|An evening at EMP, by Sam Day, 2014, oil on canvas, 24 x 30|
This year, the American Land Title Insurance Association chose Seattle for their annual convention, and after the usual meetings, came to the EMP Museum at Seattle Center to let their hair down.
Experience Music Project is the brain child and pet project of Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, and was originally an homage to Jimi Hendrix— expanded to laud all popular music. It is now an exposition of all things pop culture. The museum is housed in one of the most infamous creations of architect Frank Gehry, a building as controversial as anything shown in the museum. Its Sky Church concert hall, with one of the world’s largest indoor HD LED screens, was the center of our soirée. An incredible cover band played popular hits, decade by decade, from the 60s to the present.
At the center of the EMP, towering over Jimi Hendrix (pictured in the lower left of my painting), is a sculpture titled If VI Was IX: Roots and Branches. The sculptor-composer is known as Trimpin, a MacArthur Genius who is kind of an extreme hybrid of John Cage and RubeGoldberg. It is an assemblage of about 700 instruments, including drums, brass, a few keyboards, and a big white bass viol. But it is mostly guitars, many of them donated by the great guitar makers such as Gibson and Fender. More than forty of these instruments were custom made to Trimpin’s designs, so that they play robotically as directed by his software. The title of the piece— If VI WasIX: Roots and Branches— refers to the origins and diversity of rock music. It is a massive tree; a whole forest, vibrating with color and majesty.
This painting was given to the client’s outgoing chairman and his wife, who appear at the lower right of the painting with their friends.