We’ve had enjoyable on the expense of the multi-hyphenate: i.e. “I’m an actor-slash-drummer-slash-makeup-artist-slash-brand-ambassador,” and so on…. And, truthful sufficient. Few individuals are adequate at their one job to moderately excel at two or three, proper? However then once more, we stay within the sort of hyperspecialized world Henry Ford might solely dream of, and take into account ourselves extremely favored if we’re allowed to be simply the one factor lengthy sufficient to retire and do nothing.
What if we might have a number of identities with out being regarded as unserious, eccentric, or mentally unwell?
Discussions of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd’s founding singer and guitarist, by no means cross regardless of his psychological sickness and abrupt disappearance from the stage. However they not often interact with Barrett as an artist post-Pink Floyd: particularly, his two underrated solo albums; and his output as a painter, the medium by which he started his profession and to which he returned for the final thirty of his life.
If Syd Barrett have been allowed a task apart from loopy diamond (a task, we should permit, assigned to him by his former bandmates), we would see extra of his work in gallery collections and exhibitions. One can not say this about each well-known musician who paints. For Barrett, artwork was not a interest, and it known as to him earlier than music. It was in his scholar days at Cambridgeshire School of Arts and Expertise that he met David Gilmour. From Cambridge he moved to Camberwell School of Arts in London and commenced to supply and exhibit mature scholar work (see right here).
Barrett’s work “exhibits among the benefits of an artwork faculty coaching,” wrote a reviewer of a 1964 exhibition. “He’s already exhibiting himself a delicate handler of oil paint who correctly limits his palette to realize richness and density.” (Barrett had already displayed a prodigious early expertise for attaining these qualities in watercolor — see, for instance, an spectacular, impressionistic still-life of orange dahlias, auctioned off in 2021, made when the artist was solely 15.)
His coaching gave him the arrogance to interrupt away from formal workout routines throughout this era and experiment with totally different types and topics, from the disturbing, primitivist Lions to the hollow-eyed, Munch-like Portrait of a Lady. Barrett’s first scholar interval ended within the mid-sixties, as Pink Floyd started to take off and Barrett “became a songwriter” (then-manager Andrew King later wrote) “it appeared like in a single day.”
After his spell with Pink Floyd and transient solo recording profession got here to an finish, Barrett moved again to Cambridge together with his mom in 1978, dropped the nickname “Syd” and commenced portray once more as Roger Barrett, eschewing any point out of life in music. From that 12 months till he died, he labored in a number of types and totally different media, portray hanging abstractions and landscapes and even making his personal furnishings designs.
Whereas he burned many canvases, many from this time survive. See a particular chronology of his work within the video above and in the images right here. Attempt to put apart the story of Syd Barrett the tragic Pink Floyd frontman, and let the work of Roger Barrett the artist encourage you.
Associated Content material:
Syd Barrett’s “Effervescing Elephant” Involves Life in a New Retro-Type Animation
Understanding Pink Floyd’s Want You Have been Right here, Their Tribute to Departed Bandmate Syd Barrett
Watch David Gilmour Play the Songs of Syd Barrett, with the Assist of David Bowie & Richard Wright
Josh Jones is a author and musician primarily based in Durham, NC. Comply with him at @jdmagness.