Internationally award-winning fine artist and Windsor / St. Clair Beach native Paul Murray brought his Music ‘N Arts Collide live art show featuring a Christmas concert to Windsor’s Olde Walkerville Theatre this past Saturday (Dec. 8). The performance in support of Ronald McDonald House, Make A Wish Foundation and local non-profit, Film Camp For Kids and Youth, featured Murray painting while renowned award winning musicians Sarah Smith, Brian Good, Wendell Ferguson, and surprise special guest, Windsor native Stacy Heydon performed.
The Music and Arts Collide series, the brainchild of artist Paul Murray, were conceived when his wife Kati-Jane showed him YouTube video of artists “speed painting”. This style of art features artists painting, often on upside down canvases, usually in the time it takes to play a single song. Paul, always innovating and pushing boundaries, came up with the idea of going a step further by creating his works to the songs of a live band or musician. The artworks he creates during the show are auctioned live with proceeds going to local school programs and charities.
The first shows back in 2015 raised money that was used for sending artists and musicians to talk to kids in schools, with the objective of encouraging them to “think out of the box”. After a two year hiatus, Paul decided to revive the series for a tour of Southern Ontario. He recruited London, Ontario, based musician Sarah Smith after Kati-Jane had seen her mesmerizing performance in a Victoria Playhouse show. Kati-Jane brought some of Sarah’s CD’s home for Paul to listen to. Kati-Jane liked Sarah’s energy and natural ability to connect with her audience. The pair agreed that Sarah would be a rockin addition to their show. Not long afterward eight time Juno award winning Country Music Hall of Famer Brian Good of The Good Brothers and multiple CCMA and Juno award winning guitarist and humorist Wendell Ferguson heard about the planned Music and Arts Collide Southwestern Ontario tour and asked to be part of it.
Saturday’s show began with a performance by Wendell Ferguson and a blindfolded Paul Murray creating a glue and glitter portrait of Ray Charles. Other speed paintings created during the show depicted Albert Einstein, Jesus Christ and even a pastel drawing of Santa. It was all put to canvas while it was rotating or upside down as music was performed live. The completed paintings were then offered up in a live auction. Attendees made offers via text message for each artwork with bidding closing at the end of the show.
Brian Good, along with wife Susie singing backup, performed music from his upcoming solo album and later in the set, special guest, Windsor native Stacy Heydon, a former touring guitarist with iconic rocker David Bowie in the mid 70’s, joined Good and Ferguson onstage. Heydon and Murray are long time friends (Heydon taught Murray guitar when he was a teen) and Heydon is producing Good’s solo album. While both Heydon and Murray are natives of Windsor Essex County they are now based in the United States. Murray in Tennessee where his Paul Murray Gallery is located. Heydon is based in California where he has been producing records. Stacy is the brother of award winning bluesman Stu Heydon who also now resides in California.
The second half of the show featured London musician Sarah Smith and her band performing a mix of Christmas classics and original music while Murray painted a giant 16 piece puzzle board of canvases. The finale of the show involved bringing the young people of Film Camp For Kids and Youth, the main benefactors of the show, on stage to perform with the entire ensemble, while Murray rearranged the 16 canvasses to form a giant painting. Families benefiting from the sponsored charities, Make A Wish and Ronald McDonald House, were invited to the show and given Paul Murray prints as gifts.
Paul and Kati-Jane are already excited about next years shows, planning new and creative ways to collide music and art while supporting area youth by encouraging creativity and unique thinking as well as giving to local charity.
The Music ‘N Arts Collide series continues with another performance December 15 at Wallaceburg Museum in Wallaceburg, Ontario. A possible encore may hit Windsor on December 21, depending on the amount of interest and requests from fans.
Update: By popular demand a second show has been added in Essex County, an encore Music N Arts Collide Concert will take place in Kingsville on Dec. 21.
For more information about Paul Murray, the Music ‘N Arts Collide series or to let them know you’re interested in another show in Windsor please visit http://paulmurray.com
Photos by Dan Boshart
Dan Boshart is a talented photographer from Windsor, Ontario, who is looking forward to spending more time on concert photography when he retires from his full time job in the automotive industry. In addition to shooting bands, he has an interest in travel, architectural and street photography. Some of Dan’s photos can be viewed on Instagram and he can be followed on Twitter.