Talking Heads

We had gone to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to see the Jack Vettriano Retrospective.  He has his critics but I love his paintings – they are accessible, instantly recognisable and memorable.  Some of his images have suffered from over-exposure and in the way that popular music can lose its edge after the 500th time of placing the needle on the record (metaphorically), the same can apply to the visual arts.  The great thing about this exhibition was that there was so much I had not seen before, so much to appreciate for the first time. By helpful symmetry, many of his paintings take their inspiration from song lyrics and titles.

Fifty years ago the album With the Beatles was released, by dreadful coincidence, on the same day as JFK’s assassination; that 1963 Christmas, the album was under the tree.  I played it endlessly and despite the mono sound and the monochrome album cover, the coloured lights came on and have stayed on ever since; as an exception to prove the rule, the tracks remain as fresh as they ever were – “the same as it ever was”.

David Byrne was born twenty miles west of Glasgow in Dumbarton; a boy of a similar age, I imagine him listening to the same music that long ago December (although by then he was living in Maryland):Talking Heads

(click on the image to enlarge)

(The Kelvingrove installation is better known as the Hanging Heads but I will conveniently ignore that).


  1. LaVagabonde · December 13, 2013

    I’ve never heard of Mr. Vettriano, so your image is the first “touch of the needle to vinyl” for me. The heads are cool, as is the Heads song, which I appreciate more with each passing year. The music video is one of the best ever.

  2. Sarah Longes - Mirador Design · December 13, 2013

    Absolutely love Vettriano! I’ve been to see his work in London several times now. I ignore the critics, if I like something I won’t be swayed 🙂

  3. lavendermoongirlblog · December 13, 2013

    A friend’s daughter won a Vetriano painting and was given it by the artist himself. I love his work, even though he is overexposed. He’s an outsider in a way because the Scottish Royal Academy wouldn’t touch his work. He’s a prolific painter. Great post. 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · December 13, 2013

      Many thanks – that was some prize! The retrospective included a number of videos where he was talking about his work – he comes across as straightforward and plain speaking, almost the Billy Connolly of the art world.

  4. Mélanie · December 13, 2013

    we’ve been fans from the very start… Dave was in Paris a few weeks ago, he hasn’t changed much, just almost white hair… 🙂 bonne-nuit & have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · December 14, 2013

      He is an original in a world where much is the same – have a grand le Weekend too Mélanie

  5. greenmackenzie · December 15, 2013

    I love that installation of the heads, it makes me smile every time I visit!
    And I love Vetrianos work, it’s so fresh and unique….he doesn’t look like any one else, perhaps one of the many benefits of not having trained in an art college 🙂

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