I have set up this page to include an artist statement, a statement about the new work, and descriptions of the specific works that I'm submitting.
I am a photographer, video artist, and composer, based in Vancouver, BC.
Active in both visual art and music, I continue to seek an effective convergence between audio and visual mediums.
Humans are the common focus of my work, often depicted in brief moments of an orchestrated alternate reality presented in video format combining video, animation, still photograph, original music and sound.
The detailed and immersive scenarios question humanity’s role on earth, drawing attention to both the positive and negative; exaggerated symbols and classic scenes from literature and film celebrate the extensive history of humanity’s creative output, while content and theme sarcastically and satirically point to popular culture’s disconnect from reality and mankind’s withdrawal from nature.
The temporal context of each scene is often omitted, allowing audiences to animate their own narrative based on their understanding of clichés in human storytelling. Hints, however, are given in visual clues in fabrics, patterns, animals and objects that play reoccurring roles; music and sound create contrast, context and space.
The new unreleased work below expands on the animated photograph concept by combining multiple loops of footage of different lengths into the same pieces. This idea was adapted from a technique I often employ when composing music. In both my recent compositions and new video works, loops of different durations are layered simultaneously to allow for unique and unexpected interactions between each element as the piece progresses. For example, in "How To Protect What Is Important To You," the three battling cowboys are composited (and loop) separately resulting in a dynamic and unpredictable endless gun battle.
In addition to reoccurring clichés in film and literature, inspiration is drawn from multiple new sources including the 'holiday fireplace' video, high school theater productions as they are portrayed in film and TV, video games, and Saturday morning cartoons. Specific references to devices utilized when looping segments of animation in classical animation are made in each new work. With these series I have increased duration (endless loops) and taken more meditative approach to the medium. Less reliant on music, the soundtracks are sparser, allowing sound to play a larger role.
All actors are Vancouver-based musicians and artists.
"HOW TO PROTECT WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU (EXCERPT)" 1080P Full HD video with stereo audio (seamless, endless loop.)
“How To Protect What Is Important To You” is a reference to the seemingly endless gunfights that often occur in PG-rated cowboy and action movies in which no character is ever actually injured, due to the fact that depicting blood in films with such a rating is restricted. This scene employs the use of several different composited layers of looping video segments, each of a different duration. The three cowboys and a series of lightning flashes, all looping separately, interact uniquely over the course of eight minutes with each loop. The complete eight-minute video also loops seamlessly with itself, resulting in a literal endless gunfight. The female character, depicted as a still image, is clearly bored and frustrated by the three male character's relentless desire to fight and conquor as censorship denies the story to progress.
"HOW TO AVOID BEING DETECTED (EXCERPT)" 1080P Full HD video with stereo audio (seamless, endless loop.)
Using suction cups or toilet plungers to scale walls is a tactic used repeatedly by cartoon characters when sneaking into a buildings. “How To Avoid Being Detected” is a specific reference to an episode of The Simpsons where Mr. Burns and Smithers break into the Simpson house using suction cups as tools to climb onto the ceiling. The plate of corn chips in this scene is also a reference to a common technique used by animators when looping segments. The man eating the chips will always reach behind the pile for a new chip, allowing me to loop his portion of the video without fear of the pile of chips changing when the loop repeats itself. His obsession with his phone leaves him distracted from oblivious and imminent dangers.
"HOW TO ESTABLISH A VANTAGE POINT (EXCERPT)" 1080P Full HD video with stereo audio (seamless, endless loop.)
This piece continues with the idea of playing with multiple time trajectories. The cowboys who appear as still photographs seem to be distracted and their actions appear to be unimportant. The two animated characters, one collecting firewood, and one sipping water, draw the viewer's focus. The character sipping water, seemingly the leader of the group, appears to be deep in thought or contemplation, yet his job seems exponentially less taxing as the worker collecting firewood. This is exaggerated by the fact that for the worker completes one cycle of animation for every five cycles that the leader completes. Close watching at 2:40 reveals a third perspective.
"HOW TO ERASE THE PAST" 1080P Full HD video with stereo audio
I have seen victims bound cartoonishly on train tracks in popular media more times than I can count, which makes me wonder where this idea came from, and how often it really happened in real life. This piece explores the popular cliche utilizing composited still and moving images to emphasize the uneasiness and awkwardness felt by the cowboy accomplice--what feels like one second for the other characters (represented in still image) feels like 3 minutes for the sidekick who is perhaps in over his head.
JOHN MUTTER WAS RAISED BY WOLVES is the first collection of songs in the distorted alt-pop solo project by experimental composer and multi-instrumentalist John Mutter. The project uses experimental processes to create music with an approachablele aesthetic, often making hidden references to both classical and pop music. Previously, individual songs were released as singles in tandem with a music video also directed by John Mutter. When performed with a live band (Ridley Bishop, Justin Devries, Elliot Langford, John Mutter, Ronnie Swirl, Nancy Todd) the ensemble operates under the name JOHN MUTTER w/ WAR DOGS. The project is a continuation of John's other music and visual art work which also satirically point to popular culture’s disconnect from reality and mankind’s withdrawal from nature.
“John Mutter’s ‘Come On And Give Us A Shot’ -- if you haven’t checked out the video, do. I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot more of him in the future.” - Eric Alper, director of eOne Music Canada
“Hypnotically catchy” - Alex Hudson, Exclaim!
“Catchy, catchy tune.“ - The Permanent Rain Press
“Overflowing with talent.” - Diamond Deposits
John Mutter is a Vancouver-based artist, producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and guitarist. He is the leader, composer and guitarist of experimental alternative ensemble we just stole a car and composer and vocalist of alternative pop project JOHN MUTTER WAS RAISED BY WOLVES (aka JOHN MUTTER w/ WAR DOGS.)
He majored in music composition at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Community College, studying under Giorgio Magnanensi and Jon Siddall. After graduating, he received a grant
from the Canada Council for the Arts to study composition privately with Benoit Delbecq in Paris, France.
John’s latest project, JOHN MUTTER WAS RAISED BY WOLVES, was a top ten regional finalist for CBC’s Searchlight Competition and was included in eOne Music Canada director Eric Alper’s top five “picks” for the entire contest. His song ALL_WAYS became a finalist in the Canadian Songwriting Competition.
John was selected to perform as part of Anthony Braxton’s Sonic Genome Project at part of the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Other highlights include performing at the Vancouver New Music Festival and the Vancouver International Jazz Festival as both a solo artist and member of a large ensemble, and a feature performance for his group we just stole a car at The Western Front.
John has been commissioned to compose work for Toronto’s Queer Songbook Orchestra, The Blanket Orchestra, and Andrea Young, and had work performed by Erato Ensemble, Standing Wave Ensemble, and Gamelan Si Pawit. His projects have been featured on CBC Radio 2, CBC Radio 3, and his music videos have been broadcast on Shaw TV’s Indie Mixtape.
He has released four albums of original music and is currently working on his fifth. In addition to his own projects, he has also performed with numerous other local bands including Vancouver Electronic Ensemble, Robots On Fire, Dixie’s Death Pool, Moth Mouth, Freak Dream, The
Trolls, Alien of Extraordinary Ability, Brontosaurus Rex, Not Yet Yeti, Moth Mouth, and Gamelan Si Pawit.