Psurfin’ Psycho – Collage It, Man!

Did you know that I play music? That’s right. I play guitar in a surf/garage band, called Forbidden Waves. Although drums are my main forte in the realm of music, over the years I have been playing more and more guitar. My brother is a multi-instrumentalist, with guitar being his main instrument and always encouraged me to pick up other instruments. Being a visual artist, I am the one that creates and designs all the fliers, Facebook events, our logo, album artwork, etc. Swing by our website and you can check out the music as well as some of my “other” art.

Tonight we are hosting our album release party for our new album, “Tiki Torture” at The Caledonia Lounge. The album artwork was a bit of a challenge at first. I had a basic idea of a psychedelic surreal scene with a volcano and a tiki man being held over an open crack in the earth. This was a challenge, because the style I had in my head isn’t really my realm with painting, but I knew this is what I wanted for the band. I had started painting it out on a big wood panel and although parts of it were looking well most of it was not coming together. Especially the text.

Oh man, text is the absolute hardest for me. I have always had poor handwriting (I think this is why I love computer fonts so much) I was in the middle of the painting, struggling pretty hard. I sat back in my stool to ponder what the painting was doing and my mind wondered back to some of my old band flyers that I had made using collage. Then it hit me: “Collage it, man!” What a relief! Not that collage is an easy form of art per se, but it definitely takes the stress out of painting tiny letters with a one-hair brush for this one guy.

Off to the local thrift store I went. I bee-lined it to the magazine section and low and behold I found stacks of National Geographic, National Geographic World (from the 1980s), and 3-2-1 Contact issues. It was very serendipitous. I purchased the stacks and immediately went home to begin working on the new approach. The x-acto knife ready with a fresh package of blades, acrylic gel medium for the glue and some nice bristol to place all the elements.

Hours upon hours were exhausted scouring through the magazines to find the perfect tiki mask, the perfect bat, the perfect palm tree, etc. For the crack in the earth, I created it all out of a full spread page of a sunset full of yellows, oranges, and reds. I supplemented some elements of the collage by using some of my vintage National Geographic and Life magazines that I already owned.

There was some trouble finding a good basic background for the landscape. So I decided I would just paint it using washes of colors. Another epiphany came over me which was to make all of the artwork mixed-media. Supplementing the collage with paint strokes here and there would give it a little more vigor and life to this surreal scene. Eventually it came time for the text although I was slightly fearing it, I realized that I was not going to be able to find the exact letters for all of the text that way I wanted it, to be sure, I am not really a fan of the serial killer cut-out letters message. This is where technology came into play and I added the text using the computer while tweaking it a bit to not be “harsh” against the raw imagery.

All in all this was a wonderful experience and gave me a chance to revisit some of my past techniques for art-making as well as some possible new ideas for future art. Check out the featured image in this post which is the finalized cover for the album and let me know what you think? Comment below to let me know what other elements you think were painted, collaged, and digitally created.

featured image:
“Tiki Torture”
album art for Forbidden Waves

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