Wangaratta 2019

A friend of ours, visual artist Frank Burgers, recently lent us a picture of his to hang at home. We really can’t afford to buy one of his works so having it is great. Frank can fetch good dollars for his works and has won lots of awards and exhibited in many galleries. His works are more often in an abstract style. Even to my untrained eye and being colour blind to some extent I can pick his work out from the crowd.

The painting reminds me of a song and I made the connection straight away.

Frank was not aware of Lyle Lovett’s If I Had A Boat so I was quick to show him a clip online. I have been a fan of Lyle Lovett’s for many years, really absorbing his sound in the late 1990s. Lovett covers a lot of styles, is a wonderful singer-songwriter who draws on the well of folk, blues, country and western swing. A real roots performer who has been leaving a mark since the early 1980s.

In this song he brings whimsy and fantasy. You can have different thoughts of what the song is about, perhaps well removed from what the writer intended. Who knows? It is a song that I can’t help but like, a melody that just grabs me and takes me down an imaginative rabbit hole.

Asking Frank about the picture, he spoke about how he sees boats as vessels that have the potential to take one on a creative journey. “Which of course is what the process of painting is,” he said. “I had no preconceived ideas when I started, so painting is a process of problem solving until one arrives at a satisfying image. I was listening to Nick Cave at the time, looking for a calm space, harmony and rest. I like the boat’s slight ambiguity, this maintains tension in the work.”

People form an opinion about what a work of any art form is about. Frank’s painting reminds me of the song mostly. Also, of a journey yet to begin or one that has come to an end.

Frank Burgers

Stereo Story #493

Luke R Davies and the Recycled String Band won the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia Folk Recording Award 2013 for their album Not A Note Wasted. A Wangaratta musician, Luke joined The Stereo Stories Band after seeing them at the Newport Folk Festival in Melbourne in 2014..