Violinist David Felberg talks about his craft, the art of trying new things, as well as giving a virtuoso performance at Albuquerque’s legendary Chatter.
Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation
...and Viewers Like You
THIS TIME, ON COLORES!
VIOLINIST DAVID FELDBERG GIVES A VIRTUOSO
PERFOMANCE AT ALBUQUERQUE'S LEGENDARY CHATTER.
"I love that connection because I love the music
that I'm playing and I want to share that and I
want to share it in the most profound way that I
PAINTER TANIA DIBBS EXPLORES HUMANITY'S
COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE.
ARTIST KYLEEN GREENE GIVES BOOKS A SECOND LIFE.
KENT ULLBERG CREATES A MONUMENTAL SCULPTURE
OF AN ICE MASTODON.
IT'S ALL AHEAD ON COLORES!
AN UNWRITTEN CONNECTION BETWEEN AUDIENCE AND
>>Felberg: Music is about communication.
And it's also about being in the moment.
>>Kasinuskas: Thank you very much.
I'd like to thank David for playing this piece.
He does such a terrific job.
>>Felberg: For me, it's one of the only things
that I can be truly in the moment with and share that
in the moment-ness with other people.
>>Felberg: You know I get excited personally
about all the inner workings of music and how
music is put together, and how clever it is.
Trying to always figure out what the composer's trying to say.
>>Felberg: That's a lifelong challenge.
But then, to be able to share that with people on
an intimate level is really cool.
>>Felberg: There's harmony, but there's so
much more to music.
And, it's such a reflection of the world
>>Kamerick: How would you express your sense or
your interpretation of Joseph Kasinskas's flight
of birds piece.
>>Felberg: It's an incredible musical flight.
It's an extremely emotional piece...
>>Felberg: All the timing is so important.
The space between the notes is equally important
as the notes themselves, and it's all about timing.
There was a place in the piece also that I had to
sing and that was pretty new for me.
>>Felberg: Just coordinating all those
things is very untraditional, things that
I wouldn't normally do, but it's a magnificent
effect that he has with the looping, just like you
would do on pop albums.
And so it requires, you know, knowing some technology.
And it really feels like you're looking at birds
overhead in the sky, and then singing with them, or
at them, or something.
>>Kamerick: Is that what you thought about
when you were singing?
>>Felberg: I thought about singing with them, with the
>>Kamerick: Why is it important for you to
bring people together?
>>Felberg: Creating a community of, you know,
creating a small community is part of creating a
And so, to do it at the very ground level is so important.
And it's a reflection of creating a community
in a large city.
>>Kamerick: What do you want to bring to the audience?
>>Felberg: I want to bring a sense of shared
experience, which I think is the most important
thing is that, we're all sharing this together.
And also, to give them an appreciation for something
maybe that they don't know they like yet.
>>Kamerick: How does it become an experience?
>>Felberg: You know, as an instrumentalist, you spend
a lot of time by yourself in a small room
hopefully away from other people, so they
don't have to hear all your little experiments that
And you have to work out a performance of a piece.
But, it's a really cool experience when you
finally get in front of people and you have to
feel like you let go.
When you're super prepared, really
ultra-prepared, and the audience can feel a sense
of confidence and there's a relaxedness and that
when the audience can relax then they can take in more.
>>Kamerick: What does it feel like when you
make that connection?
>>Felberg: It's a great.
It's like nothing else, yeah, and that's why you do it.
That's why you spend many, many hours in a room by
yourself, working, so that when you go out there and
make the connection it's really an incredible feeling.
>>Kamerick: Sometimes, I feel like when I go to
Chatter, that it's all rehearsed, of course, but
there's a thing being created right there in
front of you, in that room.
>>Felberg: Definitely, yeah.
If you're really well prepared, then you can be
a little more improvisatory.
You can take chances that you would not have planned out.
And what's exciting is when you, as a performer,
when you're feeling the audiences is with you, you
can really have a conversation with your audience.
>>Felberg: I think that the intimacy...
you feel the vibrations.
