Portrait art gallery of Bill Evans

(published with permission of the artists)

A portrait is a painting, photograph or sculpture of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. A portrait often gives deep insight, and offers an analysis that goes far beyond the superficial. Portrait in Jazz, recorded in 1959 by Riverside was the first of only four albums made by what Evans fans know as "the first trio", the one with Scott La Faro on bass and Paul Motian on drums. Next portraits in jazz presents a variety of artistic responses to Bill Evans through sculpture, drawings, paintings of course inspired by his personality and music.


Click to enlarge original LP cover from 1959

Two touching portraits have a special significance for me, since I have replications of them: An oil painting by the Dutch artist Henk Mommaas and a bronze sculpture by the American sculptor and jazz singer Earla Porch Frank.

Henk Mommaas

Henk Mommaas (1946-2009) is an expressive artist as well as writer and ghost writer. His Global Jazz Art Collection is an Art Project with more than forty paintings of composers and musicians whom are pillars in the Jazz History. His website is like a virtual monumental museum of the history of Jazz. He has studios in Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Playa Del Carmen (Mexico) and New York. I asked him the next explication of his striking painting of Bill Evans.

"Bill Evans belonged to the rare category of artists who were able to completely set aside themselves as a person. Consequently every time they were by their work in the position to rise above themselves, transforming to musical gods. The best concession is no concession was the adage that the former JAZZ provided his everlasting artistic social strength and dynamics. In that way I don't painted Bill Evans, but just his music as he bent over the grand piano writing down his music score. The stories arised from his head, after which the score was released by equal thinkers, only used as a starting point or theme, followed by a dialogue from the heart, changing every moment. That inner world remained that inner world, also during their performances on the main world stages. This self-isolation hides the strength and depth of his music. The audience did not existed, there was never an endeavor to please them. This made them personally and socially very vulnerable. Typical in this social ambient is the detached attitude to the public. That detachment, I painted in the two portraits at the top of the mountain."

Earla Porch

Earla Porch has a career as a sculptor and jazz vocalist. She was born in Cambridge, Mass., and studied Fine Art at the California Art Center and Kansas University. Majoring in sculpture, she has produced many abstract bronze works. Her flowing, lyrical pieces have graced many galleries throughout the country, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Harvard library in Cambridge Ma. She executed a number of portrait sculptures of jazz legends like Charley Parker, Billie Holiday and Chet Baker. This portrait of Bill Evans from 1980, the only one in existance, is on display at the Downbeat Jazz Hall of Fame in Orlando, Florida and at the Bill Evans Piano Academy in Paris, France. Nenette Evans, Bill Evans' widow: "I couldn't believe the likeness, Bill would have been so flattered to see it. It's a real honor." Bill's lifelong manager Helen Keane send her two excellent photos to work from and a video tape helped her to get different angles of his face. To this day she spends hours listening to Bill’s recordings while sculpting. Her career as a sculptor is very tightly entwined with her life as a jazz vocalist. Earla has sung in jazz clubs since she was in her teens and has worked with many jazz greats, including Chet Baker and Duke Jordan. In 2003 she released her album Satin and Smoke. Earla is a "listener’s’ singer" who sings in the same laid back understated manner that Chet Baker used to sing in. In the liner notes, jazz luminary Chet Baker says, "Earla is my favorite female singer."


Click for detail
Oil painting (70.9" x 42.2")
by Henk Mommaas

Click for side view of sculpture
Bronze sculpture (full-sized)
by Earla Porch Frank
Painting by Ton van Meesche

The Dutch painter Ton van Meesche lives in France and is involved in the yearly Jazz Festival in Junas France. He is fascinated by jazz music, painting and photography.
   
   

Painting by Ton van Meesche

His personal feeling is that water colour painting allows more improvisational freedom then oil painting; the latter you can correct or repaint whenever you want or need. He compares classical music to oil painting; great technique for playing the music , but no freedom for improvisation at all.

Painting by Tim Townsly

Tim is an artist who works and lives in Los Angeles. He was an instructor at the California Institute of the Arts teaching figure, color theory, design, and painting. His work has been used on the covers of several brochures. His work covers set paintings, matte painting, scenic art, murals and portraits of jazz musicians like Miles Davis, Tommy Flanagan, Thelonious Monk and Oscar Peterson.

Painting by Jesse Mosher

Jesse is residing in San Francisco, California. His jazz and rock and roll influenced paintings are made entirely from recycled materials like plywood or other refinished or re-
used materials.




Oil Painting
by Gilles Maes

Gilles Maes is a Belgian painter from Brussels. He is photographer, art director, publicist, illustrator, DJ, writer, composer and interpreter. Through his eyes Gilles paints moods, emotions and feelings. He published for the first time in 1990 portraits of jazz musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Chet Baker. He also painted portraits of French chansonniers like Jacques Brel, Leo Ferré and Yves Montand. He made striking portraits of film actors like Orson Welles, James Dean, Alain Delon and moreover portraits of Eric Clapton, B.B. King and Mick Jagger. Recently he painted a beautiful portrait of Vladimir Poetin.

