Top 5: Musicians who Paint

One of humanity´s greatest gifts is imagination. Imagination is sometimes taken for granted, but it is a portal into other dimensions. To have an imagination, and actually act on your ideas, is creativity. Turning a thought into reality is rather extraordinary. The materialization of an idea, whether its a book, a painting, a song, etc. is what elevates our existence. Art is truly our only hope and salvation.

Creative people come in all shapes an sizes, but their standout characteristic is the fact they made something. Does creativity have to take only one form of expression? Of course not. So, below, in no particular order, I have compiled my top 5 favourite musicians who also paint. I have excluded my beloved (and my No. 1 in anything ever, Paul McCartney, as I talk about his art in my last post). I will leave writing (my other preferred art form) for another post.

Miles Davis

Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork

I have already written a post on how much I love Miles Davis and admire his talent. But seeing his paintings is a confirmation that jazz was his language. His paintings are like his music. Vibrant, free and a contrast between warm and cold tones. They remind me of Kandinsky, Joan Miró and his last album, Doo-Bop. I found an interesting interview he did in 1980 about his art. I think few people can do one thing sublimely, and only Miles could achieve doing two at his level. 

Bob Dylan

Endless Highway 1, 2015–2016. Acrylic on canvas, 182.9 x 320 cm.

Picking up from my last words, Nobel Literature Prize Laureate, Grammy and Oscar winner, and pop legend Bob Dylan can also draw a line. Now, let me be clear: if I ever write a post about musicians and writing, musicians and lyricists, or musicians and poetry, it will probably be only about Bob Dylan. To be honest, we could just call this website Bob´s Miscellaneous and we would have an endless source of marvel from which to write our posts. 

Anyway, Bob Dylan has been painting since the 1970s, and his paintings have recurring themes, like those featured in his songs: loneliness, America, the road, music and he even has some self-portraits.

Joni Mitchell

Both Sides Now Album cover.
Self-portrait

A favourite songwriter of many artists, Joni Mitchell has been called one of the greatest songwriters ever by Rolling Stone and many others. She has captured the hearts of many (myself included) for songs like Both Sides Now, Big Yellow Taxi and the fabulous A Case of You
However, she considers herself a painter first and foremost. She has done paintings for her album covers and started exhibiting her work around 15 years ago.

David Bowie


Child In Berlin – 1977

David Bowie was one of the most interesting, intelligent, well-read, innovative, and creative artists of modern times. Our hearts are still aching, broken by his early death in January 2016, just a few days after releasing his last album.   

He once said:

 “I really wanted, more than anything else, to contribute in some way to the culture I was living in.” 

 I think the spaceman can rest in peace. His influence will be felt for generations to come, and I think out of all artists. And I mean all of them. He was the most visual one of all. 

John Lennon

I recently had the opportunity to visit (and revisit) the new Double Fantasy exhibition in the Museum of Liverpool. If you have the chance, I highly recommend it, not only do you get to see Jonh and Yoko´s side of their story, (well, curated by Yoko) but you also reconnect with the visual artist that John was. 
Of course, art was John´s first love. Having been to the house he grew up in, Mendips, you see the drawings and sketches he made as a child. And then he went on to study at the Liverpool College of Art for three years, before going off in a different direction. 
There are many books on his artwork, and obviously, his love of art is what drew him to Yoko Ono who is an incredible conceptual artist in her own right.
What I like about John´s drawings is how innocent they are. They are playful, fun. I think he would have been a great cartoonist.

There they are. My chosen 5. There are a lot of musicians who paint, draw and how are also visual artists, and I am certain I have excluded talented ones. But these are the ones whose music and art I like. If I were to win the Euro Millions, I would probably buy one by Miles and one of John´s drawings. But all of them have an extra skill to fall back on.

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