Rock And Roll

The kids are all crafting.

by Sarah Harper

There’s a lot of cross-over between music and art.

Kanye West did a design collab with Louis Vuitton. Jimi Hendrix messed with watercolors. M.I.A. started her career as a visual artist in London. Locally, all of the covers of Teenage Moods’ releases were drawn by bassist Jillian Schroeder.

What’s with all these musicians being so into art?

Joni Mitchell said, “I sing my sorrow, and I paint my joy,” in a 2000 interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Let’s talk about the different ways you can do arts and crafts in the veins of your favorite musicians, Joni included.




Inspired by Kurt Cobain

Difficulty 4-year-old friendly

Required materials A Mead spiral and a pen


Journaling is a form of crafting because what we write and how we write it often has artistic value. The way we arrange things on the page, the style our handwriting naturally falls into and whatever happens in the margins create a certain look and composition.

The Nirvana visionary kept the most astounding, visceral journals — he scrawled, he listed, he doodled, he ranted, he drew cartoons, he wrote letters. Basically, Cobain flipped his brain inside out and plastered the contents onto notebook paper.

You can do that too. All you have to do is remember that (hopefully) nobody will ever look at what you’re scribbling. So, yes, write about your feelings. Draw pictures of your professors’ shoes. Shake out a limerick or two. Write swear words. Do what you want.




Inspired by Joni Mitchell

Difficulty Hard if you are scared of drawing

Required materials Paper or canvas and paint


If you had a face like Joni Mitchell’s, you’d never stop painting it. Her features are so distinct that there’s nobody on this earth who looks quite like her. Except maybe Sissy Spacek.

Given Mitchell’s intense cheekbones and otherworldly eyes, it makes sense that she described herself as a “painter derailed by circumstance.” While she often painted Canadian landscapes and her cats, her self-portraits are telling and accurate.

You don’t have to stretch canvas to paint a picture of yourself, but you shouldn’t just use computer paper for your masterpiece. If you have the means, pick up watercolor paper or acrylic paper.

You also don’t have to be that good of a painter. Employ the impressionist style. Force yourself to paint your face in 10 minutes or less and use a blurry, painterly stroke.

Play around with style. Do several different versions. Live the surreal life like Frida Kahlo, and give yourself fake backgrounds and accessories. Have fun with it, folks.




Inspired by Sufjan

Difficulty Not hard if you can wield a glue stick

Required materials A map, miscellaneous stuff from magazines and nature


The wimpy cartographer admitted that his announced plan to create one CD for every state was a marketing ploy.

Whatever, Sufjan.

We can pick up your slack by making our own maps, and they’ll be better than “Michigan,” mark my words.

Here’s how we stick it to Stevens: Check out the Borchert Map Library in Wilson Library — word on the street is that there are tons of free maps down there.

Now all you need is a glue stick and a wide range of materials you collect from magazines and the great outdoors. If your map is of the United States, glue pieces of crab grass onto Florida and strands of your roommate’s sun-damaged hair onto California. You’ll have a cool, creepy, textured poster in no time flat. Rock and roll.