Eel Howell BFA Painting Thesis Fall 2020


What happens when two distant realms, classical performance and painting meet? What must be let go of in order to reveal something new? In this thesis, Eel Howell explores the ramifications of such an exchange. Having spent the majority of their life training as a classical pianist in the western european tradition, the past few years developing a process of creativity have been a complete 180° from their experience in music school. The outcome, THERE IS ALWAYS FAINT STATIC IN THE AIR, is the culmination of ruminations, revelations, and a self-identification as an anti-disciplinary artist. Documentation provides an access point to the relationships between Eel, the instruments, and the piano. The instruments, made from painting materials are friends and collaborators, no longer stuck in the flattened role of “art object”. Depending on their ability and form, a name for each instrument is given with great care and consideration. Anthropomorphizing the instruments brings new possibilities, as there is already a great amount of precedent of what happens when art is not anthropomorphized. Eel relates to the instruments as one would relate to fellow performers in a performance; this brings into question how we as artists relate to our capacities and what it looks like to bring others in to help us achieve what we cannot on our own. THERE IS ALWAYS FAINT STATIC IN THE AIR is the direct result of doing exactly what you are not supposed to do as a classically trained western european pianist.

20 albums

Fall 2020