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Steve Keene/Josh Rouse painting

12 January 2011

Store date: October 2003

Josh Rouse was undoubtedly one of the store’s favorite artists, from a musical standpoint.  He always sold well, and a large reason for that was that Josh’s music was frequently playing in the store or prominently displayed on the walls.  His songs were featured on six of our eleven CD Samplers.  I still count his Nashville among my most cherished recordings.

I met his manager, Chris Moon, at a Workplay performance in October 2003.  A week or two later, I received a large package in the mail from Chris, containing some music and the amazing piece of art pictured above.  The text on the board references Josh’s 2002 album Under Cold Blue Stars.  You can see from the actual cover art below that the painting is a riff on the final album art, or maybe it’s the other way around…proverbially, I am not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg.

The painting measures 7.94 x 7.88 inches and is on a piece of quarter-inch plywood.  The artist, Steve Keene, has done many works associated with musical artists, including the cover of Josh’s “Christmas with Jesus” CD-single.  His Wikipedia profile describes him as a proponent of “art for the masses.”  He is quoted there as saying:

I want buying my paintings to be like buying a CD: it’s cheap, it’s art and it changes your life, but the object has no status. Musicians create something for the moment, something with no boundaries and that kind of expansiveness is what I want to come across in my work.

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