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Kilford: Making Art From Music

Music painter Kilford creates colourful canvases that represent the physical form of music

London-based painter Kilford is currently sending shockwaves through the world of art. He’s best known as The Music Painter, thanks to his unique style of capturing the physical representation of art on canvas, which he says is based on the colours he sees whilst hearing music. Kilford paints music live alongside musicians during their performances, and has depicted the colourful carcasses of such hits as Ne-yo’s hit single ‘Stop This World’ and the electro-pumping ‘Boom Boom Pow’ by the Black Eyed Peas.

Dazed Digital: Your painting style is very unique. How did you come up with the idea of painting music?
Kilford: It’s not really an idea; it’s just the way it is. I see colours when I hear music and I paint those colours. I was painting music for a long time before I realised what I was actually doing.  Then when I realised what I was doing, I pursued the live avenue with every ounce of energy I had.

DD: How can someone ‘paint music’?
Kilford: There is no rulebook, there are no boundaries, there is no right or wrong and no good or bad. The key is doing what you want and if it makes you happy, its cool… that’s the code I live by. I’m not what you would call a qualified painter (if there is such a thing). I wasn’t taught to paint. I studied A-level art, got a B and that’s it. I didn’t go to art college.

DD: Who are your influences?
Kilford: I’m inspired by music, and music alone. But I do love work by people such as Basquiat, Pollock, Freud, Da Vinci, Kapoor, Vivienne Westwood and Galliano. What really inspires me though is standing in front of a canvas listening to a tune that makes the hairs on my arms stand up, be it live or in the studio.  

DD: What song was your favourite to paint?
Kilford: I don’t have a favourite, but I only paint songs that make me tingle. Some recent paintings of songs include ‘Stop Me’ by Mark Ronson. I love that song so much.

DD: Who are your favourite artists at the moment?
Kilford: If you mean musicians there are a few. I am massively into Mark Ronson. I love the way he mixes shit up. I’ve also been listening to Bon Iver, Prodigy and Fat Boy Slim for the last three days continuously, and I’ve recently started painting 'Just Dance' by Lady Gaga. I cant wait to see what that turns out like!