Ladies Rock by Brian O'Neill - 16 x 12 inches Signed ani art academy synesthesia trompe loeil card ace portrait picture letter drawing chalk
Brian O'Neill
B. 1969

Ladies Rock

Oil on board
16 x 12 inches

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

Brian O'Neill
Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., New York City