In this series, we plan to highlight individuals doing great work in a creative discipline, whether music, theater, writing, photography, painting, etc. Our artist for the month of March is Joshua Stamper. We first had the pleasure of meeting him through Daniel Smith (of Danielson), and have since enjoyed getting to know him and his musical pursuits. Below are his answers to our soon-to-be-legendary Seven Questions: enjoy!
Q. What has quickened your pulse recently?
A. Coffee and Running (though not at the same time…)
Q. What are you reading/watching/listening to these days?
A. I just saw David Lynch’s ‘The Elephant Man’ for the first time last week. Really subtle and moving performances. As dark as some of David Lynch’s work gets (and it can get dark), I’m consistently struck by the humanity and humor that comes through. He has a heck of a range too: on the surface, it’s hard to believe that the director of ‘The Straight Story’ is the same director that made ‘Wild At Heart’, but dig a little deeper and there’s a consistency of vision that’s unmistakable.
In terms of reading, I recently finished Graham Green’s ‘The End of the Affair’. Good grief! Such insight into the complexity of relationship, temptation, pursuit of the divine… His command of language is so precise, but so graceful and full of air.
For music: this week it’s been James Brown, the sixth string quartet by Shostakovich, ‘Have One On Me’ by Joanna Newsom, and ’Ali and Toumani ‘ by Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté.
Q. What’s one of your guilty pleasures?
A. Movie trailers. I don’t know why. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved movie trailers. Maybe it’s the potential that I’m drawn to; the potential of beauty, of mystery, of a new story to hear or mystery to solve. Of course, it could also just mean that I have a really short attention span.
Q. Whose work do you admire?
A. Andy Goldsworthy is incredible. To me, there is no other visual artist whose work is more like music–it’s so uniquely designed to interface with time. It seems that in our society (warning: philosophical waxing ahead), beauty is often understood as existing only within very isolated and specific moments: a brand-new car that just rolled on to the lot, a woman at age twenty-six, a horse in full-gallop, the crest of a wave, what have you. These events are moments that can be captured and then remembered, and of course there is something really wonderful in that. But Goldworthy’s work is about all the moments in the continuum, from a thing’s conception to a thing’s deterioration–beauty exists throughout. For Goldsworthy, beauty is not a static, unchangeable point. Rather, beauty is a fluid. I felt incredibly nourished when I encountered his work for the first time. He completely renewed my belief in the power of art to communicate.
Q. Where’s your favorite place to do creative work?
A. I love collaborating with others, and you can be anywhere to do that. When I’m alone and working though, you can’t beat my desk. I love my desk. My wife bought it for me a few years ago. It’s large. It’s flat. There’s plenty of room for messes and piles and papers, and there’s still room to work. I have a great wife.
Q. You’ve been given a $5,000 budget for your next project. What would you do?
A. I would immediately book nine days (five for recording and four for mixing) at Brian McTear’s studio in Philadelphia (Miner Street Recordings) to complete the next album, Interstitials. Brian is one of the most extraordinary engineers I’ve met. He’s one of those guys that hears things the rest of us don’t hear, but whose adjustments make all the difference in the world. His companion Amy Morrissey is equally amazing–she has been called “the mic-whisperer”. Interstitals is about 3/4 written as of right now. The plan/hope is to be done writing it by the end of March.
Q. How can we find out more about your work?
A. All info/links/music/etc. has been recently and conveniently gathered at www.joshuastamper.com!