From fine music to Fine Art.
ART OF ARTISTRY COLLECTION
'STILL TEMPEST' Abstract portrait of Iron Maiden’s drummer, Nicko McBrain. Inspired by his artistry and story.
Abstract portrait of Iron Maiden’s drummer, Nicko McBrain. Inspired by his artistry and story.
COLLECTION: Art of Artistry
TITLE: Still Tempest YEAR: 2022
SIZE: 22 x 11 x 1.5 in [56 x 28 x 4 cm]
MATERIALS: woodstain, vintage drumsticks, live edge cherry slab
Ultramarine, blue and turquoise waves, curl up to foamy asian surf. An actual hickory drumstick emerges from the stain-painted water while cradled within a thick hewn slab of cherrywood. A second drumstick crosses over the other, breaking the two-dimensional surface. Together both guide the eye upward into a warm uniting sun. Like the lines on a music staff, the grain shows through the stain, holding all elements together in harmony.
Nicko McBrain is best known for his drumming in the English heavy metal band, Iron Maiden. He joined them in 1982 and has been wowing aspiring drummers across the globe ever since.
When McBrain was about 10 years old he heard the jazz standard "Take 5" on his family's little black and white television. It was the Dave Brubeck's quartet, and the drummer, Joe Morello had a solo that sparked Nicko's great interest.
"It was as though God opened the clouds and said, 'here, have some of this'. It was a moving moment for me." Nicko was transfixed and told his Dad, "I want to do that."
Some of the music his parents played at home was Frank Sinatra, Oscar Peterson, Benny Goodman, and Nat King Cole. Swing and Jazz were early influential seeds. Nicko also had religious lessons in school as a child, but as he got older religion didn't play much of a part, "I wasn't God-focused".
Around 1998, his wife Rebecca was born again. She read the bible often, Nicko noticed and started to feel a pull. He accepted one of her church invitations but the service wasn't his cup of tea. Upon visiting a different church in 1999 he had a life changing experience.
The pastor made a call before starting the sermon. McBrain is adamant, he felt the hand of God pushing him forward. Bent over, his only thought was that this must be genuine because he hadn't had a drink. "Right then and there I gave my heart to God."
He's lived in the US for many years. Nicko has a personable and open-book personality. At age 70, he's still rockin' it with the band that is currently on a world tour.
This bespoke piece features a pair of vintage hickory drumsticks. One of which is embedded within the cherry wood slab —a visual expression of Nicko's early realization of his call within.
The slab has a hand-chiseled hewn surface —a natural aesthetic that shadows Nicko's habit of playing his kit barefoot.
McBrain has a keen interest in Japanese culture, noted in the stylized execution of the water. The warm sun is a dual symbol —a nod to both the Japanese flag and the play on words sun/son, for Jesus Christ; painted with woodstain on cherry. in Japan, the cherry (sakura) tree is a symbol of purity and abundance.
The live-edge is preserved on both sides of the Cherrywood slab. The phloem (inner bark) remains on the left, textured with hand gouges, enhancing the dimension of the work as a whole. Here, the cool blues rise to meet the warm reds, personifying unity in all things that make Nicko who he is.
The butt-end of the embedded stick is immersed in stain-painted water, representing McBrain's conversion to Christianity. The left handed stick is upside-down, mirroring his 'art of artistry' —Nicko holds his left drumstick with the butt-end up, to achieve more dynamic value in his playing.
'SMILE' A dual portrait-narrative of Charlie Chaplin’s process and persona— a nod to his life of creative artistry and song, Smile. Painted entirely in woodstain on a vintage, circa 1910 violin.
A dual portrait-narrative of Charlie Chaplin’s process and persona— a nod to his life of creative artistry and song, Smile. Painted entirely in woodstain on a vintage, circa 1910 violin.
Chaplin was a prolific "content creator" of his time, writing screenplays, forming choreography, composing music, inventing characters, and stories. Also teaching himself to play the cello, piano, and violin.
He was a left handed violin player. —Not only is the painting on the front a left-handed composition, but the actual chinrest has been purposefully placed on the right, for a left handed player; further personifying this dual portrait of Charlie Chaplin.
The front is a visual narrative specifically to the birthing of his 'Smile' composition. The position of the hands are directly derived from hands actually playing this inspiring music that has positively marked the music landscape for generations to come. The sketch-motif symbolizes 'concept' or 'process'. —Ideas are like lined drawings, they require a vivid imagination and creative will to bring them to completion. Qualities Chaplin certainly proved to possess.
Charlie was very much the man behind the scenes of his films, yet also the central character. Therefore, a portrait of him is on the back, yet obviously the main feature. Its 'complete' rendered painting is a companion to the 'genesis' narrative of the front. A metaphor of his work —from 'concept to completion', something Chaplin did repeatedly in the projects he brought to life.
The portrait is an original composition by the artisan. —Chaplin may have inhabited the Tramp well, but being such the creative force behind it, his real persona is not overshadowed.
The woodstained Chaplin on this violin is both him and the Tramp in concert. While the hat speaks to the Tramp, that quintessential curl transforms him into Chaplin himself right before our eyes —the created and the creator, the directed and the director.
The approach to this piece and the subjects, come together to celebrate Chaplin's 'Art of Artistry' in the context of one of the most enriching gifts he gave to humanity. —When the chips are down, in the discouragement, in the loss... it's far better to hope. Keep trying. Keep believing. And by all means— Smile.
COLLECTION: Art of Artistry
TITLE: Smile YEAR: 2022
violin - woodstain, vintage violin, spruce, walnut, ebony, and maple
bespoke base - walnut, kentucky coffee, pine, sassafras, woodstain, felt
front: woodstained sketch motif of left-handed Chaplin hands playing his composition, Smile
fingerboard: the expression and title of piece, 'Smile', in white woodstained script
back: original realist portrait-composition in woodstain of Charlie Chaplin in Tramp makeup
New, contrast stitching, built-in hydrometer, lush blue velvet lining.
violin - 24 x 8.5 x 3.25 in [61 x 21.5 x 8.25 cm]
in cradle base - 25.5h x 21.5w x 6d [65 x 54.5 x 15.25 cm]
Fine Art, non-utilitarian.
Digital devices fall short when translating colour.. In real time their understated elegance and depth triumph. All items have had previous lives. Substantial work prepares them as substrates, still some imperfections remain to honor their history. Cracks, holes, dings, rusted or missing hardware, splits, wax, glue, blotches, and more, are all part of their unique character and tell of its authentic story. Like an ancient tree, there is beauty in the aged and imperfect.