This year has been a busy one. It started off with a large painting for Union Electric's new 7 inch single "Tunnels". Then it was onto three pieces for the Royale and once those were completed in Aug it continued with paintings for the Old Rock House. So far two have been completed of Black Francis and St. Vincent. The one above is currently being worked on from the Black Angels show back in Oct. The show was really great but I wished I had wore ear plugs. It was a little difficult to get a good shot of the band but I think this will work out. Future paintings for the Old Rock House include Mike Doughty, Mickey Hart and Eric Johnson. Because of this activity not much of the usual pieces on local musicians or buildings have been accomplished. But that's just as well, it's good to keep busy.
A few weeks ago I ran into my friend Galen at the City Diner on N. Grand Blvd. Galen is a good friend who use to run Radio Cherokee along with David Early and he also operates Fort Gondo. While catching up over lunch he reminded me that 2012 will be the 10th anniversary of Fort Gondo being open and said he'd like to invite back artists who had shown there over the years. He then mentioned January was all mine if I was interested. I couldn't believe it, absolutely I was interested. The only thing though, I wouldn't have much time to complete any new paintings. I do have one piece started of J.J. Hamon from the band Magic City that I can have done by Jan. Add this to all the other paintings of musicians I've done over the last seven years and we have a show.
Southtown Famous Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts 3151 Cherokee St Sat. Jan 14, 2012
Dana Smith’s second solo exhibition at Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts entitled Southtown Famous continues his longstanding interest in the underground music scene in Saint Louis. Southtown Famous will bring together a collection of acrylic paintings from the last seven years chronicling the often forgotten, exciting aspect of local bands painted in a simple and direct aesthetic that reflects an urgency the musicians inspire.
Dana Smith, a self-taught painter, was initially inspired by getting to know other artists while traveling the West Coast as a sponsored skateboarder in the early '90s. He has been a resident of Saint Louis since 1997, where he played in a variety of underground bands including Cloister, The Baysayboos and The Wormwood Scrubs. He has also contributed work to locally-based Internet radio station 3WK.com, daytrotter.com, 52ndcity.com and creativesaintlouis.com.
One Spring day in 1996 I was watching MTV. Rather routine for the time. MTV still played music videos during the day but it was quickly going downhill. In between the usual blandness of what was normally played on the channel, this video came on. At first I was confused because it had a touch of originality to it and it was being played during daylight hours. What the hell is “Sparklehorse”? As soon as the video was over, I turned the TV off and went to a music store. My options for places to purchase CDs was extremely limited but to my amazement I actually found the CD titled “Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot”. I rushed home and spent the next month listening to nothing but. During that month I painted this picture to go with the song “Cow”.
The painting was completed in May of 1996 and about a month later I flew to New Zealand for a four month sabbatical in paradise. During that time the painting was wrapped up and stored in my grandmother's basement. Upon my return to the states, I immediately moved to Northern California, Walnut Creek to be exact and the painting came with me. I was invited to share a house with my friend Marty who was working on the film "Sphere" and had space to spare. The painting took a prominent place in the living room above the four-track where many evenings were spent recording. "Cow" was so appreciated by its host that Marty purchased a beautiful gilded frame for it specifically. The one that's still on it today. We even attempted to see Sparklehorse live in San Francisco when they were slated to open for Mazzy Star at Slim’s. But Sparklehorse canceled at the last minute. Eventually it came time to move so I settled in Saint Louis, MO and the painting came along. For a few years it remained wrapped up and stored away. At some point it was loaned out to 3WK for their new office on Macklind Ave. Jim Atkinson, the owner, always had a fondness for cows and really liked the painting. When 3WK moved their studios I got the painting back and it was wrapped up and put in storage. Today the painting hangs in my parlor and is usually the first thing people notice when they visit me at my home. Usually people look at it nervously and pretend it's not there. When I look at it I’m always reminded of that Spring day in 1996 discovering Sparklehorse and Mark Linkous.
The annual Poetry Scores Invitational will be going on this year at Mad Art Gallery on Friday Nov 11 from 6pm - 9pm. Poetry Scores invites a number of artists to interpret lines from a poem for a visual medium and then the artwork is auctioned off to help pay for the projects Poetry Scores is producing. This year’s poem is titled “Incantata” and was written by Paul Muldoon. The piece above is my contribution for this show. The words I chose to interpret were “Paul Muldoon”. Below is a list of all the participating artists.
Gena Brady Allen Gina Alvarez Jay Babcock Jenna Bauer Michael Behle Kevin Belford Deanna Chafin Grace Chung Heather Corley Andrea Avery Durway Greg Edmondson Nancy Exarhu Paul Hartman Sue Hartman Michael Hoffman Alexa Hoyer Kim Humphries Claire Medol Hyman Chris King Dawn Majors Julie Malone Tim McAvin John Minkoff Michael Paradise Meera Lee Patel Hap Phillips Jeremy Rabus Tony Renner Kim Keek Richardson Cindy Royal Stefene Russell Janiece Senn Daniel Shown Derek Simmons Dana Smith Robin Street-Morris Tunca Subasi Nita Turnage Robert Van Dillen Amy VanDonsel Eric Woods
Here is the first of what I hope to be many more paintings to come for the Old Rock House. Located mere walking distance from my house, the Old Rock House is a rock club that caters to local and touring bands. Sometime last year I contacted them about doing paintings of musicians and bands who perform there and by this past summer we had worked out a deal to make such a thing happen. Black Francis performed there in July and he was the first assignment. The paintings are done from pictures that I personally photograph. This is hardly a stretch for me as I’ve been doing this sort of thing consistently for the last 7 years. The difference now is there’s a place to hang the work once it’s completed. Next pieces that have been requested will be of St. Vincent and The Black Angels.
I’m not ashamed to admit when I was 14 or 15 years old Black Francis was a musical hero of mine. I was given a dubbed off cassette of “Surfer Rosa and Come On Pilgrim” by my friend Tony. He had heard them somewhere and was floored. I wore that tape out, memorizing every lyric, note, beat, dialog, etc. Soon after that The Pixies “Doolittle” came out and we were off to the Fox Theatre in Saint Louis to see them open for Love and Rockets, ironic this show was my first at the Fox Theatre. During their performance, hardly anyone was in the theatre, it was almost like a private show that ended with the haunting “Into The White”. After the performance we noticed Black Francis (aka Frank Black) standing off to the side of the theatre so Tony and I went up to him. He pretty much ignored us but mentioned something about looking for someone who had the pot. I know a lot of people who can’t stand the Pixies and for good reason but to me they’ll always be a great band I discovered at the right time. A band that helped me get through those odd teenager years when you’re becoming an adult.
About 4 years ago I signed up for one of those art websites that lists your paintings and info and is designed to help you sell artwork or interact with other artists. I signed up and promptly forgot about it. But ever so often someone will find me through this site and it's always turned into something cool. Recently this happened again so I thought I should update it with paintings like the one above. Most of the pieces on this site will be older and not available on my main website.
Since December of 2010 I've been working on what has becoming three 36x36 in. canvases of the bar at the Royale. These pieces will be on display starting September 1 and we'll kick it off with an informal opening from 8pm-10pm. Also on display will be three older paintings of Mark Early, Steve Scariano and Typo Cafe (now home to STL-STYLE).
DJ Mark Early will also be spinning records throughout the night.
Thu Sept. 1, 2011
3132 S. Kingshighway Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63139
Back in mid-March I started working on three 36x36 inches canvases of the bar at The Royale. This was after months of talking about, hanging out, drawing and painting small studies at and of The Royale. It was finally decided to paint the bar on three separate canvases that can be hung up directly across from the bar on the wall space next to the booths. The canvas above is the first one that's been completed and it's known as "Royale # 3". The other two will connect to this one on the left side and you'll be able to see the whole bar. The pieces have taken longer than I anticipated due to the fact that it's easy to get lost in minor details and just paint for hours and hours on one thing. But it's time to finish things up and make room for the next big project which will start at the end of this month.
