A painting is music you can see, and music is a painting you can hear.
— Miles Davis
Man, you should hear the painting in this incredible book! But what else would you expect from Miles Davis?
One of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, Davis was a man of many talents. Around 1980, he turned to sketching and painting to, as he explained, keep his "mind occupied with something when [he was] not playing music."
This hobby quickly turned into a serious passion, and Davis approached it with the same obsessive creativity he applied to music. The result is an impressive archive of unique and evocative visual work showcasing the varied skill of this legendary artist.
Throughout the 1980s, Davis studied regularly with New York painter Jo Gelbard, developing a distinct graphic style. Incorporating bright colors and geometric shapes, his art is reminiscent of work by Pablo Picasso as well as African tribal art, the historical influences he cited during occasional interviews on the subject.
Author Scott Gutterman sat down with Miles Davis himself before he died in 1991, and the artist's own commentary accompanies this newly published, remarkable showcase of his work.
Sadly, very few of his pieces were exhibited during Miles Davis's lifetime. Over the last two decades, the Estate of Miles Davis has worked with gallery owners and private parties to assemble a comprehensive collection of the musician's artwork.
Many celebrities are among the most adamant collectors, including Quincy Jones, who offers the Foreword to the book. Davis' daughter, Cheryl writer the Afterward.
In November, the City of Los Angeles presented members of Davis' family with a proclamation in recognition of Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork.
This long-overdue celebration is a treasure for art lovers as well as music aficionados who will appreciate the window into the life of this creative genius.
Listen to this great Tavis Smiley interview with Miles son, Erin, and his nephew, Vincent Wilburn, Jr. about Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork.
So. Very. Cool!
Be sure to scroll to the very bottom of this page and check out the review by James Neel, composer, musician, graduate of the University of North Texas' famous jazz school and a true Milesophile. Just a taste: "Over two hundred pages of gorgeous art, art, art, push Miles Davis further up and beyond his legendary perch overlooking his peers...The pages sing. They are structured improvisations."
- Scott Gutterman writes about music and art for Vogue, Artforum, The New Yorker, GQ, and other publications. He is the deputy director of the Neue Galerie New York. He lives in New York City.
Quincy Jones is an American record producer, conductor, arranger, film composer, television producer, and trumpeter. He lives in Los Angeles.
Vince Wilburn, Jr. is the nephew of Miles Davis. He lives in Los Angeles. Erin Davis is Miles Davis' son and Cheryl Davis is Miles Davis' daughter. They live in Los Angeles and Henderson, NV, respectively.