How Joe Satriani went ‘beyond reality’ with a new art exhibit

Joe Satriani has always demonstrated an interest in finding new and different ways to express himself creatively.

The proof can be found on his upcoming studio album The Elephants of Mars, due out April 8. He set himself the goal of setting a new standard for instrumental guitar albums, firmly believing there was room to be “much more creative and entertaining”. “

Likewise, he found himself wanting to deepen his own understanding of art and painting. Satriani has long been engaged in creating different art forms that have found their way into a variety of places, including his own album covers, guitar picks and straps, and even guitars. A well-received 2013 art book, Joe’s art, showcased a number of his favorite sketches.

But Satriani wanted to go further into more traditional areas and learn to paint on canvas, among other things. He enlisted the support of his wife Rubina, an art graduate, and then unknowingly opened the door to a great artistic journey that produced more than 100 pieces in the last year.

His work will now be presented at a art exhibition in collaboration with the Wentworth Gallery, opening Friday in Hollywood, Florida. “Joe Satriani: Beyond Reality” presents original canvas and hand-painted guitars.

The new collection continues to engage her love of extraterrestrial and space themes, while exploring more abstract aspects, as Satriani said in this exclusive interview with UCR.

Fans know that you have a long interest in art. How did you start?
[Laughs.] You must imagine that I am a young child growing up with two older sisters who go to art school. They have fine art degrees so there was art going around the house all the time. My dad was actually a good painter, although he never really bothered to get into it. But I was the joker, to tell you the truth. I wasn’t your standard kid who could draw.

I could draw crazy things, but straight lines and perfect circles eluded me. However, I was encouraged to participate at any time. We all created a lot of crazy art growing up. I just kept doing it and it didn’t really creep into my music career until The extremist album. I had a lot of free time. I spent a lot of time living at Le Parc Hotel in Hollywood while I was trying to finish the album. I was drawing all the time and eventually those sketches ended up in the album and the CD booklet.

Moving forward a bit some of my designs ended up on merchandise, tour t-shirts, things like that and then [guitar] selected. The guitar strap line with D’Addario/Planet Waves, and all that. We just started cultivating that. Then I got into digital art, where I would take sketches from my sketchbook. I scanned them, then I put them in the computer and I manipulated them. As an experiment, I made a book in 2013 and put all these drawings in this art book, just to see if people would react differently to seeing them in a book. They did it. It was really interesting to see that happen.

It is from there that [filmmaker] Ned [Evett] had the idea to create a video, and then from there we had the idea of ​​the crystal planet series. So it’s a good lesson on that, if you do something – I don’t mean, if you build it, they’ll come, but it’s kind of like that! [Laughs.] If you create something tangible, it has a chance of creating something else.

See samples of Joe Satriani’s art

When it comes to art, how far back does it go?
It actually goes back quite a bit. When we started, [Wentworth Gallery CEO] Christian [O’Mahony] had no idea if I could really paint canvases the way he thought was best. All I had was pictures of all these funny webs [of different sizes]. It was just things I bought at the art store that were on sale and I was just experimenting. He was really impressed with the guitar lines I had done.

We had made over 100 guitars with Ibanez, but they were player guitars. It was a very different setup to get these pro-grade guitars. He said, “Well, what if I bought 10 guitars from Ibanez and sent them to you, would you paint them?” I said, “Yeah, let me set it up with Ibanez.” Eventually what happened was due to supply chain issues, the only way to go was for Christian to retail online, 10 of the JS140s, the budget guitar, as complete guitars. So when they came to see me in these boxes, I had to take the guitars apart. [Laughs.]

Oh no!
You know, usually I would get a body and it would be totally cleaned and prepped and I would wear gloves, like I did for the Ibanez picture series, in a clean room. But instead I ended up in my basement with sandpaper and screwdrivers and drills and everything and had to disassemble these guitar parts from scratch. I had never done this before. I kept all the parts and I had to sand and prep the wood, paint them and I found a guy in Oregon, Jerry Dorsch, who did the sealing for me. He sent them back and then I had to put the guitars back together so that they would play acoustically.

But they are works of art. They’re not supposed to be the “take them out and go out and do a gig” kind of thing. This whole process really took a long time. Not the painting part, just the disassembly and reassembly. It was quite an ordeal. It started in October last year. It took a month and a half or more to be able to go through them all, because there is also time to draw, you know. Some of them had paintings on them that required a lot of drawing.

As soon as he got the guitars, he was like, “Oh my God, I love this. Can you do this on canvases? That got the ball rolling and I had to take a break for a bit, as I was recording the album. Towards the end, once we realized we were really going to do these gallery shows, Christian said, “Well, ideally, I’d like to have 300 pieces” and we were like, “How’s that going to work?” [Laughs.]

I realized I should have found a simpler style – like, three lines would have done it. But I said, “It’s what I love to do and it takes time.” We were able to do that. The mere fact that we have over 100 coins that he can sift through is really quite remarkable. I’m so grateful that someone gave me the opportunity to make art, because I love it.

What is your favorite piece?
You know, the last batch I sent, I thought I had reached a new level of summarization that I had been really trying to do for a long time. I did some really big 40x40s, and there were some of the summaries that I just thought were the best things I’ve ever done. So if you like summaries, you would be attracted to these.

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