Jay Conroy of “Rock Hard With Jay Conroy” interviewed Rick Allen at the DEF LEPPARD drummer’s art opening at the end of November at Wentworth Gallery in Short Hills, New Jersey. Rick talked about his artwork, his inspirations and background for his art. Check out the 26-minute video below.
Allen recently spoke to New Jersey Stage about his “Legends” series, which consists of lifelike-yet-impressionistic portraits of musicians who have influenced him, from Jimi Hendrix to Freddie Mercury to John Lennon. “We lost another legend in Charlie Watts which obviously has been super devastating to the music community and the world at large, kind of the end of an era,” he said. “That’s my latest piece, a really cool piece of Charlie Watts and I’m really proud of that. I’ve got an original and then what I normally do is take hi-res photos of the original and create mixed media pieces based on them.”
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.”
Allen told NorthJersey.com that he enjoys his art tours because it gives him the opportunity to interact in more of an intimate setting with his fans than he can at a concert.
“With DEF LEPPARD, meeting people is kind of brief and impersonal,” Allen said. “These kinds of events allow me to meet people in a different way, on a more personal level.”