Long live live-painting

Makasi Seeko Siriwayo paints at Moogfest 2014. Photo by Jason K.

Asheville is no stranger to the band-and-visual artist collaboration. Here is a partial list of some memorable teams, past and present:

It’s hard to talk about live painters without mentioning reggae/slamgrass/psychobilly collective Snake Oil Medicine Show and artist Phil Cheney. Even post-Snake Oil (though the group did recently reunite at the French Broad River Festival), Cheney’s colorful, kinetic and music-inspired canvases have remained a vital part of the Asheville tapestry.

Rootsy, swampy, ragtime-y Scrappy Hamilton (who left Asheville and morphed into Americana rockers Truth & Salvage Co.) partnered for a time with artist Erin Hunt. Hunt’s illustration of the band can be found on a YouTube video for the 2001 song “Alligator Crawl.”

Keith “Scramble” Campbell was the artist behind the 3-D art that festooned the walls of Stella Blue (now Asheville Music Hall). He painted musicians as they performed at the H.O.R.D.E. tour and Lillith Fair, he contributed art to Woodtsock ’94 and the ’96 Olympics, and often jumped onstage with Asheville bands. “I use only positive colors and symbology,” he told Xpress in a ’98 interview.

Artist, designer and photographer Laura Sellers has live painted at local events like Gnarnia, Trinumeral and LEAF, and with musicians such as Futexture, Brett Rock and Medisin.

Andy Reed (aka Infinite Geometry) created visual art beside acts like Nas, Santigold and Bela Fleck, among others. According to his bio, he is “the continual live painter for Papadosio, The Malah and Zoogma, often touring with these bands, painting at multiple shows and festivals throughout the year.”

Melissa Kay Glaze, a muralist with Asheville Mural Project, has live-painted at LAAFF, Downtown After 5 and Flat Rock Music Festival, among other events.

Blais Bellenoit, the son of an illustrator mother and a guitar-player father, recently had his work featured in the Vision Lab Artist Development Gallery at LEAF and was confirmed as a live painter at Luna Light Music and Arts Festival in Pennsylvania in July.

Makasi Seeko Siriwayo, aka Seeko the Kid, is a graphic designer, photographer and sculptor as well as an illustrator and painter. He’ll live-paint at Blackstock Music Festival in South Carolina later this month; his art is currently on display at West End Bakery.

Painter Joshua Spiceland has not only had his art hang in galleries and on downtown Asheville walls, it has also graced album covers such as Antique Firearms’ Vicious Behavior. Spiceland was commissioned by Moogfest to create a chalk design and will live-paint on May 31 as part of the Visionary Extravaganza at New Earth in downtown Asheville. — Alli Marshall

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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