Musical Anatomy


Music, sound, breath, and instruments can connect us to each other powerfully yet invisibly. This art visually explores these connections between ephemeral music and corporeal bodies. I will continue the development of Musical Anatomy during my upcoming artist residency at the de Young Museum in San Francisco this June, 2015.


Ira Arca

Ira Arca
graphite on bristol vellum, 18 x 24″ (image 17 x 23″), 2015
Prints available

Interconnected Andean panpipes (also called antara/siku/zampoña). This music employs the hocketing technique: a single melody emerges from interconnected notes of different players. One row of pipes is called “ira” and the other is “arca”.


Drawing Series 1 (2009)

Musical instruments are prosthetics for body parts we never had. They can extend and transform voice, gesture, and exhalation. The mystery of their forms is matched by the invisible oddity of their sounds. But what if the prosthetics were unnecessary? This series imagines bodies with musical anatomies, referencing musicians from a variety of genres and traditions.

Musical Anatomy was on exhibit at CounterPULSE in San Francisco for an extended run from April 6 to May 11, 2009. Prints are available for all pieces from Redbubble, Fine Art America and Society6.

Adolphus

Adolphus
graphite on bristol vellum, 18 x 24″
Prints available

An homage to Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone, and Eric Dolphy, jazz multi-instrumentalist. Dolphy played alto sax, oboe, bass clarinet, and flute. He had a mysterious lump on his forehead which was lanced shortly before his death at 36. Dolphy died because of untreated diabetes, but some say he died due to the loss of his third eye. His last words on his last recording were, “When you hear music, after it’s over, it’s gone, in the air. You can never capture it again.”


Astor and Pollux

Astor & Pollux
graphite on bristol vellum, 24 x 18″
Prints available

Conjoined twins connected at the bandoneon (a free-reed instrument similar to the accordion and concertina). The faces are modeled after Astor Piazzolla, the Argentine tango composer and bandoneon player.


Dzavadzimouth

Dzavadzimouth
graphite on bristol vellum, 15 x 18″
Prints available

The mbira dzavadzimu is an African instrument with metal keys plucked by the thumbs and index fingers. Large hollow calabash gourds are used as resonators. Bottle caps or snail shells are attached to create a buzzing sound. In religious ceremonies of the Shona people, mbira music is used to attract ancestral spirits. This figure is an homage to the Zimbabwean singer and mbira player, Stella Chiweshe.


SATB

SATB
graphite on bristol vellum, 14 x 21″
Prints available

Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass, a four-part harmony. Somewhat reminiscent of the album cover for Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain.


Mr Tambourine Man

Mr. Tambourine Man
graphite on bristol vellum, 10 x 15″
Prints available

Inspired by the song by Bob Dylan. This character’s eyes are also based on Dylan’s. A time-lapse video of the drawing is here.


Ocarinose

Ocarinose
graphite on bristol vellum, 12 x 10″
Prints available

A many-nostriled ocarina. Ear and eyebrows courtesy of Frank Zappa.


Chanters

Chanters
graphite on paper, 8.5 x 12″
Prints available

Extensions similar to the drones and chanters of bagpipes. The face is based on an early 1900s mugshot.


Bassoonares

Bassoonares
graphite on paper, 8.5 x 12″
Prints available

The throat and nostril cavities extend into bassoon-like tubes. The face is based on an early 1900s mugshot.


Contra

Contra
graphite on bristol vellum,
9 x 22.5″
Prints available

Grandpapa was a contrabassoon (see Prokofiev, “Peter & The Wolf”).


Fanfare

Fanfare
graphite on bristol vellum,
9 x 22.5″
Prints available

A one-man brass section.


Jawharp

Jawharp
graphite on bristol vellum, 8 x 10″
Prints available

Harmonica conveniently located inside the jaw. An homage to bluesman Howlin’ Wolf.


Lady Sheng

Lady Sheng
graphite on bristol vellum,
9 x 22.5″
Prints available

The sheng is a Chinese mouth-blown free reed instrument, often made of bamboo pipes.


Spiral Trumpette

Spiral Trumpette
graphite on bristol vellum,
9 x 22.5″
Prints available

Inspired by the natural (valveless) trumpet.


Silence Is The Question

Silence Is The Question
graphite on bristol vellum, 14 x 14″
Prints available

The fermata (also called the birdseye) is a musical symbol indicating that a rest or note be held – a floating elongation of silence or sound. “Silence Is The Question” is also the name of a composition by The Bad Plus.