Crafty Hats: Jack White’s visual art website is a pleasant surprise


Rock and roll, blues, garage folk, and maybe something like the country-infused barn punk genre might be among the descriptors one might find when thinking about Jack White’s genre tendencies as a musician. He’s largely polyphonic, in other words, whether he’s playing in groups, cutting songs for himself, or producing songs for others. Even though he often wears the same hat, or none at all, White has a characteristic penchant for wearing many hats – and always with skill, creativity. His only hat is acute attention to craftsmanship. His many hats are the many types of crafts he gets his hands on.

When it comes to his musical art in particular, White’s skillful hands are certainly crucial. Famous guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, record cutter and avid amateur and deployer of all things analog, he pays particular attention to inputs and details in a very manual way. From strings and frets to keys and soundboards, White is practical, hands in hands, hands around. He has three hands. Maybe four.

Or even five. To augment all of this, White also appears to be an avid researcher. He has an awareness not only of how and why he does the things he does musically, but also of the deeper social histories of those things, of the cultural contexts that allowed their emergence and of the musicological narratives that shaped and accompanied them – and that opened the way for him to try to push them in new directions.

In sum, the breadth of White’s musical skill and insight is impressive. Yet even so, he is certainly not the only one among musicians, contemporary or not, to bring so much agency to his work. Nor is he the only one among musicians with such a varied and always prodigious production that he has perhaps much more enthusiastic followers of his various successes and activities than die-hard fans, who eagerly await his. next exit. If so, something tells me he’s not the type to care that much. Whether it’s playing with a number of bands and winning awards, launching a music label and buying Elvis’s early recordings, he doesn’t seem to be doing things with pretense or pomp. huge.

It is a subjective observation, I admit it. Conjectural, even. Maybe I’m wrong.

And that would serve me well, as my subjective opinions and speculative thoughts on hearing Jack White’s announcements new online platform, for what I first understood as “just his work”, turned out to be very wrong. I thought this was yet another example of a musician who, to find out, is also a painter. And I figured the paintings would be decent enough but not particularly noteworthy but would nonetheless quickly become extremely expensive and prized items for so-called discerning collectors. The works I immediately envisioned were richly textured and streaked abstractions in glossy palettes limited primarily to punchy reds and deep blacks dotted with scales of gray and generous titanium white.

The blue series

Jack White Art and Design

Well, oops. Stupid assumptions, all of them. In fact, unless there is a link somewhere that I missed while digging through his site with much more interest than I expected, something I didn’t find a page on. consecrated is, of course, painting.

What I found, however, is a rather captivating display of Whites’ multiple creative projects, arranged on a perfectly functional website that is elegantly designed but not flashy.

What I discovered is not a flashy self-promotion blitz, but rather a personal creative archive or catalog raisonn̩ Рall still in progress, of course. Because as a visual artist or designer, he would only be at the end of his career, in general, or perhaps mid-career. Generally speaking, although his artistic and design practices are numerous, many of them are not attested by much work, or much of it is not very recent.
On that note, what I discovered is that Jack White, hat wearer of deeply skilled craftsmanship as a musician, wearer of many hats as a musical mathematician, brings a similar sense of general interest, exuberance and devotion in his other creative practices as well.

And I found out, as you probably will too, that everything is at least proficient, some are quite impressive, and some things are just amazing. And like I did, you’ll probably walk away with her favorite projects. Surely something will suit your taste, because visuals, videos and related texts are offered divided between several disciplines: Industrial, Interiors, Furniture and upholstery, Graphic, Equipment, Sculpture, Vinyl concepts, Cinema and production, and Photography.

A few of my favorites are Three-prong driveway, Third Man Records Headquarters, Triple chair 78, The concept of the Blues series photos and recordings, some of his instruments and the clips he made for Les Belles Noires. Regarding the latter, I’m really happy to have also discovered the group. You will see. And hear. Good product.

And definitely one of my favorite things White has done is Clark Park Baseball Field, which he funded and designed in 2009 to reinvigorate the Detroit neighborhood field where he played baseball as a child. It’s simple. Spare. Usually no frills. Everything as it should be. I’d like to think he stepped away from the shine and sparkle for this project because that’s where kids are supposed to show up and shine. I may be wrong again, but I’m sticking to it.

I also stick to my greatly expanded understanding of Jack White as an extremely knowledgeable and deeply curious Creativity Agent. He may be at his best as a musician, first and foremost, but his meticulous craft musical hat, and his many musical craft hats, mean a whole other thing to me knowing the many other practices in which he has exercised, recently or in the past, similar energies.

I know he doesn’t really wear a hat that often, and we’ve certainly seen him in more than one. I’m exaggerating. Or just plain wrong. But who can say that he will not accept the hat shop?

Either way, hats off for the guy’s creativity.


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