Tonight at The Royale is the Cocktail Museum event where they focus on one type of drink and I think I'll take the piece down for Steve to see in person and hang out a bit.
This past week my family and I had a wonderful time in Chicago, IL. We stayed downtown and used public transpertation or walked everywhere we went. At no time did we feel in danger or scared. The local news stations were all talking about the "Flash Mobs" that had taken over the city. There had been a couple isolated incidents where a group of teenagers would jump someone and take their iPod or iPhone or whatever. The News was making these incidents out to be a bigger deal than they were. Did a crime happen and was it unfortunate? Yes. Does that justify creating fear to a large television audience? No. Dispite the threat of a "Flash Mob", my family and I had a great time in many parts of the city. We took a train back to Saint Louis. At no time did we have to use a car, waste gas or worry about parking. It was great. On the train we met another family from England who were moving to Saint Louis. They had two kids alittle younger than ours but everyone got along great, espcially the two boys. The first thing the couple asked my wife and I was about the violence in Saint Louis. Of course they had heard Saint Louis was the most dangerous city in the United States, or something like that. I couldn't help but think of the news coverage in Chicago of the "Flash Mobs". We told the couple the violence is blown out of proportion in the media and while there are certain areas of town that are more prone to violence, for the most part the city is fine and a great place to live.
When we arrived at the train station downtown it was about 3:30 or 4pm and we began our walk home. We live very close to downtown and take the train/MetroLink alot and we always walk. That's something I noticed in Chicago, people walking all over the downtown area. In Saint Louis rarely do people walk to or in downtown. I guess people would rather drive their cars, spend money on gas and have to worry about paying to park. We encourage our children to walk when they can and make many walking trips to the train station, baseball games and downtown in general. So walking home from the train station isn't a big deal, we've done it many times. Across the street from the train station is a Sheraton Hotel and we have to walk past it to get to the 14th street bridge that takes us across the trainyard. My daughter is leading the way and we're well on the bridge. We hear a faint "Sir!, Sir!" being yelled at us and look behind us. A young man was yelling and walking quickly towards us. We all stop walking and say "What?". He finally gets close enough to speak to us and says "Do you know where you're going?". At first I was confused, then I realize he thinks we're tourist and are aimlessly wandering around. We tell him we do know where we're going and thank you and continue on our way. Walking across the bridge I begin thinking what if we didn't know where we were going, what was he going to say, "Don't go that way because..."? The whole thing kind of bothered me, is this how we welcome people to Saint Louis? I was a little shocked, especially after being in Chicago where everyone was walking, everyone had a bag or lugguage with them and no one batted an eye at anyone else. But by the time I was across the bridge I had forgotten about it.
At the end of the bridge is my favorite take out Chinese restaurant, Park Chop Suey, and my wife knew I was itching for some duck fried rice. She said to go ahead and order some food and she'll continue the 2 1/2 blocks with the kids to our house. I go in, order, and wait in the lobby area. I'm standing there looking out the window and I see a Mercedes pull into the parking lot. I think to myself, oh that's cool they're going to get some take out. The car had an older white couple in it and the lady got out of the car and hurried into the lobby area. She looked at me and said "Where are your kids?" and I was like "What?". At no time did she identify herself, tell me what she wanted or anything, just "Where are your kids?". She says, "Are you the one with the kids?". By this time I've very confused and the woman working the counter is looking at me very strangely. I tell the lady, "Yes, I have kids, why?". She says "We saw you walking and thought you had just gotten off the train and didn't know where you were going and you brought your kids here to eat." When she said "here" she looked around the place like it was some kind of drug den whorehouse, she said this in front of the employees and another man waiting for his food. After she said that I was shocked and blurted out, "I eat here all the time". I tried to wrap my head around what this lady was trying to do, she was obviously concerned, but was so fearful and scared that she didn't know exactly how to go about it. I told her we lived in the neighborhood and the kids are on their way home. She said again she thought we were lost and blah blah blah, walked out the door, said something to the guy in the car who I assumed was her husband and they quickly left the parking lot. The woman at the counter just gave me a confused looked and I shrugged my shoulders.
