Monday, July 16, 2012

Red Hot Chili Peppers for A Circus Mind

My penultimate illustration in my "A Circus Mind" series! Featuring one of my favourite bands: the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I had their album "Californication" in mind when I was creating this piece. It's been so hot and humid out, so I figured it was the perfect time to share this.

Because the poem that Ryan wrote (he's the dude who set this whole project in motion) concludes with a reference to Hallowe'en I wanted to incorporate that into the image. I felt like Hallowe'en could give the illustration the eerie feeling I sometimes get from RHCP's music. Hallowe'en is a time when the spirit world is said to be closest to ours -- seance!

Fun fact: this is the second time I've depicted a seance scene. The first time was in the New Yorker, for a blurb mentioning an opera set in San Francisco called "Seance on a Wet Afternoon". 

I wanted to do something spooky and contrast that with cheesy Hallowe'en decorations and candy and a modernist California setting. The Chili Peppers have created haunting, melodic songs and more rap-based, testosterone-driven rhythmic work. I feel like they have two sides and I wanted to show that.

I think when most people think of RHCP they imagine them shirtless (and often pantsless!), possibly because of their Simpson's episode or their infamous Rolling Stone covers. I depicted them shirtless because I wanted to show their tattoos, to contrast with the seance setting, and to indicate the warmth and laid-back attitude of California. And of course, if I'd dressed them up in three piece suits they'd be unrecognizable!

Details that it might be difficult to see: The two framed pictures on the wall are renderings of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road album covers (mentioned in the poem), the "chili pepper" lights represents the band's name, the pool in the backyard is meant to slightly resemble the Californication album cover, the building in the distance is an indication of the Laurel Canyon mansion they used to record Californication (also mentioned in the poem), and the bottom right has ants crawling to a weird shape that recalls Dali's painting "The Persistence of Memory" (referenced in the poem).

Left: Original sketch. Right: tighter sketch 

Hope you like it!
-- Julia


Anonymous said...

Very cool piece Julia!

Leandro Calvo said...

I really like your illustration and they way that you thought about it :)

Julia Minamata said...

Thanks so much, Leandro!