Music & Art: Inseparable

As you’re probably noticed by now, the world around us has an amazing impact on who we are as people. And while this is true for everyone, it’s no wonder that artists seem to be a bit more in tune with this phenomenon, and use it as part of their creative process. The fact is, when we experience different types of sounds, they create different feelings, emotions, and motivations within us.

In fact, recently more and more artists have begun to talk about the kinds of music they listen to while creating their art, whether it’s a painting, drawing, writing, or performing, and how music and their art go hand-in-hand. Just read what Linda Riesenburg, a painter from Cincinnati, Ohio, told AXS about the influence music has on her art: “What I listen to can affect how I paint. I’ll never forget what came out of me when I listened to the Doors! The pace of the music, the melody and lyrics always play a part in my paint application and how quickly I paint. Music, like our paintings, is meant to touch our souls and help us enjoy the good times and endure the bad.”

Daniel Mazzone, a Canadian artists based right here in Toronto (and who many in the art world are calling the Andy Warhol of our generation), is known for his incredible works of art depicting musicians like Alicia Keys, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and Frank Sinatra. Daniel also spoke with AXS about how important music is to his work, and not just because his subjects are so often musicians: “Music can easily set or change what mood you’re in at any moment, which shows how big of an influence it can be to your brain, without even knowing. Music is always all around us. With everything going on in the world today, it can be a very dark place. I love the fact that music brings joy to people. This feeling can affect the way we go through our day just as how art brings us a feeling. These emotions also can reflect the way we feel and treat others. Music and art are extremely similar because both revolve around building an emotional connection with the listener or viewer.”

And Linda and Daniel aren’t alone in their opinions. All you need to do is look around at today’s society, especially in our community musical events, like festivals. With all of the choices for music festivals today, you would be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t incorporate some kind of art exhibitions into the festivities. While some might argue that it all started with the Burning Man festival in Nevada, the simple fact is music and art are forever intertwined. For example, for the last four years at San Diego’s KABOOM Music Festival, there have been all kinds of featured contemporary and public art installations. This festival has always had big name headliners, like Aerosmith, Fall Out Boy, Lenny Kravtiz, and many more, giving attendees an amazing chance to take in some music, and view some incredible art, in all its forms. One artist who has worked at the festival in the past, Camille Roman, said, “When I am doing one of my romantic paintings, I listen to love songs or mood makers songs by Enrique Iglasias, Michael Bubble, Robin Thicke or even country songs by Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, or Trace Adkins.”

And of course, it isn’t just art that has invaded music festivals; music has always played an important role in places where art is exhibited, like at the gallery. In every art gallery in the world, people browse through the pieces, generally thinking about each masterpiece, or quietly talking about it with a friend. As a matter of fact, traditionally, art shows have carried the impression of being stuffy, pretentious, or just plain boring to the general public. But add in a little music, and the whole setting is transformed into something that feels much more alive. When the proper music is paired with the art on display, you see something wondrous: guests moving to the music as they check out the art, conversations become more engaged, and not a moment goes by where people aren’t entertained, both by the sights they can see, and the sounds filling their ears.

Of course, while music is amazing for helping artists enjoy their creative process a bit more, or setting just the right mood at an art showing, one of its most amazing connections to the rest of the art world is its ability to inspire. The feeling to create that music can build in someone is hard to describe if you’ve never felt it. So, the best way to pass on the feeling would probably be to let someone who made their home inside that inspiration describe it. The aptly named artist Jason Humbly says it like this: “Whenever I find myself in a rut or out of basic ideas, I put on something I don’t usually listen to. Within minutes a new idea pops into my head as I try to create artwork to reflect how these new sounds/lyrics are making me feel.”

Music and art go together like bread and butter. Music is art, after all. And this article doesn’t even touch on the connections between music and performance art, which at times can be even more obvious, while also staying much more subtle. When you get right down to it, music and art, every kind of art, are forever intertwined and will live on in harmony for as long as there are people around to make it. They simple are a perfect match, one made in artist heaven.