Friday, August 14
Yesterday was another sad day for musicians and music lovers around the world as Les Paul, known as the father of the modern guitar and modern sound died at the age of 94.
He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which he worked on closely with the Gibson Guitar Company since 1952. The Les Paul Guitar is by far the most popular guitar in their collection. Legendary players like Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Sheryl Crow and Slash have all played Les Paul guitars throughout their careers!
Back in early 2000, I started collaborating with the Gibson Guitar Custom Shop. They sent me “naked” guitars and I “dressed” them with my paints! The guitars became my canvas! Needless to say it is an honor to work with this awesome company. I have painted guitars of Jerry Garcia, Elvis, Hugh Hefner, and even Les Paul himself!!
The Les Paul portrait guitar was painted for a show debuting in SOHO at Animazing Gallery on November 9, 2000 called Gibson Custom, Art & Historic Division's Art of Guitar II. The show featured more than 25 Gibson guitars, each hand-painted by a renowned contemporary artist including LeRoy Neiman, "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening, Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood and official Grammy Awards artist Rick Garcia.
I loved how the Les Paul portrait guitar was finished so much that Gibson gave me one for my own personal collection (even though I don’t really play, I just wish I did). Les liked his portrait so much that he autographed my guitar before Gibson put the finishing touch on it!! It was such a surprise when my guitar arrived back at the studio and I opened the case to find that a rock n’ roll legend signed my guitar!!
It continues to be a privilege to be part of the Gibson program to honor history-making artists.