What is going on here? Is a white family walking home from the train station so out of place in downtown Saint Louis that two seperate people feel the need to make sure they're OK?
While I can appreciate their concern, what does this say about our community? Should a sign be posted at the train station for people arriving that says "Don't Walk That Way!".
This whole thing has really shaken my faith in the citizens of the city and surrounding area. As long as people live in fear, the city will never be great again.
Another long holiday weekend has passed by. Like most holidays, the extra time was spent with my family and painting. We enjoyed some time downtown at the City Garden, running through the water, climbing on the rabbits and getting ice cream from the wonderful people who operator the awesome Fire and Ice Cream Truck. We even took the kids to their first movie in a theater, walking out I asked my son if he enjoyed the movie, “no, but we can try again” was his reply. My debit card was not pleased. I was able to sneak down to The Tap Room and catch a nice set from Catholic Guilt along with Bunnygrunt and the always excellent N. Nomurai. A few hours each day was also spent painting. I was able to finish up a small commission and continue work on the Royale pieces. On Sunday we did some yard work and I removed and re-installed some landscape bricks on the side of my house. By Monday the heat had really set in and we decided to take the kids to another park in Soulard that sometimes has a fountain of water running for the kids to cool off. Unfortunately they didn’t have the fountain running and we were really feeling the heat. We decided to hoof it back home but not before my son slightly twisted his ankle while running and got a nice cut on his foot. He toughed it out though and walked all the way home. While walking home I got a sudden craving for duck fried rice and decided to just keep on walking up to Park Chop Suey and get a full order. When I got there they were closed for the holiday. Ugh. On the way home I noticed some guy had set up a trailer on the side of the street and was selling BBQ. I was tired, hot and hungry so I bought some rib tips and a hot dog for my wife. It was terrible food.
Memorial Day wasn’t going so well, we were all hot, tired and one of us was injured. After the kids were cleaned up and settled, I went back to working on the Royale pieces. By chance I was working on the Iwo Jima photo that hangs in the Royale. It dawned on me while listening to Dylan’s “Masters of War” that it was rather appropriate to be painting soldiers on Memorial Day. Right about that time my son wandered down to my studio and asked what I was doing. I thought that would be as good of a time as any to try and explain to him why he had a day off from school. He understood fighting and war but when he asked if we were currently fighting any war, I had trouble explaining what exactly the “The War on Terror” was. He did understand though that we currently have troops in multiple countries and fighting is no fun and he should be thankful for those who serve or have died or have been killed. Regardless of your political views, I think everyone can get behind supporting those who choose to serve their country in the military. It’s unfortunate our elected leaders don’t do more to ensure the soldiers don’t fight needlessly and are thoroughly taken care of after the fighting is over. But that’s neither here nor there. All you can really do is try to teach your children to be respectful of others. The long weekend ended with a viewing of Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”.
Going down my “blog roll” I noticed an update by “Trashcanvas” which is Tim Rakel of the bands Union Electric and The May Day Orchestra. It appears Union Electric will be playing with Arrington de Dionyso on Friday Jun 3rd at a newish venue called Jefferson Warehouse. In addition to this being Arrington de Dionyso's first ever show in Saint Louis, Union Electric will also have advance copies of their new 7 inch on marbled purple vinyl for sale called “Tunnels”. Tim approached me a few months ago about painting a cover design and the above picture (taken by the awesomely talented Michael DeFilippo) is the result. Tim sent me lyrics to the song “Tunnels” and gave me some rough ideas to work with. I had a large piece of plywood laying around my studio and used that as the surface. Started out with spray paint, switched to oil, then acrylic and then back to oil to finish it. The process was completely different than what I usually do and gave me lots of ideas of how to approach painting in the future.
