Every month Rolando Diaz and Seth Simmons create an amazing artistic and musical experience at Euforia Live in Dallas. "Ro" as he is known to friends, is a well traveled Cuban-American artist with a simple artistic philosophy; "Everything we see, feel, touch, smell and hear, in one way or another, becomes part of the images expressed on the canvas."
Seth Simmons is an award winning pianist/composer who "sees pictures in my head of the pieces I am writing" . The tones and rhythms used in his blend of classical, pop, jazz and contemporary styles match perfectly with the physical and emotional movement of Ro's execution at the canvas.
The two artists have been performing together for 7 years and I was fortunate enough to see this amazing experience last Saturday evening. The atmosphere in the space was perfect; twinkling lights, glass ornaments, candles and Seth's music sounding in the background set the mood as a full house chatted and took their seats. The stage held only a grand piano, an easel with a large blank canvas and a small table filled with the well loved tools of a painter.
The artists were introduced and the lights were dimmed. Seth seemed to meditate into an almost trance-like state and began to play, reaching into the piano to mute the strings creating interesting sounds and a pulsing rhythm that would recur throughout the event. This seemed to move Ro to enter a realm of his own, slowly swaying, concentrating...imagining . He stood back, stared at the blank space, and waved an empty hand in front of the canvas. It seemed as if the picture was already there and he was simply re-tracing the movements that were used to create it. In just a few dizzying minutes Ro had prepared the canvas by covering large areas with a wide brush and using a stippling effect with a wet towel.
I wondered if the two had pre-arranged the ideas, the timing, and the content? I learned later that much of the evening was improvised. In fact, at one point Ro simply sat down on the edge of the stage and listened to Seth play for a few moments. ‘I had never done that before, but I was enjoying the music so much, I just wanted to listen.”
I counted approximately 10 musical motifs that unfolded over the ensuing hour, each separated with brief moments of silence. Some were ethereal, some a little edgy, others might be called jazzy. There were even hints of Billy Joel and Chopin in Seth's playing. These musical elements seem to propel Ro along as he worked areas of the canvas, periodically turning the easel so the entire audience could see him work. Eventually, the painting (pictured above) was complete. Ro knelt down to sign the work as the last few chiming tones were sounded by Seth and the house lights were slowly brought up.
It was a powerful and very cool experience and something completely different. Even though the music fades, it can be seen in the brush strokes and composition of the painting which will last forever. These are two artists who are completely sincere about their craft, coming together for the better of both.
Visit Euforia Live online for more information about this amazing mixture of music and art.