You actually feel the vibrations of the notes
and there's something about the actual feeling
of it which is a different experience, as opposed to
just hearing it.
You really feel the wood in the stringed
instruments moving, or a reed vibrating, or if you
hear breath you know the breath is part of the
music, and the way the musicians move together is
It's exciting to see how people react to one
another, to try to bring off something.
>>Kamerick: Why do you love that connection?
>>Felberg: I love that connection because I love
the music that I'm playing and I want to share that,
and I want to share it in the most profound way that
I possibly can.
PAINTING TO SAVE THE PLANET.
>>Dibbs: Every day is awkward at the beginning,
especially if you are starting with a white canvas.
There's nobody saying, oh you are doing
the right thing now.
You've just gotta go, am I, am I not, is it good is
it not good.
Let's see how this goes, I'm not liking that, why
don't I like that, I'm not sure.
And then finally the voices quiet down.
But it's really satisfying when you're not wondering
where you are going your just doing.
I use a mirror to get an idea what it looks like to
someone else it flips it around and gives me double
the distance it gives me a fresh view.
I like it because when I look this way, it's very
familiar, I'm already starting to categorize the
shapes, and I go like this and it is completely new to me.
And I thought, why am I painting a landscape, why
don't I just use a photo and I really honestly
think that the act of putting all that work and
care into it and then scribbling over it means
something, it really does.
It's almost analogous to how we treat our planet.
How could it have sustained us and be such a
beautiful thing and we treat it like this?
So I'm trying to shine a light on our soulless
attitude towards our planet.
When I started with landscapes I was obsessed
by the idea of horizons and I did these big skies
and I always felt like we are a speck of dust on the
skin of creature earth.
I found comfort in the idea that we are just a
cog in this biological process.
Times have changed a lot.
There's definitely more of a threat out there in
terms of the environment it's pretty critical now.
Its worthy of addressing.
I never used fluorescent paint before on a
painting, it just seems so wrong.
But it also kinda goes because it is a landscape
and I want the viewer to still see the painting but
their really going to have to look through all the
stuff and wonder what it's about and wonder why it's there.
Trying to put it into words, what it means,
sorta makes it a lot more literal than what it is.
I think in my mind it vaguely represents
humanity, human construct, things that we build, the
things that we do that don't quite mesh.
I'm trying to address something uncomfortable.
Human beings have a relationship to nature but
we also have an anthropocentric existence
and I want to point that out.
If you just do something that's really didactic or
finger wagging or terribly ugly nobody wants to hear
it or look at it.
So I want my paintings to be beautiful and I want
the viewer to want to look more so they stop and
really understand what it's all about.
Why are there these fluorescent green lines,
obliterating the landscape?
Why can't I see it clearly that's a little uncomfortable.
I'm trying to make them disarming enough that
people will look and be drawn in by the beauty and
say, oh look, that's so true.
And people usually do really relate because I
think a lot of people really feel that in this
day and age, wow we are at a really interesting point
in human development in terms of our relationship
with the world but no one really knows how to put
their finger on it.
And I think putting your finger on it in an
abstract way is better than talking about it.
I feel like I'm helping you express something that
you know and feel and are aware of but don't know
how to express or talk about or bring into a conversation.
It's really an interesting time in human history, I
don't think people dreamed it would get like this.
I try to give a title that is a clue as to what the
meaning of the painting is so all of the first ones
in this series had the name Anthropocene this is
a geographical epoch that has been completely
shaped by humans.
Biology is not incompatible with art.
Biology has informed my sculpture, my sculptures
are all based in the look of invertebrate zoology.
And I do a lot of work that address survival
strategies in a changing physical world, spikes,
spores, proboscis for feeding, creatures that
are sorta horrifying but beautiful,
trying to ride that line.
A little bit of that with a little bit of the
miracle of what something can do to survive it just
goes on and on.
I love that regenerative concept, the power in that.
I think it inspires me.
I did study biology so I just think of us as a species.
It's hard for me not to do that.
