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Special Deluxe: Paintings by Neil Young

Painting by Neil Young
Painting by Neil Young

Singer-songwriter and musician Neil Young has created a series of watercolor paintings titled Special Deluxe. The paintings were created by Young to illustrate his recently released book  Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars. According to the publisher, the book contains “extraordinary reminiscences about his Canadian boyhood, his musical influences, his family, the rock ’n’ roll life, and one of his deepest, most ebullient passions: cars.” The paintings also appear on the cover and the inside spread of Young’s new album Storytone.

This is Neil Young’s first time painting. According to Wired:

“I have always thought about painting and never had the confidence to start,” Young says. “But when I wrote the book I searched and chose some photos of the cars and decided to trace them in pencil to eliminate the backgrounds and let the shapes dominate.”

He goes on to say:

“At first I tried charcoal and chalk because I liked the gentleness and softness of the colors,” Young explains. “I soon changed to watercolors, finding that medium more expressive for my abilities… Tracing from [photo prints], I then have a scan of the tracing made and produce a few copies on cold press paper. The paper is not bumpy like traditional watercolors. I like it to be smooth, so it is specially sought out.”

Painting by Neil Young
Painting by Neil Young

The Special Deluxe paintings are now on exhibit at Robert Berman Gallery at Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica. The exhibition opened with a reception on November 3, 2014 and continues through November 29, 2014.

Neil Young talks about the artwork and his new book and album in the video below.

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