We Love Music: Paint The Music

Photo Courtesy of Paint The Music

Bringing two different art forms together for one performance is Dan Fisk’s goal with his new Paint The Music performance series. The concept is simple: four painters are matched with a performance artist and each painter has the duration of a full night’s worth of music to complete the visual interpretation of the performer’s first song.

The idea came to local singer-songwriter and program organizer Fisk who was inspired by a story he heard from a DJ friend in San Diego. “I remember her telling me about a show that she did years ago where an artist was painting whatever he felt like during the show,” Fisk said. “He let the music inspire his art. I thought it was a great idea!”

It has always been something Fisk wanted to bring to DC but – according to him – it had to wait until he had enough time to give the project the attention it deserved.

Photo Courtesy of Dan Fisk

Fisk’s first Paint The Music event was hosted by Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse near Union Station on July 20. I’ll say this: If I lived closer to Ebenezer’s, I’d be a regular. Not only is the performance space top-notch as far as sound is concerned but the atmosphere and coffee is enough to keep you around for awhile.

The biggest strength to an event such as Paint The Music is that it brings two different art forms together into one performance. According to Fisk, “It can allow someone who is there for the art to possibly gain an appreciation for the musicians playing, or music fans getting turned on to the art world.”

“There are so many similarities between art and music, and this event really sets them side by side, letting artist and musician create two different pieces of art from the same subject.

Musicians Dan Fisk and Dave Mallen, Brian Franke, Jamie and James, Derek Anderson were all paired with visiual artists including Adam Chamy, Mounir Afrangi, M.P. Brown, Jennifer Bishop for the night.

There was a lot of talent in that room all at once too.

Photo Courtesy of Paint The Music

Photo Courtesy of Paint The Music

From ethereal landscapes to abstract visions and portraits, the visual artists brought music to life via canvas while the troubadours sang their share of stories. The young, musically powerful duo of Jamie and James stood out as far as overall performance is concerned but local veteran’s Franke, Fisk, and Mallen held their own all while setting a musical precedence.

“By far the most difficult aspect of the event was working on such a short deadline,” artist M.P. Brown wrote in an e-mail. “Each painting that size typically takes about a week to create.”

Don’t let the alleged chaos of the event deter you though. The painters had a plan of action. It wasn’t a run amok free-for-all on the canvas. For example: Brown’s art is heavily influenced by his surroundings and mood.

“Music is an integral part of my creation process and as such the Paint the Music event was simply a perfect pairing,” he said. His use of layered colors, shapes, and different textures all combine to create a visual representation of mood. “The numerous depths within each piece are designed to allow the viewer to figuratively go into the painting.”

An interesting realization Brown had after the show is that his particular paining for the night (one of Jamie and James) continued to evolve and be influenced by the other musicians and their sound. If that’s not a collaborative art project then I don’t know what is.

Fisk plans to continue the series after a successful inaugural show. His hope is to host an event once each quarter moving forward. The next live performance rumored to be in October 2012. Check back in with the Paint The Music website for more information.

Rachel moved to DC in the fall of 2005 to study Journalism and Music at American University. When she’s not keeping up with the latest Major League Baseball news, she works on making music as an accomplished singer-songwriter and was even a featured performer/speaker at TEDxDupont Circle in 2012. Rachel has also contributed to The Washington Examiner and MASN Sports’ Nationals Buzz as a guest blogger. See why she loves DC. E-Mail: rachel@welovedc.com.

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