If there is one thing more iconic in the pantheon of rock ’n’ roll
clichés tropes godliness than a guy standing on stage playing a guitar, it is a guy standing beside the stage playing without a guitar.
In homage to the
slobs nerds gods of air guitar, Brooklyn-based illustrator Fred Stesney has created this post’s imagined depictions of real musicians doing a pretend thing in homage to a fantasy lifestyle.
Why would a creative person do something like that?
The beginnings of an explanation are archived on Stesney’s Behance account:
Academic Rationalization: By deconstructing the pop culture icon of the guitar hero, the artist recontextualizes the existence of the non-object and implies the question of the viewer’s involvement in the art-making process, i.e. distancing techniques, semiotics and transgressional strategies.
Common Explanation: Guitar players can get away with making some funny faces and postures but, when you take away the six-stringed excuse, they look pretty silly.
These rationale are a couple of likely stories, but why let the artist off with facile explanations? Seeking a deeper meaning, the Skeeve subjected Stesney to profound questioning.
The Skeeve: How did you land the air-guitar job and figure out these illustrations?
Fred Stesney: It was the reverse of that. I had the idea for an air guitar series and, after finishing it, saw an open call from Guitar World for guitar-related art.
The Skeeve: Why didn’t you do any women guitar heroes?
Fred Stesney: My subject list is far from comprehensive. No Lita Ford. No Hendrix, Page, or Blackmore either.
The Skeeve: Can you explain why air-trumpet competitions have never caught on?
Fred Stesney: Racism, pure and simple.
The Skeeve: Do you have any warnings and encouragement for the young creative pondering a career in illustration?
Fred Stesney: Learn to draw realistically. It will put you ahead of legions of other aspiring artists.
The Skeeve: Why Brooklyn?
Fred Stesney: Have you tasted the artisanal sauerkraut?
All illustrations copyright Fred Stesney.