Acrobat.....(see below)
38" x 26", acrylic, 2006

This is Marek. He's a drummer, a damn good drummer. Marek wasn't my first choice for a tattooed subject. I had my eye on this tall, beautiful young woman with a variety of tattoos covering parts of her arms and legs. I would have preferred painting this woman, but several things happened that unequivocally tipped the scales in Marek's favor. One day, I saw Marek sporting this black top. The black top contrasted perfectly with his skin tones and colorful tattoos, but it was going to take more than that to forgo the painting with the tattooed woman.

Face Detail
.....The Unbelievable Truth.....(see below)
A couple of days later, I found the inspiration that finally tipped the scales in Marek's favor. Having played drums in my younger days, I remembered that great feeling of playing "in the pocket" on my drums. Drumming in the pocket is having great timing and groove. Serving the song and being in sync with your fellow musicians. When this happens, you are "one" with your instrument. Any musician will testify to this. This is where I got the idea of fusing Marek's drumsticks with the snare drum. He is becoming, or already one (or fused) with his instrument.
Tattoo Detail
.....featuring.....(see below)
The title of the painting was a no-brainer. In addition to the title referring to the fusion between musician and instrument described above, in music jargon, "fusion" is a word used to describe the combination of several music genres into one: jazz-rock fusion for example. I decided to paint the snare drum floating above ground, unattached to any stand. This indicates a symbiotic relationship between musician and instrument furthering the notion of fusion between them. I knew this painting was going to explode with vibrant colors. For the first time, I used dark blacks and blues in the background instead of traditional earth colors. Earth colors would have clashed with the cool colors of the main subjects. Finally, I realized that all the snake heads in his tattoos were on the backside of his arm and not visible to the viewer, so I remedied this situation in a subtle way by including a snake head (as a reflected image) in the snare throw-off piece.
Sticks/Snare Drum Fusion Detail
.....Nathan Wilson, Phil White, Jay Hopkins, Marek Michalski