Painting from
"The Jazz Masters Series" by Bruni

"BRUNI Sablan is the originator of "The Jazz Masters Series by BRUNI". This legendary body of work numbers over 1,300 original oil on canvas portraits.Her paintings reside in 4 Museums, including a portrait of Duke Ellington in The Smithsonian Institution. Her work has been published in many forms: Lithographs, LP & CD covers, Book Covers, Feature magazine covers and articles, posters and more. Many of the greatest musicians in history are fans and collectors: the late Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae, Roberta Flack, Jazz critic Leonard Feather, and many more. Her inclusion in The Difinitive Jazz Show & Auction in New York in 2005 punctuates her near mythical status".

Painting by Fred Jourdain

Fred Jourdain from Québec, Canada is an Illustrator and a photographer. His series of portraits of artists from the music and cinema world are sold in The United States and many countries in Europe. He painted potraits of Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and many pop artists. Also concert photography is a strong area of expertise in which he has succeeded in leaving his mark.

Painting by Nina Mera

Nina Mera was born in New York City to a Cuban father and Irish mother. Her work is heavily influenced by the French masters, particularly Lautrec. Also an accomplished jazz musician, Mera has succeeded in incorparating this art form into her work, with paintings of Ben Webster, Billie Holiday, Charly Parker and Wynton Marsalis.

Painting by Suzanne Cerny

Suzanne Cerny attended the High School of Music and Art in New York City and then graduated from The Cooper Union in Fine Art and Design in 1959. She is known for her jazz art imagery. She likes to sketch on site at jazz clubs when musicians are performing, and then transforms the images on canvas.

Painting by Iris Lavy

Iris Lavy is a former musician (piano, jazz composition and arrangement), studied painting at the Art Student's League in NYC, where she resides today. She has a great taste in jazz, in fact her art is often a kind of jazz itself.


Painting by John Froehlich

John Froehlich is a professionally trained and schooled artist. His work has been shown and collected interna-
tionally. He was born and raised in Manhattan, where for many years, he has drawn many of the jazz greats, up close and personal, at such venues as the Village Vanguard, the Blue Note and Birdland. With over 800 jazz and blues paintings in his portfolio, he has produced art work for cds, music publications, posters and t-shirts.

Painting by "Le coin de web de Renaud - Illustrations et dessins divers ..."
        Paintings by Renaud on Facebook





Painting by Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson is born in Syracuse, NY, 1979 and lives and works in San Francisco. No one immortalizes jazz greats quite like Ian Johnson. His portraits are predominantly of musicians of the 40's and 50's.They're so good, you can almost hear the music. He mixes detailed drawings with graphic patterns. The contrast and color are amazing.


Painting by Mary Marshall

Mary Marshall is an extraordinarily talented band leader, keyboard artist & vocalist. Mary taught classical and jazz piano at Concordia College Moorhead, MN, taught the Dakota Jazz Choir and classical and jazz piano at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota, and taught classical and jazz piano and Music Industry at Minnesota State University of Moorhead. She was the piano accompanist for the opera diva, Kathleen Battle for a few years.

Painting by Denise LaFrance

Denise LaFrance lives in Toronto, Canada.She is a professional writer and portrait painter in oil and watercolor. She also paints landscapes, fantasial and conceptual art. She is currently writing and illustrating "The Golden Heart & Soul of XXX - A Celebration of People.

Drawing by Jim Murray

Jim Murray grew up in the canyon country of Utah and western Colorado. In 2001, Jim moved to Yokohama, Japan. This is an illustration for the Nikkei Daily News (Tokyo). The article is about American jazz musicians bringing jazz to Scandanavia. The drawing features Charlie Parker, Quincy Jones and Bill Evans.

Painting by Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson is born in Syracuse, NY, 1979 and lives and works in San Francisco. No one immortalizes jazz greats quite like Ian Johnson. His portraits are predominantly of musicians of the 40's and 50's. He investigates the space between the spontaneous nature of jazz music and the physical structure of the human form. They're so good, you can almost hear the music. He mixes detailed drawings with graphic patterns. The contrast and color are amazing.

(Click on thumbnail to see a larger version)

Pen drawing by Tim Vahsholtz

Tim Vahsholtz is a videographer, photographer and colored pencil artist. He is 38 years old and lives Mid South, Arkansas, USA.





Woodblock print by Jeb Loy Nichols

Jeb Loy Nichols is an US-american singer and songwriter. Furthermore, he began studying painting. He plays a blend of country, folk, and reggae. In 1990 Nichols formed the "Fellow Travellers". Today he is a solo musician and lives on a farm in British Wales. As a painter he makes woodblock prints of musicians like Archie Shepp and John Coltrane. The Bill Evans print is inspired by the Evans album "Explorations" , released by Riverside in 1961.

Pen drawing by Earla Porch Frank

Earla has a career as a sculptor and jazz vocalist. She executed a number of portrait sculptures of jazz legends. This portrait is on display at the Downbeat Jazz Hall of Fame in Orlando, Florida and at the Bill Evans Piano Academy in Paris, France. Nenette Evans, Bill Evans' widow: 'I couldn't believe the likeness, Bill would have been so flattered to see it. It's a real honor.'

Pen drawing by Jim Murray

Jim Murray grew up in the canyon country of Utah and western Colorado. In 2001, Jim moved to Yokohama, Japan. This is an illustration for the Nikkei Daily News (Tokyo). The article is about American jazz musicians bringing jazz to Scandanavia. The drawing features Charlie Parker, Quincy Jones and Bill Evans.

Painting by an unknown artist
Painting by Aaron Waugh
Painting by Christiana Piraino
Painting by Robert Dickhoff
Drawn by Argentine artist Gaston Beverina


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