January 2, 2016

Why Paintings of Guitars? Q and A with Artist Michael Babyak – Part 1

Why Paintings of Guitars?
Paint What You Love
Q & A with a guy who decided to make paintings of guitars

Ringo Starr at Pop International Galleries

Ringo at Pop International Galleries with one of the Babyak paintings he bought in the background

GP:  First, thanks for taking the time to talk with me.
MB:  Thanks for your interest.

GP:  Let’s jump right in, why paintings of guitars?
MB:  I love electric guitars.  Didn’t Ivan Karp tell Warhol to “Paint what you love”?  So he did and we got tomato soup cans.  So I also paint what I love.  Painting-wise I hit a roadblock about 20 years ago.  Nothing excited me subject wise.  I did have strong feelings for electric guitar and electric guitar driven music.  One thing led to another.

GP:  Ah, so your passion became your subject?
MP:  Yes, it seems so.  I spent much time playing guitar, what better way to spend more time with guitars than to make paintings of them.  It was a good excuse to always have a guitar in the painting studio as well.

GP:  So how was this new subject received by your audience?
MB:  At that time, the mid-1990s, I was still living in New York City and selling my work on the street and at street fairs.  There was a big street fair on Columbus Avenue and I had some of these guitar pieces on the back wall of my display.  At one point in the day I turn to see Pat Metheny checking them out.  I knew then the communication was happening.

GP:  Wow, you must have lots of celebrity collectors.  Who’s the most exciting one to date?
MB:  Over the years there have been several celebrity collectors including one of the Beatles.  Ringo Starr.  He bought four of my original guitar paintings from a gallery in Manhattan.  Pretty amazing to be collected by a Beatle.