KP Devlin, (b. 1971, US), currently living and working in New York, NY.
My childhood was full of wonderful things. Nurturing, supportive parents, who introduced me to so much – film, literature, world cuisine, and perhaps the two that had the most profound effect on me, music and fine art. Musically I was exposed to everything from Bob Dylan to Bach, Brazilian music to Buffy St. Marie and just about everything in between. The singer/songwriters were the ones that struck me most, especially the troubadours and balladeers with unusual and unorthodox voices. But everything left its mark, really. And as I would listen, from childhood up to early adulthood and beyond, I was left with a sense that all of these records would impart distinct, vivid images in my mind. I would experience this not only with rock & roll, but also with classical, jazz, folk and electronic music.
Throughout my family’s house were many fine art prints, framed and placed within easy view of a little boy’s eyes. I recall Van Gogh, Bruegel, Dali and Renoir, but I remember most fondly the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. Staring at The Garden of Earthly Delights was something I could do for hours, always spotting something new, something bizarre, something chilling, something hysterical. Beyond the wonderful, fantastical chimeras and other imaginative beasts and humans found roaming Bosch’s landscapes, were the landscapes themselves: wild, twisting, highly detailed and absolutely fascinating to me. I’ve always loved his sense of topography and will frequently have that in mind when painting my own landscapes. Often times when losing myself in these paintings, music would be on, often quite loud, strengthening the connection between these two forms of expression in my evolving mind. To this day, I find it much more inspiring to paint while listening to music, particularly vinyl records, which is what my father would have played back in the days when I was transfixed by Bosch.
From the early 1990s through about 2010, I was very active as a singer, songwriter, performer and recording artist. I produced albums for other people. I gigged in New York City, toured nationally and even had gigs around the globe, including some shows in Australia in 2001. I received extensive radio play on college and indie radio, both in the US and around the world, licensed my songs to films, television shows, commercials, promos and even a video game. While the creative process rarely eluded me, I would occasionally have bouts of writer’s block. During these periods I would always turn to painting to sort of shake things up a bit. I always loved the process of painting. The focus it brought me. The calm. And the fact that I could blast anything from Tom Waits’s Rain Dogs to Vangelis’s Heaven and Hell and it would only enhance the experience. I would spend two or three weeks completing a few or possibly several paintings (which I would usually end up giving away so as not to clutter my home), and then I would break down my easel, put it back in the closet and get back to writing songs with a vengeance.
So it’s all quite simple really. I take plenty of time to listen to great music and look at great art. And then paint or write like I’m freefalling into the “Hell” panel of Bosch’s Garden. If I’m able to produce anything that approaches greatness, then I can give credit to all the great artists I’ve studied and enjoyed over the years, and of course to my parents for introducing them to me in the first place. In any case, I hope you enjoy what I do.