Meet The Artists
It never ceases to amaze me the level of talent and sheer brilliance of the artists you come across in San Francisco. Musicians, painters, sculpters, photographers... you name it. And in what would seem like a direct conflict of the immense talent of the really great ones, is that they possess inversely proportionate egos. They are humble and sincere people. Diamonds in the rough. True inspirations for me, to know these people exist.
And to work with them?
In the fine art world, not dissimilar to the music business, there are endless jaded "artists" that after the most minimal of success (or even just graduating from art/design school), they refuse to work on anything, or with anyone that could possibly taint their flawless body of work. I've heard these types wax poetic, loudly and proudly, about the jobs they've turned down, the people they've rejected, while making my cappuccino. Not to say that I despise humble beginnings, Lord knows I've worked my share of shitty jobs to get to "working musician." But to despise collaboration? Because you're not sure if your fellow creative is "cool" enough? C'mon... it's better than not creating at all.
But maybe, I'm just an opportunist.
Maybe that's what led me to Helen Bayly.
I saw her painting on the street a few weeks back... a horse and it's rider, coming to fruition and emerging from the page like the San Francisco fog clears the bay on fateful weekends, reminding us city dwellers there is sun on the other side... her characters had eyes. Deep, story-filled eyes. I was captivated. After a friend introduced us, I tried to be polite with small talk but found myself staring and glancing back at her painting. Who was this rider and steed? And where were they headed, there was fear and certainty in those eyes. When I looked back at Helen, I saw it.
She sees people. But I didn't feel judged. Or naked. Like I imagine a swindling fortune teller looks into you, grabbing at details, twisting words into your anticipation and wallet.
No, she is open. And before I could have known anything about what was to progress, it was like she knew. She looked at me in a way I've never seen myself, those thousand times in the bathroom mirror, plucking and prodding, in the dressing room, pulling and sucking-in... had I known what she saw, I might have turned and ran.
No, the opportunist in me simply laid my cards on the table. This is who I am, this is what I do, can you help me?
Fortunately for me, Helen wrote me back after listening to "The Thief" with the kind of sincere enthusiasm that makes an artist blush. Probably how I came off to her in our initial meeting in my stare-fest with her horse.
Weeks later at a bar on Polk St., she showed me the painting.
I was floored.
Christopher M Howard
You may have heard me talk about photographer CM Howard before. Or rather, "gush, like a schoolgirl" about him. He's amazing. He does more with lens and light than most can do with Photoshop, Airbrushes and Autotune, combined.
The man is a purist. And idealist. An artist.
And that's part of the reason we work so well together (our appreciation of fine Tequila's has nothing to do with it... ahem.)
And that's why, even on a rushed schedule, with only minutes to do what usually takes hours, I asked him to take photos of the band... I guess I'll let the images speak for themselves.
If you ask me, if you're looking for a great photog... He's the man I'd trust.