jasonphoenix Jason Phoenix: To Be Is To Do; To Do Is To Be; Be To Do Is

1.21.2015

To Be Is To Do; To Do Is To Be; Be To Do Is


I've had five years now to do something with JasonPhoenix.com, and I'll be frank, I've never figured out what to do with it.  I love having it, but sometimes it feels like renting a giant building and not having anything that fills it up, or having a great plot of land and never using it.  It looks okay when I visit, to be sure, but it never feels like its really mine.

However, now that I've got it, I'll never let it go.  My name is Jason Phoenix, after all.  You'd think I could come up with some content for it.  I have three primary talents/things that I do:  I write, I produce music, and artwork.

However, in the last years I've had the means to be able to do all of the above, and I have--but I've also been selfish with my work and absent from here.

Also, its been difficult for me to sort out where I'm supposed to do what--whether something should be here, on the dotcom or one of the other media outlets I've secured with my name, and then again whether they reinforce or distract from each other.

Am I supposed to fill this blog with individual pictures of my artwork?  Or do I post those to G+? Twitter?  Should I be making videos on YouTube that are silent but have my artwork?  I should be making music videos, shouldn't I?

I write essays constantly about political things, or highlighting news stories I've read...but these are in many ways restricted by time.  By the time my thoughts are complete, the story is gone, and the news cycle onto something else.  There might be something to be said for my thoughts in the moment, but too often I read through my many drafts and can only think well, there goes a message in a bottle.

In this sense, I use Twitter to shoot out those links to news articles and pithy, timely comments.  I avoided Twitter for a long time because I thought 140 characters would be limited, but now I find the limitation of getting an idea out is challenging.  It improves my conciseness, but obviously doesn't affect posts like these.

Another factor was my work.  From 2010-2013, I worked for a production company, then a management company and I did sign an NDA with them.  There were many times I wanted to write about what I was doing in my jobs putting together and stage managing concerts, hanging out with various artists, observations about the music industry.  However, in part this felt like a betrayal of trust, and in part felt like weird self promotion.  Its one thing to hang out with Skrillex while he graffittis a green room, and its another to put myself out as a music artist, not just some shmuck that's just stage managing the affair, not playing it.

These things did inevitably leak onto my Facebook via my Twitter, but only in the moment; no greater relevance or good storytelling.

One thing I learned from these experiences was I could have put that time and energy into my own music, my own promotion, this website, my YouTube channel, etc.  There's something for a blog post now and then and another for a stream of fliers with my name on it and another for every live video I could produce.  They're all bricks in the wall, but looking back I feel a little like I built a few condos for other people while I lived out of my teepee.

All that experience of dealing with social media, road managers, strangely packed luggage with expensive electronic gear haphazardly stuffed with socks and t-shirts did teach me a lot about what not to do as a music artist.  It also severely delusioned me concerning anyone's success in the music industry.

It appears that success in the US music industry to be severely predicated on whether or not one has means of support, whether that's a great paying job in another field, or a side-business you own, or a trust fund with regular disbursements.  Failing that, you'd better have a face like a model and abs to match, or the ability to live off sunlight and water till you win the music industry lottery.

My desire to make music or art hasn't diminished over time so much as my desire to push it onto other people, to make advertising material and send out press releases, to contact people for bookings that barely cover gas & hotels, to wait nervously in a green room wondering if the soundguy was really a dick or just joking.  I make sounds, I enjoy them, and then turn off the gear without a second thought at recording it or making a video of it.

Likewise, when I have time and space I draw my designs, spiralling out in ink on paper.  I take pictures but I'm still reticent to make high quality scans or turn them into vector graphics until I understand a better way to watermark them.  The Internet has become a strange place where attribution falls way far down on the list as compared to whether or not something can be made into a viral slideshow.  Akiyoshi Kitaoka's work is evidence enough for me that watermarking my work somehow is more important than unleashing it in the highest quality possible.

More than anything lately I find myself really enjoying sitting and writing.  Writing fiction, writing about current events and my view of them, writing anything really.  I'm constantly thinking up new plots for fictional stories and finding that I've reached a point of experience where some of the things that I've witnessed are worth telling.  There have been several long-term Internet related research projects I've been working on for years that I've never thought worth publishing here that strike my fancy now.

One thing that's altered for me has been the realization that the world needs voices, needs opinions.  In part it might be narcissism that makes me think my viewpoint on any subject is worth reading, but I have the ability to write coherently and comprehend large quantities of text that I read daily as I'm able.  Not everyone has that ability.  So often I read voices of people who I disagree with very strongly, and wish for a sane and rational counterpoint.  In that sense, I hear my own absence from the conversation.

It is plausible this post is just a variation on the theme of my previous entries, a sort of self-questioning and trying to re-establish myself.  Another expression of frustration that when I look at my own work, I don't see that consistency that I so enjoy in other people's websites, bodies of work.

But its also notice that I want to post more writing here, whether it makes sense or not to have it here, along with music videos and designs.  There's something to embracing myself more fully, and I will be trying to become more myself here over 2015.