1. How did you first get into Guitar-making? Did you have a mentor starting out?
A lot of my art is built on a multitude of influences and inspirations, surreality and reality, Modernism and Postmodernism…I am directly and indirectly influenced by everything I see and everything I think. From an early age, music was the most impactful source of expression and individuality that I could identity with. After growing up listening to bands from The Beatles, The Eurythmics, Led Zepplin, Gary Numan, Marilyn Manson and The Sex Pistols to name very few, I realized another world existed. A world full of unlimiting potential, self-expression and creative ideologies. I had always wanted to be a part of the music industry, whether that meant playing in a band or otherwise. After self-learning how to play the guitar from the rudimentary, yet fundamentally important, guitar scales to semi-advanced shredding, I knew this was a life-changing paradox. I wanted to create something new, not just conceptually but physically; and since I knew how to play Guitar, it just seemed so natural to progress into the mechanism of the instrument and its creation. I had never had the luxury of knowing Guitar-builders nor taking any wood-working/carpentry classes, but purely relying on my own skills, honing my talent, putting tools to wood and creating the objects that I had birthed in my mind. After much research I set out to build an Electric Guitar, focusing my study of research into the engineering aspects that made a Guitar what it is. In particular, using specified wood varieties for sound delivery, stylistics and conceptualization for aesthetic appreciation and technology for innovation. Utilizing my own designs based around ergonomic comfortability and visual specification, the Cyberpunk Guitar was born. Ultimately, in each of my Art creations is a systematic message and representation of reality expressed through a variety of metaphor - this progeny was concepted through the decadence and degradation of a dystopic future dichotomized with the ever-evolving obsession with technology and dataspheric information. Always maintaining its distinction as a fully-functional instrument, this Guitar no longer aspired to the demographic of cliche models, more a departure, an aberration of commonality and into the realm of surrealism and art.
You are so good with detail, what's the preparation for it and is it okay to make mistakes with this kind of work?
I always spend a vast quantity of time designing my Art, but adhering continuously to the concept I choose to base it upon. From the construction of the shaping to the meticulous detailing of small intricacies, the Guitar exists on paper before the chisel carves the wood. Mistakes are common-practise and always accidental, yet inevitable…without the advantages of computerized assistance, human error is somewhat ineludible. Mistakes, dependent on their severity, can mostly be incorporated into the design, whether obvious or not…sometimes mistakes are serendipitous and add to the complicity of the concept.
Do you play your own self-made instruments?
Yes. In order to build Guitars, you need at least a basic acknowledgement of playability. The famous 20th century Russian composer, Stravinsky once said, "…Musical form is close to Mathematics - not perhaps to Mathematics itself, but certainly to something like Mathematical thinking and relationship…"
Guitar-building and Luthiery is indeed implicit within Mathematics as you are always calculating, using Mathematics in angles, design, scale, parameters, permutations and precise measurement. Playing the Guitar is much the same…to work as both a Luthier/Artist and a Musician utilizes the balance of a mutualistic-symbiosis needed to create my instruments.
You made your very first Acoustic Guitar recently. How is it different than making Electric ones?
Acoustic Guitars differ greatly in manufacture to Electric Guitars…undoubtedly, it is an entirely different process. From the design aspects to the manufacturing-tools needed, the Acoustic Guitar has its own set of ideals and idiosyncrasies…unlike the Electric Guitar, the Acoustic relies heavily on the vibrations of the wood-open space ratio. Without prior knowledge of Acoustics (and a deal of ignorance), I had to research and learn the construction methods, the wood parameters, shaping, thickness, bracing and countless other facets; building an Acoustic Guitar was a laborious challenge in itself. I built an Acoustic Guitar for the Herradura Tequila Barrel Art Program, in which I built my first Acoustic from a Tequila Barrel. featuring an abundance of synonymous metaphor to relate to the History and Culture of Mexico; fortuitously, the barrel is curved and as I composed its architecture of the guitar on the Mariachi Guitar (well known for its arched back), it was simply a matter of developing a stable design to incorporate and necessitate this feature. Electric Guitars depend ultimately on the 'Pickup' or 'Humbucker' which are essentially copper-coiled magnets that act as a Transformer, enheightening the sound output of the the plucked/strummed strings. this is the reason that you see Electric guitars built from an assortment of materials, such as wood, metal, composite, carbon-fiber, plastic, plexiglass/perspex, whereas the tonal qualities of the Acoustic Guitar are delivered by resonant, porous and malleable materials, namely, wood…thought, you can research and find the odd carbon-fiber or metal Acoustic but thats certainly not the norm.
you mentioned that you work with themes of PostModernism/PostApocalyptica. Can you explain further, what do you do for keep-up with the trends of the industry?
The Guitars I build are unique in most ways. I do not adhere to any industry-standard method with an exception of the Mathematical scale length and composition of materials used to maximize the soundscape. My Guitars primarily focus on Industrial aspects, taking inspiration from surrealism, literature, cult film and music. Essentially, I create a physical representation of what is in my mind. Currently, I am working on a series of guitars each focused on the concept of Postmodernism and PostApocalyptica yet with individual thematics. For instance, the Cyberpunk Guitar, as aforementioned, is a 25.5" scale, Swamp Ash solid body with a real working fan, skeletal framing and light-up LED fret-markers…certainly not something you'd see in a Guitar shop!! the fan serves no purpose other than as a manneristic purveyance of Postmodernism…a stylized art-form that literally delivers a creation devoid of practicality or understanding. I do keep-up with trends of any industryas, to me, this is something of a conformist approach to produce inferior work. I have my own style, my own influences and inspirations and aspirations. I cannot accept categorical reasoning nor compartmetalized ways of thinking. I believe that life is quantum. Everything exists in fluidity and it is the greatest travesty of human nature to believe itself to be subject to socio-ritualistic methods and practices. I am an artist, a creator, an inventor, an innovator...not just in relation to guitars and the industry, but every single aspect of my life is unbound by limitation.
Making a Guitar is an art-form, but have you dabbled with more traditional fine-art mediums?
I am an artist firstly before anything. I do despise labels in any form as its not natural to me in any sense or demographic. I can produce fine art or plastic art or visual art, though whatever the medium, I consider myself an Artist without any prefix.
I used to paint in both Water Colour and Oil mediums, but was always attracted to more 'physical' realms of expression.
You may notice I am comfortable to use the term 'Artist'. This is because I do not consider it a label, per se, however, a means of identifying characteristic traits of professional approaches to such mediums. Art to me is GOD, and to me, GOD is Art. The definition of 'CYNOSURE' in the dictionary is "…something that attracts attention by its brilliance…". My name itself is another word for visual captivation, or 'Art'. In essence, Cynosure is Art and Art is Cynosure.
Any words for anyone wanting to get into Guitar-making?
Research. Create your own style and personal approaches. If you want to be recognized as an Artist or individual, you need to acquire a 'signature', both artistically and dynamically. Have you ever heard of the Charles Caleb Colton phrase, "…imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…"? Well, in the Art-world, this does not pass. If you want to be like me, be yourself.
post modernism/PostApocalyptica art guitar maker Cynosure andrew-lozano takes some questions about his non-confirmist way of being.