’Kerri Chandler – The Ghost In The Groove’
Pastel and Charcoal on Blue Canson paper. 2013.
Ben Brophy and Mialy Rama commissioned this portrait (the second in my series of Dj portraits) so that it would be ready to present to Kerri Chandler himself at Southport Weekender, Minehead in 2013 (together with a portrait of Gilles Peterson which was presented to Gilles).
These are unlike most of my other works in that they are photographically derived. i.e. the painting/drawing was made from an already-existing photograph, rather than being ‘witnessed’ and drawn at first hand as my ‘live’ clubs capes are.
However, in the selection and use of the chosen colours and materials, and the change of scale, the image undergoes a visual and tonal transformation. When I use photographs in my work there is always a question at the forefront of my mind….’Why am I doing this, when there is already a really good photo in existence?”
It has to be more reason than simply “copying” an existing image or “reproducing” it. Just copying a photo is pointless, boring and inauthentic, regardless of whether or not people ‘like’ the result.
The transformation in my painted version is the use of monochrome tonal values over a deep blue background, and using this excessively “unrealistic” colour and tone to build an atmosphere that is almost mystical in mood, and emphasising the spiritual/emotional aspects of club music and club events. The crowd of dancer-revellers which recedes into the hazy distance of a bright white light, centred on the dance floor is of my own invention, which further removes my painting from the original colour photo which inspires it.
It also impressed me, that in the photograph Kerri is actually dejaying with 3 vinyl decks, like a big train set with silvery-wheels of steel.
Something a little more than a “remix” was needed here in order to bring something new to the drawing , that was a development from but also different to the original photo that was the starting point.