Art AND Music Beginnings

stick-brush

Perhaps my earliest artistic inspiration was the illustrated dinosaur books I had around the age of 3. But something was missing—the poor creatures were naked! So, armed with a few crayons, I set out to change the world by drawing t-shirts and pants on the disenfranchised beasts. After clothing the dinosaurs, I then proceeded with my victory march around the house banging out beautiful, toddlerrific rhythms for the whole neighborhood to enjoy, on the plastic “Sesame Street” toy drum that hung from around my neck.

 

My real passion for art and music was birthed in high school where I started painting and learning graphic design, —or— “Commercial Art”, as the class was called. I was the go-to guy for custom text-book-cover decorating which usually consisted of police with pig-noses chasing skateboarders, and ‘highly flattering’ portraits of our ‘favorite’ teachers…  I also started playing shows with my first band, Catch-22 (depicted below), a live hip hop group of whom I was the drummer and designer of our logo, CD, and other visual needs.

 

Catch-22 PNG

catch22detail

catch22

12×30″ spray paint and acrylic on canvas

 

We played school events and spots around Denver like the Bluebird Theater and the ever so infamous, Cafe Euphrates. I later packed my bags for Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and the group followed with the dream that many bands who quest to New York City with…

 

LETS DO THIS

2×6′ spray paint and acrylic on canvas

 

studio

 

While at Pratt I helped form and played in a side project called Improvical. Yes it was all improvisational, a blend of jazz and blues with a hip hop lean. I was on drums, Justin Blejer on rhodes, and Ari Goldstein on upright & electric bass. Of course we played Pratt gigs and parties, as well as NY venues. Take-A was our live CD recorded at the Alphabet Lounge in Lower Manhattan. I did the album design as a class assignment.

 

improvical

4×4′ oil on canvas

 

Improvical CD package

 

I’ve always integrated my visual art and music by designing the album covers and promo material for all the groups I’ve played in (examples throughout the site), as well as for many others. Usually, out on the Pratt campus with my sketch book and a hand drum, I was often asked by people who saw my passion for both, if I had to choose one or the other, which would it be? I was never able to answer that, and still ask why do I need to choose?

In a conversation once about this, a wise man told me, “If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either.” (while gently stroking the fu manchu he didn’t have, but should’ve)

I see what he means, yet the question remains, can I really just choose one? Or perhaps it’s just one crazy mutated rabbit that manifests in both ways —like a drum stick that’s also a paintbrush. Isn’t this true of many things? If water can be a solid, liquid, or gas, or a human can be spirit, soul, and flesh all in one entity, (even the soul is tri-fold —mind, will, and emotions) so why can’t passion?  Much of my work clearly expresses the passion for both art and music, both in the aim to communicate a positive message . I feel like if I try to abandon one for the other, the other will still find it’s way to the top no matter how much I try to bury it.

I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this. Thanks for reading and please leave your comments here and throughout the site!

~Joshua