POP ROCKS art show by Janet Sellers

These paintings are of the faces of all time top rock musicians, and their poetry in song and antics on stage offer an insight to the day to day songs of our lives. Each of these rock stars remains popular now.

The paintings are dynamic and graphic  from across the room. Each image includes  graphic clarity at a distance, but up close we see the ambiguity of who the person really was inside.

I painted these portraits for you and I to enjoy, and for you to have some fun with art and music. Truly, these artists contributed a lot to our lives, how we created memories, and ultimately, to our posterity as well as theirs.  Think of them as touchstones to the dreams we’ve made amid their artistry, and the courage we have in our lives today to be bold and beautiful and creative.  Enjoy the show!

WHAT MAKES IT  “POP ART” ?!   The pop art movement initially began in the 1950s, held fame in the 1980s, and still powers art today. Pop art challenges old artistic styles by isolating an image from its original context and reproducing it  in another medium for a new perspective, and typically features iconic images such as picture of celebrities.   Its bold and vibrant colors liven up any space and add an affluent, contemporary feel in the home or office. Following some decorating tips and guidelines for including pop art in your next room makeover will help you maximize the aesthetic benefits of the artwork and create a space that you love.

Freddie Mercury 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991

Artist  - graphic designer and clothing designer turned rocker


Bohemian Rhapsody: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p4MZJsexEs&sns=em

Born in Zanzibar and grew up there and in India until his mid-teens.  In 2009, a Classic Rock poll saw him voted the greatest rock singer of all time. He was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range. At the age of 17, Mercury and his family fled from Zanzibar for safety reasons due to the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution, in which thousands of Arabs and Indians were killed. Following graduation from art school, Mercury joined a series of bands and sold second-hand clothes in the Kensington Market in London with girlfriend Mary Austin. He also held a job at Heathrow Airport. Friends from the time remember him as a quiet and shy young man who showed a great deal of interest in music.  Queen guitarist Brian May wrote that Mercury could make "the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium feel that he was connected."Although he cultivated a flamboyant stage personality, Mercury was shy and retiring when not performing, particularly around people he did not know well, and granted very few interviews. Mercury once said of himself: "When I'm performing I'm an extrovert, yet inside I'm a completely different man."  While on stage, Mercury basked in the love from the audience.In his will, Mercury left the vast majority of his wealth, including his home and recording royalties, to Mary Austin ., and the remainder to his parents and sister.  Mary Austin continues to live at Mercury's home, Garden Lodge, Kensington, with her family. Freddie was  godfather to Mary Austin’s child and he treated that child as his own. 

Janis Joplin     Originally an artist, painter


Oh, Lord, woncha buy me a Mercedes Benz.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSxM8hMQh_I

Summertime (with Jimi Hendrix): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuD6KGTRoFw


Janis Joplin was originally an artist, specifically a painter while in high school. The family attended the Church of Christ. She began singing in the local choir and expanded her listening to blues singers such as Billie Holiday and Big Mama Thornton.  Primarily a painter while still in school, she first began singing blues and folk music with friends. While at Thomas Jefferson High School, she stated that she was mostly shunned.  She moved to San Francisco, met many alternative musicians, and even made music accompanied by Margareta Kaukonen on typewriter (as a percussion instrument).

After a wild and druggy time in San Francisco, Joplin returned home. Back in Port Arthur, she changed her lifestyle. She came to be clean and sober, changed her dress (literally wore modest dresses) and was a sociology major at Lamar University. For a long time she avoided drugs and any drug users, disallowed that lifestyle in her home, and remained clean.  And yet, living near people of the drug culture, she succombed again eventually. Time magazine called Joplin "probably the most powerful singer to emerge from the white rock movement", and Richard Goldstein wrote for the May 1968 issue of Vogue magazine that Joplin was "the most staggering leading woman in rock... she slinks like tar, scowls like war... clutching the knees of a final stanza, begging it not to leave..."overpowering and deeply vulnerable".

.Elvis Presley



Don’t Be Cruel; Heartbreak Hotel; Blue Hawaii;  Hound dog; Watch as the girls scream to Elvis then as girls scream to Justin Bieber now:

Don’t be Cruel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViMF510wqWA

Heartbreak Hotel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9BLw4W5KU8  Born in 1935, Elvis lived in abject poverty as he grew up; they lost their self built cabin when the father was put in jail; Elvis and his mom lived with relatives off and on until they got some public housing. - "I wasn't popular in school ... I failed music—only thing I ever failed. And then they entered me in this talent show ... when I came onstage I heard people kind of rumbling and whispering and so forth, 'cause nobody knew I even sang. It was amazing how popular I became after that." In the ‘50’s in Odessa, Texas, a 19-year-old Roy Orbison saw Presley for the first time: "His energy was incredible, his instinct was just amazing. ... I just didn't know what to make of it. There was just no reference point in the culture to compare it." Presley was known for being very polite and courteous in person, yet  his alter ego burst forth on the stage; we all loved the way he danced with his guitar and the way his eyebrows came down over his eyes  like a wild horse staring out into the crowd.

