Music Encompasses Decay and Renewal by James Freeman
Jasper Johns listened to jazz. So did Willem de Kooning, who wrote, “Miles Davis Bends the notes. He doesn’t play them, he bends them. I bend the paint.” Norman Lewis lived in Harlem and painted the jazz clubs and the music he heard there. Wasilly Kandinsky listened to Wagner and Schoenberg. Paul Klee loved Mozart, Bach and Beethoven and though he believed their greatness could never be reproduced in music, he thought it could be born in a monumental visual art of the future. Picasso painted the sets for Stravinsky’s ballet Pulchinella. Jean Michel Basquiat listened to hip hop and bebop, new wave and pop, and he believed Boston’s More Than a Feeling was the best song ever.
Music Revolution by Elena Kozhevnikova
The connection between music and visual art has always been strong and fluid, with painters inspiring composers, and visual artists trying to capture alternately the structure or the spontaneity of music. Of course some artists don’t listen to music at all while they paint because they don’t want the distraction. Van Gogh, for instance, felt it was important to “listen to nature.” And other artists want even more distraction than music can provide, they listen to podcasts or books on tape. One of the best painters I know used to watch the most insipid sitcoms he could find.
What about you? What do you listen to while you create? Tell us in the comments section below!