DEF LEPPARD’s RICK ALLEN On EDDIE VAN HALEN: ‘He Changed Guitar Playing Forever’
Last week, DEF LEPPARD drummer Rick Allen stopped by CBS12 studios for an exclusive one-on-one about his three-date Florida fine art tour, which started on May 20 in Fort Lauderdale and concluded two days later in Boca Raton.
Allen‘s collection houses originals, limited editions, the painted drum series, mixed media originals, plus the «Legends» series, which consists of lifelike-yet-impressionistic portraits of musicians who have influenced him, including Eddie Van Halen, Kurt Cobain and Johnny Cash.
Speaking about his painting of Van Halen, Rick said: «I really looked up to him. I think he changed guitar playing forever. I think between him and Jimi Hendrix, they inspired other musicians. It’s just a massive loss. I was fortunate to meet him back in ’91. Very unassuming. You would never think he did what he did on stage. But I just wanted to capture that smile. He just seemed to be in his element. It’s really paying homage to him. And I really felt for his family as well, of course.»
In a 2018 interview with The Hype Magazine, Allen, who started painting at an early age before he ever picked up the drums, stated about his use of light or some sort of bright object in his art: «Reality is very difficult to do, but it’s my attempt to painting the object or whatever it is. It’s a study of how the light bounces off of the object. Some of the more recent pieces — there was one that I did of [late DEF LEPPARD guitarist] Steve Clark; then there was one I did of John Lennon; I did one of Jimi Hendrix, the ‘Legends’ pieces — that, to me, was a study at how you’re really not painting the person’s face, you’re painting how the light bounces off of the person. If you look closely at some of the pieces, they make no sense when you look at them up close. When you stand back and you start to view it from a distance, it’s almost like your mind fills in the blanks and it creates the illusion of reality.»
Two years ago, Rick told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his artistic process with his paintings: «I take a photograph I really like of the person, and I’ll poster-ize it and sketch the poster-ization onto the canvas, and that’s when I can come up with my whites, blacks and grays. After I do the under painting, I’ll start to choose colors. When I do the ‘Legends’, I normally listen to the music of the artist I’m painting.»