Monday, June 21, 2010

The Clash





I spent a few days during the last week painting up some quick portraits of the members of the Clash. I got the idea to do these after watching Don Letts' excellent documentary, The Clash: Westway to the World and these drawings were all referenced from the interviews he conducted with the group around 2000. I loved seeing how the guys had aged, and comparing them to the photos and footage of them as young punks.

These painted sketches were all done fairly quickly, and I was just aiming to experiment with new approaches and techniques. The first two, of Paul Simonon and Mick Jones, were painted in gouache on paper. The ones of Joe Strummer and Topper Headon were done as ink drawings, mostly in drybrush, with tones added digitally.

The Clash were my favourite group as a kid, and I still think of them fondly. I can't think of any other rock group that can evoke in me the same feeling of hope and possibility like they do. For a little while, it really felt like they could change the world. I still miss Joe Strummer and listen to their early records often.

20 comments:

Eric Orchard said...

These are amazing! One of my long time faves too.

Randall said...

Wow. One of my favorite artists drawing one of my favorite bands. This really is my birthday.

Michael Cho said...

Happy birthday, Randall :)

James Anderson said...

Excellent!

Randall said...

Thanks, Michael. Kismet isn't something I believe in until stuff like this happens.

These are absolutely great, by the way.

pablo pablo said...

very good!!

Arkonbey said...

Wow. The lighting is fantastic. The classic comic book lighting really works with the realistic portraits.

And, by the way, I know my rights.

All three of 'em.

Neil J Murphy said...

I really like the fleshtones in these, it's a nice departure from your usual duotone style.

Ian Explosivo said...

These are incredible!

yobofofas said...

Are these for sale? I'd love to have these four prints in my office.

Jakob Westman said...

Gorgeous!!
Love the lighting and the roughness of them.

Gregor said...

I really like these.

It looks interesting the way you've presented them as regular looking people without the showbiz gloss.

Good stuff.

Dominic Bugatto said...

Nicely done.

Joyce Byrne said...

Love these!

Bellan said...

These are great!!

Michael Cho said...

Thanks, everyone. It's cool to know there's so many Clash fans out there.

@yobofofas: I'm not planning on making any prints of these drawings. Sorry.

Drazen said...

these really look great!
MIght be my favourite of your portraits.
Not that its not great to see recent interviews but seeing old footage of these
rocking is (especially in the seventies) fantastic.

Greenblatt the Great! said...

Westways of the World is definitely a great doc and the Clash is my favorite band ever - the first album I ever purchased was COMBAT ROCK (and I worked my way backwards from there).

Nice job capturing each member of the band, including Topper Headon, the heroin-addled drummer who comically somehow will outlive the rest of the band!

Anonymous said...

Nice work on one of the most important bands ever, I know a musician in UK who speaks to Topper regularly...will pass on your site to them.

Anonymous said...

great band but why did they do rapish thinks like the magnificent 7 later on(did last longer then the sex pistols though)