• Featured Artist Paul de Jong

    We have a lot of artists in the gallery and cafe. Here's one that's coming up--an amazing musician, talented visual artist and experimental videographer. We hope you can make his artist reception, concert and talk on June 26th 7:30-9:30pm. Meet Paul de Jong...

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    I was born in 1964 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and began cello lessons at the age of five. Two years later I was writing nonsense poetry in all earnest and took a razor blade to my first audio cassette, fascinated by the world of manipulated sound recording.

    From my early teens I have been working in an array of media: music, moving image, print, collage, poetry and theatre. While I followed traditional and alternative paths to acquire necessary skills, my interest soon concentrated on establishing an effective emotional interplay between different media within a single work. During my early twenties this approach led to the production of stage pieces for which I wrote dialogue and music, designed sets, costumes and all printed materials. I also ventured into radio plays, illustrated poetry and prose, and musical production with dance and film.

    In the early 2000’s I was commissioned to compose site specific music for several neighborhoods in my native city of Rotterdam, within an Arts Council initiative that sought to promote cultural advance between immigrants and locals living side by side. Working with a host of musicians, I composed a series of ‘soundtracks’ to these neighborhoods, where I sought to incorporate local traditions and freshly imported influences within my personal musical idiom. These soundtracks where then locally produced and distributed, and I performed the pieces in community centers, churches, stores and parks, effectively going ‘on tour’ throughout the neighborhoods. The soundtracks were also used on local public tv, in infomercials, documentaries and are to this day available for public use within the context of their neighborhoods, free of rights.

    In New Lebanon, NY, where I live, I am continually expanding an extensive library of recorded sound, video and still image as a central resource for my solo work and collaborations with other artists. The library, now known as the ‘Mall Of Found’, numbers well over 50,000 samples and incorporates spoken word documents, field recordings, instrumental fragments and improvisations, assorted sounds from movies, rare LP’s, old photographs and post cards, numerous obscure film and video clips, and just about any other recorded media. I carefully select the samples according to their immediate personal appeal as well as their more generic characteristics. The collection thus has grown into a kind of account of recorded mankind that is personally introspective and expresses universality at the same time. It can be seen as a tremendous resource, an intellectual and emotional theme park, or a work of art, ever growing, ever expanding.

    I gained some wider international acclaim for my work as the Books, which I started in 1999 with Nick Zammuto. Together we composed five albums of music in which we sought to combine found sound with original instrumental and vocal recordings within the loose framework of a pop music idiom. These studio albums culminated into a live show for which we created an integrated video component synchronized to the live music. We toured the world over, performed in nightclubs, art temples and massive festivals, did live specials on radio stations, were written about in many a languages, and lectured from community colleges to Ivy League institutions. We even won an award or two.

    After the Books disbanded in 2012 I have fulfilled commissions from the Getty Foundation, the Poetry Foundation, the Red Hot Foundation and written music for dance collectives in the USA. Then in early 2014 I dropped everything to compose my full-length debut album ‘IF’ which was released on April 28th 2015 on Temporary Residence Ltd. It is available on CD, LP and as digital download. Live shows featuring this music from ‘IF’ are scheduled for the 2015-16 season.

    For the gallery exhibit at 6 Depot in West Stockbridge, MA, I will show videos, prints and collages.

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