The Album Project
This exhibition is my tribute to classic albums that, for me, defined the 70s - iconic albums that helped to shape an era, a generation.
The response to my first ‘record’ paintings was encouraging, but almost always the discussion would turn to whether or not I needed permissions to do these paintings. I see the work as in line with my Still Life, combined with ’the idea’ of Portraiture, so it wasn’t something I had considered. I decided then, back in 2019, that I had to be able to answer this question - put it to rest - so that people could focus on what was really important - the painting, the music, one’s connection with it. I decided that I would only paint records that I had received approvals for. Thus began 'The Album Project'.
All of my work is tethered to memory, how it shapes us, how things common to us all, like music, continue to hold sway over us. I like that a song can pull out long forgotten ’things’ - memories that are attached to feelings, faces, places. Typically I paint Still Life, but it seemed a natural progression to go through my vintage vinyl collection and want to do paintings of the records I grew up with. I wanted to paint in the physical history of these records - the sleeves, the wear, the patina, the softened corners - the impression of the vinyl within pushing out onto the cover. All evidence of long lives these past 50 or so odd years. I suppose the lives of these records from my collection, run parallel to mine - similarly I am a bit worn, a few wrinkles - a reflection of where I’ve been, who I am.
So now, hundreds of emails later, many phone calls across the globe…I have connected with musicians, managements, labels, lawyers, estates, cover artists…I have been quietly persistent and genuine in my quest - from a nice conversation with Pink Floyd’s manager (while huddled in my parents car outside a Tim Hortons!), to fedexing a package to Jim Steinman (sadly, I was still in the process of seeking permission for Bat Out Of Hell when he passed away), to getting approval for Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Eagles, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Carole King, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Elton John (to name a few!).
Two years later I have the permissions needed, hard won, of the paintings that I love so much - the weight of permissions, now lifted, the focus has changed - though I know the question will still come up, as it is now part of the story.
Holly Farrell, 2021