We’ve had enjoyable on the expense of the multi-hyphenate: i.e. “I’m an actor-slash-drummer-slash-makeup-artist-slash-brand-ambassador,” and so on…. And, truthful sufficient. Few individuals are adequate at their one job to fairly excel at two or three, proper? However then once more, we stay within the type of hyperspecialized world Henry Ford might solely dream of, and take into account ourselves extremely favored if we’re allowed to be simply the one factor lengthy sufficient to retire and do nothing.
What if we might have a number of identities with out being considered unserious, eccentric, or mentally in poor health?
Discussions of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd’s founding singer and guitarist, by no means go irrespective of his psychological sickness and abrupt disappearance from the stage. However in addition they hardly ever have interaction with Barrett as an artist post-Pink Floyd: particularly, his two underrated solo albums; and his output as a painter, the medium by which he started his profession and to which he returned for the final thirty years of his life.
If Barrett had been allowed a task apart from loopy diamond (a task, we should enable, assigned to him by his former bandmates), we’d see extra of his work in gallery collections and exhibitions. One can not say this about each well-known musician who paints. For Barrett, artwork was not a interest, and it referred to as to him earlier than music. It was in his scholar days at Cambridgeshire Faculty of Arts and Expertise that he met David Gilmour. From Cambridge he moved to Camberwell Faculty of Arts in London and started to supply and exhibit mature scholar work (see right here).
Barrett’s work “reveals a number of the benefits of an artwork faculty coaching,” wrote a reviewer of a 1964 exhibition. “He’s already displaying himself a delicate handler of oil paint who correctly limits his palette to achieve richness and density.” (Barrett had displayed a prodigious early expertise for attaining these qualities in watercolor — see, for instance, an spectacular, impressionistic still-life of orange dahlias, auctioned off in 2021, made when the artist was solely 15.)
His coaching gave him the arrogance to interrupt away from formal workout routines throughout this era and experiment with completely different kinds and topics, from the disturbing, primitivist Lions to the hollow-eyed, Munch-like Portrait of a Woman. Barrett’s first scholar interval ended within the mid-sixties, as Pink Floyd started to take off and Barrett “become a songwriter” (then-manager Andrew King later wrote) “it appeared like in a single day.”
After his spell with Pink Floyd and temporary solo recording profession got here to an finish, Barrett moved again to Cambridge along with his mom in 1978, dropped the nickname “Syd” and started portray once more as Roger Barrett, avoiding any point out of life in music. From that yr till he died, he labored in a number of kinds and completely different media, portray hanging abstractions and landscapes and even making his personal furnishings designs.
Whereas he burned many canvases, many from this time survive. See a specific chronology of his work within the video above and in the photographs right here. Attempt to put apart the story of Syd Barrett the tragic Pink Floyd frontman, and let the work of Roger Barrett the artist encourage you.
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