Daniel Edlen's Vinyl Art Creates "On The Artifacts Of Creativity"

Posted by Billyjam, November 12, 2012 07:15am | Post a Comment

Thanks to Arizona based vinyl artist Daniel Edlen stumbling upon the recent Amoeblog on the work done by fellow vinyl artist / Amoeba Hollywood customer Colton Tran (Making Art Out of Records with Colton Tran of TransylVinyl & Broken Vinyl Record Art) I was introduced to the equally (although very different in composition) vinyl art of the SoCal born and raised Edlen. "Good to see someone else do something distinctive with records," posted Edlen in the comments of that Amoeblog on Colton Tran. Since then I have been fully introduced to Edlen's amazing vinyl art, like the Prince piece above, for which he utilizes straight acrylic paint and, as he jokes, "a cheap brush" to painstakingly create this beautiful art on 12" records. Edlen, who accurately describes his work as "creating art on the artifacts of creativity,"  has much of his art on view via his main website.

Dave Paul (Bomb Hip-Hop/The Prince & Experience) is among the vinyl artist's many fans/collectors. "The appeal to me of Elden's work was the artist's face hand painted on the record," said Paul who has bought two pieces of Edlen's art. Like fellow vinyl artist Colton Tran, Edlen is also a major Amoeba Music fan: one of the things I asked him about when I caught up with him recently to talk to the Amoeblog. In that interview, that follows below the video clip of him making his art, I also asked him about the details of creation of his vinyl art, his musician subjects, and his work with both the David Lynch Foundation and VH1 Save The Music.

Vinyl Art by Daniel Edlen - A Painting

Amoeblog: You live in Arizona but your roots are SoCal and you mentioned to me how "Amoeba is one reason I'm into vinyl as much as I am." Can you tell me more about this?

Daniel Edlen: Long long ago I visited the Haight in San Francisco just as I was getting into classic rock and my dad's vinyl. Seeing Amoeba there blew me away. I got so excited to build my own vinyl collection. So back in L.A. Amoeba and the other west side record stores became my haunts through high school and college.

Amoeblog: What was the very first vinyl piece you did and how did you get into this type of art, and what motivates you to continue doing it?

Daniel Edlen: The first piece I did was the Beatles back as a teenager when I had a lot of time and an extra, beat up copy of [Sgt.] Pepper's [Lonely Hearts Club Band]. I came up with the idea after an art project drawing with white pencil on black paper.  As digital music overwhelmed analog and the artifacts of the vinyl record and cassette tape became almost novel for the masses, I began painting more pieces to celebrate that artifact, providing something around which to continue gathering. Most of my old haunts have closed now but it's so wonderful that Amoeba continues to thrive. And with such a huge vinyl selection.

Amoeblog: Do you generally do paintings of musicians or do you do other subjects too?

Daniel Edlen: I'll paint anyone associated with the recording of an album. Mostly it's singers or musicians as they're the most recognizable and desired images. I have another project I call Liter(art)ure which is authors drawn in their books. I hope someday to create custom pieces but thus far I've only done a few for myself, including Poe and Hemingway.

Amoeblog: How long does it normally take you to do a single piece of art?

Daniel Edlen: I ask for a month for custom pieces. That's not all painting, which takes a variable amount of time depending on the image.

Amoeblog: When you are doing a painting of say James Brown do you listen exclusively to that artist's music as you paint them?

Daniel Edlen: When the subject's music is good to paint to, usually yes. I do always only listen to whole albums in sequence while painting. I grew up listening to complete sides of records and tapes so that's how I listen still.

Amoeblog: I noticed in one piece how you utilized the hole in the record as an eye - which is perfect. What other qualities of a record (IE the grooves) are ideal for components of your art?

Daniel Edlen: Painting with straight white on black vinyl is like painting the light so in my head it made it easier than painting shadows. The grooves do grab the paint so the stippling dabbing technique I use works really well.

Amoeblog: Can you tell me about submitting your work to VH1 and your role with VH1 Save The Music?

Daniel Edlen: VH1 contacted me to see if I'd be interested in a solo exhibition in their corporate gallery in New York. After receiving the pieces back from that exhibition VH1 Save The Music wondered if I would help them out by displaying my work at the Billabong Design For Humanity event in Hollywood, CA. Since we had just moved to SoCal for the year it worked out that I could. It was a blast with someone bidding on all the guitars for auction right at the end. Then I was able to donate a couple pieces a while later for a Charity Buzz online auction supporting Save The Music as well. Great people. Great cause.

How did your involvement with the David Lynch Foundation come about and what does it involve?

Daniel Edlen: Initially, through DLFTV [David Lynch Foundation Television] I got to paint David Lynch and then Mike Love of the Beach Boys for them to sign and eventually auction for the Lynch Foundation to support the teaching of Transcendental Meditation to PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder] patients and others. Then the foundation started a music label to benefit the charity as well. I painted around 20 musicians who were contributing tracks to the initial compilation to be released by the label, who then signed the pieces again for auction. It was very challenging coordinating all the pieces but it turned out rewarding.

Daniel Edlen's Vinyl Art for The David Lynch Foundation

Amoeblog: Have any of the musicians whose images you've painted seen them and contacted you?

Daniel Edlen: I've been lucky enough to get to gift pieces to Lou Reed, George Clinton and some other musical heroes. It's been real fun.

Amoeblog: Last question: can you tell me about the collection of your work Groovy Portraits?

Daniel Edlen: It's an interactive coffee-table eBook I share here that pairs paintings with links out to Amazon artist pages to purchase music and YouTube music videos. I created two volumes with my favorite music growing up. I'd love to one day have a book printed and create a way online for people to put together their own musical autobiographies with pieces of my Vinyl Art.


Daniel Edlen currently has some of his work on exhibit at the Santa Monica Art Studios

Relevant Tags

Records (22), Daniel Edlen (1), Vinyl Art (1), Vinyl As Art (2), Record Collecting (23), Amoeba Hollywood (876), Colton Tran (2), David Lynch Foundation (1), David Lynch (29)