Stuart Davis: Swing Landscape (1938)
Stuart Davis (December 7, 1892–June 24, 1964), was an early American modernist painter. He was well known for his Jazz influenced, proto pop art paintings of the 1940s and 1950s, bold, brash, and colorful as well as his ashcan pictures in the early years of the 20th century. (Wikipedia)
Stuart Davis at the piano
Davis was heavily influenced by both the 1913 Armory Show and by early exposure to blues and “hot” music in bars and clubs in NYC. As early jazz became swing and injected itself into the mainstream, Davis’s work captured the parallel between the energy of the genre and the vitality of the 20th century’s foremost metropolitan landscape.
Photography by Walker Evans
On this day in 1900, American composer Aaron Copland was born. Copland is remembered as the quintessential American composer who created music reflective of the spirit of the nation. Copland’s choice of subject matter was heavily influenced by his exposure to the artistic circle of Alfred Stieglitz (Georgia, O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Walker Evans.) The group was concerned with creating American art reflective of American values. Copland drew much of his inspiration for his opera “The Tender Land” from the photography of Walker Evans. Copland later composed such well-known pieces as “Fanfare for the Common Man,” “Hoedown,” and “Appalachian Spring.”
Here is an orchestral version of “Fanfare” (NY Philharmonic)”
For those who prefer a more modern treatment, try this 2005 offering from Greg Lake (of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame)…
Barbara Psimas: Stairway to Heaven
On this day in 1968 Led Zeppelin performed it’s first concert in England. The band went on to become one of the most popular acts in Rock history, selling over 200 million albums worldwide. By the mid 1970’s they ruled album oriented radio and no song received more airplay than “Stairway to Heaven.”
Painter Barbara Psimas has created this wonderful interpretation of the song as part of her “Painting to Music” series. Barbara explains the genesis of her inspiration;
“This series was conceived when I realized how different music influenced my painting. This happened while painting with a group of artists using a live model. Everyone would bring some favorite music to listen to which might be changed after we took a break. When the new music played I was painting in a totally different mood and style that changed brush strokes and colors. I never realized how much this affected my work before.”
For inquires about Barbara’s work visit www.BarbaraPsimas.com. You can also reach her at: Barbara Psimas Art Studio, Midtown, 335 Beard Street, Tallahasse, FL 32303
While we’re at it, here’s a astounding version of Stairway to Heaven performed on the HARP by Dutch musician Janne-Minke Nijp…
Ron Miyashiro: Neiro Trumpet
Ronnie Miyashiro is a surrealist painter who has been influenced by Dali and Escher. His “Neiro” series combine that sensibility with a musical focus. (“Neiro” means “melody” in Japanese.) The swirling lines emanating from the instruments of these jazz musicians capture the smooth flow of a master soloist.
Ron Miyshiro: Neiro Sax
Marc Schimsky: Whirling Dancers, La Playa, Mexico
The basis of music is the rhythmic foundation on which the melody and harmony ride. It is what gives music motion and it gives rise to dance.
Marc Schimsky’s “Whirling Dancers” captures the music through capturing the dancer’s movement. All of his canvases seem to portray multiple instances of time in one snapshot — reminding us that life is an animated continuum, not a series of separate moments.
One of the reasons music and art are inherently related (after the main reason that they are both human controlled methods of communication capable of expressing ideas and emotions) is that sound waves and lightwaves are both potions of a larger continuum known as the Electro-magnetic Spectrum. Both are made up of vibrations (waves) though we can only perceive small portions of the total spectrum with our eyes and ears. Through the use of modern technology like radios, cell phones, Televisions microwaves, wireless devices, infrared cameras, MRIs, and X-rays, we are able to convert other parts of the spectrum into sound and visible light that we can understand. To see a closeup of a chart of the entire spectrum, CLICK HERE
David Ellis: Skdubs Gold
Multi-media artist David Ellis has created installations of fantastic constructions that “produce analogue sequences in rhythm.” Pictured above is a double bass boombox that contains two tube preamps, assorted high-end woofers and tweeters, a power amp, an equalizer and an ipod. Next up is a rainbow colored construction created out of “20th century album covers.” (Or what I used to call “my record collection” — I’m so old…)
David Ellis: Honey Horn
Here’s a look at one of his installations in action…
Pablo Picasso: The Old Guitarist
Possibly the most remarkable painting from Picasso’s “Blue Period” (1901 -1904) is the painting “The Old Guitarist” (1903). The painting depicts a blind beggar with his guitar and is known to have been modeled after a blind artist that Picasso knew in Madrid. Picasso’s “Blue” and subsequent “Rose” periods were predecessors to his cubist innovations — and to more memorable music related paintings.
Picasso — Three Musicians
Mira Aleksandra Stefanov: Debussy
Austrian artist Mira Aleksandra Stefanov is world renown for her dramatic paintings of the sea, but she also applies her style to capturing the drama of music. It is particularly well-suited to depicting the impressionistic musical colors of composer Claude Debussy. Speaking of her sea paintings, they in turn served as an inspiration for contemporary composer Robert Pobitschka’s work “The Sea Paintings of Mira Aleksandra Stefanov.”
Alan Flattmann: Preservation Hall Brass Band
New Orleans native Alan Flattmann is a pastel Society of America Hall of Fame Honoree who captures the architecture and life of the French Quarter with a romantic flare and a master’s touch. His paintings of famous Quarter landmarks slicked with rain align perfectly with my memories of a soggy holiday taken in the city a few years back.
Alan Flattmann: Rainy Day at Tujagues
Alan Flattmann: Trombone Serenade
In addition to his painting, Flattmann conducts a number of artist’s workshops around the country and internationally each year. He has published many of his New Orleans paintings in a volume called “Alan Flattmann’s French Quarter Impressions.” To see more of his works and to purchase giclee prints visit http://www.alanflattmann.com/prints.htm