Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Town Cars





At the beginning of this year I was contacted by Melinda Cooper, musician extraordinaire, about artwork for a CD her band was working on. The band she’s in, Town Cars, was in the process of completing recording sessions and she was interested in having some paintings included in the CD packaging. I had known Melinda for some time, first meeting her when another band she’s in, Union Electric, opened for Theodore at the Old Rock House. For that particular show Melinda was playing drums. As far as I knew she was a bass player but apparently their regular drummer was unavailable so she moved to drums and they had a guest, Celia Shackattack, play bass. I had seen Union Electric many times and wasn’t sure what to expect. I was blown away by Melinda and her drumming. Over the next few years, when I would see her perform it was always on bass again, and she’s an amazing bass player as well. Then during a special event at Off Broadway, “Label Day” for Tower Groove Records, I got to see a side project of hers called Town Cars. She was playing acoustic guitar and had a drummer plus a keyboard player. Again, I was blown away by her singing and playing. At that point I was convinced she can do anything musically. So when she contacted me about possibility of using paintings for the CD packing of the new Town Cars album, I was all for it.

We talked about what she had in mind and worked out a deal. She sent me photos she had taken of her rehearsal space and I based the paintings off of those photographs. To keep things interesting, I used small canvases and painted in oil. Normally I use acrylic but wanted to mix things up a bit and do these pieces in oil. I did four pieces in all and was very happy with how they turned out. Three of the pieces were used through the packaging of the CD and the whole thing turned out great, the best part being the tunes, of course. Seriously, the songs on the CD are truly great and Melinda continues to amaze me with her abilities and talents. The thing I love most about these songs are the melodies, tremendous melodies and counter melodies throughout this disk.
 
A CD listening and release party for the CD, titled “Hearts and Stars”, has been slated for Saturday Oct 11 at the newly opened Tick Tock Tavern on Magnolia St.  In addition to hearing and getting a copy of the CD, the four paintings I did for Melinda will be on display at the party. The CD is being released through Extension Chord Records.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Time

Feb 2014
Sept 2014

Started this back in February and have worked on it pretty much daily, if I wasn't out of town and still working on it today. A painting can go on forever, the point is to never finish it so it has the chance to grow on it's own. When all options and avenues have been exhausted then it drivels up and dies. How and when a painting is completed is up to each and every viewer, if this component is lost or taken away, then the painting is dead. These are the things I've been thinking about while working on it day after day while listening to a never ending cascade of Rock and Roll music. All of that requires Time, lots of Time. Time is occasionally a road block then it turns around and becomes a booster. It's constantly shifting and changing to suit it's own needs leaving you in the wake for better or worse. You can never master Time, you simply have to learn how to adjust to it's fleeting nature. Even then, if you're not careful, you'll be thrown for a loop and need a week to recover. The best moments always come when you've convinced yourself that Time no longer exists. When this happens your mind is most free to create on demand with no guilt, judgement or fear. The greatest momentum is always captured during this Time. But before long your mind snaps back and consciousness reminds you that Time does indeed exist and it demands respect.

now playing - The Rolling Stones

Friday, August 1, 2014

Brochure


Here’s something I’ve been working on for a while now. A few months back an artist I admired had died, Herb Wickham, and while going through my collection of prints looking for the one I purchased from him, I ran across a nice brochure that came with the print. The brochure was a standard thing I assume most working artist have or use to rely heavily on to drum up business. Nowadays with the internet a brochure might not be as in demand but it planted a seed in my mind that slowly started to grow. When it finally came time to do something about it, I was at a loss, how the hell do you make a brochure? 

I asked around but never got any real info on how it’s done or what to do. I began to think it was something that’s just too obsolete in this day and age. Then I started poking around on my computer, low and behold, a brochure template was sitting there at the very bottom of some generic canned program. So I slowly started to work on it and now I have something I can send out. 

Up till now I have not been very active in approaching potential clients for commission work. Luckily, thankfully, the work I have gotten has been word of mouth and they have contacted me. This is really a great feeling and a real confidence boost but eventually you have to get the word out there somehow.  For now I’ll send these out to clubs, bars, restaurants and venues to see if there’s any interest. Perhaps having something tangible in hand will be a little better than a digital image? And for those reading this, please do know I am available for commissions.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Demonlover at the Heavy Anchor


I started this piece a few months ago and then just let it be.  I’m now knee deep in a large scale painting that’s taking up all my time but I do plan on returning to it and finishing it by the end of the year in time for a show in January at the University City Library.  It will probably be the only new piece in the show depending on how much time I have.  It’s from an old photograph taken a few years ago when the bass player was about to leave for a time, it was a “last show” of sorts, but not really.  Thankfully the bass player came back soon after and they play out more often albeit not as often due to the drummer living in Kentucky.  

When they do play live it’s a pure joy to witness the interaction between the players which helps one understand their music, even if for a brief moment.  Their special blend of Psych Country & Western Rock can send the most harden of us into a psychedelic prairie of our own delight with their excellent balance of prepared material cycling in and out of masterful improvising. However, be ready for a sharp change, cause it’s coming.


now playing - Demonlover

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Prints



Prints of selected paintings are now available through Big Cartel for safe and secure online purchasing.  These have been a long time coming and I’m grateful to everyone’s help in making it a reality.

