While Imagine Ireland is inspiring everyone to think about all artistic things Irish, it is good to note that Gabriel Byrne is pretty inspiring in his own right. Proof of this can be found everywhere on the Internet, especially YouTube and Flickr. People love to take pictures of him and share videos from his films and interviews, but they also create new works, including fan videos and wallpapers. Mr. Byrne feeds the creative impulse in many of us.
A wonderful example is our own Aragarna, who serves as the Forum Moderator here at Byrneholics. Don’t let that administrative duty fool you, though–at heart she is an artist and her medium of choice is Gabriel Byrne. In real life, Ara is a 25-year-old graduate student who is working on her PhD in the field of cosmochemistry (the science of meteorites). She lives in Paris, is a bit of a geek (self-described), and loves cinema and books. We know her for her vigilance as our mighty Moderator (take that, you spammers!) and her wonderful videos and wallpapers, which she makes and shares as she finds/steals time amidst her studies and lab work. She shares her videos on her channel at YouTube and she contributes her wallpapers to the Byrneholics Group at Flickr. I asked her a few questions about her Byrne-ing creations and she kindly replied with the following:
Stella: You have made videos and wallpapers devoted to Gabriel Byrne for awhile now. Why does he inspire you?
Aragarna: Good question. I think it comes from a combination of several things. I’ve known Gabriel Byrne for years now, since I saw Into the West when I was a kid. But it was only a bit over one year ago that I really developed an admiration for the man. I discovered In Treatment by chance and became instantly addicted. One of the consequences was that I wanted to know more about Gabriel Byrne and I discovered a very articulate, sensitive and passionate man. The kind of guy you wish you could meet for real just so you can talk and listen to him. I was really impressed by his honesty and his commitment to the different things close to his heart. Being Irish was a really important one. Having listened to several of his speeches as the Cultural Ambassador for Ireland, he made me wish I was Irish – just so I could really feel what it means to be Irish. Anyway, becoming so passionate about Gabriel Byrne, I wanted to share my passion, and I found the best group of fans in the world. It looks like Gabriel Byrne attracts only great people and I’m proud to be part of the “Byrneholics”. It’s a real pleasure to create wallpapers and videos and share my creations with such a great group of friends. So, I think it’s the combination of the beautiful persona of Gabriel and the great spirit of his fan community that seems to enhance my creativity.
Stella: Tell us a bit about how you make these creations (technically-speaking).
Aragarna: For the wallpapers, I usually work with either Photoshop or The Gimp. The original pictures can be promo stills, photoshoot photographs, or screencaps. For the videos, I use Avidemux, which is a free software for Linux. Not the best, but it’s the only one that works on my computer, and it supports lots of audio and video formats. Pretty easy to use, too.
Stella: How do you choose the images and clips that you want to include?
Aragarna: When I capture a picture or edit a short scene in a video, I try to capture “the moment,” the emotion. Which is actually quite hard to capture with only a picture. Movement and reactions (or the absence of them) are what translate the emotion. For a wallpaper, it generally starts with one picture, or a couple, that I really like. I want to make it a bit personal or original, to put it on my own computer screen. I always create things I could (and often do) use as my own wallpaper. Most of the time, it’s pretty simple, because that’s the way I like it. If a photograph is good, there is no real need to improve it… When I work on a video, it generally starts with an idea, a story I want to tell, a character I like… then I try to select all those little “moments” and put them together to tell my story. And I also try to create something that has not been done already, not similar to what is already on YouTube.
Stella: Music plays a big part in your videos. How do you pick your soundtracks?
Aragarna: Music is very important in a video, because it sets the tone. With no sounds, a video would be just boring. I always try to find the right music for each video. I can’t make a video until I’ve found “the one”. For one video, Prince of Jutland, it’s even the music that gave me the idea for the video. But once I have the music, and the idea, it becomes very clear in my head. More and more now I also try to make the video fit the rhythm, and the lyrics, when I can.
Stella: Which of your videos and wallpapers is your personal favorite? Pick one of each.
Aragarna: Just one? Jeez, that’s not easy… I love all my creations! Okay, let’s try. My favorite wallpaper would be Defense of the Realm. I was trying to do something kind of arty, playing with Photoshop, and was pretty satisfied with the result. As for the videos, I’ve just watched them all again and I can’t choose. I think I’ve improved since my first try (Sense of Gabriel)–it looks a bit awkward in spots now. Lots of my vids could have been better, but I love them all. The last one, Paul & Max, is very dear to my heart, because I really like their relationship and the Cat Stevens song Father and Son fits perfectly. I really like my NCIS video too. Probably my best editing job, you know – capturing “moments”.
Aragarna: I don’t really plan wallpapers. As I said, it all comes with the discovery of one picture plus my mood of the day. As for videos, I have plenty of ideas! Miller’s Crossing, Into the West, something about In Treatment season one… I just need the time.
Stella: Is there a character or a story that Gabriel has not done yet that you would be happy for him to do so you could make a video or wallpaper of it?
Aragarna: Good question. I don’t know. Not really. I just hope that Gabriel will get a leading part or a great role in a great movie. Something up to his talent. I stay open to any suggestion…
Thanks to Ara for sharing her thoughts with us and for sharing her present talent and her future creativity! Her Paul and Max video is just lovely and is my favorite so far. I was so surprised at the music, which has always been a favorite of mine–the perfect choice! And since Ara will not tease us, I will: we hope to include one of her artworks in the new design we are planning for the website. So stay tuned for that! smile