Ron Wood – The Living Total Work of Art on Record

Ron Wood
Cover artwork
Gimme Some Neck
Insert artwork
Gimme Some Neck

Art isn’t created just because one has the skill but because one has to do so, said Arnold Schoenberg, thus describing the inner force that an artist experiences when creating a work of art. Driving on by this necessity, the Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood did not solely concentrate on the frets of his guitar but took up pencil and paintbrush to create all manner of drawings and paintings. As a child he drew the public’s attention to himself when he won first prize for his drawings in a BBC Television competition; he later went on to train at the Ealing Art College, London. His works include paintings, drawings, graphics, prints and linocuts that portrayed fellow musicians and contemporaries, and not least his own likeness in a multitude of variations.

Quite a number of doubly talented colleagues have followed in Wood’s footsteps but rarely did a musician in the Golden Seventies manage to combine the visual arts and music on a vinyl disc. Sumptuous artwork on the cover, artistically illustrated inner sleeves and folding posters were all the rage in those days, long before video clips enhanced the music. On Gimme Some Neck, a terrific album, Ronnie’s remarkable talent is to be seen on the four sides of the outer and inner cover. There we find all manner of sketches, notes, photos and almost photographic portraits both in black and white, and in colour. “All drawings by – meeee!” states the rock star proudly on the cover and steers the observer’s view to a collection of finely drawn illustrations that are full of vitality. And what about the acoustic sound?

Even after many years, Wood thought of his musical performance as a joint venture with the group. What did remain his very own thing, however, was visual art. This was his personal form of expression, and apparently also a boost to his ego – which could explain to some extent why he “had to do so”.

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