One of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, Miles Davis was a man of many talents. Around 1980, he turned to sketching and painting to keep his mind occupied with something when he wasn’t playing music. This hobby quickly turned into a serious passion, and Davis approached it with the same obsessive creativity he applied to music. The result is an impressive archive of unique and evocative visual work showcasing the varied skills of this legendary artist. Throughout the 1980s, Davis studied regularly with New York painter Jo Gelbard, developing a distinct graphic style. Incorporating bright colors and geometric shapes, his art is reminiscent of work by Pablo Picasso as well as African tribal art, the historical influences he cited during occasional interviews on the subject.
Author Scott Gutterman sat down with Miles Davis himself before his death in 1991 and the artist’s own commentary accompanies this remarkable showcase of his work. Sadly, very few of his pieces were exhibited during Miles Davis’s lifetime. Over the last two decades, the Estate of Miles Davis has worked with gallery owners and private parties to assemble a comprehensive collection of the musician’s artwork. Many celebrities are among the most adamant collectors, including Quincy Jones, who offers a foreword to the book. This long-overdue celebration is a treasure for art lovers as well as music aficionados who will appreciate the window into the life of this creative genius.
“It’s like therapy for me, and keeps my mind occupied with something positive when I’m not playing music.” Miles Davis.