I think of many of my abstract compositions as musical — influenced and inspired by “abstract” music: Björk, Radiohead, R.E.M., Muse, Depeche Mode; and the symphonic work of Philip Glass, Hans Zimmer and other modern composers. The beauty of these types of music, for me, is the lyrical and sonic experimentation — at times discordant, minimalist, energetic, harmonic and nonsensical — which convey all manner of emotions, images, and narratives. Some of my favorite songs have somewhat unintelligible lyrics, but can evoke feelings and imagery simply in the manner they are sung or the mood of the accompaniment.
Music has been an inspiration for my art for as long as I can remember, and like many of us, the music of our formative teen and 20-something years is often what is most firmly planted in our psyche. R.E.M. is the most influential artist in my life’s soundtrack.
R.E.M.’s Blue was the final track on their final album in 2011. It was the perfect curtain-closer to their 30+ year career — the album was a culmination of their many varied sounds and themes. Blue is characterized by a lush, melancholy guitar sound underlying what is really more of a spoken-word poem which contains lyrics of longing, mourning and introspection followed by more uplifting words of optimism and transcendence:
I am made by my times
I am a creation of now
Shaken with the cracks and crevices
I'm not giving up easy
I will not fold
I don't have much
But what I have is gold
From my first listen, this song has resonated with me powerfully. In this painting I feel a similar juxtaposition with gritty, textured layers of muddy and melancholy against luminescence, clarity and hope. In the painting, like the song, the title Blue is literal and figurative. A large swath of brilliant cobalt blue is focal amid many other shades of blue, but other neutral colors in the palette dominate the surface. And in the lyric:
Look, the sky, the sea, the ocean, the sun, the moon.
Blue, blue, blue, blue, blue, blue, blue blue, blue, blue, blue, blue.
Naked and blue.
While I can share my inspiration point for my abstraction, I often insist that I’m not a writer, I’m not a poet, I’m not a musician or philosopher — I’m a visual artist. I prefer to believe my “story” has been told on the canvas. My hope is that viewers will have a unique, internal and personal experience, enjoying a moment of their own creativity to see or feel whatever flows through the art to them.
This is my time and I am thrilled to be alive.
Living. Blessed. I understand.
Collapse into now