Manetizing the Spirit of Jazz

Some time ago I have mentioned my project for a new high quality fine arts printing company called Manetiz. I am proud to finally present to you the finished artwork. It is my first ever tryptic drawing, a three-part black and white tribute to jazz music. I worked with china ink fineliner and brushes to show a jazz septet, split over three canvas. Unsurprisingly, this is the artwork series that has taken me the longest yet, which you can see in the level of details.

The first part of the tryptic shows percussion, bass, saxophone and keys. It is called The Saxophone.

"The Saxophone"

"The Saxophone"

"The Trumpet"

"The Trumpet"

The second illustration, called The Trumpet, shows keys, trumpet and drums. Part three shows drums, guitar and percussion and is called The Guitar.

"The Guitar"

"The Guitar"

The Saxophone, The Trumpet, and The Guitar can be appreciated as standalone pieces or as a tryptic (the three together as a single piece) showing the full jazz septet.  Although I wrote part one, two and three you may have noticed that this order is actually arbitrary. I have drawn the tryptic as a loop, because jazz music is infinite. This means you could also start with the second artwork, then the third, and end with the first. Or start with three, then one, then two. The three artworks together form the collection Spirit of Jazz.

Jazz music is my favorite music genre and it was a pleasure to pay homage to this music. Believe it or the first recording happened exactly 100 years ago. A century old yet never dated, jazz is alive and well thank you, I therefore chose to illustrate a modern group, with a trumpet player, a saxophone player, a guitar player, a keyboard player, a bass player, a drummer and a percussionist. The spirit of jazz legends are represented as spirits guiding the young musicians, and also putting them under a lot of pressure: not easy to pick up a saxophone after John Coltrane, a trumpet player after Miles, a double bass after Mingus... Yet I’m glad some are courageous or crazy enough to carry on the torch, and even advance it into new territory. Two young performers, Keyon Harold and Kamasi Washington, are featured on an album I did the cover artwork for. They are extremely talented, the kind of young blood that pushes jazz to new directions. Both of them have just released new albums that I recommend highly. 

The framed tryptic exhibited at the Manetiz inauguration. More exhibitions to follow.

The framed tryptic exhibited at the Manetiz inauguration. More exhibitions to follow.

When Manetiz approached me and asked me to be part of their first collection, I was honored because they showcase renowed Swiss artists, mainly photographers. Only few other illustrators were chosen for the first collection, but you should definitely check out their awesome work on the Manetiz website. On the website you can also learn more about the special Manetiz frame, which is key to the final product. Each Spirit of Jazz artwork comes as a 30x30cm original or 20 piece limited edition high quality print in a tailor made frame, certified, and exclusively sold on their website.

But if you want to see what the illustrations look like on a wall, you can visit one of the upcoming exhibitions. The Manetiz collection will be showed in various locations in Switzerland and France, for instance in Montreux as part of the Montreux Art Galerie fair, from Nov 8-12, 2017.

When Crates Create Beat Tape

In my previous post, I introduced you to Oh! The Beat Nomad and my collaboration with hip hop producer OlogistBBB. At the end, I was writing about further collaborations without more details since it was a bit too early. Now, it is official, I'm proud to show you the record cover artwork I did for Ologist, with the precious help of my good friend Herve from RVPB who did the overall design.

Actually, it is not a solo album, rather a beat tape showcasing the instrumentals of a dozen underground hip hop producers from all over the US who joined Ologist, such as J Clyde also from the Better Beat Bureau who has worked with Pharoahe Monch, Ras Kass and Lord Finesse.

And when I talk about a beat tape, I mean a real tape ...

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Introducing Oh ! the Beat Nomad

At the beginning of the year, I decided to take on an Instagram challenge and do « A drawing a day » as part of my new year’s resolutions. Not an easy task and like most new year’s resolution I couldn’t manage to do it for the whole year. Yet, after 4 months, I had posted more than 100 drawings and doodles (you can watch them on my Instagram account). I am proud of this as I had never produced so much day after day, or maybe yes, when I was a child. There is nothing like daily training to improve your skills and even though I don’t post a daily drawing anymore, I do practice daily.

Among other subjects, I drew a couple of Alien characters which got some positive feedbacks from the IG community. Even though I am not a social media die hard fan/user I do like me some Instagram where I post drawings as well as some pics of my vinyl records. What I like most about this particular social media is that you can follow and be followed not only by friends but by people from all over the world who share the same interests (a bit like twitter but using pictures instead of short texts I cannot write as you can see judging by my blog entries:) And this is thanks to Instagram that I have been approached by a beatmaker called OlogistBBB, BBB standing for the Better Beat Bureau collective out of Norfolk, Virginia. He saw some of my drawings and liked them very much, especialy the alien characters such as the one below.

I had heard of Ologist and the Better Beat Bureau who are Virginia underground hip hop best kept secrets. He had released a tribute album to Gil-Scott Heron composed of samples of the late poet. Those not familiar with hip hop might think : « well, they do not come from the main rap cities like NYC, LA or Atlanta ». Think again, Virginia is a major state when it comes to hip hop and R&B. The State is home to R&B icons such as Pharell Williams, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, D’Angelo as well as hip hop producers like Nottz or Bink! who appeared on albums by Jay Z, Busta Rhymes, Kanye West or even the last and excellent Dr Dre album (Bink ! did the soulful « it’s all on me » beat). Ologist is actually close to Nottz and Bink! and has been active on the scene for years, releasing good old hip hop beats, reminiscent of the mid 90’s so called « golden age » without being pale imitations.

So, Ologist contacted me on Instagram and asked me if I could draw a new alien character for him, one which would be kind of his alter ego, a bit like Madlib did with the Quasimoto character drawn by Stones Throw Art Director Jeff Jank. So I drew an alien character dressed like a B-boy and a real hip hop producer digging for records and using a MPC, one of the cult sampler/sequencer used by the best producers.

Ologist found the name « Oh ! The beat nomad » and soon after released a first track using the character, a nice little remix of « Rememory » by Chance the rapper, Donnie Trumpet & the social experiment ft Erykah Badu you can listen here :

The track was mentioned on a couple of major music blogs like 2dopeboyz and it felt really good to see our little alien in there. Then, Oh! the beat nomad struck again with a remix of « ...gointohell » by R&B’s newest star Miguel, a couple of days after the release of his album. The remix was also posted in some high profile blogs, and Miguel himself retweeted the remix on his account to give it a good exposure (he has more than 800k followers).


And this is only the beginning of « Oh ! the beat nomad » adventures as Ologist is working on his new EP called « Numb3rs » and I have the pleasure of doing the cover artwork. More info about exciting future collaborations very soon... To be continued