Painting skills from Band of Skulls

There’s no shortage of bands creating their own artwork: from John Squire’s Jackson Pollock-inspired artworks for the Stone Roses; to Graham Coxon’s haunting paintings on Blur’s 13 album; to Flaming Lips and  Daniel Johnston’s adorably mournful alien – the list is endless.

This is So Nice it Must be Illegal
This is So Nice it Must be Illegal

Another artist-musician to join this lineage is Band of Skulls’ Emma Richardson, whose first solo show of paintings will go on show at East London’s Londonnewcastle Project Space Gallery this week.

The show, entitled Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’, will feature a series of paintings corresponding to the bands first two albums. The eight paintings on show are split into two groups of works – the first of which formed the artwork for their 2009 debut album, for which Richardson’s paintings were photographed and digitally manipulated.

The recent works mark Richardson’s return to painting after a six-year break. ‘It took a while to get back into it and get the time and space to paint on that scale, but once you got going it’s quite easy to keep working’, she says,

You're Not Pretty But You Got it Goin' On
You’re Not Pretty But You Got it Goin’ On

The large-scale abstract oil paintings, influenced by Cy Twombly and Lucian Freud, use linen as their canvas, adding to the rough texture.

Richardson says, ‘I was working with composition and form, and the power of suggestion. A lot of stuff started off as being inspired by work in the life room at Uni [Richardson studied Fine Art (Painting) at Winchester School of Art], but with the bodies all piled on tip of each other – almost body-hybrids.

‘You can make out the physical forms but you’re not conscious or sure of what they’re doing – it’s slightly erotic and suggestive of that.’

Hotwire My Heart
Hotwire My Heart

The artwork for Band of Skulls’ forthcoming second album is the result of Richardson working with the designer Vincent Toi and the creative team at The PHI Centre in Montreal, Canada, who enlisted glass artists Cédric Ginart and Karina Guevin to make a glass sculpture inspired by Richardson’s paintings.

The glass sculptures will also be on show in the exhibition, alongside a large photographic print of the final album image.

Emma Richardson: Cruisin’ For A Brusin’ is at Londonewcastle Project Space, 28 Redchurch Street, E2 from 2-12  February

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