It's been a long day yet despite it's length, two hours was found for painting. Sometimes it reminds me of that Bowie song "Ashes to Ashes" when the lyrics go -
"Time and again I tell myself I'll stay clean tonight But the little green wheels are following me".
Of course he was talking about whatever drug he was on at the time, but this could be applied to just about any addiction and painting is very much an addiction. It's pretty much done daily and when not done everything is off kilter and unbalanced.
There's a big event happening in Iowa this weekend called Torque Fest. It involves hot rod cars, rock and roll music, hot rod art, food, movies, and a bunch of other stuff. It's all the brain child of John Wells. The piece above is what you could call the remains of the piece I contributed to the event. Tony (John will always be known as Tony to me) sent all the artists a "Surfers Cross" to do with what we like. I painted mine and mailed it back to him. All of the crosses will be auctioned off at the event. The image of the cross some how ended up on an old canvas so I filled in the blanks with left over paint and it turned out kind of interesting.
Party Nate and Shiv, now of Guy Morgan and the FT Crew and ((Thorlock)), use to play together in the band Rock Solid. The piece above is from a show they did in Cape Girardeau at a bar called Players. I remembered this bar when I was in high school as a rough and tough biker bar but by this time it was a full on college hang out where local bands played. Rock Solid’s band members could be interchanged with many other region bands like Squad Car, Pizzasaurus Rex and The Dirty 30s but when they came together for Rock Solid there was an urgency and relevance those other bands never quite had. Sure the lyrics were a little silly and they mocked the audience with their rock star poses but the music was, well, Rock Solid. They had an unapologetic love for all things Heavy Metal and played the genre with taste, knowledge and sincerity. But most importantly, they were excellent players, young and good looking. This particular show had more young, pretty college women in attendance than any I’ve ever seen for a local band. And this was in Cape Girardeau. The place was packed and the crowd was crazy for the band, couldn’t get enough. It was like seeing a Beatles show or something, young women screaming everywhere. After the show there was a huge party at some frat house up the street and the night finally ended with the band at some truck stop diner for an early morning breakfast just south of Cape.
Another piece in the series of close ups of people playing guitar. This one is of Pete DeLorenzo of the Atlanta band Gringo Star when they had a gig at CBGB. Their first gig in Saint Louis was at CBGB. I remember being at home about 7 or 8 years ago and Jim Atkinson from 3WK calling to tell me about this band who had shown up at the radio station. At the time they were known as A Fir-Ju Well and were in between gigs. Jim asked if I knew of some place they could play that night. I immediately got a hold of Eric Hall who was then the bartender/booker at CBGB and asked if it would be possible for the band to play. He was all for it. The band showed up later that night and played a phenomenal show. There was no sound tech or PA, but that didn't matter. The band was a well oiled machine who knew how to adjust to a room and make everything sound right. Everyone in attendance that night was blown away. Since then Gringo Star has played so many venues in Saint Louis, everything from Radio Cherokee to The Pageant and they're still on the road now. A feature film was also just released documenting a European tour they did.
These three blank canvases will soon be filled with images of the bar from The Royale. This project has been in the making for a few months but now it looks like everything is ready to go. Before I could start, a few things needed to be taken care of. First I had to finish up with the Union Electric seven inch cover which is being released by Rankoutsider Records. Then I completed a small piece for an April show at Odessa in Memphis. And now the only thing standing between me and these three blank canvases is a short trip to New Orleans.
The other day I received a notice from the company that hosts my old website. The message read…
Your domain name(s) will expire in 60 days.
