Brian O'Neill(Born 1969)
Oil on board
16 x 12 inches
Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York City
Each one of these artists and her music featured in this painting has been a backdrop to my life. I love music and find that many of my ideas and inspiration come from song lyrics or the sound of a voice. When I learned about the theme of Synesthesia I became very excited at the chance to paint not only images of my favorite female singers but also capture in paint the timbre of their voices as I hear them and depict that with color.
I knew that the genre of Tromp L’Oeil would be a perfect fit to tell this story of powerful female artists in iconic imagery. Stevie Nicks wearing her classic 1970’s black top hat, sexy ballet top and shag hairstyle, which defined 1970’s cool-hippie-chick. When I hear her voice I see violet-blue, soft yet powerful, rough and cool yet deep, deep as a tidal pool at twilight. Lyrics from her #1 hit with Fleetwood Mac, Dreams, dance in and out of visibility across the painting, much like her legendary stage persona.
Tina Turner is pure power, pure heat and pure talent. Much like everyone else I became a fan during her triumphant comeback with songs like What’s Love Got to Do with it and Private Dancer. This was, of course, only a portion of her illustrious career and when the fantastic film that captured her life came out I was hooked and started learning more about her early time with Ike Turner and listened endlessly to River Deep Mountain High, which in my opinion is one the most epic combinations of a rock vocal and full orchestration; it is a perfect song. Tina did not record this with Ike and I think you can hear the liberation in her voice, a scream for independence. Her voice is fire and lights up the painting in vibrant orange as she shimmies, twists, and lets loose into the microphone.
Deborah Harry, lead signer of Blondie is arguably one of the most beautiful women ever in music or otherwise. She defined and created the sexy, sleek New York City punk siren. I met Debbie once in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC in the late 1980’s in front of a hardware store, true story! A few friends and I knew where she lived. We weren’t exactly stalking her but more like hoping really hard to see her. While standing on the steps of a brownstone she came out of the next building, we froze but quickly hatched a plan to follow her and buy flowers from the corner deli and give them to her. When Debbie came out of the hardware store, which in and of it ‘s self is a bit surreal, I called her name and when she turned and looked at me with her ice blue eyes I thought, don’t freak. I handed her the flowers we bought her and told her we wanted her to have a nice day. Debbie seemed genuinely moved and smiled as she said thank you. When I hear Debbie’s voice it is yellow, smooth and light like ice cream on a hot day. It only seemed right to paint her as homage to Warhol, king of pop and queen of punk.
These women are beauty, power, and talent and they most certainly: Rock.
Inspired by: "River Deep Mountain High" by Tina Tuner, "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac (Stevie Nicks), and "Heart Of Glass" by Blondie
BIOGRAPHY - Brian O'Neill (Born 1969)
Brian O’Neill’s work has been showcased in galleries across The U.S, Canada, Japan and England. O’Neill is a graduate of The Ani Art Academy apprenticeship program where he studied under the guidance of acclaimed realism painter Anthony Waichulis. Brian has also found success in both realism and abstract painting with his dynamic and expressive Organic Abstraction work that connects the living subject matter of his still life and figurative paintings and expresses them is a bold and innovative manner.
Brian is a sought-after instructor and teaches workshops and classes in his Rochester, NY studio in both representational and abstract work. His work has been included in three museum shows in the past four years with a Jurors Choice Award at the prestigious Naples Museum of Art for the Blossom 2: Art of Flowers Premier Exhibition, inclusion in the two year traveling museum exhibition of Blossom, The American Still Life exhibition at the Shreveport Museum of Art and most recently, The 74th Annual Regional Exhibition at The Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, NY.
O’Neill has garnered numerous international awards and feature articles in many of today’s top art publications such as, The Artist’s Magazine “An Artist’s Life” Sept. 2014, The Pastel Journal Magazine, Top 100 Competition 2nd Place Still Life/Floral and was featured in the magazines coverage of the competition with a full page article and image of the winning painting (April 2011 issue), O’Neill also received an Honorable Mention in the same competition, Artists Magazine Annual Art Competition Honorable Mention, The ARC Art Renewal Center’s Annual Salon Competition, The Artists Magazine On-Line All Media Competition Honorable Mention and a Finalist Award in The Art Kudos International Competition.
“My responsibility as an artist is one that asks me to create not because I want to but because I have to, I am driven to make work that is at the highest level possible and depict beauty as I feel it to be and describe that in a language that can be read by all people who view my work even if we have never met in person” –Brian O’Neill