I hate headphones – I want to hear music loud! When you feel the soundwaves hit your body, you get to experience a magical invisible force moving through you. Every person has a heartbeat - it’s one of the conditions of existence. The muses are said to be spirits that take possession of a person when they are singing, dancing, and feeling it hard – I loved learning that because it could describe sound waves themselves, and resembles the idea of demonic possession – but instead of something to fear, it’s how we share beauty, pain and joy with other people. The highest form of art, perhaps?
For me, I love an art historical makeover and I can use these images to reimagine stories that I don’t like from Art History. I was looking at renaissance paintings of the muses, they were pretty tame. Always a better party in ancient and pagan art.
In This is Hardcore, I focused on opening up the allegory of “the cosmic dance of creation and destruction.” The entry to the CERN particle collider has a statue depicting The Shiva Nataraja, an incarnation who mythically created music so he would have something to dance to whilst creating the universe. It’s called The Cosmic Dance of Creation and Destruction. Physicists agree that this metaphor allegorises and even accurately describes the nature of all matter in the universe. T.Rex’s Cosmic Dancer lyricises this scientifically accurate myth and even nods to reincarnation; “I danced myself right out the womb/ I danced myself into the tomb / and then again, once more.”
Crystallised in a painting I titled after the above mentioned T. Rex song, you see a Dandy with too many arms like shiva, and glam rock boots, playing a guitar and tipping his hat to a blue bird, delivering a scroll message to him. The paintings are not illustrations of muses personified, I’m breaking with the tradition of those aforementioned Renaissance approaches. In the 8-foot painting, titled Gotta Get Away From Me, curtains frame a scene with an owl and a mouse having a tense predator-prey moment, inspired by Lewis Hyde’s book, Trickster Makes this World in which the trickster evolves to become neither predator nor prey - but the one who is cunning enough to steal the bait from a trap. When putting a show together, I approach it like a resonance or a vibe – like making an album where each painting is a song or track.