If you've been reading Up on the Sun or paying any attention to the local music scene, this image should look familiar. It's the first thing you see when you visit the MySpace page of the Phoenix band, Miniature Tigers.
And it's an original work by Rick Alvin Schaier, the band's drummer.
Right out the gate, I'll tell you that I'm friends with the young Schaier (he just turned 21). If you've been wondering about those annoying disclaimers at the end of our blogs that say an Up on the Sun contributor is dating one of the band's members, those are about me . . . I'm dating Lou Kummerer, the bassist (hey, Babe!) and have become pals with the other band members.
So that's how I discovered Schaier. I was a fan of his art before I even met him. And now, I can't stop showing people his Myspace page, I get excited every time he posts a new work, and I recently bought a number of his paintings to give as Christmas presents.
Truth be told, I've been agonizing about this blog for months. I'm touchy when I have to write about my friends. But, it's time. Schaier's just too goddamn good for me to pass up.
Schaier is what we would've called a "naive" or "primitive" artist in my art history classes. Like the late 19th century/early 20th century French painter, Henri Rousseau or mid-20th century folk artist Grandma Moses he's self-taught and untrained. And similar to those canonized painters, he possesses an irresistible visual style that is non-threatening, innocent, and charming.
You want to hang these on your wall. You want to look at them everyday. You love them.
Well, at least, I do.
Schaier lives in Laguna Niguel, California (close to Laguna Beach), but practically splits his time between there and Phoenix when he's not on tour. He recently had his first art showing all the way out in Philadelphia at T&P Fine Art for a January exhibition that featured art by musicians and music-inspired art.
Other than that, he's totally off the radar -- for now.
I can't help but to believe that, with the exciting direction Miniature Tigers is headed, important people will begin to witness Schaier's incredible talent (he also has a solo music project called Alvin Band, which I highly recommend).
And I found him first!
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To see more art by Rick Alvin Schaier and to listen to Alvin Band, check out www.myspace.com/alvinband .