This is a portrait of Son House. He was a Mississippi Delta Blues cat in the 1930's who became a huge inspiration for Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. He left Mississippi and moved to Rochester and gave up music. From What I was told his wife didn't want playing the "Devil's Music". He was rediscovered in the mid 60's and returned to playing for the rest of his years. He's been covered by many and been an inspiration to acts like Bonnie Raitt and the White Stripes. In the picture about I tried to show a little of my process. The painting begins with a layer of very dark grays to flesh out the image and then continuous layers are applied slowly changing from dark gray to the last layer of white. The bottom image is the finished painting.
The theme of this show was Rochester. What do you think about when you think of this town? I created the hand with the gun and titled it "Greetings from Rottenchester". I was asked why I chose this..well here we go. A long time ago I traveled to Toronto with Pen One to check out a graffiti festival called Flexbo. Throughout Toronto all these writers and graffiti crews were painting walls and delivery trucks donated by the city. We hooked up with an amazing group of writers and while we were talking one of them asked me where i was from. I told them Rochester. The look of concern on their faces was enough, but then they asked "It's real dangerous down there right? Lots of killings and murders?" I was kind of stunned that this was the first thing they thought of in terms of my city. It's always bothered me to this day so this painting reflects what we apparently project. On a side note, in the local city magazine "The City Newspaper" there was an article entitled "Rochester - The city of the gun" running the same week as the opening...interesting huh?