Music is an essential for me. Whenever I paint, I listen. Generally to the same artists because I know they enable me to get into the groove I want to be in. Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Neil Young, the Rat Pack, Louis Prima, Bob Marley, and then of course the occasional Cake, Gorillaz, Sublime…. For a while I was into Electroswing and occasionally dip back into that when I am looking into a new avenue. Has some major saucy beats to it.
One of the things I've noticed, which may be obvious to lifelong painters and others in the industry, is how incredibly similar music and painting are. They each have their different genres and require constant trial and error to get the proper flow going for each piece. What I found difficult is creating pieces that are similar in style so that people are able to instantly identify a given piece with me. When you see a Frank Stella or Mondrian or hear a song by U2… you know exactly whose it is.
I am still working on all of the nuances in my creative process, such that I essentially know the difference between a lyric and a verse… which part is the intro chord or solo that needs to grab the viewer, what are choruses and refrains, and how long or short to make each of them. It's definitely a lot more difficult than I thought, although I must say I am fortunate that I don't dwell too much on it because I know I would then stifle my creativity.
I feel like each time I pick up a brush or a bottle I'm about to have a solo jam session. Again, my ability to paint, the result of Acquired Savant Syndrome that I received after the serious bonk on my head when I broke my neck, has given me true value and purpose in my life, and I really do wake up every morning wondering what visual song I'm going to develop.
The one thing I do my best to stay away from is looking like anything else. So many people have the same styles, and while all paintings look different, I seldom see anything unique these days. But that is a topic for another day.