Chad Smith’s ‘Parallax’ At Mr Musichead Gallery, Thursday April 21st 2016
Chad Smith is tall but looks like any regular guy, wearing his cap backward, a beer in hand, and friendly posing for all the pictures fans want to take with him. He hung out for two hours at Mr Musichead Gallery on Thursday night for the grand opening of his fine art exhibit ‘Parallax’.
So is Chad Smith, the Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer a painter, a visual artist? This is a bit more complex as this new collection is certainly a much more collaborative form of art than I would have thought…I must admit I knew nothing about this new visionary medium when I arrived at the gallery. I was wondering whether these colorful abstract prints, these fireworks and multicolor volcanic eruptions were paintings, but they actually are the product of a collaborative effort between Los Angeles art collective SceneFour and Chad Smith (as well as other drummers such as Guns ‘N Roses’ Steven Adler, Def Leppard’s Rick Allen and Stephen Perkins from Jane’s Addiction).
So before they gave us any explanations, I was trying unsuccessfully to figure out what the process was about, but then SceneFour artists and Chad Smith explained they basically make art using the drummers’ hard-hitting power and skillful techniques. This is how it happened: Chad Smith played drums in the dark using lighted drumsticks, while artists Ravi Dosaj and Cory Danziger took pictures using long-exposure photography. According to SceneFour, ‘A camera captures 30 seconds of the drummer’s performance in one frame.’ Then the drum movements are enhanced by some post-production done in the SceneFour’s studios… ‘Each image is heightened by increasing or reducing light, effecting hidden elements within the color channels and controlling the color spectrum to bring out the abstract nature of the work.’
And the results are amazing, the prints look like abstract paintings, which occasionally make you think about volcanic eruptions or animals like the blue one called Satan’s Butterfly. All of them were picked and chosen by Chad Smith who also came up with the evocative names: Balloon Man, Ghost Love, Girl In A Beaded Dress, Gondola Marlin, I’s Of Fate, Under Your Thumb, Watermelt, Eat It Punchy, Scream Dream, Soup’s On, Thirsty, Swanalicious (RHCP Anthony Kiedis’ nickname)… Sometime you can see a bit of Smith’s drumset or even his face behind the red and blue layers, but most of reality disappears only to be replaced by colors. ‘I don’t take pictures’ I heard Smith say when commenting one of these compositions, as if he didn’t want to enter into technical explanations. I guess this concept tries to visualize and communicate how a drummer feels when he is playing, and attempts to capture the emotion with the motion. ‘Everyone is different’, Smith added while explaining that every drummer has his own style of drumming. I took a look at SceneFour’s page, where you can see the productions done in collaboration with different drummers, and for example, the collection for heavy metal drummer Frankie Banali is amazing, all red monsters of anger, you can literally see the noise!
Partial proceeds from the sale of Chad Smith’s Parallax collection went to Camp Korey, a camp for underprivileged kids who suffer from serious illnesses and medical conditions, and this was another very good reason to buy one of these giclee prints.