Michael Cartellone, who, since 1999, has been the drummer for beloved classic rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, is about to open solo shows of his Pop art- and Surrealism-inspired paintings at two locations of Washington, DC-area gallery Wentworth. For the new two-part show, the veteran painter and longtime drummer has created works in four drastically different art historical styles, influenced by Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol.
“One of the things I had intended to do with this project is to choose four styles that I was not familiar with, and in essence, to deconstruct myself as a painter and put myself in a position where I was going to walk into a very unknown learning curve, and that turned out to be an amazing experience,” Cartellone tells the Washington Post. “I found myself having to almost start over, and push aside the techniques that I had been using all these years. But what that did—it enabled me to grow as artist, and it was just a wonderful experience that I feel has informed the way I will paint the rest of my life.”
Following the May 17 openings at Wentworth Gallery’s Bethesda, Maryland and McLean, Virginia locations, Cartellone will be heading back on the road with Lynyrd Skynyrd. But, as he tells the Post, he maintains a rigorous studio practice even when he’s on tour.
“I’m not throwing TVs out of the window,” Cartellone says. “I’m sitting by the window, painting… I realize I might be bursting some bubbles.”
While the lifestyles of the pensive painter and touring rockstar may seem incompatible, Cartellone sees them as fundamentally interdependent.
“It’s really hard for me to imagine one without the other,” he tells the Post. “They absolutely enhance each other, they motivate each other. And I’ve learned how to find the time to do both simultaneously, literally carrying a canvas with me in and out of hotel rooms, painting in the afternoons when I’m performing at night.”
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