A Life In Music and The Arts..................
about being born into a world of music,
performing arts history and the advocacy of music and the Arts as a medium for
personal and Social Change......
The Arts have an incredible agency to touch, enhance, empower change and heal lives......
I believe that The Performing Arts have the power to make critical differences within and across cultures and communities
I believe that Arts organizations and social entrepreneurs have a critical responsibility to collaborate to create these enhancements for the greater Social Good.
I am reminded..... of the old African American church hymn,
"If I can help somebody, then my living shall not be in vain...."
music you are listening to has immense personal meaning to me.
is emblematic of everything about this creative journey and this unique mosaic of The Creative
Arts: music, dance, painting and creative movement of the inner soul.
This is music that unearths the conversation my mother shared with me that someone early on...told her adamantly that I needed to go to a special school for gifted children in The Arts... I was age 6 1/2.
The Arts.. for the 4 year old Bill Doggett started with Eurythmics:
dance movement and music education for children in classes at USC and age 5 with piano .
For me, understanding music has always been about...feeling the music and visualizing it. This sensibility I connect directly to The Dalcroze Method aka Eurythmics that established my early Childhood musical training.
My skill in Eurythmics led my mother to take me to see my first ballets: Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty age 4-5. To this day, I remember the very strong and scary impression that The Black Swan entrances and the leitfmotif music had on me. Im not sure why, but that was scary....to me.
Sleeping Beauty was better and it tied in to my favorite movie as a 4 year old, the brand new Disney classic: Sleeping Beauty. How many times did my mother take me to see this Disney movie.! I was the Prince from Sleeping Beauty for 2 Halloweens in a row and kept my costume in its original box for years...
I'm from the generation of late "baby boomer kids "who grew up during the Etch-A-Sketch rage of 1960-1962. My Etch-A-Sketch was my ipad of
The Flintstones Era, the era of Black&White TV sets, The Lone Ranger, I Love Lucy, The Mouseketeers, Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Mighty Mouse and Looney Tunes cartoons
I loved to create images which were all about Architecture and design as I was smitten with modern architecture-- skyscraper modernism, streamline modern, glass brick, green and black terre cotta buildings, like The Richfield building in downtown Los Angeles and The Wiltern Theater and The Pan Pacific Auditorium in the Wilshire and Fairfax Districts.
I was lucky enough to be a youngster when these architectural jewels were still vibrant. The black and gold Richfield Building was my absolute favorite. Tragically, it was torn down in 1968.
I so remember being totally fascinated with
" Machine Age" industrial design and Streamline architecture age 5-7.
This design interest given life through my Etch- A- Sketch extended to painting. My paper paintings from Kindergarten-2nd grade were Impressionist. I kept them for many years looking back at one in particular... a seeming Monet like Sunset in yellows and orange paint
I remember my mother saying that apparently the Eurhythmics teachers and a Piano teacher had talked about me to persons at this enriched School but my mother deciding from a place of her own experience as a child of the Great Depression in Philadelphia, that The Arts would be a tough road even for a gifted Negro child.... I wish she had let me go.... I always felt that could have made such a difference ....if not all the difference for me.
In retrospect, I understood her choice, as we talked about it decades later...
My challenge was , I was the youngest male child of a prominent minister and civil rights leader and at a time when public face was so very important....
And, I was very early on a visual artist using movement and at age 7.. a highly creative kid who wanted to compose and did compose music written down by my piano teacher at USC.
I was also reminded.. that I was also the namesake of someone very famous in jazz and popular music, my uncle, Bill Doggett and that
his story of the challenge of making a career in music in the 1930s-40s also impacted her and my father's decision to....be more cautious.
I was taken out of Eurhythmics because of concerns by my prominent minister father for the stereotypes associated with males and Dance and my natural proclivities towards art and design showcased in my Etch A Sketch work and paintings went unacknowledged.... I stayed in piano and composed but that too was put on the back burner..
In reading Alvin Ailey's, James Baldwin's and Fletcher Henderson's stories, they talk about a similar experiences.
It hits a familiar nerve: the challenges and cultural limitations faced of their generation and mine, as African American males..... engaged in the Arts from within our own community.... We needed be mindful of family reputation, societal appearances within the black community.. as it was during the 1930s-70s and chronicled so poignantly by James Baldwin and other creative artists who followed.
It is an interesting insight for many of us from an earlier time, who wanted to draw,paint, play jazz/blues instead of becoming a doctor, sing and perform classical music, conduct, compose, dance....