But things start to seem ridiculous I was a ski
instructor and I'm like, wow, I'm spending all this
energy teaching a creature how to strap things on its
legs and slide down the hill for fun.
I always think of things that way
and it starts to seem silly.
Culture is very interesting but underneath
culture is nature.
Underneath it all we are human beings that are a
part of the physical, biological world and we
separate ourselves from that but we really can't.
I think we pay the price for doing that.
Biology led me down this path and I think that for
a long time I was happy doing the landscapes but
after a while they seem kinda pointless, so what's
a pretty picture?
What is it, a diorama from the past in a museum, why
am I painting this it's not even how I feel.
There's always a little bit of tension in me when
I travel and I see beautiful things and worry
about what's happening.
I think if you study biology or environmental
science or anything like that you end up with a
real depth of understanding of the
interconnectedness of things and the fragility of things.
Art can put a conversation on the table in a way that
other things can't.
So do I think art changes the world?
Not one piece by itself but as the conversation
moves forward, the world slowly does change.
So I think it's really important to bring up that
conversation and I think it's really important to
continue the dialogue and get people comfortable
talking about it.
To have it be an issue.
Because when something is not an issue it's never
gonna be addressed.
>>Greene: I've always like to reuse things and it
just seems natural since I like books so much and I
collect them, but not all books are really that
pretty or make me want to re-read them again, that
it's nice to be able to do something else with them.
For me re-purposing books comes a lot from I like to
recycle things and after visiting the library book
sale several times, there are hundreds of thousands of
books that get discarded from the library every year.
So, it's a really great opportunity to turn them
into something else.
I do occasionally read some of the before I fold
them, so that's an added bonus.
I get to read and then I get to do something fun with it.
Most of my inspiration for the sculptural quality
ones would be geometric forms, which I tend to
enjoy a little more so than the ones that are
like actual words or patterns mostly because I
can make my own patterns for either one but I just
enjoy the geometric forms a lot more if it's not a
geometric pattern, sometimes I just start
folding to see what things will look like for that
but anything that's like letters or words, um, shapes
like hearts, stars, pretty much any shape you can imagine.
I try to get things that aren't overly complicated
because the more pages it is, sometimes it doesn't
look like what it's supposed to look like.
So, usually simpler things work out a little better.
I actually create my own patterns.
I go into illustrator and I make a grid and then
place a picture behind it that way I've got
everything lined up.
Once I've made the grid I pick a book and sometimes
I have to pick a book that's the right size,
sometimes I'll pick them oversize, it just depends
on how much space I want around the object.
I make marks on the pages as to where they need to
be folded, then that's what I use the grid for
and then I mark all the pages and then after I
mark all the pages, I start folding.
Start to finish it can take maybe a couple hours,
just depending on how many pages it is.
Sometimes, it's only 30 or 40 pages and then some
I've done are over a hundred pages or more that
I've got to mark and then fold.
Does not involve a ton of tools.
What I use most is a mechanical pencil cause it
gives a really nice fine line when I'm marking
patterns on the book pages.
Sometimes I use a bone folder if I want to a
really crisp edge when I fold a page but normally it's just
a book, my hands and whatever pattern it is I've made.
I teach book folding classes because I think
they make really nice gifts and it's a fun
project, it can be a little tedious and time
consuming but it's enjoyable.
I myself find it more of a meditative experience
because you can just kinda get in the zone and start
doing things and I like to share that with people.
I think teaching others helps me understand a
little bit more of how I make my patterns and what
I could do different to make it easier which is
good because I'm always looking to make things
easier or more fun.
I haven't had too many people get mad at me for
folding pages, every once in a while, they'll be
like, "oh how can you do that?
It's a book, I love books."
But, honestly I don't fold books that are like super
special, they're not first editions signed, for one
thing really old books, the paper doesn't fold
well and they usually look neater.
So, those are the ones I collect whereas more
modern books the paper's more flexible and you can
fold it without cracking.
It makes a difference, it really does.
