Saturday, October 7, 2017

Face the Music - Exhibition Opening

Here a a few photos from the opening of my exhibition Face the Music. I would love to thank all the friends, family and music fans who dropped by to check it out.

The exhibition runs until the 9th of December 2017 at Sweets Workshop Gallery in Sydney, Australia. Shop 4, 58-60 Carlton Cres, Summer Hill 2130. If you can't physically make it in to check out the exhibition you can view the entire show online here.

Face the Music is an exhibition of paintings of some of the most famous faces in music. I have hand-painted over 30 vibrant portraits that feature some of his favourite iconic musicians from across the decades. These include; Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Nirvana, Radiohead and many, many more.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Interview About My New Solo Art Exhibition

Here is a little interview I did with Sweets Workshop about my upcoming exhibition 
'Face the Music'

Can you tell us about your new show 'Face the Music'?
I have hand-painted over 30 vibrant portraits that feature some of my favourite iconic musicians from across the decades. These include; Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Nirvana, Radiohead and many, many more.

How did you select the musicians to be featured?
Well all these artists have made music that I absolutely love. I also wanted to tell the story of Rock 'n' Roll and popular music across the decades from the 1940s to now and I've selected musicians that I feel are really significant stepping stones in this narrative.

Describe the artistic style of your exhibition?
Hmm electric, low brow, folk art portraits hahah! In all seriousness when I started work on 'Face the Music' I wanted the portraits to be very graphic representation of the musicians boiling down their essence as well as their likenesses. When I initially sketched out the portraits I tried to not only create good caricature based likenesses but to also include a sense of their personality and music they created. I have been very deliberate in my colour selection whether it's warm pastel colours to represent the wholesome sounds of the 1950's or vibrant bold colours to illustrate the immense shift that took place in popular music through the 1960s & 1970's. I have also selected certain eras or costumes to represent significant points in the career of each musician to again help create a graphic, instantly recognisable representation. 

Tell us more about the costumes you chose to depict each musician in?
Most of the musicians I chose to paint have had quite extensive careers so I did a lot of research to select the one outfit that I thought
really summed it up. A few examples are for the Beatles (as seen above) I really couldn't go past their costumes from Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, this album not only really changed the Beatles' career but also the idea of what an album could represent and opened up the flood gates for 'concept albums'. I painted Elvis Presley in his pink sports coat and blue and black leisure shirt that he famously wore on his appearance on the Milton Berle show in 1956. The television network received so many complaints about Elvis' gyrating hips that he had to be filmed from the shoulders up on the Ed Sullivan show. Jimi Hendrix had a number of pretty fabulously flamboyant outfits throughout his career but I chose to depict him in the yellow pirate shirt he wore at London’s Finsbury Park Astoria on March 31, 1967 where he famously set his fender stratocaster alight, again a very iconic image. For David Bowie I used the cover image from his 1973 album Aladdin Sane the follow-up to his breakthrough album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Bjork is another artist who has had so many wonderfully iconic and unique outfits but I went with the swan dress that she famously wore to the 2001 Academy Awards and also on the cover of her album Vespertine. 

Describe your technique? 
Each portrait is painted on a flat timber block that I have hand sanded. I chose to paint them on timber as I love the natural grain that shows through painting. I have deliberately chosen to paint with a feathered border so you still get to see the timber peeking behind the portrait. It also helps keep each portrait unique. I initially wanted to use gouache paint for its vibrancy and flatness but It doesn't create the most durable finish and I felt that placing the finished portraits behind glass defeated the point of painting them of such lovely pieces of timber. After a fair bit of trial and error I settled on using a mix of flat matte acrylic and acrylic gouache paints to achieve a wonderfully vibrant and flat matte opaque colour palette.

How does this differ from your other artwork and illustrations?
It was really different for me to work with quite a simple brief this time around and to really develop a unique style, technique and visual language for this show. I am really happy with the end result; each piece is unique but fits with  the look of the exhibition. Another massive difference was that I was working manually. I usually work digitally or at least add digital elements to a hand-drawn sketches but for this show I wanted to work solely by hand.

What are some pros and cons to working solely by hand? 
Well I definitely love not working in front of a computer screen. It actually feels really cathartic to be working manually on one thing at a time building a finished piece of art one colour or layer at a time. I also really love the happy accidents that happen when working by hand be it a little piece of white gesso undercoat  cheekily sticking out behind a background or a little swoosh of paint that didn't quite go where you wanted it to go but feathered out beautifully. I find these kind of happy accidents are pretty rare when you work digitally and they are also really hard to replicate and always tend look a little forced or fake when done digitally. There is one big con... No magic undo button that and waiting for paint to dry.

What Next for John D-C?
I've had such a fun time working on "Face the Music" that I'd love to continue working in this format and style... who knows I might even move out of the musical world... I'd love to work on a few pop culture portraits, 'Face the Movies' has a nice ring to it.

You can see more of my processes and work in progress for 'Face the Music' over on my Instagram page.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I have a brand new exhibition called Face the Music starting next month at Sweets Workshop In Summer Hill NSW Australia.

I have hand-painted over 30 vibrant portraits that feature some of his favourite iconic musicians from across the decades. These include; Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Nirvana, Radiohead and many, many more.

The exhibition officially opens at 2pm on Saturday the 7th of October all are welcome to attend. Face the Music is also part of this years Summer Hill Neighborhood Feast which is on Sunday the 8th of October. If you can't make the opening the show will run until the 9th December so there is plenty of time to check it out.

Hope to see you there.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

B.B. King Chuck Berry and Beyond - The Pioneers of Rock 'N' Roll

I was recently lucky enough to be a part of a wonderful live music performance. The gig was called B.B. King, Chuck Berry and Beyond : The Pioneers of Rock 'N' Roll and featured an ensemble of talented Sydney musicians from the Drey Rollan Band and The Cruisin' Deuces it was part of the very first, Sydney Guitar Festival. Drey had heard about my work painting iconic musicians for my upcoming exhibition 'Face the Music and asked me to illustrate B.B. King and Chick Berry and design a poster for the event. They also projected a massive time-lapse animation of me painting the portraits over the stage on the night.

The night was divided in three sections. During the first section the band played the songs that influenced the careers of B.B and Chuck, the second section showcased the songs of B.B. King and Chuck Berry and during the third section the band went on to perform song from musicians that have been influenced by B.B. King and Chuck Berry. All in all it was a fantastic night and I am super proud to have been part of it.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

All Star 40th Birthday Illustration Commision

Here is a look at an Illustration I was recently commissioned to do as a 40th Birthday present. It features a number of the lucky recipients favorite fictional characters including: Jedi Master Yoda, Baby Groot, Emily the Strange and Wonder Woman as well as a menagerie of her favorite animals including: a Corgi, Kakapo, Tabby Cat, Bunny and Dachshund Sausage Dog.
Here Is the Original Pencil Sketch.

Here are the Inks.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bat Baddies Zine

I've always thought Batman has the best rogues gallery of villains of any superhero and I recently decided to draw some of my favourites; The Penguin, Catwoman, The Joker, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, The Riddler, Poison Ivy, The Scarecrow and Mr. Freeze.

I went with a bit of a retro vibe surprise, surprise and I was really happy with outcome. I printed out a few and folded them down into a mini zine called Bat Baddies which I had for sale at the MCA Zine Fair.

Here is a photo of my stall at the MCA Zine Fair, It was such a lovely day and a real pleasure to meet so many like minded people! Huge thanks to everybody who stopped by to say hi!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Dance Instructors Vintage Business Card Illustration

I recently had the pleasure of drawing these two fabulous dancer and good friends who have just started a business teaching private dance lessons. The Illustrations were created to use on their business cards which I also designed. They specialise in teaching; Lindy Hop, Swing, Rock 'n' Roll, Rockabilly, Balboa and Collegiate Shag so I went for a vintage feel to the illustrations and the design of the Business Card.