At around age 6 1/2, I remember telling my parents, both educated middle class college graduates from Philadelphia with a love of The Arts, that I wanted to learn how to play all of the instruments in the orchestra! Such was the enthusiasm of a 6 1/2 year old.
You are listening to Music for Eighteen Musicians by the noted American Minimalist composer, Steve Reich.
Reich's music are for me.... immediately visual and choreographic ...... evoking the art of painter, Fabian Oefner's Series:Dancing Colors featured above or a perpetual interplay of a series of original Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollack paintings .
Nuanced bold, bright and subtle colors, rhythms and layered intricacies.
As Music for Eighteen Musicians unfolds, Reich's music is also clearly African sourced in its polyrhytmic Call and Response patterns. Reich talked about his ethnomusicology research and studies in West Africa during the 1960s
Listen closely and you will hear ...the West African influences
The African Instrument Sound World of the Mbira, Kalimba and African Harp and Tribal ritual dance are all encoded here with ethnomusicological relatives-mallet instruments of Central America
When listening to both Reich iconic examples of 1970s Minimalism, listen attentively for the phasing of notes in and out, the shifting layers, time changes and how the layers interact and..how they resolve....
As I remark in the sections below regarding my encounter with the great innovator and master of multi media, Alvin Nikolais back stage during the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics Arts Festival, the Arts concept of Gesamtkunst informs my complete conceptualization of the progressive blending of The Visual Arts, Music and Movement.
I am at heart a visual artist interested in choreographing the use of space, sound, music, lighting, design and creating a blended experience that is greater the sum of its individual parts [Gesamtkunst]
This informs WHY the connection with Alvin Nikolais talked about below continues to be of the utmost importance to me in 2015.
The music of Reich is absolutely fascinating for me.... this exceptionally inventive music of the late 1970s remains a continuing major source of inspiration
There are many layers of personal resonance in this music.
This is music that evokes the heady boldly
creative music years as cellist for Fairfax High School's Dance
Improvisation Workshops, the years 1973-75 while an undergrad at Georgetown University and principal cellist with The Georgetown Symphony experiencing with great interest the world of Minimalism through the lense of the music of Steve Reich in weekend trips to New York City.
In the mid to late 1970s, Performance Art Happenings and concerts at The Kitchen in New York City were all the rage. The Kitchen continues today as one of the epicenters of avant and modern creative arts and performance happenings http://thekitchen.org
Evenings and weekend afternoons becoming engulfed in Music for Mallet Instruments, Six Pianos Music for Pieces of Wood , The American Premiere of the completed Lulu by Alban Berg at The Met, seeing Rudolf Nureyev dance The Preacher in Appalachian Spring with The Martha Graham Company... and spending hours upon hours at The Museum of Modern Art were indelible experiences underscoring my earlier Fairfax High School creative world.....for this creative artsy African American 19-25 year old interested in New Music and the blended use of film, art and choreography... I was... as they say, pretty out there...or today, I might be called "an ARTs nerd"
As a 19-25 year old ARTs Nerd already blooming as a Visual Artist blending photography,cinematography and Constructivist/Expressionist Art themes in fine art photography, the Arts world of Manhattan in the late 1970s was something to behold......
That is.... The Manhattan Arts World of Andy Warhol, the young Bill T Jones and Artie Zane, Alvin Ailey, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Meredith Monk, Phillip Glass, Steve Reich, Keith Haring and Robert Mapplethorpe.....
These experiences morphed and flowered during my late college years at UCLA 1976-78 highlighted by
changing exposure to and influences on my self concept as an Artist... by the
extraordinary Alvin Nikolais Dance Theatre through the auspices of UCLA's Dance Series at Royce Hall. Niklolais was one of the critical 20th century pioneers in extending the Wagnerian Ring Cycle associated concept of Gesamtkunst- the convergence of the visual arts,theater,music,choreography and performance in the experience of Art.
Meeting Alvin Nikolais backstage during their 1984 Olympics Arts Festival performances and talking about his Art that I had been following since the mid 1970s continues to be one of my most personally significant Arts interactions.
Meeting Nikolais was for me...like meeting Elvis or Cab Calloway,whom I met in 1994 as a photographer for a private Black Oscars Awards dinner] A legendary genius whose pioneering gift for Multi Media Gesamtkunst.. was one of a kind....
