The Ins and Outs of ‘Shadows’

Before getting into the making of ‘Shadows’, can we all agree how insane the last 12+ months have been? With the constant hell-scape of a political news cycle, racial injustice, COVID-19, watching relatives spout conspiracy theories, creative block, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and just overall feeling helpless, I had accumulated some mental baggage. So, with this piece, I wanted to try to channel some of that sadness/anger/aggression (“This aggression will not stand, man!”) into creating as a way to hopefully process and release it. I thought, as an artist, I should be able to do this — after all that’s what artists do, right? They pour their emotions into their piece and it’s a way of expression. Enter: me.

Hi hi, hello, I’m Drew and I mostly make random ambiguous shit with no agenda. As an artist that primarily creates abstract art, creating something more coherent seems like a daunting task. I try to explain it by saying that I am exploring these little created worlds hoping to discover something with this creative force by my side. I think I can attribute this to doing eight years of everydays (Beeple is precisely who inspired me to start). With everydays, I wasn’t inspired every day to make something — but it was more an exercise in completing projects as well as an amazing way to practice using the software.

‘Shadows’ began with listening to Brian’s tune — like 100 times. I kept visualizing in my head what to create and usually came up with something way outside my current skillset. I finally decided to just open After Effects and start with something — anything — and see if it led anywhere. My initial, more cohesive, ideas quickly failed and left me feeling deflated. But it was also at that moment of feeling deflated that I was reminded of the contrast between feeling like garbage and feeling super happy. You hear it said often and perhaps it’s even cliché, but it’s true in the most literal sense.

You can’t have happy without sad. You can’t have light without dark.

So instead of fighting the darkness I felt from not being able to create what I initially wanted, I focused the whole piece on it. The darkness, heaviness, or sadness that always tries to overtake you at times can wash away with happiness, joy, or light — but you can also allow those emotions to exist and use them to grow into something beyond what you were before.

So within this piece, there is a constant battle between light and dark; colors and grayscale; and the music that Brian wrote set this up perfectly. I wanted to match the tone of the visuals to the faster, aggressive pace of the music. With that, there are lots of cuts, glitches, and explosive elements to try to convey the darkness overtaking the light and vice versa.

In the end, ‘Shadows’ fades to white, perhaps implying that light always wins — but it also loops seamlessly to the beginning indicating that life will always find moments to give you darkness. And this piece wouldn’t exist without the darkness.

As the Dude says (or his Dudeness, or el Duderino, if you’re not into that whole brevity thing), “Oh you know, strikes and gutters, ups and downs.”

May we all just live by the way of the Dude and abide.

RANDOM EXTRA BIT: that reminds me of this compilation video I made ages ago of all the huhs and whats in The Big Lebowski.



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I explore audio and visual landscapes as an artist and musician.