ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Artist Daniel Edlen puts a new spin on vintage vinyl albums. The Gilbert resident painstakingly paints intricate images of music stars on records using a fine brush and white acrylic paint, resulting in amazing and affordable art (each record sells for $350). “I wanted to make them affordable for music lovers,” says Edlen, who has created hundreds of albums featuring everyone from Engelbert Humperdinck to Frank Zappa.
As he was growing up in the Pacific Palisades in California, Edlen listened to his dad playing records, and his mother was in charge of book sales at the local library – where the albums often languished and landed in his hands rather than the trash. He learned to draw and paint at the Brentwood Art Center and started painting performers on their albums in the ‘90s. At first, he used the vinyl like an ordinary canvas, painting broad strokes over the ridged records, which proved cumbersome. After attending the University of California in Los Angeles and studying cybernetics, he returned to record-painting in 2006, this time using more of a pointillist technique for his portraits. He carefully dabs white dots on the records to create images and shadows.
Edlen has gifted his records to several singers, including the late Lou Reed. His work was featured at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. “[Vinyl records] celebrate the subject and the object, the art and the artifact,” Edlen says. “They provide something physical, something lasting to hold onto in this digital age.”
View more of Edlen’s work at vinylart.info.