Sometimes when I start looking at a book and
think I'm gonna fold it, I do decide not to because I
like it too much.
It does happen.
IT'S ALL ABOUT ANATOMY AND EXPRESSION.
So let's take a look at him, stroll around.
Right If that's ok?
And every detail, right from the base to the tip,
in some way was rooted to what was found in
Even a little bit of the structure of the base and
then of course it's hidden, little items.
Little, little secrets...
Secrets, yes For kids For discovery
When you were approached and asked about the
project, what did you initially think?
>>Ullberg: I thought it would be incredible.
It'd be a closing of the circle.
It would be, so almost emotional to do it,
because this museum brought me here, exactly
40 years ago.
To become an American, to live my dream, and then
eventually to live by my own sculptures.
One of the world's foremost wildlife
sculptors, Ullberg, a native of Sweden, came to
the United States in the 1970's to work as an
exhibit artist at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Eventually Ullberg would decide to concentrate on
He's created hundreds of works for public and
private entities, becoming known for his large-scale
bronzes of animals of all sorts.
Weighing in at 5,000 pounds and 22 feet from
ground to tusk, Snowmastodon is the
largest mammal done work Ullberg has created.
>>Ullberg: You know and I thought I really need to
do this, in spite of all the challenges, you know,
and the size, the scale and you know, at least two
years of my life.
Ya know at this stage in my career.
And, well, its relative the wooly Mammoth was
found completely frozen in the Siberian tundra.
No such discovery has been made for the American Mastodon.
That left room for artistic license.
I mean you have to stay within anatomy, but stuff
like expressions, the face, the eyes, which are
to me, very, very important, you know.
They are the mirror of the soul you know and animals
So I had the freedom to do, you know the soft
tissue, the eyes, to make him look kind or, you
The team that helps to put together a sculpture,
let's talk about some of those parts, once you've
made the mold, then what happens?
Well, first off, we have a team here of course, you
know, that I have people helping me.
And then we make a mold here, with the team, which
is you know an impression of the clay here and
that's done in a lot of pieces.
We have over 100 molds.
And then we take those down to the foundry.
They have many different departments.
For many years, we've done it all here in my shop,
but it's easier on a monster like this to have
the guys down at the foundry.
It was done in, let's see, in 180 pieces.
180 pieces of bronze welded together.
So it's like doing it all over again, you know.
And to get it right you have to have tremendous skills.
A lot of people in the foundry are artists themselves.
Many of the artists in this area got their start
working in the foundry.
Ya know, today with the modern method and the
technology that this foundry here in Loveland
Colorado has brought to the, the art world is remarkable.
It is a really delicate process too because if
it's not done properly you will see where those 180
pieces have come together.
It'd look like a road map, you know, and that is the
final way of touching skill and sensitivity, and
then try to duplicate my texture, which was done in clay.
What is it about sculpture that you connect with?
>>Ullberg: I connect with sculpture in many ways,
you know and I feel like you've done an honest
day's work, when you've sculptured a big piece,
that's one thing, but the other thing too, is of
course the obvious is that you have a three dimensional
opportunity of communicating and it's a challenge.
What do you think or hope his role will be, as a
piece of public art?
>>Ullberg: The Mastodon, well they might, might
look and say "Wow, look at that!"
You know the kids turn in the car and they may say,
"Oh we know what that is, that's an elephant."
You know and they can communicate it.
And then the parent says, "No, it's a Mastodon."
And then you can start talking about extinction.
You can talk about all the time periods, climate
changes, you know, fragility of nature,
there's so much you can say.
Well and I think that's, a really beautiful part for
you to have a considered the amount of people to be
able to enjoy it that way.
Well you know it's got incredible meaning for me,
because my favorite place in the whole world when I
was a little kid was my natural history museum in
Gothenburg, Sweden, which was the nearest museum and
that's where I grew up.
I spent every minute there that I could.
And then I studied there.
And now I can pass it on, maybe excite other kids.
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Funding for COLORES was provided in part by:
Frederick Hammersley Foundation
...and Viewers Like You