Slam Dancing, Sword Fighting, Keystone Cops, and Painting…
For twenty years I have been dancing and painting behind live bands. What I have found out is throughout the performance the audience are creating in their minds several images before I finish. They end up doing far more work than I do. Before I am done they have created 20 separate paintings in their mind for every time they look back and pay attention to what I am making they create in their mind another image of what the finished piece will look like. Even after I am done, their different experiences and attitudes still interprets my finished piece different than my intention. Which is Awesome. The painting takes a life of its own after I give birth of to it. Paintings take their own life like children do and then you let them go.
I have done this in nightclubs on small easels, large chalkboards, and large canvases. Other times the venue could be in public parks and at music festivals. I have inspired someone in New Orleans to make a living painting large murals as he runs on scaffolding in a jazz club. Sometimes I get the next generation of artist to come up and paint these canvases with me. The youngest being 3 years old.
Dance Painting is great. I get to dance back and forth to the music and apply the paint as I go. Is it more dancing or painting, who is to say but it is definitely gestural… At times I have straight men or women paint with me. Once I had a model in a bikini pose for me. For two hours I would not let her move or almost breathe. What the audience had seen which she couldn’t was I was drawing stick figures which had nothing to do with her. Than at the end of the performance I painted her head to toe. Her boyfriend thank me the net day and I have heard she still treasures the shorts I painted her in to this day 20 years later. I also had another person I painted with who I shared the canvas with. We slammed dance and wrestled to get space on the canvas, painted each other, slapped one another with brushes, dropped kick a corned beef and cabbage at each other, and painted over each others’ work.
It has been a fun time. Keeping look in different venues and parks this summer, you might just see me there. Plus I am still hoping for someone to catch me painting and dancing at the same time in these picture. But for now, I can only hope…
For more info on Chris and his illustrated books visit www.salemhousepress.com. Plus you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to book him for your venue.