Music has played a big part in my life and is something I’ve always been able to relate to and rely on. There is a song that will suit any situation and or remind you of a particular time of your life.
I believe that art and music as creative outlets and forms of expression complement each other and play an important part of our cultural identity – what is contemporary now will be viewed as history by the next generations – just as we see cultures and societies that have come before us.
As with the music that I listen to, my art builds a sense of who I am as an individual and I’ve always enjoyed allowing music into the process of making my art. Music allows me to set a mood and atmosphere that I can get lost in – and it also allows me to use more than my sense of sight. My painting process can be quite a sensory overload as I draw creativity from sight, touch, smell and sound.
I remember as a kid going through my parents vinyl and cassette collections. From an early age I was drawn to storytellers and also music with a message. Bands like Dire Straits, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Meatloaf, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, The Who, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Eagles, Black Sabbath and Australia’s best storyteller – John Williamson. Dire Straits particularly had a profound part to play on my art career with their live album Alchemy and the artwork on the cover – but I’ll leave that for another blog.
The music I had started listening to in my early teens was a natural progression from the music I was brought up on earlier. But it seemed to enter a whole new realm of passion and emotion – I think it reflected my teen angst. That certainly wasn’t angst in my personal life – I had a good, modest upbringing – but angst toward a world and system that I was only starting to understand. And the punk/hardcore punk music I was listening to really seemed to amplify my thoughts on issues that I otherwise may not have been able to write or express on my own.
That music had played a large part in my life. Although I wasn’t much of a musician I was able to play a role in the scene that helped others on their journey. During my twenties, my friends and I organised all ages shows and had bands from all over the country and world come and play to the youth in our area. Not only were we giving kids a positive and safe environment to get involved with music, but we were and incubator for the next generation of musicians.
Although that part of life has moved on, other doors have opened. I still listen to all of that music but it’s now complemented with more contemporary musicians that are waving that flag and standing up for what they believe in… creating movements in counter-culture and consciousness, striving for a better world.
Along with the bands of my childhood and youth, I’m now listening to and painting to bands like Ash Grunwald, Nahko & Medicine For The People, Xavier Rudd and The Cat Empire.
I’ve even found a way to physically bring music into my paintings… I now name all of my paintings with song lyrics. I’ll use one or two words from songs that may have inspired the painting, suit the painting or may have been from something I was listening to while I was painting. I even write a few lines within context of that painting title with a little message on the back of the canvas for the new owner to discover. But that’s a story for another blog.