Act now to avoid any disruption to email or website services and avoid losing your chosen name(s).The name(s) due for renewal are:Domain Name, Expiry Dateasbestossister.com, 2011-04-16
I had forgotten all about that website and went back to check it out. The website was created 6 or so years ago as a place to keep track of all the artwork I was doing, the press and projects I was involved with and all the shows I participated in. It’s interesting to look at all that older stuff. Every so often someone will ask me what “asbestossister” means and I’m always tempted to give them the whole story but usually I’ll just say “It’s nonsense”. Back in the late 90’s when I had to decide what to call my yahoo email address I went with “asbestossister”. From there I used it to participate in chat rooms and egroups, primarily with people from Saint Louis, and so I became associated with that handle. When it came time to name a website, I wanted to get something that ended with “.com” and I figured no one had ever used http://www.asbestossister.com/. Plus, that’s how most people knew of me because of my yahoo email, so it seem to make sense to use it. And it worked well, but I won’t be renewing.
By this point you may be asking, “Why are you writing all of this?”, for my own amusement.
Looking at all the old artwork, one painting in particular has caught my attention. The one pictured above, “The Black Keys at Mississippi Nights”. This painting means a lot to me. Not because I’m some big Black Keys fan, I can honestly take them or leave them, although I do love the story about them playing Lemmon’s sometime in 2004 to about 3 people. The next time they came through town they played the Pageant.
However, this painting represents the last show I saw at Mississippi Nights. It was December 2006 and my main purpose for attending the show was to see the opening band Dr. Dog. Earlier in the year I had attempted to book Dr. Dog at Radio Cherokee for a March show, but the deal fell through and my hopes of seeing them live were dashed. But then the band was picked up for the Black Keys tour and sure enough it arrived in Saint Louis on Dec 2 to a sold out crowd at Mississippi Nights.
Are you still reading?
My goal for the evening was to get a nice photograph of Dr. Dog for a future painting. At that time I knew Mississippi Nights would be closing in the near future but I had no idea that would be my last concert there. When the band started there was hardly anyone in front of the stage, I don’t think very many people had any idea who Dr. Dog were. Their set relied heavily on material from what I consider to be their best album, “Easy Beat”. I snapped as many photos as I could and did end up with a nice photo. After they played the keyboard player asked me about the photos and where I had heard of them. I told him I loved their album “Easy Beat” and I use the photos as reference for paintings. He then introduced me to the guitar player and said “He’s an artist”. The guitar player said “Oh, you should meet my friend Sean” and promptly introduced me to the guy standing next to him. Turns out Sean was Sean Moeller of daytrotter.com. Back then daytrotter wasn’t as well known as it is today but it was just as influential. So we start talking about music and photographs and paintings and Sean invites me to submit some stuff to daytrotter. Sure thing, why not? I ended up having two pieces used on the daytrotter site . At the time daytrotter was featuring many different artists with many different styles but they were about to transition into the powerhouse they are today and eventually decided to just have one main artist do all the artwork.
At some point in the evening a guy came up to me and asks me to take photos of The Black Keys. He told me he was running the lighting rig for the night and wanted to have photos of what it looked like. I said “sure”. By the time the Black Keys came on the place was packed and it took considerable effort to get some decent photos, the result is the painting above. I continued talking with the keyboard player of Dr. Dog (super nice guy) asking him about the tour and recording, especially about the “Easy Beat” album. He told me it was recorded in the basement of the house they all shared in Philadelphia. When he mentioned Philadelphia I asked him if he knew any of the Dead Milkmen, he said “no, but the house we’re sharing, where we recorded the album use to belong to the bass player of the Dead Milkmen”. I thought that was pretty cool.
