn’t ceased.
In our most recent Digital and Social Media class, our guest speaker passed down crucial advice: “Edit! Make your edits as soon as your evaluator returns your work”. This stuck with me, as it speaks volumes to the creative process of writers, and to a routine that I often forgo.
In my blog’s segment called “From Concept to Creation”, I will shed light on the process of sound artists. Today’s post is on the Winnipeg-based, multi-faceted artist: Kelly Ruth.
- How did you get into making music?
My father who did not actually raise me but who was/is in my life is an accomplished jazz musician. He taught me to play fretless bass and trumpet when I was young and I played French horn all through school and in a German big band after high school. I later sang in electronic music projects and dabbled with writing electronic music myself in my mid twenties, and later did guest vocals and trumpet on friend’s projects.
- Where do you draw inspiration from?
I have a deep love of electronic music, jazz, and classical acoustic instruments. Very specifically I have a long term love affair with industrial music, particularly the projects which are philosophically and politically motivated and which get creative with creating their sounds from acoustic sources before composing with electronics. My work is informed by reflecting on the path of capitalism from the industrial revolution forward, referencing movements along many points of that history from then through to the future of now.
- How do you get out of a creative slump?
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a creative slump. I get depressed but there are endless things to explore creatively on so many levels. Sometimes I may sift through ideas, at other times I may simply joyfully play with the medium…and there is also so much to learn in order to effectively realize and communicate an idea.
- How has your personal experiences influenced your work?
My work has always dealt with class issues. I’m intimately concerned with the effect of class dynamics on labour, environment, women, etc. I grew up born to a cockney British immigrant women escaping England’s class system on her own at 21 years old to come to the new world. She raised my brother and I as a working poor single mother in social housing. I became acutely aware of class issues from a young age and have come to understand that I have a unique perspective on culture through the lens of my experience.
- Why did you choose this form of music as a creative outlet?
I am not exclusively a musician. Through the work I do, I am combining my visual art practice, which is primarily in the medium of fibre, with sound. I find that by integrating sound into my visual art practice, I am able to viscerally connect narratives, giving voice to objects, peoples, landscapes, and points in history. Music, in more abstract forms is very satisfying to work with, perhaps because there are few expectations. I can explore what I want to explore, and I enjoy exploring live improvised compositions. It’s very much working within an immediate present, responding from moment to moment like a conversation. No script. Music has an ability to connect more universally with our humanity it seems than an artifact. I love making artifacts, but to effectively evoke an emotional response in a human, I’ve observed that sound, and music are more reliable. Through combining visual symbols and sound I feel that I am able to effectively communicate with the audience more dynamically.
Get a taste of Kelly’s sound here!