By C.A. Seaman

My muse is, in my imagination, a beautiful woman who likes to kick me in the shins when she isn't satisfied. I've talked to other people about their muses and often similar stories are spun back about how difficult they can be. All I know is she needs constant stimulation.

Music plays a big part in the production of my art. I often have a stereo playing when I work on visual projects. When I write, it is often more likely silent in the studio. I need to hear my own voice to hear the words as they fall onto the page. So what have listened to in the past? My tastes varied, depending on my mood, the mood of the work, or the time of day. I loved- and still love film scores, and use them to inspire me in the Kaiten Angels, and my multimedia projects a lot. Using Pro Show has given me the chance to create little epics for friends of mine using some gorgeous pieces I've found in recent years as backgrounds. In the past, John Barry, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Trevor Jones, a little James Horner, and others helped me visualize my work while creating it. I also used a lot of music from EVANGELION, ESCAFLOWNE, (I love Yoko Kanno's work), METROPOLIS, PRINCESS MONONOKE, MACROSS 2 and MACROSS PLUS, along with scores from FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN and FFX to help grease the tracks for a smooth ride on the brain train. The lush orchestrations of Howard Shore for Peter Jackson's LORD OF THE RINGS films also helped me realize some dramatic visions in the studio when they were coming out a few years back.

Then, as time passed, I found more Yoko Kanno pieces to inspire me from COWBOY BEBOP, GHOST IN THE SHELL STAND ALONE COMPLEX, and other works. Susumu Hirasawa, composer of scores for Satoshi Kon's anime films like PAPRIKA, MILLENIUM ACTRESS, TOKYO GODFATHERS and PARANOIA AGENT, Kenji Kawai, Mamoru Oshii's composer for GHOST IN THE SHELL, INNOCENCE, AVALON and other films, plus Dolce Triade's work from LAST EXILE, Haketa Takefumi's beautiful pieces from SOMEDAY'S DREAMERS, and others seemingly too numerous to mention have kept that brain train on the rails.

But that doesn't mean I listen to nothing else. I also like jazz and pop, classical and new age as well. Recently, the sounds of Pink Floyd and some raw blues have been belting forth from the speakers in the studio as I find my way to the creation of my new projects. I have also found a huge inspiration in the global soundscapes of Bear McCreary, writer of the fantastic scores for the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Many who have listened to McCreary's music found it hard to believe it was for a television show- especially THAT one!

Writing and reading are also important to me. I am constantly reading. Histories, biographies, film studies, articles in magazines on anything from home maintenance to model building in film and aviation often sit alongside the bed at night. I also keep up on manga, and fiction- more so now than in the last few years. Among the series of books I have been following are the DUNE books by both Frank and Brian Herbert, the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, the LORD OF THE RINGS, works by David Eddings, Isaac Asimov, Philip Pullman, (which I loved passionately), and others. In terms of manga, I have followed works by Clamp, Masamune Shirow, and many others. Read them if you ever get a chance.

Films also thrill me. I am a fairly open-minded viewer, and will try anything if it seems interesting. It does not mean I will like it. But I am just as likely to sit down and watch a good heartwarmer, or tearjerker, (appealing to me as a sensitive New-Age guy), as an action film. Lately, however, animation had been more my focus, as the work on the Girls and the reviews continued. Now I am catching up on older films to fill the gaps in the education. Gritty movies with more edgy plots seem to appeal more these days. Needless to say, it will be an ongoing process as there are so many films to see and so little time. Language is no problem for me so long as subtitles are available. However, as I am rarely a passive viewer and am often drawing or reading as I watch something on the television, subtitled films become the only ones I usually watch with complete attention. Having written over 200 reviews in 19 months for Active Anime, I got to see a lot a fine productions mixed in with more mediocre bills of fare among both videos and manga. This is a major reason why I've become a lot more able to do what I do. And this is only the tip of the iceberg in that area compared to my dear friend Holly, whose early reviews are posted here for archival purposes. Her output is truly scary. Now, to turn what I've learned from the hundreds of hours reading and watching Japanese content into something constructive, original, and mine....

What else is there? I am a collector. There are hundreds and hundreds of books in my house, and I have read most of them. People have often reacted strangely to the books, though. Someone once said coming upstairs she found them intimidating. Another person, not knowing about my studies of Military History, thought I was a survivalist after looking at the array of books on militaria on the shelves. I guess they never noticed the large library of Art books, the literary collection, the books by Lewis Carroll, Milne, etc. that is upstairs near the studio. Somebody else suffered an upturned nose at my small library of books related to STAR TREK, which I collected for information on the art and design of the various incarnations in this franchise. Oh well. For all those people, there are many more who've become really excited by the library.

Good. They aren't just to line the walls and keep the house warm in the winter, you know. If you've ever watched the fanciful anime READ OR DIE, you would understand how books can be more than binding and paper. They are very special to me, and if anything, the library has become more eclectic over the years since the first draft of this essay was written.

I started a collection of model figures from animation two years ago. It started with a Pixar figure- a cute but annoying talking room guardian, moved on to Jessie figure from TOY STORY 2, (one of my all time favourite characters in a film), and then branched into anime figures, from the stereotypical Japanese school girl, (not the nasty variety that gives such figures a bad name), to stuff from GHOST IN THE SHELL, NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, TENCHI MUYO, and both a Lyn Minmei and Misa Hayase figure from MACROSS. Now, Tima from METROPOLIS, characters from FLCL, AH- MY GODDESS, CHOBITS, ARMITAGE, FINAL FANTASY and others also fill the dsiplay case. The figure creations of artist Range Murata also occupy a place of pride in the collection. They are fun to have and make for great models for people to draw from. And there are the BATMAN characters- namely Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman. Does this make me a geek? Probably. But if that's case, so's Alex Ross, Frank Miller, and other kick-ass artists who inspire me so much and have huge collections of their own. As I see it, I'm in good company.

The collection is winding down now. My house is only so big, and until the basement is built, my cabinets are full. But I never say never. Collectors never do. Artists never should.

Keep checking back from time to time. This essay is constantly being updated.


All text and images are copyrighted C.A. Seaman 2007, and may not be reproduced without written permission from the author/artist.
Last revised: December 02, 2007.
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