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Saturday
Feb052011

Wall art for drummers

I'm a big fan of mid-century modern art. (Not surprisingly, that's also my favorite period of music, the era of classic Miles and Brubeck and other "cool" greats.) As a long-time graphic designer (in addition to my PR career, music career and other pursuits) I recently started designing art inspired by both the visual style and sounds of that era.

The art is now available as posters, canvases or framed prints here.

You can buy small versions that fit easily into open spaces in bookcases or above desks, medium sizes perfect for dorm rooms, bedrooms or other personal spaces, as well as quite large versions that can fill a wall. They'd make a spectactular focal point hung on either side of your own set in a studio or rehearsal space.

I have a pair of 12" x 24" prints framed in cherry hanging on a half wall in the office-loft space in my apartment. (I couldn't have been more pleased with the color reproduction, print quality, and craftsmanship in the framing from ImageKind, the manufacturer.)

A little background:

These pieces are inspired by a kind of wood veneer wall art that was popular during the 1950s and 60s. Artists would cut exaggerated shapes from different hues and grains of wood veneer and assemble them in a sort of basic marquetry (similar to mosaic). The pieces were mounted, usually on textured or natural backgrounds such as canvas, linen or fiberboard. The finished art was framed simply, usually without mats or glass. The subject matter usually reflected mid-century modern motifs such as exotic peoples, musical instruments, animals, ships and cityscapes.

While one-of-a-kind, hand-made original art made in this fashion was popular (in fact, my dad created art like this panel of three stringed instruments — which I adore — that hung in my childhood home), printed reproductions were popular as well. (The mass-produced prints of Robert Lyons are collected among mid-century modern fans to this day.)

I use high-resolution scans of various wood surfaces to create a sort of “digital marquetry,” drawing my images on a computer screen. (Right now I'm working on an interpretation of three tympani.)

Currently there are two pieces, both very close to my heart. (If you're a drummer on Facebook, you may have seen these ads.)

Sticks and Snare” is characterized by the minimalist composition and simple shapes that are common in mid-century art. It juxtaposes a solitary snare drum with three pair of drum sticks — more than can be used at one time — to visually represent dynamic bursts of rhythms.

Classic Drums” uses the elongated forms, minimalist composition, loose perspective, and overlapping and transparent shapes that are characteristic of mid-century art. It is rendered to reflect the Spartan feel of the jazz drummer’s tools. The elongated cymbal stand is both a graphic device of Modern art and a whimsical allusion to the wildly varying preferences (and debates) among drummers as to the “best” cymbal height.

“Sticks and Snare” and “Classic Drums” were created as complementary pieces to be hung together, but each print is available separately as well.

Both are available at my online gallery on ImageKind with a wide range of customization options. Personally I think they look best in simple wood frames to continue the mid-century modern look. But you can choose from lots of frame colors and styles, not to mention an impressive range of paper finishes and qualities as well as glass or acrylic glazing with various UV and non-glare options.

I hope you'll check them out, spread the word, and let me know what you think!

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