Diana Piruzevska

This week’s featured artist is multi-disciplinary artist Diana Piruzevska, who participated in Jazzology in 2007.

A graduate of Humber College’s Jazz Studies program, she focused on trombone performance, composition and arranging and received several awards and scholarships in the process. Upon graduating from Humber, she performed with a variety of musical groups ranging from big bands and salsa bands to pop and funk groups.

While studying music she began to explore other forms of art with a particular focus on photography and creating album artwork for other musicians. Her desire to work in film began while she was studying at Humber and became interested in film scoring. However, after working on film sets as a stills photographer, she realized that she wanted to have a more “hands on” role in creating films and went on to study film production at Ryerson University. Being a music video director is the perfect marriage of these two art forms, allowing Piruzveska to combine her love for music and film as a passionate storyteller. Credits to date include Nelly Furtado’s “Waiting for the Night,” Adrean Farrugia’s “Mourning Star,” Sara Dell’s “Don’t Wanna Want It,” and Jeff Gladstone’s “One Little Accident Away,” featuring Sophia Perlman and Terra Hazelton.

In 2008 Diana started her own company, The Naked Eye Media, and has been producing photography, artwork, and film/video for artists and musicians all over Canada. Her photography subjects have included Justin Bacchus, David Braid, Jon Challoner, Wynton Marsalis, Myriad 3, and the Heavyweights Brass Band. Diana is continuing to pursue her vision of incorporating music and other art forms into her life and practice as a way of breaking through to the emotional root of basic human experience.

Diana took some time to discuss her memories of the Jazzology program and providing an update on her more recent activities:

1) Describe your experience with the Jazzology program. What was your favourite aspect?

I was really nervous about having to do so much unrehearsed public speaking but the host (Larry Green) was very supportive and made the whole experience really fun. The best part was to talking about some of my favourite writers and arrangers, especially Gil Evans. Also, being able to play my arrangements and compositions alongside his was a real trip!

2) What is your strongest memory of the Jazzology program? Are there any funny stories or incidents that come to mind?

I remember that when I was talking about how I hear music I describe harmony as being different “colours”.  However, when the Larry asked me to explain what I meant I suddenly found myself at a loss for words. He asked if it was like hearing “blue” or “green” but I suddenly realized that to me, the “colours” that I hear are feelings, emotions, moods, etc. When I listen to music what I hear are sort of like emotional paintings – and that is sort of a hard thing to put into words!

3) Would you recommend this experience to other young musicians?

Absolutely. Even if you are nervous to speak in public (and the radio is so VERY public) it’s a great opportunity to formulate and express your ideas and concepts around music. That process alone can help you have a better understanding of what you are trying to create through your own craft.

4) How has this experience helped in your personal and professional development?

My experience with Jazzology helped me develop more confidence in what I was creating and encouraged me to keep sharing my ideas with others

5) This program is made possible by our generous donors and sponsors who strongly believe in the importance of arts education initiatives. If you had the opportunity to thank them in person, what would you say?

I would say thank you for helping to create a space for young artists to explore new and challenging music while also being able to share that with an audience they may have not been able to reach on their own.

6) Why is music education important?

The study of music and other forms of art teaches the student to examine and understand complex and intricate structures and forms, while at the same time allowing them to explore emotions and the deeper context of the human condition. It’s the balance of these two things that can shape well rounded and insightful individuals, and we could always use more of those.

7) Since participating in the program, what have you been doing?

Since Jazzology, my career has expanded in unexpected ways. I went on to play with a wide range of musical groups – everything from jazz to funk, salsa to hip hop. However, my focus has shifted to more of the visual aspects of art. After studying trombone at Humber College I went on to study film at the Ryerson. Since then, I created my company The Naked Eye Media and now most of my work consists of photography and filmmaking but it is still deeply rooted in music. I love shooting music videos for all genres – folk, jazz, pop, etc – and have even filmed a video for Nelly Furtado (“Waiting for the Night”).  I also have created album artwork and photography for many award winning musicians.

8) What music are you listening to at the moment that you find particularly inspiring?

I’m really digging this band The Tiny right now. They are from Sweden and have a very interesting instrumentation – cello, bass, piano and voice – and they add a few other instruments to create really neat colours and textures. The harmonies may be sparse but when combined with the melodies and lyrics the songs paint very vivid emotional pictures.

9) What are your plans for the future?

What I am really excited about is finding more interesting artists to collaborate on new and challenging ideas and projects.

10) How can people learn more about you and your activities?

If anyone would like to take a look at my photography or video work they can check out my website: www.thenakedeye.ca