Celebrity Art Party is a semi-occurring feature, wherein the artists we enjoy interpret their favorite song. This installment features one of our favorite artists, and a long-ago former co-worker of mine, Jon Hunter. Hunter’s long been a supporter of the punk scene, be it around the Kansas City and Lawrence areas, or in Madison, where he now resides. He’s also the first artist to explain the process behind his piece, so check that out at the end.
Song title: “The Ramblin’ Boys of Pleasure”
Artist: The Lawrence Arms
Version of song (live, album, remix, etc.): from The Greatest Story Ever Told (2003)
Why this song?
The Lawrence Arms have always been a favorite band of mine and “The Ramblin’ Boys” is definitely my favorite song of theirs. The lyrics of the song just seem to strike a chord with me (no music pun intended, or is it?) every time I hear it.
When did you first hear it?
The first time I heard it was around the time that particular album came out so I was around 18-19 at the time. A bit of an impressionable lad at the time.
How does music such as this inspire you in your work?
I’d have to say that all music impacts my work, no matter the genre. Sometimes I like to use something that’s a bit out there to get into a different headspace or using something heavy with rhythm to set a groove to how I work. Stuff specifically like this song helps me get into the headspace of trying to take an honest approach to what I’m working on and introduce a level of emotion. Often in my personal work I try to work around themes of imperfections and sometimes emotionally charged pieces and a song like this really helps get me there. One thing to note is that I work both in physical in digital mediums. Music like this is more impacting of my non-digital work (usually pencil, ink, watercolor type work).
How has this song changed for you since you first heard it?
These days, I suppose it now carries a bit of a nostalgia factor to it. Taking me back to seeing the Lawrence Arms live or old friends that share a love of the tune. I definitely look at some of the lyrics a bit differently now as well due to experiences in my own life and how I relate to them.
What upcoming projects do you have?
Currently, I just finished showing work along side many fantastic artists at the Yellow Rose Gallery here in Madison, WI for the month of May. In the last year, I’ve started Drink & Draw events here, done flyer design for various local establishments, did the cover art for the Horror & Hope EP by The Havok on Polaris (Lawrence, KS), and began participating in the Art Nest events at The Cardinal Bar in Madison. At the moment, I am talking with a few local comedians about projects and doing flyer design for specific events. A friend in Lawrence is also talking with me about participating in an upcoming music/art show in mid-July. My biggest project right now is just trying to get my work out there more.
Also, just a little on the illustration: I chose to go off the lyrical content of the song, focusing on the a few lines from the beginning such as:
“A million times a day I try to fail or fail to try”
“I used to hear a lot… like the slow dull burn/ Of paper and tobacco and the bad breath smoke singin’/ Hey man, lemme tell you a joke./ Well what’s attached to a leash that it made itself?/ The punchline is the way that you’ve been fuckin’ yourself.”
“There’s proof painted on the roof and I hate it”
Basically, I chose to create few haggard ramblers and use alcohol as representation of failing and truth (thus the signs). Weird, pretentious art stuff I’m sure but figured I’d toss in somewhat of an explanation for the piece.
That art thing in Lawrence Jon was talking about is called CLASS // OF \\ ASTRA, which takes place at the Bottleneck on Saturday, July 18. You can find a bunch of information on it here.