*To view the two amazing videos click STOP on the Music player at the top of the page.*
Seen at UCLA Royce Hall for the first time in Fall 1975,1976 and in the late 1970s at Manhattan's restored Beacon Theater, I continue to be blown away by this total genius of this Master of Multi Media Gesamtkunst
In Reich's 1976 Music for Eighteen Musiciansshowcased here in its 1978 world premiere ECM recording[see details at page bottom],
this is also music that symbolizes the excitement of New Music experiences as an 7-9 year old private piano student in USC's School of MusicPreparatory Division attending concerts of The USC Chamber Singers of my older sister at Bovard Auditorium
and really paying attention as an eight-nine year old to hearing William Schuman's Carols of Death, Samuel Barber's Reincarnation, Aaron Copland's In The Beginning and Bartok 's Folk Songs for the first time...and noticing my greater interest in New Music than traditional.
It was at USC's Bovard Auditorium in the early 1960s that I also discovered at 7-9 years of age, Early Music, notably De Machaut and Perotin.
It is the memory of being 10 years old at the brand new Dorothy Chandler Pavillion and hearing Charles Ives' Unanswered Question for the first time.
For me, I later thought of our fallen President, John F Kennedy...and the relevance of 'the unanswered question' surrounding his traumatic death and loss. This was The Fall of 1965 and President Kennedy had been dead less than 2 years. Like so many grade school children, that Friday in November 1963 was forever etched in memory...
Ives, championed in the early 1960s by Leonard Bernstein was having a renaissance in Los Angeles by the mid to late 1960s with the help of The Gregg Smith Singers, Michael Tilson Thomas and Zubin Mehta. After The Unanswered Question, my next encounter with Charles Ives would be Central Park in The Dark and Decoration Day by age 12.
Those were the days of those Student Rush Sunday matinees with Zubin Mehta, Los Angeles beloved matinee idol, as he was fondly known. This was The Age of Stravinsky in LA and the still radiating influence of Arnold Schoenberg from his UCLA pedagogy.
Between ages 12-16, I would become completely enveloped in music.
My home life had completely changed: my older siblings had moved out and my parents had divorced.... Suddenly a full house, was a house of two... I grew up as a child of a single mother...beginning at age 11 in 1966.
Then and now in retrospect, those were difficult years. Like so many teenagers with great potential,who were yet caught in between a life time zone without the critical adult mentoring and engagement, I coped with major life changes by reaching deep within to my core person: a hybrid of creative Artist, musician, dancer and potential composer.
These were also the years which alternately... could have found me in trouble, like other young black male teenagers in LA in the late 1960s without strong mentoring and engagement. There are so many alternate stories and outcomes which were positively impacted by the personal value of The Arts.
And it is precisely then.... as a piano student interested in composition and a private student at USC's Clark House that the exploration began....
That exploration was richly enhanced by our new Fisher console stereo... permitting an unlimited exposure to the world of radio, new recordings and syndicated concert broadcasts of music from all over the world.
For the New Music guru that I am, Reich's music symbolizes LACMA's Monday Evening Concerts and my love of The Green Umbrella Series of The LA Philharmonic of the late 1980s-90s.
Reich's music also seques importantly to my artistic focus in the mid 1970s on the use of space, time and movement in the cinematography of the films of 1950s-60s Italian film directors, Antonioni,Fellini,Bertolucchi which played a major role in my artistic vision as a painter-photographer with a filmic sense for mise en scene and montage
My fine art photography was viewed from the beginning as Painting, not Photography but later was deemed as a thematic unit by Curators at Los Angeles County Museum of Art reviewing my Fine Art Photography portfolio as American Constructivist*
Constructivism is associated with the art photography and cinematography of iconic Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein and urban photographer, Rodchenko
Note, Hommage a Magritte, my first prize winning photograph can be seen viewed on Google Search Row 4
===> This Photo-View in Google Search Row #3: "Hommage a Magritte photograph"
My photography reflects a deep inclination as both painter and photographer to the world of cinematic DP- Director of Photgraphy and Mise en scène
Mise en scène is Creating……… design, intention and mood….. filmic/ painterly storyboards that set the stage for a story with references to captured time and space-- as a Film Art Director creates a visual matte for a Scene in which actors walk into and walk out of a Scene...
My photography exists in double meaning. These images are completely Mise en Scene
Color, shapes.shadow, the use of light and intentional composition that disorients in my work is used as Metaphor .... My intention is to re image your understanding of missed and imperceptible spaces to a level of discerned consciousness....
Yes, this discussion is part of my Artist's Statement as an American Constructivist photographer/painter working in the 1970s-today.
San Francisco:Symphony of A Great City-September 8, 2009
Ode to Walter Ruttman's Berlin, Sinfonie einer Grosse Stadt 1927
Samples of provocative Series shot Tuesday, September 8th 2009.
