Mere mortals are we. These days I'm acutely aware of that.
This past week, R.E.M. disbanded. I guess it should have happened sooner (COLLAPSE INTO NOW ain't no ABBEY ROAD), but the announcement saddened me nonetheless.
An even harder pill for me to swallow, is that Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the release of NEVERMIND. That bloody stings!
These two "events" are connected for me in a deeply personal way. Both of these bands have wrenched art out of me, or at the very least pushed me to create better art. The largest painting I've ever done heavily borrowed themes from several R.E.M. songs. While the mythology of Kurt Cobain just grows more epic...and elusive. I've painted Kurt three times. I was painting the second at the very moment I heard he had done the Hemingway dance. The third, "The Pale Martyr Of Aberdeen", I completed earlier this year.
Music has always been embedded in my work. Nearly all of my paintings are titled after songs, or specific lyrics within a song. I can't paint without music playing. I can't have one without the other. I've spent forty years trying to teach myself to draw, and paint. Four decades trying to capture the power of a perfect three minute pop song onto canvas. I think only now is something worthwhile starting to emerge from it, and I worry that it's too late. Mere mortals are we.
Late bloom be damned, set an impossible goal for yourself and jump...head first! I have just begun a personal project that I've put off for years. It was originally suggested by an old friend, when I was playing Dylan's HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED for the umpteenth time.
"You should paint DESOLATION ROW".
It was an interesting idea, but how to approach it? The song's a beast. It's one of the oddest entries in the Dylan songbook (which is really saying something). It's beautiful and sad to be sure, packed with vivid imagery, but it's also impenetrable. I seriously doubt if Bob knows what it's about. This was his TARANTULA period after all. The first time he performed "Desolation Row", the crowd laughed at it. So, after many years of over-thinking how to interpret this in paint, I've decided to throw all caution to the wind, and just have "fun" with it. Bleak, sorrowful fun.
This is the initial piece (in a very rough stage).
I'll be posting more pics as the project evolves. Stay tuned. This could get interesting.
P.S. for those of you who love the incremental process, you can follow my snail-like pace on Twitter @KrossdArtwerx
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Urban art has found a home in Reno! Gallery 3 has recently opened it's doors and will be showing great artists like Rene Gagnon and The Signtologist. I will have a piece in the group show January-ish. If you find yourself in Reno, please stop by.