The Universal Language of Art & Music | Behind the Canvas

Art and music feed the heart and soul. 

– Julie Garwood, American writer

 

As summer brings long days and sunshine along the front range of Colorado, abstract contemporary artist Jim Klein finds himself with many projects in the creative pipeline. The musical concerts and projects along with a short lull in painting have left an impression, reflecting on shared human experiences captured in various art mediums.

 

What are the current projects stirring up?

Jim: We’re expressing parts of my life story through music. With painting, that somewhat-autobiographical element has always been there, but this concept is directly steering these latest music sessions with Ian and Andrew. (We have an upcoming project in the works that I’m very excited about, but we’ll share more about that in a later blog.) These projects have me reflecting lately on how we connect to each other.

 

When we listen to a piece of music or study a painting, this can result in a special connection that we can experience with the artist. We may not be able to explain it but we will see or hear something, and intuitively know this person- whoever the creator or composer or the artist of the work may be – experienced it too; that’s connection.

Have you observed others going through this connection with your work?

Jim: In a lot of different ways across various works, but I see this often with my Cows series. Those artworks are very popular. And many artists paint cows… What makes a J Klein cow so different? 

I believe people respond to my cow paintings because they can sense that I know cows- especially those folks who come from an agricultural background. Even if these people don’t consider themselves art lovers, there’s that connection that draws them.

I find painting is a way to relive and experience moments in life. Just the other day I was working at my canvas when it hit me; a memory or feeling of “Oh my gosh, that’s where THAT comes from!” The past experience is alive again through abstract brush strokes and color.

 

There are so many experiences we go through in life that we pull from subconsciously: the good, the bad, and even the tragic. These become a foundation of what we draw from and share with the world. The magic part of this is we can share these experiences through our creative pursuits.

Art and music bring these experiences out of us while expressing them. Sharing these experiences allows others to understand the pain and the turmoil or the survivorship and the triumph of making it over the hill to the other side. They can relate to that feeling, without needing to know the exact story of how those feelings came to be.

It’s great! I get to tell stories of my life and no one needs to know the details!

That’s what I love most about art and music: I could listen to and enjoy Vivaldi’s music, written over 300 years ago- I don’t know the politics or specific hardships of that time. I don’t need the context of the dictator or prime minister of that year to fall into a Van Gogh painting. These artworks survive in a language that everyone understands at any given time.

I look at these artists and composers who had such turmoil in their lives, and you can feel what they experienced through their art, but the artwork as the result of this is incredibly beautiful. What we create will survive us. It’s one of the most important things we are able to pass on.

 

Do you have advice for other creatives seeking to connect deeper with their audience in this way?

Jim: Look back at what you’ve gone through and recognize that that is your bedrock- it’s an invaluable reservoir to draw from for your creativity.

It’s not always fun. Life has chapters, and sometimes it’s not a happy chapter, but there will be a better one later on. We have all these opportunities to draw from, we just have to look at what we have. 

As my grandma from the old country would say: “Work where you’re at.”

 

Final thoughts?

Jim: I was sitting in my recliner looking over at Long’s Peak and just feeling philosophical today.