Written by Amy DeCaussin
Director of Projects & Social Media
This is part two of a three part series on “Music & Productivity” – View Part 1 Here
When considering the topic of music in the context of productivity in the world of art, the first creative person to come to my mind is illustrator Joey Salamon. Joey spends countless hours in his studio listening to music while working on his artwork.
Bright and colorful, Joey’s work seems to look like you could almost hear the dance party going on in the picture. “I listen to music pretty much 90% of the time. A lot of my pieces have a lot of energy and a lot of color. Music that reflects those things gives me similar energy. A lot of times I will listen to upbeat wild songs that reflects how I work.”
Joey creates posters for music bands. The ironic thing about his process is that he usually doesn’t listen to the band’s music while creating their poster. He does this because he says he already has an idea of what he is going to create for them. He says, “In that process I still need the music to reflect the energy needed to create that.”
Pictured above is a poster designed for Matisyahu, a Jewish reggae, rock and hip hop rapper who recently played at the Marquee Theater in Tempe, Arizona. Joey flew out from his home in Detroit, Michigan for the concert.
Joey’s choice of music depends on what he is working on. If it something repetitive, like the poster shown below, he enjoys music that is more relaxing like Tyco and Delicate Steve.
When Joey is feeling energetic, he will listen to work that is more spontaneous and upbeat. He will listen to a vast array of music in different genres, one right after another. Joey will listen to MIA, new age hip hop and then switch to heavy rock such as Rage Against the Machine. “When I want to be influenced in different ways and be pushed out of my borders I will listen to them because I find that the stuff they are talking about is very relevant and important and not just something poppy.” Joey explains. Then he pauses a moment, “well I like pop music too.” Joey has an eclectic choice in music genres.
Shown above is “Beyond the Killing Fields” created in 2014. Below is a t-shirt design for Polyphonic Spree, a choral rock band from Texas.
Listening to music sparks a physical reaction to many which can inspire and motivate you. “Music connects with your emotions and psyche in a much different way than those who are playing the piece.” explains Dr. James Gerber, an expert in the field of music who will be the focus of part three of this blog series next week. The listener is allowed to explore and respond to the music in a free and undirected way. It is different than how the musician creating the work experiences it. This parallels the experience of the viewer who looks at the artwork–free to allow their eyes to wonder across the page.
I have known Joey since we both attended Grand Valley State University to study art. My observation is that Joey’s connection with music runs deep. We would be working in the studio and he would find a song that he loved and play it over and over again–a compulsive act that I also do in my studio today. It is like squeezing the energy out of a song and pouring it into the artwork. I cannot imagine Joey’s work without music.
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