Amy Ruppel started out putting a bird on it (yes, in Portland), but she’s been spreading her wingspan ever since. Even if you’ve never attended one of her many exhibitions, there’s a good chance you’ve seen her work already. Her prolific creativity can be seen in every which way — from paintings, prints, and wall adhesives, to snowboards, sneakers, and electronics. Recently, when not working in paint and pixels, Amy has branched out into music, playing drums and providing vocals with her friend and fellow artist Justin Potts. Take a listen to her laid-back music mix in this week’s Playlist.
What do you listen to while you work? Oh, so much music is out there! Depending on my mood, I might either tune in to KEXP or to the ‘Deerhunter’ Pandora station (my fave). If I bought a new album that week, it will be on constant repeat. I like playing a mix for the background of my thoughts while creating art and illustrations.
How do you listen? I have some awesome Sennheiser wireless headphones plugged into my iMac that allow me to travel about my studio while working, since I’m not always glued to my computer.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Pandora is key, and streaming KEXP or KCRW music. I like Spinner.com for getting a first-listen-smorgasbord of new albums. NPR’s music site is the best, my favorite being the Tiny Desk Concerts, like this one with Y La Bamba (who are dear Portland friends).
Does music influence your work? This last painting I did [above: "WhaleShark, ForestFire," acrylic on found wood panel] stems from feeling good about a new music collaboration with Justin Potts, a prolific musician who is also an artist. I’m attempting playing drums and singing these days. (You know, because I don’t already have enough on my plate.) When I’m feeling great about a new song I just heard or am working on, it shows in my work. I’m not physically drawing “music,” but the outcome of the work itself is satisfying. I’m easily influenced by things that make me happy. Here is a song Justin recently posted that I can’t stop listening to. It’s sweet and puts a skip in my step.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? I have a lot of friends here in Portland who are musicians, and I love what they do and who they love to listen to. My friend Scott Magee (aka DJ Cooky Parker) spins a Soul Night dance party every month of rare soul/R&B 45s. The tunes are amazing, and I find myself listening to that when I’m lounging (or dancing while cleaning) at home. I follow him around record shops hoping his awesome taste in music rubs off on me.
What song or artist best represents the work you create? I would have to say Luna. Simple, sweet, brilliant. And by brilliant, I mean bright and happy. It kills me that they are no longer together, but I covet those albums.
Ideal place to sit and listen to your playlist: Eames Lounge Chair in walnut veneer and classic black leather. It sucks you in and holds you, like a great song, and if you need to get up to change the record, it’s easy to hop in and out of.
1. Red Wine, Pepper Rabbit
2. Why Must It Always Be This Way, Choir of Young Believers (watch the video!)
3. Desire Lines, Deerhunter
4. Malibu Love Nest, Luna
5. Rolling Over, Low Roar
6. Before, Plants & Animals
7. Gravediggers, Fenster
8. Jello and Juggernauts, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
9. So Long You Pretty Thing, Spiritualized
10. The Earthquake of ’73, Fruit Bats
11. Under Glass, Musee Mecanique
12. Out of Reaches, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks