Chimneyside Chats with Output 1:1:1

Graphic created by Lucas Seidel Design
Gather 'round the open fire for Chimneyside Chats - a monthly feature with holiday stories from our favorite artists. See what's in their stockings this year as they reminisce on Christmas memories, share their favorite recipe and more! Here's what underground artist Output 1:1:1 had to say:

I’m not one to get excited at the concept of the holiday season, and all of its reinforced shopping. It’s difficult spending hours in a store and trying to figure out if this is something my dad would like or find useful, and then go into debt repeating the process several times over. Emma, my partner, has been encouraging us to make gifts for people instead of doing that. I’m fond of baked goods for this reason, because people like food (there is no faux-profound way to state that).

In the past, our search (mostly Emma, I’ve been regrettably lazy on this) for gift ideas didn’t find a lot of realistic results. A lot of online ‘Do It Yourself’ gift blogs tend to propose impressively complicated ideas as though they were the easiest thing in the world. I think that might have to do with blogs being geared to an online DIY community that might take a few projects to get into and understand what’s difficult to pull off and what isn’t. I appreciate that idea, but I’m not of that group.

One year, I wanted to try painting. Not traditional painting, I’m very inexperienced with that. I tried those paint marker-pen-things, because I felt like I could sketch somewhat competently. I like to make things in solitude, and this painting-like idea was easy enough. My therapist had spoken with me about the concept of play in art - to create something just to be creative and not to focus on having a finished, commodifiable product. That’s really hard to do with music - I always feel like I need to have a working song at the end of a creative period. Or at least something that could be made into one.

Emma’s parents are artists. I thought they, in particular, would appreciate this. I started with a few ideas, just essentially scratching shapes in various colours on the pad. Sometimes I wouldn’t know where to stop, and the pieces would be overdone. But every so often, it would just click and I’d have something. Below is one of those pieces. We gave it to Emma’s parents:

Emma’s mother taught Secondary School Visual Arts. When she spoke to me about the painting later on, she gave me an in-depth analysis that was very interesting to hear. She had engaged with the gift in a direct manner, and was able to speak with me about what would be “my style”. What I’d describe as random scratching of colour, she was able to describe in language more vivid, much more exciting. I appreciated that connection - it’s not something that I’d often associate with a gift. But I think that connection is why I’ve come to appreciate the post-dinner part of holidays more than any other part - it’s when everyone who was able to join is tired and just connecting.


Learn more about Output 1:1:1 and listen to the songs he chose for our Chimneyside Chats playlist!
"Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" by Tom Waits
"Winter Lady" by Leonard Cohen
"River" by Joni Mitchell