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The Art of Miles Davis

AAJ Staff By

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By Jonathan Poole

Miles Davis was born in Alton, Illinios and grew up in East St. Louis. He was inspired to become a musician in the 1940's and received first hand education from Charlie "Bird" Parker. The pioneer of the cool jazz era, Miles became a world famous innovator and his work in albums such as Bitches Brew and Sketches of Spain influenced generations of musicians.


In 1980 Miles began to focus his talent in a new direction and started seeking expression not just through his music but also through visual art. He began with primitive figures and then experimented in colour and composition. In contrast to his rich formal education as a musician, Miles as an artist was mostly self-taught. He became inspired by the Milan-based design movement known as "Memphis" whose theme was based on hot colours and clashing shapes. He worked under this influence for nearly two years during which time he created a substantial collection of work. As his work matured his direction changed with intergrating, swirling abstracts and strong African inspired textures, filling his studio with tribal masks and haunting images of Arican art. He was moved to incorporate the essence of this rich imagery in his paintings. He transformed his world of sound into shapes and colours and worked primarily with acrylic, pastes, pencil and markers, especially favouring large canvasses with ample space.


Kimberley Bodnar curated the first exhibition of his artwork in the United States in 1989, followed by exhibitions in Canada, California, Japan, New York, Switzerland, Florida and Michigan.

Jonathan Poole acquired the exclusive European rights after his death through the Estate's lawyers. Exhibitions have been held throughout Europe and the Middle East. He has at his gallery, Compton Cassey Gallery in the UK, a large collection of his prints, paintings and drawings. Galleries are welcome to contact him to see if an exhibition is available and the general public are more than welcome to contact the gallery to purchase, acquire a catalogue or make an appointment to view the stock.

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