Probably the print I’m most excited about is of Frederick’s Music Lounge.  Most people remember Fred’s as a local hangout for musicians and artists from the early to mid-aughts.  Originally owned by Frederick Boettcher Sr. and had an interesting life of its own under his ownership, it was passed down to his children and ran by his son Fred Friction along with the wonderful Paul Stark.  It quickly became the clubhouse for many of us involved with the local music scene.  Many late nights were spent listening and playing music in the downstairs area and it’s missed tremendously.  It’s impossible to overstate its impact on the music community but eventually it had to close down.  Before it closed I snapped a photo one snowy night and created a painting of it.  John Wendland saw the painting and inquired about purchasing it.  At the time my studio was located in the basement of a building on the corner of Cherokee and Compton.  The building housed Typo Café ran by Tim Rakel and Robert Strasser, next door to that was the Tin Ceiling Theatre Company.  I would be busy painting away in the basement while actors rehearsed their lines upstairs and people enjoyed coffee and tea in the wireless free café (no internet connect on purpose).  We’d have monthly art shows in the café and enjoyed the general low-key aspect of the area.  This is where John met me to pick up the Frederick’s painting.  And like that he was gone, carrying the painting off to his car and I haven’t seen it since. 

Fast forward to today and thanks to Karl Haglund, I’ve finally figured out how to get nice quality prints made up of paintings.  Out of the blue I received and email from the great Rick Wood who said he’d be happy to help get a hi-quality photograph of the Frederick’s painting for me and with John’s permission, I had a jpg to work with for the prints.  In addition to the Frederick’s prints I also have a few other paintings available as well in print form.  “Maximum Effort at CBGBs”, “Pinball at CBGBs”, “Vintage Vinyl” and soon there will be “Old Capital Square Dance Club at 2720 Cherokee”.  The prints are shipped without a frame in a secure tube via the US postal service.  The more prints that sell, the more paintings I can have made into prints.  Also, special thanks to Steve Nagy (does great work and can be contacted at eospictureguy@yahoo.com) and Elly Smith for help with photographing the paintings.

One last thing.  Along with the prints is one other item, a postcard.  The postcard is of the painting of the Buttery.  The original painting was donated to a special event last year, Bob Reuter’s Memorial.  The money raised from the painting was given to his foundation, the Cowboy Angel Foundation.  With Bob in mind, I am offering the postcard for $3.00 ($2.00 shipping) and all money raised will be given directly to his foundation.  We all miss Bob tremendously.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bonnie




Over the weekend, two really great people got engaged to each other.  The artist Jennifer Higerd and musician Matt Harnish.  In celebration of this event I painted their dog, the wonderful Bonnie.  The painting is now in their possession and I wish them a lifetime of happiness.




Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Uncle Tupelo


May 1, 1994.  Important date in Rock and Roll history?  In the grand scheme of things it’s probably not but it should be.  That’s the last time the three original members of the Belleville, IL band, Uncle Tupelo, played together in public.  The show was at Mississippi Nights in St. Louis and it was after original drummer, Mike Heidorn, had left the band but at the end of the show he got behind the kit for one last hurrah.  I’ve been thinking a lot about Uncle Tupelo lately.  A few months back the artist Karl Haglund contacted me about doing an Uncle Tupelo themed show.  Karl is well known for his guitar paintings and we bounced around some ideas of what the show should consist of.  I was kind of at a loss cause I usually work from photographs I take myself of a band or musician performing but that wasn’t going to be possible.  Karl suggested painting their album covers and that seemed like a good idea, so I started on some, still working on them as you can see from the images above. 
 
Around the same time Karl and I was discussing this, my friend Chris King contacted me out of the blue and said he’d been sneaking over to Belleville, IL to visit his friend Mike Heidorn and I was invited to tag along next time he went.  Needless to say I jumped at the chance to meet and hang out with the drummer who played on three of my favorite albums. 
 
I came to discover Uncle Tupelo in a backwards fashion.  During their heyday I was too young to attend most of their gigs and I didn’t live in the area.  They were simply off my radar.  It wasn’t until I was given a blank cassette by my friend Tony in 1995 did they begin to creep into my consciousness.  The cassette had Wilco’s first album on one side and Son Volt’s first on the other.  At the time I was living in the hills of Southern Illinois in a cheap store front apartment located in the tiny town of Murphysboro, IL.  I had two jobs, one, writing for the Carbondale based newspaper, Nightlife and two, driving fixed and wrecked Airborne Express vans back and forth from Jackson, MO to Memphis, TN.  For Nightlife I’d write about Cape Girardeau, MO musicians like Bob Camp and bands like Drench (recorded by Lou Whitney).  To get to Cape from Murphysboro I’d take Route 3 and it was about a 45 min drive.  On those drives I’d listen to one tape, the Wilco/Son Volt tape, over and over and over again.  The next year I was given a copy of "March 16-20, 1992" by my friend Marty and from that I began to piece together the two voices I’d been hearing on that first cassette.  By then Uncle Tupelo was ancient history and I don’t think it was quite understood how important they would be from a historical point of view.  But I dove in deep and inhaled their first three albums as if they were new signs of life. 
 
When I finally moved to St. Louis I loved hearing all the stories about their early days at Cicero’s and personal insights from people I started to get to know.  I had clearly missed out on something special that had started right here.  Which brings us back to Chris King and his invite to hang out with Mike Heidorn.  Giddy would be an understatement, but I try not to show it.  What has ended up happening are informal hootenannies with everyone sitting around his kitchen table with guitars, drinking Stag (of course) and playing songs.  The highlight so far has been singing the Stones “Far Away Eyes” with Chris along with Mike and Fred Friction on acoustic guitars.  I can die happy now.
 
Now playing – Uncle Tupelo May 1, 1994