Friday, November 18, 2011

Robert Johnson (2)

Robert Johnson
oil on canvas
24" x 18", 2011
A hot news item recently was that some film footage of Robert Johnson was found. Everybody got very excited but the musician in the footage was to remain anonymous and was certainly not Robert Johnson, so was decided by a panel of both musicologists and people who actually knew him. There are only two known photographs of Robert Johnson; the one used to inform this painting, in the other–also taken while playing guitar–he smokes a cigarette (that was omitted when used as a US postage stamp). The proprietor of the Robert Johnson estate commissioned a video artist to animate Johnson's face using both photographs (cigarette omitted). The result is really pretty amazing, it looks like Robert Johnson is singing, the music to go along the video: Hellhound on My Trail. This is the closest thing yet to see Johnson perform on film.
The Robert Johnson I'm talking about is course the legendary, almost mythical, blues musician. It is a different blues musician, and much better known, than the Robert Johnson I mused about a few months ago.
My backyard is in the background of the painting again but you may wonder what that orange color is near the bottom of the painting. Well... it's cheese. How did it get there? That's a long story which involves an artist statement and schoolchildren from Volendam.

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