Here’s what the professional artwork of six local indie musicians looks like

Here’s what the professional artwork of six local indie musicians looks like

Broken Social Scene co-founder Kevin Drew reveals his debut art exhibition at Analogue Gallery this month. Here, the simple, strange and psychedelic work of a half-dozen local songsmiths

Kevin Drew

The Broken Social Scenester has dabbled in extra-musical activities before, directing a short film starring Cillian Murphy, plus music videos for his sprawling indie-rock band and its umpteen offshoots. But Skid Marks of the Soul, which runs at Analogue Gallery from April 14 to 28, is Drew’s first official entry into the visual-arts world. Each of the pieces features a pastel illustration and handwritten poem about, in his words, “years of knee scrapes, personal award shows, let downs and amazing almosts.” The result is a sparse, scrappy collection of pieces that could double as the lyric booklet for an imaginary Broken Social Scene album.

Kevin-Drew-5 Birthdays are Explosions. (Image: Kevin Drew, courtesy of Analogue Gallery)
 

This piece contains the most deliberate shapes and strongest colours of all the works in the series, which typically feature a lighter touch.

Kevin-Drew-3 I Respect the Western Winds. (Image: Kevin Drew, courtesy of Analogue Gallery)
 

This work, like many of the others, features a poem in the form of a run-on sentence.

Kevin-Drew-1 Forever is a Ditch. (Image: Kevin Drew, courtesy of Analogue Gallery)
 

Other pieces include repeating mantras, subtly interrupted by scratched out words or alternate phrases.

Sarah Slean

Slean is a true Renaissance woman: on top of the superb pop-rock for which she’s best known, she has published poetry, acted both on stage and screen, composed a couple of string quartets and created scads of enchanting paintings. They’re often simple scenes starring Victorian characters and quirky, comical motifs: a man whose head has been replaced by a clock, a piano that’s transformed into a top-hatted song-and-dance man, a robed priest standing staidly next to a cake topped with a burning cross.

Payback. (Image: Sarah Slean) Payback. (Image: Sarah Slean)
 

These characters, like many that appear in Slean’s work, are outfitted in formal wear from a previous era.

The Old Switcheroo. (Image: Sarah Slean) The Old Switcheroo. (Image: Sarah Slean)
 

This piece seems to be a spiritual sequel to its predecessor.

Doubt Fairies Visit the Philosopher. (Image: Sarah Slean) Doubt Fairies Visit the Philosopher. (Image: Sarah Slean)
 

Here’s an example of the clever, understated comedy that runs through Slean’s oeuvre.

André Ethier

As frontman for the garage rock band The Deadly Snakes, Ethier sang songs with titles like “There Goes Your Corpse Again,” “Gore Veil” and “Graveyard Shake.” The trippy stoner art he was painting at the time taps into the same grim fascinations, oozing with voluptuous colours and a hedonistic sense of humour that evoked Hieronymus Bosch. His newer, more pastoral pieces tone down the creepiness, but they’re just as phantasmagorical.

Andre-Ethier-4 Untitled. (Image: André Ethier, courtesy of Derek Eller Gallery, New York)
 

Ethier’s works often feature personified animals, like an owl-human-dog hybrid, a goat man and, here, a smiling sheep.

Andre-Ethier-3 Untitled. (Image: André Ethier, courtesy of Derek Eller Gallery, New York)
 

Ethier describes many of pieces as self-portraits—including images of a hippie Cyclops and bearded ne’er-do-well.

Andre-Ethier-2 Untitled. (Image: André Ethier, courtesy of Derek Eller Gallery, New York)
 

This piece from 2015 is among his brightest, calmest works.

Alexandra Mackenzie

As Petra Glynt, her musical alter-ego, she makes operatic art-pop steeped in percussion and tweaked-out electronica. As Alexandra Mackenzie, the multidisciplinary artist and OCAD alumna, she creates psychedelic pen drawings that burst with hidden icons and splashes of colour. Both her music and art are hypnotic affairs that demand prolonged examination. Stare at her drawings long enough and you’ll get lost in the curled fingers, tendon faces, mushrooms, planets and caves.

Alexandra-Mackenzie-FTW FTW. (Image: Alexandra Mackenzie)
 

This piece, like many of her works, could double as a page from an I Spy book: see if you can spot a teddy bear, tank and sarcophagus.

Alexandra-Mackenzie-Ascension Ascension. (Image: Alexandra Mackenzie)
 

Mackenzie often spends months on a single piece.

Alexandra-Mackenzie-Over-It Over It. (Image: Alexandra Mackenzie)
 

Many of her works feature faces cloaked in smoke or undulating waves of colour.

Tom Wilson

Wilson started painting nearly 20 years ago, while he was fronting the raunchy Hamilton rock band Junkhouse. Since then, his art has appeared in galleries in New York and across Canada, and on the covers of albums he’s made with his other bands: the acid-folk project Lee Harvey Osmond and alt-country outfit Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. His murals, created with an oil stick and pottery tool (and, earlier in his career, a jack-knife), have a few recurring motifs: celestial symbols; large, plain faces that evoke the sculptures on the front of Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell; and blocks of text that blend into the work.

The Mystic Highway. (Image: Tom Wilson) The Mystic Highway. (Image: Tom Wilson)
 

Wilson created this massive mural, an ode to Hamilton’s music history, for the 2015 Junos.

In this video, Wilson discusses the origins of his art career and his exhibition A Cast of Thousands.

Serena Ryder

Ryder hinted at her visual prowess during a Kids’ CBC slot years ago, but few fans above the age of six know about her side gig as a painter. Whereas her folksy pop is crisp and punchy—check out the raunchy lead riff of “Stompa” or stomping kick drum of “What I Wouldn’t Do”—her paintings are intricately textured and contemplative. She augments natural scenes with rich layers of paint and the imprints of leaves and feathers, which give the works a jolt of captivating character.

Serena-Ryder-21-Trees 21 Trees. (Image: Serena Ryder)
 

This piece belongs to Ryder’s manager.

Serena-Ryder-Untitled Untitled. (Image: Serena Ryder)
 

This unfinished work still includes a few of the feathers Ryder uses to add texture to her pieces.