Normal History Vol. 415: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

“One Woman” is David’s favorite song on Calico Kills The Cat, K Records’ third album release (1989).

“Musically, it revolves around two chords,” David explains. “One rises, one falls. The struggle between the two worked perfectly with the lyric content: one person’s efforts for change.”

Calico is filled with similar stories—various unique individuals’ efforts for change. Like the K Records site says, “This one’s got it all: love, murder, hate, frying pans, jealousy, prison, bullets, bonfires and a blue TV behind the iron curtain. Wordsmith Jean takes on the world.” And rather than simply being text in an advertising campaign (circa 1989), it’s evidence of the way I tend to infuse the music David creates with lyrics that are explicitly political.

The painting series I started a year ago isn’t always, painting by painting, overtly political, but since I’m known as a cultural activist, I feel a lot of support for what I’m doing, yet I feel pressure to make the paintings more political. Part of my project includes making a living selling the paintings in order to create, exhibit and perform my “more political” work as Mecca Normal, but I feel a sense of guilt at not having political art ready for every injustice as it happens—which is implausible at the current rate injustices are being hurled.

On Thursday I made and posted “political art” out of my “not always overtly political” paintings of women using an animated music video featuring my paintings in a Devo cover band. This got me to thinking about how art can be used after it is created to make “more political” statements later on. Also … political art can be funny. I don’t know what other people’s paintings have done recently, but mine have formed two cover bands and made music videos.

Sometimes people ask me why I don’t paint celebrities. Maybe it’s going to be more interesting to use non-famous subjects and see what happens to them after I paint them.

“One Woman” from the album Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989) (download):

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This entry was posted in DAVID LESTER ART, FREE MP3s. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.