Jimi Hendrix

Interview “music gives direction more than politics”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=FQWpKrArhhE&NR=1

Playing guitar with his teeth - one of his flamboyant stage tricks:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFHPgoZlSWY 

Jimi Hendrix i, (1942-1970)s widely considered the greatest electric guitarist in the history of popular music, and one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Born into poverty ,parent alcohol abuse and violence, the shy child often hid in a closet. In kindergarten, he carried a pretend guitar (a broom) with him everywhere at school, and the school social worker even tried to get him a real guitar with school funds, but Hendrix’ father refused it.

In 1957, while helping his father with a side-job, Jimi found a ukulele amongst the garbage that they were removing from a wealthy older woman's home. The woman told him that he could keep the instrument, which had only one string.

 Learning by ear, he played single notes, following along to Elvis Presley songs.  In mid-1958, at age 15, Hendrix acquired his first acoustic guitar, for $5. Hendrix earnestly applied himself, playing the instrument for several hours daily, watching others and getting tips from more experienced guitarists] The first tune Hendrix learned how to play was the theme from TV, “Peter Gunn”.  Hendrix moved to New York to play music; producer Chas. Chandler met him there, then brought Hendrix to London, where his group the Experience was formed.

John Lennon

Imagine; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLgYAHHkPFs

Born in 1940, his aunt, Mimi, gained custody of John due to neglect. The stability of living with his aunt and uncle was still overshadowed by early life with his irresponsible parents and he was a school roudy, later always promoting peace in his work:

“Part of me would like to be accepted by all facets of society and not be this loudmouthed lunatic poet/musician. But I cannot be what I am not ... I was the one who all the other boys' parents—including Paul's father—would say, 'Keep away from him'... The parents instinctively recognised I was a troublemaker, meaning I did not conform and I would influence their children, which I did. I did my best to disrupt every friend's home ... Partly out of envy that I didn't have this so-called home ... but I did... There were five women that were my family. Five strong, intelligent, beautiful women, five sisters. One happened to be my mother. [She] just couldn't deal with life. She was the youngest and she had a husband who ran away to sea and the war was on and she couldn't cope with me, and I ended up living with her elder sister. Now those women were fantastic ... And that was my first feminist education ... I was a hitter. I couldn't express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace".

Tina Turner

(B 1939)

Originally studied nursing


Proud Mary song (2009):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqIpkMDRjYw 

One of the world's most popular entertainers, Turner (Anna Mae Bullock) has been called the most successful female rock artist, winning 8 Grammys and selling more concert tickets than any other solo performer in history. She has also been named "one of the greatest singers of all time" by Rolling Stone. Her combined album and single sales total approximately 200 million copies worldwide.  She is known for her energetic stage presence, powerful vocals, career longevity, and widespread appeal. As a child, she grew up in Tennessee picking cotton and strawberries to help make ends meet at home; later she moved to St. Louis, and attended Sumner High School. Ann eventually graduated from the school in 1958 and subsequently found work as a nurse's aide at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, hoping to be a nurse. She was later discovered in a nightclub by Ike Turner  and her first record producer said she, "sounded like screaming dirt... it was a funky sound."

Turner is one singer I took a long time to get to know. She was too angry, too brave, and too loud for me until one day, I personally felt the way her songs sounded to me. Angry, determined and resolute was just the thrust I needed  to move on from parts of my life that just did not fit anymore and weren’t good for me.  I thought, “boy, if she can move on and get up from falling flat on her face, so can I..” and I did. That’s when I started painting and teaching professionally.

Joni Mitchell

Painter/ art school

Woodstock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aOGnVKWbwc

Free Man in Paris:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXBba77U1_Y 

Both Sides now:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q4foLKDlcE

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTDEsT8kkMI

 Mitchell and her popular songs like "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Woodstock" helped define an era and a generation. She describes herself as a "painter derailed by circumstance.", a "two-block, one church, one hotel town," Joni's family lived without indoor plumbing and running water.  At the age of eight, Joni contracted polio during a 1951 Canadian epidemic. Bedridden for weeks in hospital, Joni became aware that she would have to move across the hall and live in an iron lung for the remainder of her life if her condition worsened.

"They said I might not walk again, and that I would not be able to go home for Christmas. I wouldn't go for it. So I started to sing Christmas carols and I used to sing them real loud... she bought herself a ukulele in 1957.  Joni's left hand had been weakened by polio, and some fingerings were difficult or impossible for her to execute. She began to devise dozens of alternative tunings that allowed her to play each song; the approach would be "a tool to break free of standard approaches to harmony and structure" in her own songwriting.

