I listen to a lot of music when I'm painting. It can be anything from opera to 90s rock ballads, jazz to hip hop. Most of it just depends on the mood I'm in or what I'm working on; a lot of the times the piece influences the selection. I was listening to one of my favorite playlists the other day -- a lot of 1990s alterna-rock (a part of me will never leave that decade) -- and I started half humming along to Runaway Train. By the time the next song in the queue started, I was waiting for paint to dry and sang along with Collective Soul to The World I Know.
I realized several things: First, there are some dark subjects in those lyrics, which is not surprising, and yet it had been a while since I actively thought about the world during that time. Second, I had subconsciously been painting in nostalgic hues and melancholy tones, and didn't notice until I stopped and stepped back.
Growing up in the 90s, a lot of this music appealed to me. I felt -- like many young adults -- that these musicians understood what it felt to feel alone, marginalized and confused; some of the rawness of emotion and feelings of frustration combined with sadness and self-loathing shone through so beautifully in the melodies. Growing up as one of the few Asian Americans in the mostly Caucasian, Italian town, I still connected with with music despite the differences in cultural make up and outward appearances.
With my love affair with this genre neverending, I thought it might be interesting to layer in text of snippets of actual lyrics which influenced this painting. It's still a work in progress so I'm not sure how much of the text will be visible when it's complete. I also don't know if this is a completely crazy idea and if it'll just look very contrived when it's done, so I'll have to let this piece breathe and see where it goes.