Lately, I've been trying to get up to date with the Pop Culture section of my Portfolio/website and in an effort to diversify, I have pushed outside the subjective boundaries to find icons and characters I have had yet to cover, and learn a little about them in the process. I find doing portraits of icons I know too little about, while building a design purely off their iconic quality to be short sighted and insincere, so I always like to educate myself to feel inspired and to bring something different to the table.
Following my newfound obsession with 1950s rock, I found myself researching and discovering Elvis Presley, the long anointed King of Rock and Roll, because, simply put, he is a juggernaut as a pop culture icon. I've long heard that classic rock fans that appreciate music of the 1950s and 1960s often get divided into being Rolling Stones fans or Beatles fans, and in some areas Elvis fans or Beatles fans. In some ways, I understand the distinction in terms of overall taste/style and musical preference for rock and the given era in question. But, while I'd generally consider myself a Beatles fan, for the sheer volume of songs I admire from their discography and the overall impact they had as icons and recording artists, I'm always open to the experience of learning about and understanding music and artists I'm not yet familiar with....especially when they are so acclaimed and recognized. There's no denying Elvis's impact and influence, certainly in Rock and Roll history and Pop Culture, as well as on artists and bands, like The Beatles, that I rank among my favourites. After becoming obsessed with the music of Buddy Holly, I soon found myself wanting to delve deeper into the 1950s, and Elvis seemed like the perfect artist to pursue during that golden era. It's tough to put into words the power and talent of Elvis as a vocalist and as a showman, so my latest piece, Elvis #1 (Jailhouse Rock), became my attempt to convey his aura and vibe on stage visually, while adding a setting that reflected the lyrical content of one of his most famous songs.
** Elvis #1 (Jailhouse Rock) 16 x 20 Inches Mixed Media
Previous to my research and education, I never knew much about Elvis Presley, save for a handful of classic songs (Teddy Bear, Love Me Tender, Heartbreak Hotel, and Blue Moon to name a few). After listening to more music, absorbing more live performances, and discovering more about the man behind the music and his life pre fame and afterwards, however, I happened on the idea of creating a piece of art that would represent the early stage of his career, where sex appeal fell right in line with his rockabilly style, giving birth to a sound and presentation never before seen on stage, awarding him the tag and title as as the King of Rock and Roll. Jailhouse Rock was one of my favourite songs of that early era in Elvis's career, and so I decided to design a piece that would bounce off of that, conceptually. I chose to do a performance portrait to capture his look and style and the sex appeal he brought across during that phase. I'm sure I will do more Elvis inspired projects, but this first piece (combining image and text) evokes the spirit of an artist I've come to understand and admire in a unique way.
More Art coming soon!