My thoughts and out loud thoughts on composition, performance, and many things musical.

What Does Music Mean to You? – Art Campaign

I want to finally share what is in my art collection — and why you should support the arts.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to financially afford this sort of thing, so I have been commissioning works of art.

The following are 4 commissioned pieces of art from artists I knew. The premise was that the artists would make whatever they wanted as long as they were responding to the question, “What does music mean to me?”

But first: watch ‘at supporting the arts.

As someone who, while not old in age, can still recall the days when you had to purchase the CD at the store (actually tape cassettes were on their way out but you could still buy those too…) to hear music, I have a very different opinion of what “supporting art” means, than perhaps a slightly younger generation.

You would have to go spend $10-12 on a CD having only heard a song or two on the radio, or had a friend recommend it. Then you would listen to the CD. If you liked it on a first-time-GO, then money well spent. If you DIDN’T like it on a first-time-GO, then you listened to it again 3-4 more times to see if it grew on you or if you discovered things you didn’t discover on the first round. THEN if you liked it, money well spent. IF you did THAT and STILL didn’t like it, then you had a stocking stuffer or a Goodwill donation. I get that you can do that too for free, with services like Spotify, but if you really are going in to appreciate the music, I correlate that with wanting to financially support the musicians that made it.

My point is that today “supporting art” doesn’t seem very supportive–specifically with things like Spotify, or just having absurdly LARGE iTUNES LIBRARIES. Do you even LISTEN to all that music you have?? I doubt it. I certainly doubt that you appreciate or support it. …And I’m not entirely against Spotify, just more against than for it. I used to be all for it. …Rant for another day…

Here are the pieces of art I’ve commissioned thus far. You can click on each picture to view a larger version.

This is Palace Garden, from the lovely Sarah Boyle. I met Sarah through a mutual friend back in Indiana and I remember her introducing herself as an artist, as we watched the Colts lose the Superbowl… 😦

I almost immediately checked her website to see what she did and if she was, in fact, a serious artist. She is. Wowsers.

Here is the explanation she provided me with her painting:

When I did this piece I was listening to a song called Palace Garden, 4 A.M. I took the image from a photo I had taken in California. For me, music  is the fastest way for me to escape—into an experience, a memory, or an imaginary place. I am so grateful that music can take me away like this, provide clarity, and make me feel stronger.


This piece is from Olivia Boyle (of no relation to the former). I met her at Ball State University through my buddy Ben. She is also a talented singer and actress and all things art and theatrical.

This is a self-portrait of her “making music on my old fire escape.”

It definitely represents, for me, the pure joy music can give you anywhere, anytime. How does this not just make you smile? Just look how happy she is!! IMG_0498

This piece is by my great friend Nick Rapley. I’ve known Nick for a few years now. We went to Ball State and lived together for a while. If you are ever curious how we met, I can guarantee it is the best story of meeting someone in the history of the world. Ask me.

This is colored pencil on a wooden canvas. So cool. He surprised me with this as I arrived late to a rehearsal in NYC, crashing and tripping with my banjo, mandolin, and trumpet in hand. I had no timeline on when the piece was to be done, so it was a lovely surprise I will never forget and always cherish.

Nick is a fantastic musician as well and knowing his crafts the way I do, everything he does soars with his own particular style. I’m certain I’ve heard songs of his that “sound” just like this painting. He has his own approach and I love it.

You can see that it is a hand holding a talking/singing ear, all connected to a heart exhaling sounds and colors. Perfect to be left open to interpretation, I see it as music is meant to be felt and expressed with all senses. I love this.


This is by my darling little sister, Julie Young. She has been creative all of her life. She sang in choir, played the French horn, I think she played the cello for a hot minute, and has always been drawing.

Apparently, every time I check up on her back in Indiana, she’s taking the state by storm. She’s literally having art shows like ALL THE TIME. Way to go sis. I’m glad to see I share a passion of pushing the art envelope with her—I just prefer the musical art. I have no business with paint or markers…

Firstly, holy moly there is a lot of fine detail in this. Secondly, this tree of music has everything. Each instrument as the roots has an initial for each member of our family it is associated with. The trunk has speakers and the colors and sounds grow as the leaves. It’s beautiful. I do love my sister.


I plan on continuing to commission pieces from my friends who are artists. I support art. I am not suggesting everyone should dish out money to commission art (in any format, though that’d be nice), but find a way to support it.

Attend a presentation, a concert; help promote something you enjoy on social media. If you have something that you want to see become or continue to be successful, share it. Promote it.

Creators of art do just want share what they have to say. If you enjoy it, support them. And since everyone has bills to pay, if you are able, help them pay their bills a little bit.

What artist/musician/writer/etc. has gained your support lately?

Comment below!


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