When I sat down to write this blog post I was in a very cheeky mood. So cheeky in fact, that instead of writing the usual post I took the opportunity to shake things up and discuss the two great passions of my life – old school music and drawing.
My love for both stirred at a young age. From crayon to pencil to fine liner, growing up I was never empty-handed. My music taste on the other hand (lols), is something I cannot take credit for. My father is by far the most passionate man I know; he has been collecting records since he was 14 years old and has been patiently waiting for his children to catch the music bug. Luckily, we ALL did.
But enough about me, let’s delve into the much anticipated debate on why old school music and drawing is the shit (I warned you about the cheekiness). When listening to music created in the past you will find that there’s always a story behind the lyrics of each song; stories that stemmed from the emotions and experiences of the writer. From as far back as our great grandmothers can remember music has been an outlet for people who were suppressed emotionally, mentally and physically. The blues originated from swamp music sung by slaves in the depths of America; their emotions deeply etched into the music they made.
This influenced some of the greatest musicians of all time including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Cash and Little Richard, who went on to influence the likes of the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Many bands in the 60s and 70s made it their mantra to create music that inspired change and enlightenment of political issues, as well as strived to break down the rules and regulations of the government. This sparked life into an entire generation; musicians and fans alike came together to say a metaphorical “fuck you” to the government through the medium of music. You can almost hear the zap signs in songs like “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Freddie Mercury written about the everyday struggles of coping with life, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Ohio” as well as Crosby’s blunt “Almost Cut My Hair”, written about embracing who you are and going against expectations. Two more important songs of that time are Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” about the Sunset Strip hippies who fought the police over a new night curfew, and Martha and the Vandella’s “Dancin’ in the Street”, written by Marvin Gaye, William “Mickey” Stevenson and Ivy Jo hunter about the love of music and how it brings people together. Old school music is the shit because musicians from the 1900s all the way to the 1980s incorporated emotions and REAL subject matter into their music, a common thread that sadly seems to be missing in the music of today.
Something else that thrives on the accurate use of subject matter is drawing. I am a firm believer that if your subject matter is on point, your drawing is too. As you can see below, I tend to mash up my two passions into one big blob; I just can’t seem to stop drawing my favourite musicians (I mean, is there anything better to draw that Keith Richard’s face?). Drawing is the shit because it transports you to a place where nothing else in the world exists besides what you are sketching in that very moment; not only does it allow you to practice great attention to detail, it opens your mind to acknowledging and appreciating things that most people cannot see. An orange is not just an orange; your eye focuses on where the light lies and the shadows hide. If you can apply this same attention to detail to your design process you are literally winning at life.
I am incredibly fortunate to work in an environment that not only shares these two passions of mine but also promotes them with personal growth (and personal music taste) in mind. Just the other day I was introduced to Terry Reid (holy crap) and learned different drawing techniques, and I will continue to learn for many, many years to come.
That, my friends, is the final (and let’s face it discussion-ending) reason why my passions are THE SHIT.
Written by Jo Abendanon – Junior Graphic Designer