Monday, May 26, 2008
Laundry Room Recording Studio, Seattle WA
In May 1996 I painted a mural at the Laundry Room Recording Studio. The studio was in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. The studio, owned and operated by my friend Barrett Jones is now in South Seattle as Greenwood has become built up with condos and Starbucks.
It started out as me painting a refrigerator. The front of the fridge was a big fat green buddha being served a hot pizza from a space alien. On the side was a busty green Kali dancing with cigarettes, booze and other vices. The Kali, Buddha and UFO were painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. All around the fridge I wrote the lyrics to 'If Six Were Nine' by Jimi Hendrix. Again, painted in invisible glow-in-the-dark paint, the letters were only visible when the lights were off.
Over the next month I continued to paint the entire studio, floor to ceiling...and then the ceiling.
The front office had a Pacific northwest, woodsy, motif. On the north wall was a Cascade mountain range with dancing Northern Lights above the snow capped peaks. There was a doobie puffing Sasquatch that resembled Homer Simpson inner tubing down a creek. In the corner was a little bug-eyed alien wandering through the woods and his UFO was parked in the shady pines. They both glowed in the dark. On the eastern wall was a full sized log cabin that incorporated the actual door into the engineering room as part of the trompe l'oeil mural.
In the cabin window a green Elvis Presley watched Jimi Hendrix play his burning guitar on the TV while another bug-eyed alien looked over his shoulder. They day after I painted the window scene there was a yard sale across from my house and there was an old window that fit perfectly around the Hendrix painting.
On the south facing wall a busty angel, monkey and smoke breathing dragon frolicked in a waterfall passing around a smoking apple. There was a lot of not so subtle marijuana imagery on the walls. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest!
In the back room where the fridge was I painted a massive snow topped Mount Rainier with a family of aliens flying in their saucer on vacation, alien kids sporting Mouseketeer ears. Barrett had a great green pot leaf neon that fit perfectly on the face of the mountain. On the interior wall I painted the back of the cabin with Robert Johnson picking his guitar. On the north wall was a heating duct that ran from floor to ceiling that became a tree trunk. The leafy branches of the tree spread up and out across the wall and ceiling. Beneath the tree sat Yoda and Christopher Walken, peacefully passing a glass pipe back and forth. Star Wars 20th Anniversary was coming up and I had serious Yoda on the brain. Barrett had just finished recording the soundtrack music for Touch, the Paul Schrader film. Christopher Walken was in the film and we all were fans of Walken so in fitting tribute he made it to the mural.
While the mural was being made bands were either rehearsing, jamming or recording. The energy from the live music added some serious punch to the painting. I always love painting rhythmically while music is in the background but what a treat to get to paint while musicians like Pilot, the Chauffer, Churn, Shawn Smith & the Foo Fighters were rocking out.