Lewis Rossignol is a Portland, Maine-based illustrator specializing in combining hand drawn and collaged imagery. His sketchbook-based body of work is an invitation to peer into someone else’s visually magnetic home and inner world. His characters, scenes and collages hover and linger, crawling, layered, beautiful and, at times, scrambled and bloody. The letters of text form scattered messages, broken whispers and compositional punctuation.
Music On Walls had the chance to discuss with Lewis Rossignol about his recent collaboration with hip-hop artist Tylor the Creator and the place that music has in his creation process.
MoW : Can you tell MoW why you chose to create artwork inspired by music?
LR : I grew up during the 80s and 90s before iTunes and streaming music, so I remember buying new tapes and CDs and being so excited to get home and put it in my stereo and listen to it for the first time while looking through the booklet at all the album art. I think that caused me to always think of visual art and music as intrinsically connected. I do a lot of portraits, and so naturally portraits of musicians was something I was drawn to doing. I won’t do a portrait of a musician unless I enjoy and respect their music, so all of the portraits here are people who inspire me in one way or another. The punk rocker piece was inspired after a few days straight of listening to Rancid and the Clash. I was just in that mood.
Tyler the Creator
MoW : Do you have a favorite piece between the ones presented today?
LR : Well the Tyler the Creator piece was actually commissioned by Tyler himself so because of that it’s special to me. How often do you get to do a piece of art commissioned by a celebrity that you love? As far as the other pieces, I’d probably say the Mike Ness piece is a favorite because I’ve been listening to Social Distortion for over twenty years and their albums never get old.
MoW : Is there any other specific words you’d like to say about the artworks presented today?
LR : Not that I can think of. I like to let my art do the talking usually to allow the viewer take what they want from it rather than what I tell them they should take from it.
MoW : Why is music important to you, in your life and in your art?
LR : Music is so important because it can control your emotions. A great song can cheer you up, bring you down, pump you up, make you cry. I don’t think any other art form can reach your heart like music. A song or an album can bring you right back to a different time in your life.
Billy Joel’s Glass Houses immediately puts me back in my parents 1989 Nissan Stanza Wagon on the way to my grandparent’s house in New Hampshire.
MoW : Do you listen to music when you’re working ?
LR : Yes I do. I recently got a new record player so I’ve been having fun searching through used record stores looking for gems. I listen to anything from punk rock to old country to hip-hop and almost anything in between.
MoW : What is the album you liked the most lately?
LR : I’ve been playing David Allan Coe’s Rides Again album constantly over the past couple of weeks. The entire album is incredible. Every. Single. Song.
But if I had to narrow it down to my favorite tracks I’d say either “The House We’ve Been Calling a Home” or “The Punkin Center Barn Dance.”
MoW : What was the last gig you went to ?
LR : I don’t go to life gigs as much as I did when I was younger. I hate crowds with a passion and prefer to listen to an album at home if I’m being honest. I think the last gig I went to was Hank Williams 3.
MoW : Are you a musician yourself?
LR : I wouldn’t call myself a musician. I do know how to play the piano.
MoW : How would you see yourself as a musician?
LR : If I could be in any band playing any type of music I wanted I think I’d be in a classic punk rock band playing music like Social Distortion or Operation Ivy.
MoW : Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music/musicians ?
LR : I’m always open to collaborate with musicians on album artwork. I had a lot of fun working with Tyler. I’ve had other big musicians message me about liking my work so who knows what the future will hold?