Lady Gaga


Poker Face: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bESGLojNYSo

Bad Romance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR18IIEwotk

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, (born March 28, 1986), known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, activist, businesswoman, fashion designer, actress and philanthropist.  "I am a real family girl. When it comes to love and loyalty, I am very old-fashioned. And I am quite down-to-earth for such an eccentric person," she insists. "I'm quite traditional in the family sense. I've always been that way”.

 Despite her affluent upbringing on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Gaga says that her parents "both came from lower-class families, so we've worked for everything—my mother worked eight to eight out of the house, in telecommunications, and so did my father.”

The "Lady Gaga" moniker is from the Queen song "Radio Ga Ga". "Every day..., instead of saying hello, ( the producer) would start singing 'Radio Ga Ga'.

Top 10 skills children learn from the arts

By Valerie Strauss , Updated: January 22, 2013

You don’t find school reformers talking much about how we need to train more teachers in the arts, given the current obsession with science, math, technology and engineering (STEM), but here’s a list of skills that young people learn from studying the arts. They serve as a reminder that the arts — while important to study for their intrinsic value — also promote skills seen as important in academic and life success. (That’s why some people talk  about changing the current national emphasis on STEM to STEAM.) This was written by Lisa Phillips is an author, blog journalist, arts and leadership educator, speaker and business owner. To learn about Lisa’s book, “The Artistic Edge: 7 Skills Children Need to Succeed in an Increasingly Right Brain World,” click here. This appeared on the ARTSblog, a program of Americans for the Arts.


By Lisa Phillips

1. Creativity – Being able to think on your feet, approach tasks from different perspectives and think ‘outside of the box’ will distinguish your child from others. In an arts program, your child will be asked to recite a monologue in 6 different ways, create a painting that represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children have practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future career.

2. Confidence – The skills developed through theater, not only train you how to convincingly deliver a message, but also build the confidence you need to take command of the stage. Theater training gives children practice stepping out of their comfort zone and allows them to make mistakes and learn from them in rehearsal. This process gives children the confidence to perform in front of large audiences.

3. Problem Solving – Artistic creations are born through the solving of problems. How do I turn this clay into a sculpture? How do I portray a particular emotion through dance? How will my character react in this situation? Without even realizing it kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. All this practice problem solving develops children’s skills in reasoning and understanding. This will help develop important problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career.

4. Perseverance – When a child picks up a violin for the first time, she/he knows that playing Bach right away is not an option; however, when that child practices, learns the skills and techniques and doesn’t give up, that Bach concerto is that much closer. In an increasingly competitive world, where people are being asked to continually develop new skills, perseverance is essential to achieving success.

5. Focus – The ability to focus is a key skill developed through ensemble work. Keeping a balance between listening and contributing involves a great deal of concentration and focus. It requires each participant to not only think about their role, but how their role contributes to the big picture of what is being created. Recent research has shown that participation in the arts improves children’s abilities to concentrate and focus in other aspects of their lives.

6. Non-Verbal Communication – Through experiences in theater and dance education, children learn to breakdown the mechanics of body language. They experience different ways of moving and how those movements communicate different emotions. They are then coached in performance skills to ensure they are portraying their character effectively to the audience.

7. Receiving Constructive Feedback – Receiving constructive feedback about a performance or visual art piece is a regular part of any arts instruction. Children learn that feedback is part of learning and it is not something to be offended by or to be taken personally. It is something helpful. The goal is the improvement of skills and evaluation is incorporated at every step of the process. Each arts discipline has built in parameters to ensure that critique is a valuable experience and greatly contributes to the success of the final piece.

8. Collaboration – Most arts disciplines are collaborative in nature. Through the arts, children practice working together, sharing responsibility, and compromising with others to accomplish a common goal. When a child has a part to play in a music ensemble, or a theater or dance production, they begin to understand that their contribution is necessary for the success of the group. Through these experiences children gain confidence and start to learn that their contributions have value even if they don’t have the biggest role.

9. Dedication – When kids get to practice following through with artistic endeavors that result in a finished product or performance, they learn to associate dedication with a feeling of accomplishment. They practice developing healthy work habits of being on time for rehearsals and performances, respecting the contributions of others, and putting effort into the success of the final piece. In the performing arts, the reward for dedication is the warm feeling of an audience’s applause that comes rushing over you, making all your efforts worthwhile.

10. Accountability – When children practice creating something collaboratively they get used to the idea that their actions affect other people. They learn that when they are not prepared or on-time, that other people suffer. Through the arts, children also learn that it is important to admit that you made a mistake and take responsibility for it. Because mistakes are a regular part of the process of learning in the arts, children begin to see that mistakes happen. We acknowledge them, learn from them and move on.

© The Washington Post Company


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