Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Studio Visit: Kurt Wagner

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 10:12 AM

James E. Prudent Jr., Kurt Wagner
  • "James E. Prudent Jr.," Kurt Wagner
Every time I write about Kurt Wagner, I feel compelled to skip over all of his musical accomplishments — frontman for Lambchop, half of KORT, etc. — and focus solely on what he creates as a painter, as if he never did anything else. Not because the rest isn't important, but because it gets exhausting to unroll the whole spiel about his life as one kind of artist before delving in to his visual art without feeling like I'm constantly validating the work through his music, or maybe even weighing the merits of art vs. music in general. I can only imagine how Kurt must feel.

But when I visited him in the smoky room that he works out of in a smoky recording studio in South Nashville, he was gracious as always, and it soon became apparent that it's impossible to speak about his career as an artist without referencing his career as a musician, if only because he hasn't been able to paint much lately because he's been on tour. And the latest Lambchop record, Mr. M, features one of Kurt's "Beautillion Militaire" paintings is on its cover. Clearly Kurt doesn't have the same difficulty unifying his creative talents that I do.

Some images of his workspace are below. A lot of the Xeroxes and ephemera that he works from became paintings in his most recent art exhibition at Zeitgeist (read two articles I wrote on that show here and here). Kurt says he'll be spending the majority of the summer on his art, and I've already planned another visit to his studio at the end of the season to check in on his progress. Stay tuned.

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