Saturday, September 12, 2015

I’m Just an Artist

I guess there are times when the muse is absent
—but generally she’s close at hand.
If she takes a vacation, I do too.

Bernie Taupin

In his artist’s statement Bernie Taupin states “Canvas to me is simply the visual extension of what I have spent my life creating through words.” Best known as the rock superstar Elton John’s lyricist, it’s the narratives he can tell that drives Taupin’s expression in both his poetry and painting.
As he told Artspace’s Noelle Bodick “I’ve always thought of myself as a storyteller.”

About which he expanded upon with the Boca Raton Magazine statingWhat I do simply comes from the same place creatively and just manifests itself in different mediums. But, essentially, they’re very similar both in their intent to stimulate sonically and visually.
And whilst coming from the same place the process differs.

Which Taupin elaborated about saying “When I write, I write very fast. Ideas come to me very quickly. I write in the moment. I don’t come back to things. As far as songs are concerned, I work off of titles—you know, I come up with titles and write them on the back of a napkin.  If I’ve got a title, it means I have an idea, whereas that is not the case with paintings. The titles of paintings are sort of like handles—they are just a way of identifying things. With songs, I have a title, and the story comes under the title and that defines that; whereas with paintings, I’ll really give them handles, because I will finish something, and I’ll look at it, and it is really the first thing that comes into my head. Well, what does this say to you? And it’s like that with the newest piece that I’ve done, a multi-layered, modeling-paste-based piece called the Descendants of Oz. And why it’s called that, I don’t know. It is what appealed to me and what came into my head.”
It was in the 1970’s whilst on tour in New York that Taupin reconnected with visual arts though the abstract art at The Museum of Modern Art. He had been introduced to “the adventure within the art” as a child by his mother and her love of the work of JMW Turner.
But, as he told the Aspen Times “That’s when it hit me full-tilt, I would spend hours and hours in there just gazing at huge canvases by people like Anselm Kiefer and Hans Hoffman, and all those people were the people that inspired me. … It was so powerful to me that I knew at some point I would want to turn my hand to it.”
And when he ceased touring in the 1990’s and settled down in the country to the north of Santa Barbara in California he did just that.
As he explains “It was just a matter of settling somewhere that could accommodate my needs. I’ve lived where I currently reside (on a ranch in Central California) for the last 20 years and have my studio in a converted racquetball court that is large enough to cater to sizable canvases—along with my need for swinging room! In retrospect, I’ve never considered it a hobby being that the time I devote to it outweighs anything else I do… It is a million miles away from my musical association. It’s so radically different. I just don’t feel like a musician or whatever I’m termed as. I mean, again, handles are very difficult to get comfortable with. It’s like when somebody who doesn’t know me asks what I do… I just say I’m an artist.”

His current exhibition Bernie Taupin: Anarchaeology (an-ahr-kee-ol-uh-jee) is on show at Dallas’ Samuel Lynne Galleries

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