Monday, 26 March 2012

Music to my eyes

Listening to music is a huge part of my artistic process and musicians have got me out of many creative tight spots.  It really helps me to connect to the part of me that is unbound by my normal preoccupations so that I can respond to the moment freely and imaginatively.

I think there are so many comparable elements of song-writing and painting.  I was listening to Joanna Newsom loads while painting The New Sublime. I found her lyrics poetic in that they create their own world within each song, similar to the way I attempt to use space and light to transport the viewer of my paintings.  I also feel really inspired that someone so young is staying so true to her own voice, despite having such a different style.  She managed to reach a massive audience by being herself and writing from her heart.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have had a big influence on me creatively.  In particular, the album 'No more shall we part'.  I remember listening to it for the first time - I couldn't do anything until the whole album was over!  I think spirituality is mentioned in each song somewhere, but in a universal way that explores the light and dark elements of how we live with ourselves day to day.

Sometimes the inspiration is general, so the music tunes into a feeling or a phase I'm in.  And sometimes there's a specific song (or a few lines from a song) that underpins the whole painting.  This has happened a couple of times with paintings that I'm yet to show you.  For example, there are 4 lines in 'There Are Eyes Above' by Josephine Foster that I created a whole painting out of!

I find that going to gigs can really help if I need some creative energy.  Maybe its because the experience is live so you are caught in the present moment and feeling first hand what the artist is trying to convey.  I've spoken a lot about the place I try to reach when painting and there are some musicians that are really good at drawing out my emotions, such as Silver Apples, Arvo Part, Jean-Claude Vannier and The Mars Volta.

I mentioned in the launch of my blog that my exhibition would be hosting a gig by 'Do you feel what I feel Deer?'.  This Brighton-based band have written beautiful songs based on some of my more recent deer paintings and its so interesting to see, or hear, the process reversed.

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