I guess, theoretically, the concept for this piece started on Christmas day 1984. That year, my brother and I were both gifted portable stereos and one cassette each. I received Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry and my brother received the historical Van Halen album, 1984. Since my grandparents’ house was only 700 sq./ft and in a small rural Alberta town, there wasn’t a ton to do over the holidays, so for the following few days we played those two albums until we could recite every song word for word. From the very beginning, before I knew the importance and lore of Eddie’s Frankenstrat, I always remembered that red, black and white striped guitar. The mere image of it almost symbolizes an entire era and genre of music in the 80’s.
When I started showing in galleries I almost immediately started getting request for a Van Halen piece. No matter what angle I looked at it, I just couldn’t get a concept to click. It went up in the queue and there it has stayed for years.
When I started the Rogue series last year, the intention was to do some music inspired pieces that wouldn’t necessarily focus on an actual portrait. It was here that my mind wandered back to the image of arguably one of the most famous guitars in rock n’ roll (a copy is even housed in the National Museum of American History). Once I delved into the details of this iconic Fender Stratocaster, I realized the Jekyll and Hyde properties (right up my alley).
From afar, the paint scheme looks exactly what a guitar in the 80’s would look like, but up close, it was another animal entirely and grittier than any guitar I’ve seen. To achieve a certain sound, Eddie literally pieced this guitar together from various parts (notably Gibson), not unlike Dr. Frankenstein’s monster – hence the iconic moniker, Frankenstrat.
Trevor "Stickman" Stickel specializes in musically based portraits that capture legendary moments, powerful ideas and raw emotion. His work is described as gritty-yet-fresh, complex-yet-simple. Graduating from a Jekyll and Hyde influence early in his career in which he divided his time between family portraits and design work on helmets and Harleys - Trevor had the epiphany to combine both styles while reading "According to the Rolling Stones". Two weeks later he finished his first canvas portrait of Mick Jagger that would thrust him into a different realm of the art world an aptly titled it "Please allow me to introduce myself".
The idea or "mission" behind my art work was to create an artistic tribute to something (music) and to the people (musicians) that have had a tremendous impact on me and basically shaped my world. Historically these tributes have been limited to photos/posters that have adorned the bedroom walls of teenagers and dorm rooms throughout adolescence. I wanted to create a style of art that brings these iconic figures back into our life, and do so in manner that we as adults can display proudly in our homes. When planning a piece I often imagine how the finished piece would look in a contemporary living room, dining room, lounge, etc.
In order to achieve the mission stated above as well as explore my creative and artistic side, the idea of amalgamating different artistic disciplines on the same canvas was born. The concept is to take my portrait realism and juxtapose it with a background that expresses my feeling and emotions of the subject I'm painting. This method also allows me to explore other disciplines of art - many of my backgrounds will include Abstract, Expressionism, Impressionism, Realism, Pop Art, Street Art, Surrealism and quite often a combination of these. This is where I get to enjoy the artistic side of these pieces as well as paying additional homage to some of my favorite visual artists. My work is a true collaboration of music and art where I take a very influential subject matter and combine it with inspiration from artists such as Warhol, Bansky, Basquiat and Pollock to name just a few.