Archive for December 30th, 2021

Chill Out

Paul Klee- Redgreen and Violets-Yellow Rhythms 1920

Paul KleeRedgreen and Violets-Yellow Rhythms, 1920

He has found his style, when he cannot do otherwise.

–Paul Klee

Been doing some pairings of quotes, music and paintings recently, trying to highlight the connections between them. At least, as they appear to me. Today the painting and the quote come from one of my favorites, Paul Klee, the Swiss artist who died in 1940 at the age of 60.

He knew a little about style.

You can usually immediately spot a piece of art as being from his hand and mind. The compositions, the colors, the way the paint is applied, the rhythm– it all speaks a one in his voice. One that creates and describes its own world, its own environment.

As his words above infer, he had no choice in the matter.

This wasn’t something I totally understood until I was well into my career as an artist. Early on, nearly everything in a piece of mine was done with conscious intent, even when I didn’t know what the outcome might be.

But as time passed, the decision making process became less conscious, more ingrained and intuitive. As a result, the work had a certain look.

It was certainly in my voice. I guess you could call it style.

At that point, I began to recognize that that was the only way I could work effectively. I couldn’t do it any other way.

It was only then that I understood what Klee meant.

For the pairing with Klee’s work, I have selected a piece from another of my favorites, the late blues legend John Lee Hooker, who is the musical embodiment of Klee’s statement. His work, his style was unique and unmistakably his own.

It was well described in SPIN magazine:

Hooker’s style is style, the blood essence of style, a style so strong and so fiercely established in the self that there’s no more chance of another man copying his sound than there is of trying to steal his heartbeat.

Even though he was a musician and not a visual artist, Hooker was a huge influence early on in my career. I used the quality of his uniqueness as a goal to hold in mind, a mission to fulfill. I wanted to create something that would be instantly recognizable as mine yet would be difficult and hopefully impossible to fully replicate.

It’s an ongoing mission.

Here’s song, Chill Out, that is a collaboration with Carlos Santana, another man who knows a bit about style. I think this song shows off Hooker’s singular style, even as it combines with Santana’s own signature work.

Neither can do it any other way…

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