Creator Wave Vol 5: Sonny Kay
Humans are vessels gifted with the ability to translate cosmic energies in order to express it creatively. Every creative expression has been motivated by some kind of inner voice. Creator Wave is designed to highlight the artistic momentum exerted by the human soul. Showcasing visual art from all types of artists – from the recognized and established to the relatively obscure.
Creator Wave Vol 5: Sonny Kay
Sonny Kay has done many things in his career. From a college experience, to running a venue, owning his own record label and doing free lance visual work, Sonny Kay has reached a level of precision in his field few artists get to experience. Sonny will be doing an art show with Sound Colour Vibration here in Southern California at Division 9 Art Gallery in Riverside, CA. We are very proud to release his work in Creator Wave. Stunning and moving on many levels, the imagery provokes nostalgia with a hint of exaltation. Check out his bio after his work to read about his background and where his art has taken him.
Bio for Sonny Kay:
L.A.-based Sonny Kay’s work will likely be familiar to devotees of The Mars Volta, and in particular the vast solo output of Volta head-honcho, Omar Rodriguez Lopez. As creative director for Rodriguez Lopez’s eponymous record/film imprint, Rodriguez Lopez Productions, Kay’s meticulous collage and graphic design work has become synonymous with a seemingly endless stream of heady, inspired psychedelic albums that began appearing en masse in 2006. Comprised of web-sourced snapshots and thrift-shop reference book illustrations, Sonny Kay’s painstakingly assembled composites themselves often resemble photographs, or even paintings – alternately poignant, opinionated, illustrative, occasionally funny, or simply unexplained. Fantastic, and yet eerily realistic, Kay’s images point to his convergent interests in perception, human and primate anthropology, entheogens, consciousness, evolution and anarchism. Buffeted by the virtually free-reign platform afforded by modern rock music’s arguably most prolific recording artist, Kay’s pace has quickened and his output diversified considerably thanks to Rodriguez Lopez’s literally nonstop flow of albums.
Educated in the fine arts department at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Kay intended to paint but was soon diverted by a short-lived interest in printmaking. Launching the influential independent record label Gold Standard Laboratories (GSL) during his sophomore year in 1993, he quickly assumed the role as its de facto art department and would spend the next fourteen years developing his skills as a designer as well as the conceptual ringleader for the small army of bands (including The Locust, The Rapture, !!!, The Faint and The Mars Volta) who would eventually release music on the label. Suffice to say, GSL (which ceased operations in 2007) was operated more as a long-term art project than a business in the traditional sense.
For the past few years, Kay has increasingly devoted his time to creating semi-realistic digital collage, constructed largely from so-called found images including scans from old postcards and charity shop books as well as digital treasures sourced from across the internet. Born of restless late night impulses to create a meditative form of “instant” imagery for himself, Kay’s collages quickly outgrew their purely therapeutic and decidedly unambitious origins. Evolving from happenstance association to sublime and perhaps even poignant commentary on human nature and cultural anthropology, Kay’s creations have begun signaling a new phase in his work, one less concerned with a momentary discourse on topic X and more with unearthing the nerve-ends of those experiences buried deep within our collective subconscious and universal memory. Ranging from the fantastic (“The Apocalypse Inside of an Orange”, 2007) to the sinister (“God’s Balls”, 2008) to the playful (“Adrift, or Barking Up the Rung Tree”, 2010), Kay’s employment of shadow and perspective in his current work creates a sense of depth and realism that baits the viewer’s eye into suspending disbelief, if only for a moment. His imagined circumstances and relationships are not merely impressionistic suggestions of vague possibilities, but rather anatomically-correct models of a hypothetical version of reality that we’re not really certain doesn’t exist.