24 Musicians Share Their Paintings

Music Lists
Share Tweet Submit Pin

So many of our favorite songwriters have found that there’s more than one way to scratch that creative itch. We asked 23 musicians—including Mindy Smith, Julianna Hatfield, Robyn Hitchcock, Joseph Arthur and Ani DiFranco—about their love of painting and to share some of their works.

9. TOBACCO (Black Moth Super Rainbow)
Born Thomas Fec, TOBACCO is the songwriter for Pittsburgh experimental group Black Moth Super Rainbow. He’s also released two solo albums.

When did you first start creating collage art?
It started when I started making music in high school. I needed to have album covers for my music to seem real, so I’d cut up polaroids and weird family pictures so every tape I made had some kind of cover.

Are you inspired by a particular artist or artistic movement?
Really just inspired by all the big, bright grossout imagery that was so big when I was a kid.

How does making visual art differ from music as a creative outlet for you?
It doesn’t. I’m going for the same kind of thing with both.

Where can we see your work in person?
For now, the music and artwork goes hand in hand, so it’s all contained in my records. I can’t imagine one without the other, so I don’t see myself doing anything else with the visual pieces. For me, it’s the main thing that keeps physical media so important.

tobacco-drippers.jpg
By TOBACCO

Tobacco-Maniac-Meat-cover.jpg
By TOBACCO

10. Trayer Tryon (Hundred Waters)
After releasing its self-titled debut, Trayer Tryon’s band Hundred Waters was just named one of Paste’s 10 Florida Bands You Should Listen To Now. The band just finished The Full Flex Express train tour of Canada with Skrillex, Diplo and Grimes.

When did you first start creating collage art?
My first painting was on a slab of concrete lifted from a sidewalk when I was 14.

Are you inspired by a particular artist or artistic movement?
The Austrian painter/architect Friedenreich Hundertwasser, whose name translates to Peace Kingdom Hundred Waters, where we found our name.

How does making visual art differ from music as a creative outlet for you?
At first very little; the music was just as wacko as the pictures. Since we’ve started the band a year ago, though, the music has become more aware of a listener, where the pictures still do whatever they want without question. That shift is a result of collaborating.

Where can we see your work in person?
Homes.

trayer1.jpg
By Trayer Tryon

trayer2.jpg
By Trayer Tryon

11. Hannah Hooper (Grouplove)
Hannah Hooper formed Los Angeles band Grouplove with Christian Zucconi in 2010. The band was named “The Best of What’s Next” by Paste last year prior to the debut full-length album Never Trust a Happy Song.

When did you first start painting?
Finger-painting in preschool, graffiti in high school, oil-painting in college, mixed media now.

Are you inspired by a particular painter or artistic movement?
I love Jenny Seville and Rembrandt and a plethora of other artists. I was also inspired by the grunge movement in music. Most of all, my brother Nate who pushed me to go to the dark side.

How does painting differ from music as a creative outlet for you?
Music is much more collaborative. It takes a while for someone to come see a painting in a studio, but when you’re playing music you’re sharing it with people immediately.

Where can we see your work in person?
Right now we’re on the road, so my art project is the band. If you come to our show you can see the backdrop that I painted, the album cover, which is a painting of mine, and sometimes I do live art on stage. Get weird. For older work I have some stuff on hannahhooper.com.

HannahHooper_nowhere.jpg
Nowhere by Hannah Hooper

HannahHooper_redondo_beach.jpg
Redondo Beach by Hannah Hooper

HannahHooper_youloveme.jpg
You Love Me by Hannah Hooper

12. Robyn Hitchcock
London-born Robyn Hitchcock has released two dozen albums, solo or fronting The Soft Boys, the Egyptians and the Venus 3 (Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin). Jonathan Demme filmed Hitchcock in concert in 1998 for the film Storefront Hitchcock, and Hitchcock appears in Demme’s films The Manchurian Candidate and Rachel Getting Married.

When did you first start painting?
I’ve been drawing since I could speak, probably before the first Sputnik left earth. Painting since the early 1970s. I’m better with line than with color, but I keep trying.

Are you inspired by a particular painter or artistic movement?
Bosch, Breugel, Odilon Redon, Munch, Goya, DeChirico, Max Ernst, the people around the borders of surrealism, who are seen as ambassadors of the subconscious. That’s where I am with songs, ideally.

How does painting differ from music as a creative outlet for you?
Painting and drawing take longer, and unleash fewer emotions in me. Playing the guitar and singing digs a deeper well into my feelings, and out gushes a performance. When I draw and paint, I’m always in neutral. But it all comes from the same place: It’s what’s going on in the mind constantly, but we mostly aren’t encouraged to access it. My father Raymond painted, drew and wrote, so we were encouraged to prioritize whatever emerged from our heads. My younger sister, F.R. Hitchcock, has a book for children published on September 6th called SHRUNK! on Hot Key Books.

Where can we see your work in person?
Nowhere yet, I’m afraid, Josh. I’ve lost track of a few paintings; I need to do some more. But I reach for a guitar sooner than a paintbrush.

RH-AsFaithfulAsAMummy.jpg
Faithful as a Mummy by Robyn Hitchcock

RH-GlassRaymondShip.jpg
Glass Raymond Ship by Robyn Hitchcock

RH-PrawnAmpDrFerris.jpg
Prawn & Dr. Ferris by Robyn Hitchcock

Recently in Music