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Tag Archives: Nick Bartoletti
Analog artist, Nick Bartoletti, is a Seattle native who has found a passion in creating something out of nothing. He is creating with analog hardware in a modern age where computer software has seeped into every niche of audio/visual art. His story is an amazing one of originality and passion meeting success through the cross-pollination of music and video. While being a life-long nerd is a pre-requisite to having the self confidence required to pick up analog art, Nick was by no means a film buff or movie geek before he got his start in video art. “I got a VHS Camcorder from the thrift store a while ago,” Nick says, “I just liked the idea of making home movies again. One day I plugged into my projector and accidentally pointed the camera at the projector and discovered the whole world of feedback. Then I went from there, adding little cheap effects boxes, and then video mixers, and video synthesizer.” A Seattle video artist was born.
The process behind Nick’s art starts one of two ways: with a video feed (live from a camera, or pre-recorded) providing the source footage to manipulate. Or, by creating video on an old tube monitor by directly feeding it RGB color signals – video synthesis. From here, Nick’s imagination and catalogue of equipment are both his limitation and artistic inspiration. “A lot of my equipment is based on analog video,” he says, “it’s more fitting for my purposes. I like that old stuff is more hardware and physical based. All the stuff you do on a laptop, you have to go in there and program things, tell it what to do with a mouse [while] staring at a screen. With the video mixer, for example, all the controls are at my fingertips. You don’t have to dive through menus or anything. There are more options, and there is greater flexibility with digital, but having the immediacy of everything right there is kind of nice.”
The other limiting factor is cost. Working with HD would be nice, Nick says, but the classic equipment that birthed the video art movement in the ’70′s at Cal Arts and in experimental television studios around the world is now cheaply available on Craigslist and at university rummage sales.
Nick is running a modular setup for his video art. In addition to classic television studio equipment, like the Panasonic video mixer, Nick strings together a series of module boxes, each with their own specific function in generating or manipulating video signals. A longtime practice in synthesizing music, the module method of create-your-own-kit video synthesis has newly become available from LZX Industries, and is just now catching on. “Depending on what the night is, I’ll kind of mix and match my setup,” Nick explains. Nick recently wrapped an installation show on display at Vermillion, where he had televisions looping a selection of his raw synthesized video. On opening night, Nick added a large projection enveloping the dance area with accompanying visuals as an added treat for his supporters.
Music and video have gone hand in hand since before the days of MTV. The success of these historic collaborations led to the birth of Crypts, the band lucky enough to be utilizing both Nick’s musical and visual talents to great acclaim. “That was kind of how it started,” Nick says, “I met Bryce [Brown] through a mutual friend. He already knew how to do music stuff, so he showed me that side, and that’s when I was first starting to do video stuff, installations or whatever. [Bryce] thought it would be cool to have that be part of a band.” Nick had never been part of a band before, nor did he even consider himself a hobbyist musician. “I played the trumpet in high school. Which I do think helped, but… It was kind of weird. Our first show was at The Crocodile, then that year we played with Crystal Castles.”
Nick has a guiding philosophy behind his double helix performance. “What I try to do is to have [my video art] be an addition to the music. So the music is already creating this atmosphere or a certain mood; I use the visuals to enhance that.” Nick explains that during performances “I play the synthesizer, and then I do live video stuff with my other hand.” In an unusual re-ordering of operations, an interest in video art led to starting a band, and that led to becoming a musician, and finally that led to some form of single channel pre-recorded movie production. Nick shot and edited Crypt’s first music video for the song “Fancy” from their first self titled album that came out September 4th, 2012 on the Sargent House record label. “It’s definitely an achievement for me,” says Nick, “I tried to use a page of everything that I have, different techniques. I wanted to do the vector re-scanning, sound reactive, synthesized patterns, mixer feedback, camera feedback. I tried to use as many different techniques as I could.” The band conceptualized the video together, but the complexity of Nick’s vision made him the mastermind behind the look and feel of each scene. After getting blank looks from band mates as he tried to describe the feedback loops projected live into the scene, “I basically just told them I was going to fuck with it and do some stuff.”
Nick has lived in Seattle his whole life, he “grew up in Wallingford until about 1st grade, then moved to Kent” and now lives on Capitol Hill. When asked if he thought being part of a cutting edge art and technology city has given a him a leg-up in the video art world, Nick thought not. There are not many people doing what he does, even in Seattle, he explained. “There is a [video art] scene online. Ever since the LZX stuff has become available, I see a lot of people doing the same stuff I’m doing: art installations, or going out and doing visual nights with bands, or going on tour with bands, stuff like that. I think that’s pretty cool.” However, there is one area where being a mossback Seattleite has helped out, and that is in the supportive art community here. His reception at Vermillion was packed. “There’s different people doing different things. I feel like you see a lot of cross pollination, people doing group shows together, collaboration. It’s awesome. It’s a pretty good community.” It was just such a cross-pollinating collaboration that birthed Crypts, and continues to distinguish the music scene Seattle is renown for the world over. Nick is part of the Seattle Peach 100 because his continued success is an inspiration to everyone. He has demonstrated that motivation, creativity, and collaboration are stronger ingredients for great art than prior experience. If a Wizards of the Coast 3D modeler (Nick’s day job) can become an innovating artist and end up in a band playing with Crystal Castles in one year while working full time, what can you do? To follow Nick and to check out more of his work, look into his Videos on Vimeo, scan his Tumbler Feed, and take a peek at a collaboration Nick co-produced for I Want You Magazine. Scroll on to check out the Fact Sheet Nick filled out for us.Tweet
The unimposing space at Vermillion on 11th and Pike is frequently a choice destination for Seattle Peach and crew when we want to unwind. Within the last year, the art gallery/cocktail lounge has been at the top of its game when it comes to playing host to artsy events. L O V E T O N E, a monthly dance party showcasing top-notch visual projections, leads the pack as far as unconventional carousing is concerned. The psychedelic surroundings created by massive projections coupled with complementary DJ sets is one of the best monthlies in town. The dark and intimate back bar area lends itself to deep talking and the towering corridors guide party-goers gracefully through the space.
Seattle Peach asked L O V E T O N E promoter, Ozma Ocatova, his philosophy when approaching the event:
“Lovetone started in December 2010. It is the physical manifestation of a mental experiment. The general idea is to bring Seattle an event that rearranges the elements of several specific cultures and creates an environment that takes people to an unfamiliar feeling. Hopefully it induces some reflection. You never have the same psychedelic experience twice, and there are always lessons to be learned.”
L O V E T O N E will celebrate this month with a free Halloween party slated for Saturday night. Residents Jon Francois, Christian Science, David James and, of course, Ozma, will be on hand and the Slowdust collective will be making a very special guest appearance.
Scroll to see some snaps from last month’s installation of L O V E T O N E, which featured projections by Nick Bartoletti. Photos by Seattle Peach.Tweet