For years, Telluride Mountainfilm has pushed the envelope of art and media. This year, they’re taking it one step further. Colorado-based artist, Keith Campbell, also known as Scramble Campbell, will present his work at La Cocina. There is also an Eric Abramson film about him entitled “ScrambleVision” playing at the Nugget.
Campbell does what many find hard to imagine: he paints at live concerts, finishing a painting or several paintings during the course of the concert. Sometimes his paintings are of the musicians themselves. Sometimes they are more abstract expressions of the feelings the music inspires. Whatever the content, the result is the same: his colorful, textured, acrylic paintings carry you away. You know that feeling you get when you listen to a great song live? That’s what it’s like to see Campbell’s work. Everything buzzing at the periphery of your world falls away.
Campbell says that’s just what he’s going for when he paints. So often we just see a painting in isolation at a gallery, and we don’t know its story. Or we hear a song recorded in a studio. Campbell strives to be at the intersection of those two worlds, bringing song into painting and painting into song. “Painting live is fantastic,” he says. “It’s kind of like when you’re in a groove at a concert where you’re dancing and no one’s watching. You get to connect with musicians and the audience in a whole new way.”
Campbell has painted live at shows for over two decades. His vast collection of over two thousand paintings includes work from concerts with BB King, Fats Domino, Willie Nelson, Widespread Panic, and String Cheese Incident. Currently, he’s painting the Denver Symphony, which involve painting 60 musicians in a single performance. He’s also serving as the artist in residence at Red Rocks. Only miles from his home, he admits, “the Amphitheater is my favorite outdoor studio, can you blame me?”
During Mountainfilm, guests will have the chance to see Scramble work in Eric Abramson’s film, “ScrambleVision”, premiering at the Nugget Friday night. In this 35- minute documentary, Abramson captures Scramble at work during various concerts. He also shows some of Scramble’s paintings from start to finish. As the tagline to the film says, “You’ll never see music the same way again.” Both Abramson and Campbell will be available during a Q & A following the Nugget show. At La Cocina, you can check out the paintings featured in the film, as well as two Telluride pieces that Campbell painted during a Phish show and an Emmylou Harris performance.
Campbell’s prolific painting career is not just limited to his performance paintings. He has done commission work and painted for various charities. His work is displayed in galleries all over the world but you can see almost all of his work at his website.
To hear more about Keith Campbell and his exciting vision for viewing art at galleries in the future, check out this Scramble Campbell podcast: