ISB and the Visual Arts

Ein interessanter Gesichtspunkt der Incredible String Band ist die Verknüpfung ihrer Musik mit anderen künstlerischen Disziplinen. Die Band selbst hat verschiedene Versuche unternommen, die Trennung der einzelnen Disziplinen aufzulösen, die Grenzen traditioneller Vorstellungen zu sprengen und in Richtung eines Gesamtkunstwerkes zu arbeiten. Angefangen bei der Verwendung von eigenen Illustrationen bei Plattencovern über die Einbeziehung von Gedichtvorträgen und pantominischen wie getanzten Einlagen in Konzerten bis hin zur Verwirklichung eines Films, in dem verschiedene Genres verwoben werden. Ebenso interessant ist die Frage, ob und inwieweit die Musik der Gruppe Einfluss auf andere Künste hatte bzw. noch hat.

An interesting subject is the connection of the string band’s music with other artistic disciplines. The band broke traditional boundaries to work toward a total experience integrating philosophy, music, dance, poetry and the visual arts. They used their own drawings and poems on album covers and included pantomime, dance and audience participation at their concerts.

1.  Zeichnungen und Illustrationen von Bandmitgliedern auf Plattencovern / Drawings and illustrations by band
Wee Tam & The Big Huge
Illustration zum Gedicht "The Head" von RW auf Beiblatt

Changing Horses
Illustrationen von MH und RW

Illustrationen von RW, cover by Janet Shankman

I Looked Up
Cover by Janet Shankman

"The Head"
^   "U"  ^

"Changing Horses"

Janet Shankman

2.  Unabhängige Bilder / Independent pictures by band members
Bild von Robin
Balmore Hoard
Painting on guitar
Bild von Robin

3.  Gedichte in Konzerten / Poetry readings
The Head
Wort und Bild

Noah and the Dove
Wort, Bild, Verkleidung

Woodstock 1969

4.  Musik, Gedicht, Tanz, Pantomime / Music, poetry, dance, pantomime
"A Surreal Pantomime in Song and Dance"
Live 1970
5.  Pantomime, Tanz, Bild in Konzerten / Pantomime, dance and visual imagery
Willow Pattern

Pantomime Interlude

El Ratto

Giles Crocodiles
Words, Music, Pantomime
Concerts 1972-73

6.  Film
The Pirate And The Crystal Ball Musik, Tanz, Schauspiel 1968

7.  Selbst angefertigte Kleidung / Handmade Clothes

8.  Happening (Einbeziehung von Publikum in die Performance) / Audience participation  
"Bell Ringing" Publikum wird auf Bühne geholt und betätigt Percussion-Instrumente z.B. Fillmore East 1968

9.  Songs als Untermalung in Filmen / Soundtracks
A Rock-n-Roll Journey Through The 60´s, 60 min White Bird
Hideous Kinky
Movie Worlds They Rise And Fall
Jersey Girl
DVD, Movie, 2004 Worlds They Rise And Fall
Taking Off
Movie Air
Obscura by Rod Pitman, USA 2002
with music of ISB
OZ 1969 16mm color, three minutes, experimental film of the OZ magazine with music of ISB
Time For Thought 1972, 35mm, 40 minutes
No Turning Back 1974, 35mm, 100 minutes
Roughnecks 6-part drama series, BBC 1994-95 some ISB songs
Summer Hours
Movie, France 2008
some ISB songs
10.  Verwendung der Musik in ästhetischen Projekten / Use of songs in aesthetical projects
"The Echoing Green" Part of the Multi-Media-Project "Missed Encounters", presented at
by "The Buggers"
"Winter Solstice"
Open source 'ceremony' including "Water Song" and "Sleepers Awake"
by "Yoism Online"
"Poetry And Jazz"
"October Song", "This Moment", "Air" performed by Joe White (guitar,
Teremin) as part of a Poetry and Jazz Night, Cafe Engel Helsinki,
13./22./27. 9. 2006
"Finn-Brit Players"
HAVING FLASHBACKS? A '60s Coffee House Cabaret (includes songs by the ISB and others)
by American Stage Theatre Company
''8 1/2 Solos for 8 Dancers'' Solo Dance performance to "Black Jack Davy", April 1985,  El Taller Latino Americano, NY Rick Guimond & Friends
Mixed Media Show Mixed media show with soundtrack incl. ISB music for Ohio Department of Education (1973) Institute of Polar Studies
Dance Show Brown University Dance Group: "Evening of Dance", ProvidenceFeb. 1970 incl. You Get Brighter
Multimedia Show
About botany and ecology. August 1971, Ohio State University
incl. ISB songs
11.  Songs als Inspiration für Visuelle Kunstwerke / Visual Art inspired by the ISB
1. Designs for a cover for "Queen Juanita"

Made by pupils of a german school
2. Illustrationen von Songtexten  / Illustrated song lyrics by other artists

(internet, unkown)

John Hurford
Half Remarkable Question,
Black Indian Ink & Coloured Inks/Collage,
Commissioned by OZ for The Incredible String Band, 1968

3. Bilder zur Band allgemein

Mat Pringle
Zine Sketches 4 - The Incredible String Band
Print, 2010

4. Inspiration für eigenständige Kunstwerke / Original art by other artists inspired by the ISB

Carol Summers
The Incredible String Band
Undated Woodcut on mulberry paper

Misha Bittleston
Watercolor 1993

Digital picture by Chris Wayan. 1996

Here is a quote from "Air" by Mike Heron of The Incredible String Band, that I was listening to at around the time I made this painting and that achieves in poetry and music what I was trying to do with visual poetry and color.

Breathing, all creatures are, Brighter then than brightest star, You are, by far, You come right inside of me,
Close as you can be, You kiss my blood, And my blood kiss me.

A quote from Robin Williamson of the Incredible String Band comforts me whenever I get confused. In other words, usually.

Painting by Bill Gall (1969)

Elaine Warwick Simpson
The Art of Dying 1
Mixed Media, 2005
Elaine Warwick Simpson
Banjo Player (Clive Palmer)
Acrylic, 2005
Elaine Warwick Simpson
Mike Heron
Pastel, 2004

Elaine Warwick Simpson Elaine Warwick Simpson
Elaine Warwick Simpson
Fairy with Songbird
Acrylic, 2006

Ricky Swallow

Incredible String Band Painting
Colin Alexander
(both documented as painting process on 'youtube')
Licorice McKechnie Painting

Graffiti by Dave and Geoff Hall: Among their opus was “May the long time sun shine upon you”, from the song by the Incredible String Band (Railway Wall, South London, 1971)