Blake Burell

The Loft Show

The Loft Show is a monthly show for creatives in Birmingham, and it's being put on by two really good friends of mine, Cat Hyman and Josh Cox. I think the point is that it is a kind of lo-fi outlet for people to showcase their work, whatever it may be, and also to help establish more connections between those creative types in the city. Really the reason I'm excited to play it is because I consider it the lowest pressure way for me to get up and show some of the work a lot of people haven't seen and get feedback, I mean, these cats are so supportive it's an amazing opportunity to get to be involved

The Loft Show on March 30th

Oh I've gotten ahead of myself. Well this specific Loft Show I'll be playing a short set with a lot of good friends of mine. Nate Coker, Riley Moore, and Jake Carnley are all going to be getting up and playing some tunes, which I can't wait to see. I haven't played a show in two years or so, so really for me personally, this show is an opportunity to get back on stage and explore a field that I've neglected creatively.

Why do you think creativity is important in our personal lives as well as in our communities? 

Creativity, I think I may have mentioned in a less articulate manner in my recording, is really at its core a form of self-exploration. When we create alone we are searching desperately for a better definition of our own existence; wether it be a definition of who we are to ourselves, how we view the world, the sort of visual or auditory or tactile organizational system we perceive things through. I mean, it feels almost like you're trying to create a more tangible point of reference for a feeling or thought. But that being said, you're still isolated. You have a reference point that only you can use, so we share art as a desperate plea for someone to acknowledge that as valid in their own existence and gain some form of human connection. And I think people are attentive to art because they can pull those same things from it, affirmation of a shared existence. Maybe not, maybe it's simpler or more complicated than that, but that's how I make sense of it.

What are some of the different mediums you work with?

I mostly write poetry now, and I play music. For the longest time I only did visual art; watercolors here and there, a lot of design work, I drew a lot with pen. I think I'm still a visual person but there is something about the fluidity of language that is impossible to nail down, and that excites me. It's like an intellectual pursuit that doesn't end. But still we at least have these relatively long term cultural associations with specific wording or phrases and those communicate more than just the textbook meaning of a sentence. It's gestalt I guess. Anyways I have always been obsessed with how much meaning something have have packed into it, and I found that great release in poetry. It's the same way with music though.


Recently I've been entranced by Ginsberg's works, he was brilliant. And Bukowski the cliche, but to my point earlier about gestalt in text, Bukowski says everything in his poetry, even the shortest ones. And then Ezra Pound. Some others too, but you know.

 How/when did you get started with music?

About eight years now. I loved being around people playing so much, I just wanted to be able to participate. So I got a guitar and asked them to show me things when we were hanging out.

What is your favorite thing you have ever written? 

Haha let me see.. I think of the things published, my poem about Chandler Jones may be my favorite. There isn't really an aspect of it I hate, which is rare with writing. Oddly enough, the things I like most are those things that I would never publish. Just weird dialogues that have no context or little pieces of text, two lines or so that have the right emotion and the right sound and convey some idea that I love, but don't have the footing to exist anywhere than out in the ether. Also some Haiku I did last year.

What motivates you to keep creating?

Oh man, I don't know. At my most guarded, I would likely say boredom. Like, intellectual boredom. Just living day to day is so dull if you aren't working through some big "thing". I have to keep thinking through stuff to not feel like I'm wasting time. I want to understand it as well as I can. As my most honest I would likely say self-image or something, but that's a different conversation haha.

There is this conversation of coping that you have within your poetry and we have had within our friend group. It does seem that we all handle things, growing up, losing someone or even just figuring it out, almost destructively at our age doesn't it? "that phase" I think we called it before haha. Why do you think that we all, or most, go through that? How do you think that plays into our creativity? I feel like some of my best work has come out of "that phase" do you? Sorry, this questions got really far away from me. Maybe you can pull it back in?

I love this. Yeah it really does seem that way. I think it comes as a necessary step in self-exploration, where we have to test these waters that we heard were bad or dangerous to know for ourselves and see where we stand on those topics. I think death and all of these other traumatic events serve to shake the foundation of our understanding of the world enough that it necessitates a second look. I mean, I thought I knew exactly how things worked before I had to deal with death. It was like this extra part showed up and I had to figure out how it fit with the rest of the machinery. So I double checked all the areas of my morality and world view and belief system and reconciled death, but I found out a few of the areas had shifted by the time it was over. But at the end I was more myself and had a better understanding of a lot of areas of life. But it doesn't take death necessarily, thats just one big thing. I think that need for exploration and Identity can come from any new thing, even meeting people with the slightest different perspective from yours can shake things up, force you to actualize a little bit. Oh and to the point about creativity, like I said earlier, I think maybe its the biggest tool we have for self exploration. So when we are sorting stuff out in our lives, we get the most out if it.

Last words?

No, I feel I've already said more than I was supposed to haha.

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