The crossover of Artist and Musician is an amazing combination, with some of our most well known musicians breaking out the paintbrushes in their spare time, along with many artists creating amazing tunes that go hand and hand with their art practice. But for Jono Gooley, Artist and Musician in the band The Pretty Littles, his art and music practice are two entirely separate facets of himself. His upcoming Exhibition Exterior showing at Goodtime Studios next month, presents his body of portraiture works that are keenly interested in his fascination with the face, and the stories told through the lines and feelings expressed. We sat down with Jono and spoke about all things Art, his inspiration for Exterior and of course, The Pretty Littles.
When did you start creating artwork?
I painted the legs of my parents antique dining table when I was 3, but they didn’t appreciate the abstract genius at at the time.
What inspires you most to create artwork?
People and music.
What was your favourite commissioned artwork?
Although I don’t like doing commissioned work, doing illustration for the magazine Paper Sea Quarterly would be my fave, they are great to work with and its a wicked publication.
Did you dedicate a lot of time to art growing up? Also, did you grow up in a musical family?
Yeah I was constantly drawing as a kid, I would always take paper and pencils on long car trips and loved art at school. My family isn’t really musical at all. My older brother played guitar briefly and that probably got me interested.
I guess it’s the same bands for both, I listen to: tool, cog, karnivool, jakob, sleepmakeswaves, audio shaman. Rage against the machine… Just to name a few
Do you begin a visual work in a similar way to a song? What is the process?
I guess everything starts with an idea, but from there its a completely different process.
With painting I’ll sometimes have an idea for years and finally get the time to pursue it. The processes in preparing for a painting are really drawn out and my ideas change dramatically along the way. I guess all ideas change as they develop, in both music and art.
What type of music do you listen to when you make art? Is it similar to your inspirations for music making?
Jack our singer is the song writer in the band, he usually present us with an idea and we work it into a song as a band. It’s often a very quick process as we get really impatient with songs.
What inspired your exhibition?
Mainly the people in the portraits.
What led you to start creating portraiture?
I’ve guess I gravitated towards portraiture through drawing cartoon faces when I was young. From there its just progressed into more ‘life-like’ portraits.
What’s your favourite medium to use?
Oil paint, its forgiving and incredibly versatile. If you make a mistake, you can usually wipe it off without too much drama.
What can viewers expect from Exterior/ what would you like viewers to take away from your show?
Their own narrative of what the subjects are thinking and feeling.
What fascinates you most about depicting the face?
The face reveals so much about an individual, their story is embedded in the lines and feelings written in their expressions.
What’s your favourite work in the show?
I don’t have a favourite piece, however, there is a large oil painting of a skull and this was the most fun to paint. I love splashing around paint.
How was it curating Exterior?
There are a lot of painting I have had sitting around gathering dust over the past couple of years that it was time to put them into a show. I’ve also got some more recent works in there too. As they are all portraits, they all have common ground. I am really excited to have my friends playing music at the opening.
How is it working with an airbrush?
It can be very fiddly, almost temperamental. Your mistakes are permanent. You have to wear a breathing mask and there is a layer of ink over everything in the studio.
What do you regard as the most valuable thing about the art/music you make?
For music it’s probably the relationship with people, within the band as well as all the great folk you meet from other bands and punters at gigs.
For my art its about freedom to do what I want. If I feel like throwing some paint at a piece, no one is gonna stop that.
Do you feel like your music career influences your artwork or vice versa?
Not so much our music, but other musicians definitely influence my art work. I used to do a lot of painting of musicians playing live. I used to go to gigs and want to try and capture that energy on canvas.
Do you create artwork for your band?
I try to keep the my art and the band separate. I will do the photoshop work for the band, making posters and layouts for album artwork, but we don’t use any of my work. I don’t want to have to look at it all the time.
How do you decide your subject matter for your artwork?
Often I will have an idea for a painting and I will use the person that is most available to pose for me. Thats why there is a lot of paintings of my friends.
What started the Pretty Littles?
Jack and simon started playing together at high school. Will and I were doing the same at our school. I knew jack from the beach and we joined forces when they needed a drummer and bass player.
Where do you enjoy making your art- In a studio or at home?
In the studio. Its not healthy sleeping next to turpentine and painting can be incredibly messy. Its good to go somewhere where there aren’t distractions too.
How was it recording with Alex Rudie from Delta Riggs?
Recording with rudie is 90% talking absolute shit about god knows what, and the other 10% is spent recording hits.
How was recording with Neil Gray?
Neil is a legend, he has an amazing studio he is building out the back of his house. Neil is great at pulling apart our songs and sticking them back together in a way that makes sense.
What is new for the Pretty Littles?
We have a new track called ‘Religion is my Favourite’ which we are launching at Old Bar on November 2 & 3
What was it like playing with The Smith Street Band?
They are a really fun live band to watch, nice dudes too, gave us heaps of free merch.
How would you describe your sound for Dangerman and Tegan Victoria?
Pretty straight forward catchy rock tunes I guess.
What can listeners expect from the Pretty Littles this year and into 2015?
We have recorded 3 new tracks with Neil that will be out early 2015. More yelling and more earth shattering bass lines.
The Pretty Littles are playing two launch shows at the Old Bar on the 2nd and 3rd November for their new track ‘Religion is My Favourite.’
Exterior Opens on the 14th November (15th-19th Nov,) at Goodtime Studios Melbourne.
Listen to The Pretty Littles ‘Religion Is My Favourite’ here: