Thursday, 15 July 2010

Unsung Heroes series

I am currently working on a series of portraits of my Unsung Heroes. There will be 8 paintings in the series which will be available from 19 Karen Gallery. The majority of the artists I'll be portraying have remained below the surface of their genre whilst others they have influenced and inspired have received much critical acclaim. I have therefore decorated the portraits in 'badges' featuring the successors.
Fran Landesman is an American poet and lyrics writer who was highly influential in the beat generation, and she has written songs for a vast array of musicians from Miles Davis and Roberta Flack to Bette Midler and Barbara Streisand. I was lucky enough to meet her and listen to a recital of her poetry at The Angel (she now lives in London and is 82 years old.) I have used her lyrics as starting points for paintings in the past as well as quoting her within my work.
Jeffrey Lee Pierce was an influential American blues musician who bridges the gap between the likes of classic Delta Blues era artists like Son House and Howlin' Wolf, and the modern era White Stripes and Nick Cave. He died on my 15th birthday in 1996 of a brain hemorrhage, and a shoebox of his last recordings was recently found in an attic and made into a record called 'We Are Only Riders', featuring Blondie's Debbie Harry and many of his contemporaries. His music has been my in my studio playlist for some years and his autobiographical book of stories has contributed greatly to my ideas.
The next one I'll be doing will be Opal Whiteley. Jeffrey Lee Pierce is ON RESERVE.

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