Back when I was 14 or 15 years old I had some friends in college who began driving up to Saint Louis for shows at Mississippi Nights. This was around 1988 or 89. Being young and having no car, my time traveling to Saint Louis was limited but I did get up there on a regular basis, usually when an older friend drove up for skateboarding, however concerts were another story. The person responsible for my concerts at Mississippi Nights was my friend Tony. He collected the money, bought the tickets and drove. Tony and others had been going up for a while and then one day I was invited to tag along for a Dead Milkmen show. I was ecstatic. From then on out we went to as many shows as we could. I honestly can’t recall all the shows but some that stand out are the sold out Jane’s Addiction show, a couple Soundgarden shows (Tony got thrown out for climbing on the ceiling), Fishbone, Public Enemy, Ministry, The Screaming Trees etc. I did miss two important shows, Nirvana (Tony didn’t want to go) and Beastie Boys (everyone but me went, ugh). And I’ll always regret never seeing Uncle Tupelo. So around 93 or 94 everyone had moved away and I was traveling around so I didn’t get to visit Mississippi Nights too often. Then I moved to Saint Louis in 1997 and started up where I left off with The Black Crowes, The Strokes, Pavement, Willie Nelson, Cibo Matto, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Guided by Voices, etc and then finally The Black Keys and Dr. Dog.
Wow, amazing what an email notification can trigger.
Oh, I almost forgot. My friend Tony, he’s the one who came up with “asbestossister” in the first place. When he was a kid his father would have buddies over and when they’d get a little tipsy Tony would test them by telling them to say “Asbestos Sisters” three times. Of course it would come out all slurred and fuzzy and everyone would have a good laugh.
My endless restlessness has gotten the better of me and I've started a new series of paintings focusing on hands playing the guitar. So far I have four pieces going and the one above is of Jason Hutto's hands from the last official show of his band The Phonocaptors. This was about 6 years ago or so? I lose track. I do remember it being at the now closed Hi-Pointe and the place was packed.
I had just come from the Tap Room where Milton Mapes (now known as Monahans) had played a great, short set and by the time I got to the Hi-Pointe there were maybe 300 people or something? I pushed my way to the front and waited on the side of the stage for the band to start. It was an exhilarating set and I just about got the whole thing on film. The Phonocaptors stopped playing partially due to their bass player joining The Bottle Rockets. The drummer went on to play in some bands and Hutto kept busy with bands (Warm Jets USA being his current), running a small studio and working with Jay Farrar on a number of projects.
I'm in-between a couple big projects waiting for some details to finalize but still itching to paint so I'm working on this in the mean time. It's gotten so bad around here with supplies that I'm reduced to connecting smaller canvases together to make one large piece. In this case I've taken three 12x36 canvases and made a nice 36x36, a triptych as it's known. I have two more sets of canvases like this that can be made into a larger canvas and then that will be about it. Except for the three larger canvases that I'm saving for The Royale project. After that I'm going to have to humble myself and make a visit to the new Dick Blick that just opened in The Loop. I'm going on two years now on not having to buy any art supplies, using what was left over from my failed business, but those days are coming to an end.
The pieces above are of JJ Hamon performing at the Sheldon Ballroom back in November during the May Day Orchestra album release show. JJ is a very talented and nice fellow who plays in a number of local bands including Theodore and Magic City. I honestly don't know him too well but he's always kind enough to say hello when I see him out and he can play just about any instrument you put in his hand.
I'm trying to keep things loose and easy and so far it's working but I suspect my heavy hand will show up sooner or later and weigh things down a bit. Started it off with spray paint, then switched to acrylic and now I'm on oil. Probably go back to acrylic before it's all done.
Lately, when I have extra money, I've been buying Steve Keene paintings from Vintage Vinyl. They are nice acrylic pieces done quickly on thin plywood and sold for a reasonable price. Original reproductions of well known album covers from bands and artists like Motorhead, Public Enemy, Bob Dylan, Velvet Underground, etc.
They're pretty cool and all done on wood. Wood is a strange surface to paint on, it's rough and causes the paint to dry faster. I've had a large piece of plywood laying around for a couple of years and figured if I ever used it for something I'd work in oil so the paint wouldn't dry so fast. But I was never sure what to paint on it. Then an opportunity arose. Union Electric are working on a new 7 inch and are looking for some cover ideas. They sent over some lyrics from one of the new songs called “Tunnels” and I worked from that. So far, so good. Still have a lot of work to do but it’s coming along nicely.