When we talk about artists, we often think about painters, like Vincent Van Gogh or Pablo Picasso. But the world is graced with artists of all kinds, like singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, a legend in his own time.
Known throughout his career at varying times as a poet, rock-and-roll star, folk singer, working-class hero and family man, Springsteen has taken his talent in many directions. Although he may be best known for his lyrics — Baby this town rips the bones from your back/It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap/We gotta get out while we’re young/`Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run — anyone who has been to a Springsteen concert knows that his unique talent is rooted in his incomparable stage presence.
Legendary for his three-hour shows that explode with energy, Springsteen connects with the audience in a way that’s so close, so personal, that no matter how far away you’re sitting, by the end of the show, you feel like you know him like a close friend.
Whether he’s belting out Born in the U.S.A. while giving his best Robert De Niro grimace, crooning an elegy to Americana in My Hometown or plaintively pining for the woman he will never have in I’m on Fire, he pours so much of his soul into his performances that each is elevated to the level of art — art which can never be bought or sold or experienced in the same way before or after the moment it is created.
I painted a portrait of Bruce Springsteen not just because he is such an iconic musical powerhouse, but because I wanted to paint someone like Bruce who is, well, a bit intimidating to stare at. I was hoping that the painting would encourage viewers to pause, self-reflect, and find new ways to be accepting of others. The painting’s background is a throwback to Bruce’s Born in the U.S.A. album cover which also has red stripes. It’s also a nod to famed american painter, Jasper Johns, well known for his flag paintings. If you count only 48 stars in my painting’s flag, it was not an accident! That’s how many states existed when Jasper Johns was making his flags.