Different Drummer

For those of us who hold tight to an outcome and won’t let go until somebody hacksaws off our claws, we all should take a lesson from Chris Mars, former percussionist for the long-defunct, genre-defying band The Replacements.

You see, Mars is done with music. Period. Don’t even ask about it, you dig?

However, he definitely isn’t done with stirring and cranium-blowing creativity. Since ditching the drum kit, the Minneapolis-based artist has thrived as a killer painter of oil and acrylic works, some of which have sold for upward of $30,000. He’s also the author of a well-received book dubbed TOLERANCE (2008) that features monographs and essays packaged in an environmentally sound, fair-trade tome. And when he needs a break from the easel, he makes supercool video art. (Check out for the just-posted This Is Number 14.)

A majority of the oil-on-panel works currently on display at Perihelion Arts were created in 2008, under the influence of his brother’s challenges with a lifelong mental illness. The imagery won’t be therapeutic to some – many of the skeletal figures depicted in hell-like infernos aren’t beautiful in the oh-look-at-the-pretty-flower kind of way – but the work will reward the open-minded viewer. “My brother Joe's struggles with schizophrenia will remain a driving inspiration I think for some time to come,” Mars tells New Times. “For me, the themes that surround his plight are more far-reaching than I would have initially imagined them being. Ostracization, prejudgment, and xenophobia are unfortunately universal and timeless.”

Check out Mars’ exhibit alongside some awesome new works by one of Phoenix’s most-talented artists, painter/drawer Rachel Bess, at Perihelion Arts.

Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: May 2. Continues through May 31, 2009
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Steve Jansen
Contact: Steve Jansen