These are examples of the first images shot digitally vs film
Filmic Mise en scène, Montage, Photo Realism, Russian Constructivism, The Camera As Protagonist ....re imagined
Although, the use of space in my work is physically unoccupied by a human spirit, they are occupied as biographical statements in metaphor.... I have and will continue to create the personal poetic Text that accompanies each of these provocative images
The Mise en Scene photography of Bill Doggett is the world of
The Third Man, L'Aventura, Red Desert, Satyricon, The Conformist....the camera as protagonist....
As fine art photographer, I have won several prizes, have been in numerous Exhibitions and have been published during the 1980s-90s
In showcasing more of my unique catalog of painted Mise en scene Photography, my goal in 2016-17 is to collaborate with composers, choreographers, stage designers in theater, dance and opera to envision incorporating my painted photographs for bold visual mixed media productions.
I welcome inquiries about licensing my photographs for use in film and other productions. Please use the contact us form on the website
Please contact me via the Contact Us link to inquire about copyright, rights use of these and many other exceptional photographs in my catalog.
Note, all of my photographs showcased here fall within the legal copyright and protections of Bill Doggett Productions LLC.
All of my photographs were created with Nikon cameras
1978-2004 Nikon FM2, 8008s-Film
2009-present Nikon D-80-Digital
Film:Kodachrome 25, 64, 100 Fujichrome Velvia,Fujicolor 100,200 Ilford Fp4
The 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics Arts Festival: LA '84
A Juried Photography Exhibition: The Brand Arts Library, Glendale California.
My iconic photographs, Hommage a Magritte and Meter After Antonioni were Prize winners in this important Olympic Arts Festival exhibition.
The event photographs below showcase me in my 20s, the Gesamtkunst Visual Artist. I am grateful that my parents, the late Rev. John N Doggett Jr and Frances Doggett supported my gift as a Visual Artist at this stage of my life as shown below. It was such a joy that they traveled to support me in this event.
And it was during this time of critical emergence as a Visual Artist that my father finally came to accept his youngest son...as the Artist still deeply rooted in The Arts as I was as the precocious 6 1/2 year old whom my parents were told to put into a Performing Arts School of gifted children but did not.
I never gave up on my artistic Self.... it is what brought me over many Trials
My story echoes that of so many..... Fletcher Henderson, Alvin Ailey...James Baldwin We are called to let our bright lights shine despite the odds against us -Photos from the proofsheet of this event taken by my father with my camera
1996 Seattle,Washington- Doggett, as Visutal Artist: photographer- painter constructivist photography blending painting and cinematographic space in micro details.
I have been a painter using a camera since age 16 who was influenced by the world of auteurs of cinematography and the visual language of urban constructivist photographers, Alexander Rodchenko, Aaron Siskind and Roy De Carava . Photo Spring 1996 Seattle, Washington Benham Studio Gallery. These photographs reference my long interest in the collage assemblage art of Expressionists Kurt Schwitters and Romare Bearden
Circa 1993/94: The legendary photographer, Gordon Parks and Bill Doggett at G Ray Hawkins Gallery, Santa Monica, California after his special booksigning event for his latest photography book. I am very proud of this photograph.
Parks' iconic photographs detail the spoken and unspoken human experience..... whereas
my photographs expressly detail the unspoken, the hidden and the elusive interior journey that varies in interpretation by personal introspection with viewing
is said that it starts at home..... For me, it began there but
did not end there.....
I thank my parents for their great love of The Arts and the
great story telling about their dates in late 1930s Philadelphia listening to The
Philadelphia Orchestra, summer nights outside of the gates of The
Robin Hood Dell, either because they were too poor to buy a ticket or there
was a color bar. I wish they were still alive so I could verify which was
the truer situation.......
Anderson, Roland Hayes, Paul Robeson were
household names in my house at age 6..... After all , my parents-
early Civil Rights Movement progressives had co presented Roland Hayes in
recital in Pasadena in 1951...years before I
Like Handel, Borodin and so many others, I was steered away from The Arts for more traditional occupations, yet I reclaimed my core self ....a decision I continue to feel strongly about.
Now, I am one to reach back, support and uplift other promising young people of Color at important junctures...in a life journey that can be enriched by The Arts .
....From story telling through creative writing, poetry and Rap to community murals, video game,set design and film illustration, photography, dance, music and theater, we are called to create and touch lives.... to empower our individual and collective Inner Souls.....
World Premirere recording available as mp3 album on Amazon.com