Like most kids who saw The Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, I was taken with them. They presented something exotic and new: the hair, the exuberant music, attractive smiles and refreshing personas. Their youthful talent and style was both unique and refreshingly genuine, and the right salve for a nation frightened by the real prospect of thermonuclear war and reeling from Camelot’s unbraiding in Dallas. Fortunately for the world, not just Americans, these young musicians were the real deal. Fads come and go, but The Fabs have stayed and the world is clearly better for it.
I was 8 years old when this polished skiffle-group played Sullivan and I followed them as closely as newspapers, magazines, and TV would supply at the time. There was a lag in communication then, the result of slower technology and gatekeepers, which has since changed. Then our imaginations were forced to work hard in wonder at what the group was up to between songs and LP releases. As I look back on that I realize I was surprisingly mature, at least in this one regard: I may have enjoyed their films with Richard Lester, but even at that pre-teen stage I knew that presentation of ‘Beatles life’ was fanciful and their real substance–dare I say their ‘magic’–lay in the art they created in the studio.
My art studies were just beginning as Let It Be played in movie theaters; The Beatles, as a group, were no more by the time I reached junior high. At that point I was some years away from the refinement of my visual storytelling skills required to consider teasing out The Beatles’ spirit in visual terms.
This Beatles ambition of mine finally got underway several years ago when, at a show of mine that featured several paintings of local musicians, a client and I shared our love for Beatles music and he challenged me to realize this painting ambition. The time seemed right and several studies were created as warm-ups for larger, more complex compositions to come. My aim was to cover different years in that groups’ development in at least a few studio scenes. Unfortunately, those big, finished artworks got delayed; as Lennon’s wisdom suggests it can happen ‘while you’re busy making other plans.” Now I’m back on it. Stay tuned.
Examine more of Brad’s work at Brad Faegre Fine Art