Outside It's America

Here's a new painting which requires some explanation.  As you can see, it's quite different from my color palette and imagery. I created it for Cratedigger Vol. 2, Gabba Gallery's 2nd annual show in homage to the disappearing art of the album cover.  Over 90 artists were invited to create a real or faux 12x12-inch album cover artworks, a throwback to the days of vinyl. 

C. Rasmussen | Outside It's America | 12x12 inches | oil on canvas | Sold

I had a lot of fun with the theme, deciding to create a new cover for an old album - U2's The Joshua Tree, in honor of its 30th anniversary this year. That album came out the year I was born, and my parents being fans, I've listened to it since birth - and am also a fan.  Each song brings up a multitude of memories and emotions transcending time and place, making it one of my favorite albums of all time.  I was so thrilled and privileged to attend The Joshua Tree Tour at the Rose Bowl back in May, getting to sing along and revel in the live performance of the full album, from start to finish.  The red outline of a joshua tree in the top black band mimics the stage set from that incredible show.

I meant to title the piece after a line in the song Bullet the Blue Sky - "outside it's America." I only today realised that I've been singing the line wrong for years; it's actually "outside IS America." Go figure. Well, despite my error, I think the point still comes across.  The title, and the deflated, colorless American flag hanging limply in mid-air serve as a commentary on our nation's current state of affairs.  

I've listened to this album from abroad (having been raised in Pakistan and Vietnam), imagining the US that these Irish lads were so fascinated by, but not having a clear picture of that place myself.  Now I live here, and I still don't have a clear picture, but I do think I listen to the album differently as I age and travel.  I encourage you to go listen to the full album; the themes are relevant, now more than ever.  You may even find some hope in there, as I do, naive as that sounds.

Come see the real painting at Gabba Gallery August 12-26. I'll be there at the Opening Reception on Saturday Aug. 12, 7-11PM. Contact the gallery to purchase.