Guest Post: John F. Schneider // @johnfschneider
Tycho: The music project of Scott Hansen/ISO50
For all of us, musical taste can tend toward the fickle. Many are locked in the pursuit of the new, myself included. Over the last six years though there has been one incredibly consistent thread to what gets airplay in and around my environments. I was introduced to Tycho by a friend at work back in 2005 and have listened to it consistently ever since. There are precious few tracks with only a couple EPs and one full-length album, so I’ve gotten to know those that are released incredibly well. iTunes tracks the number of plays tracks receive, and several Tycho songs are in excess of 1000 plays – which over six years equates to about a play every 2.19 days. That’s about right. This music is mellow, downbeat, electronic and melodic sonic grooviness that I can listen to over dinner or while going for a run. I listen to it in the car during my commute and while I’m immersed and concentrating. I often refer to it as the score to my life.
24 Hours of Le Mans: A million moving parts
I’m a passionate racing enthusiast. I also race myself, but at the most amateur of levels. When I was very young I caught footage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and was mesmerized. Shortly after that I saw John Frankenheimer’s movie “Le Mans” with Steve McQueen and decided that at that point I had to grow up and race cars. I did. There are many opportunities to enjoy motorsports, but it’s the specific race at Le Mans that lives deep in my brain. It’s once a year in June, and true to the name the race lasts 24 hours. Each car has not only a team of drivers who do “stints” of up to four hours, but there are pit crews trained at a surgical level of precision ready for both minor mechanical mishap and major catastrophe. Cars that appeared to be totaled have limped back to the pits and been fully restored and back in the race in less than 20 minutes. The duration of the race means the teams will encounter a diversity of weather conditions, drive through a sunset and sunrise and have to stay frosty all night. I have literally watched all 24 hours of the race several times, much to my wife’s dismay – but she tolerates my obsessions. Many speak of Formula 1 as a pinnacle in motorsports. I disagree. It must be stated that drivers in Le Mans will race farther in 24 hours than an entire Formula 1 season. I chose the photo above because Audi is a favorite team and, though they have won 8 of the last 12 races, seem to always enjoy perpetual underdog status.
Robert Motherwell: Philosopher artist
I’ve been a painter for over 20 years and have many inspirations in my own art. Perhaps the strongest is the work of Robert Motherwell. He was a pillar in the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 20th century, a time in painting I very strongly identify with and pillage mercilessly. He was from a generation of artists who lived through the tumult and change of the mid-20th century and brought these experiences to their art, breaking with convention and tradition in search of unique expression (Rothko, De Kooning, Pollack and others being of this same mindset).
Motherwell’s catalog of work is prolific and diverse. His outsized Elegy series (pictured above) is a favorite, and I seek these paintings out whenever on display. Motherwell was also a writer/philosopher, having previously studied philosophy at Harvard and Stanford, and there is an incredibly strong connection between his writing and his visual expression, as if his writing is the verbal expression of what he thought about while he was painting, which I am convinced it was.