Music, Movement, and the mind:

an essay

 "The Way it Must Be" Acrylic on 12' Vinyl Record, 2018

"The Way it Must Be" Acrylic on 12' Vinyl Record, 2018


Through out my life, music has been central to my creativity.  To think in terms of how a song swells in and out of volume, breaks down,  and emotionally engages drives my sense of composition.  These movements direct my approaches to positive and negative space, color intensity, focal points, and layering of foreground and background.

When listening to music, we go in and out of the song where one moment the percussion drives understanding, different instruments pull our focus, and the vocal and instrumental hooks keep us on our toes.  

Musicians and songwriters I respect most are: Nick Cave and the Badseeds, The Smiths, PJ Harvey, Liz Phair, Cat Power, The Velvet Underground, Bauhaus to name a few.  Jazz, however, is where my composition inspirations owe the most, specifically Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, and Red Garland.

The concept of the "Blue Note" in jazz has had a great influence.  A blue note, as I understand and employ it, has to do with dropping a note or phrase that doesn't quite jibe with the composition but adds so much.  These highly informative "flaws" bring a humanity, surprise, and unexpected depth to a piece.  They make the listener or viewer react in a disoriented moment that can make them feel more alive.  It's a sigh, a grunt, a "Woah!" or "Wow!" within a work of art.

I use "Blue Note" ideas in color especially.  When creating it is a great way to snap out of a block in the creative process by putting in a color that does not work fully, but leads me further in my creativity than I thought possible, which is a great way to go beyond pre-conceived ideas both in art and the world.  My hope is that this forces the viewer's mind to wrestle a bit deeper in it's understanding and appreciation of what I've put before them.

Directing, redirecting, and putting myself off kilter through my process keeps my work fresh.  To do this well means that there are layers to be explored over time in the paintings where the interest the viewer takes is rewarded again and again.