If you have any recollection of horribly dull high-school art history videos, you know music has long been paired with visual art. Local artist Kelly Jeppesen tweaks the combination by actually composing music for his paintings, rather than just mixing and matching whatever fits.
Jeppesen's Full Circle project blends a haunting composition of strings, percussion and vocal drones with a series of abstract oil works. (At shows, that is; unfortunately, each purchased CD doesn't provide your living room with a nice new wall hanging.)
"I felt that combining visual and sound would create a more heightened emotional experience," says Jeppesen, 34. "I want my viewers to feel whatever is at the core of their soul. I want this to take them to that place, wherever that might be."
Jeppesen started playing the violin at age 4. He went on to receive formal training at the University of Washington, from which he graduated in 1998. He played in the Oregon Symphony for a while, but says he began to feel trapped by its structured style.
As an escape, the artist moved to Colorado Springs and dove headlong into some new work.
"I went into this place where there was no night or day," he says. "I was just working whenever it was coming."
Within three months, Jeppesen had written the tracks for Full Circle. Eleven months after the CD's release, Jeppesen continues to reshape the project while staying true to its basic elements.
He'll present its latest incarnation at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts on Friday to open Blissfest 5, a month-long, multi-venue fundraiser and arts festival created by local artist Michael Bliss. The show, in which Cynthia Robinson of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic will back Jeppesen, will serve as a preview for a larger event Aug. 28 at Stargazers Theatre.
There, Jeppesen and three members of the Philharmonic will perform Full Circle, with accompanying paintings projected on the wall. The music video for Jeppesen's "Seraphim's Lullaby," directed by Bliss, will also premiere, and local dancer Gentle Fritz will perform a dance choreographed to "Dancing with her Ghost," another one of his mixed-media creations.
"I'm big into being unique," Jeppesen says. "If someone else is doing it, why should I?"