"For me, music and art are like breathing. One is inhaling, and the other is exhaling. And so I need to do both in order to breathe."
Q: What Did You Discover First, Music Or Art?
It depends because, as a kid, I always had crayons and stuff like that, but as something I would pursue, it was music. Music came first, but I was always into drawing and painting. In high school, I got a few gigs at coffee houses and had a really good friend who was like a big brother teaching me. We were a duo, and we played local coffee houses, then got an illegal gig at a bar. I really liked the experience.
Q: Do You Ever Feel Like One Influences The Other?
There's a lot of back-and-forth. I always listen to music while I'm painting. It has to be not terribly important music because then I'm drawn away from the painting to listen to the music. I can have all sorts of music in the background that helps me find the rhythms and patterns on the canvas. I often get stuck on a CD, group, or artist, which can define a few months' worth of painting. Lately, I've been listening to Pat Metheny.
As Miles Davis said, “A painting is music you can see, and music is a painting you can hear.”
Q: What's The Story Behind One Of Your Favorite Songs You've Written Or Performed?
I wrote a song for Donna about my feelings for/about her. I enjoy performing it with her; she sings lovely harmony. The song is about having been around the world, but really, the only place I want to be is where she is. It means a lot to me.
As far as playing songs, I'm in a band called "Pearly Baker," an improvisational jam-style band that does a lot of Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Country, and Western music. One of my favorite songs to play is "Birdsong." It's a Grateful Dead song that was kind of about Janis Joplin.
Q: What Are Your Musical Inspirations?
The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, The Who, Bob Dylan, and Frank Zappa. I was raised in a household that listened to a lot of classical music and jazz, and I heard that before I heard rock and roll and folk music.
Q: Have You Ever Thought Of Combining Painting And Music Somehow?
They are fairly separate but inform each other. Art informs my music, and music informs my art, but I don't necessarily see the need to combine them—at least not now. But there might be a time when I hear some composition in my head that requires visual stimulation from paintings. It's not something I think about—they are what they are. They don't cross into each other. The creative processes may come from the same part of the brain, but they never interfere.
If I had an ideal life where I had all the time in the world, I would like to get into some sculpture and woodwork. But I'm satisfied—it's very fulfilling to be painting—just music and painting.
Q: Do People Discover You From Music And Then Discover You Are An Artist? Vice Versa?
Since I'm out playing three to five nights per week, I'm meeting more people as a musician who then find out I'm also an artist. As an artist, I'm tucked away in my studio.