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Halloween edition


OK. But first, a quick note from Robb ...


Brian Frink is one of those guys that truly makes Mankato a more interesting place. Brian teaches at Minnesota State University. That's his day job. But at night he can found terrorizing conservatives on Facebook, traveling the countryside in search of great art, or piloting a little thing he calls RACA (Rural American Contemporary Art.) I haven't known Brian long, but I was thrilled to finally get a chance to meet him. He's just one of those guys who is nice to have on your friend list. And I've heard the parties at his place (the former Blue Earth County "poor farm") are pretty epic. Maybe some day I'll get invited to one ... ; )


His playlist is outstanding. I gave him a challenging theme: This Michelangelo quote: "A man paints with his brains and not with his hands." Being he's a nationally known painter, I figured he'd take this theme and run with it. And he didn't disappoint.


Enjoy Brian's playlist. I know I did.

And now for a little artistic inspiration ...


Michelangelo: "A man paints with his brains and not with his hands." This quote from the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo elegantly describes a great misnomer about art. People often think art is what we make. The truth is art is what we think. I was invited to create a playlist related to the Michelangelo quote. Some of the songs are about art or artists, some make me think and others make me dance.


The important thing is that these songs have been and continue to be a source of inspiration for my studio work. I’ve tried to create a playlist that encompasses my earliest days back in the 70’s Jethro Tull to the more recent album by Daft Punk.


So my selections are about inspiration, songs that provoke a feeling, a reaction to the world. Some of the songs are hand songs, some are mind songs but they are all heart songs. These are songs that fill in the blanks of reality for me. When one thinks about it that’s what ALL art should do – fill in the blanks of reality.




1. Brian Eno and John Cale, “Spinning Away”

From the 1990 album Wrong Way Up














This song is about making a drawing. The lyrics accurately describe the feelings I have when things are going well in the studio. Eno makes a Van Gogh reference in this song.


“Up on a hill, as the day dissolves

With my pencil turning moments into line

High above in the violet sky

A silent silver plane – it draws a golden chain

One by one, all the stars appear

As the great winds of the planet spiral inSpinning away,

like the night sky at Arles”



2. The Beatles, “He Said, She Said”

From the 1966 Album Revolver














I saw a bar band do a cover of this song at a bar in Normal Illinois. The people in the bar spontaneously jumped up and started dancing. They were even dancing on the tables! Yeah, we were all drunk.


3. David Bowie, “Wild is the Wind” (A cover of the 1957 song by Kimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington)

From Bowie’s album Station to Station














Bowie brings out a poetic wistfulness that he is so good at doing. A beautiful arching rendition.


4. Talking Heads, “Stay Hungry”

From the 1978 album More Songs about Buildings and Food















I have lived my artistic life with this admonition, STAY HUNGRY! It’s the only way to maintain a creative edge. This song has always reminded me to never be comfortable.


5. Patti Smith, “Constantine’s Dream”

From the 2012 album Banga














Only Patti Smith could do a song about the artist Piero della Francesca (go ahead try it yourself). This song is an amazing tale of art, culture and conquest. Go listen to it now.


6. Talking Heads, “Artists Only”

From their 1977 album Talking Heads 77














I’m painting again!! All about the good and bad of art making.


7. The Minutemen, “Do You Want the New Wave Or do You Want The Truth”

From the 1984 album Double Nickels on the Dime














The Minutemen are one of the greatest bands ever. This album is their best. They were at their peak. Politics, humor, raw energy and sophisticated jazz/punk fusion made this album one of the best.


8. The Minutemen, “The Glory of Man”

From the 1984 album Double Nickels on the Dime














This song demonstrates their philosophical chops and some kick ass musicianship.


“Starting with the affirmation of man

I work my way backwards using cynicism

The time monitor, the space measurer

I live sweat but I dream light years

I am a tide, the rise and the fall

The reality soldier, the laugh child

The one of the many, the flame child

Time monitor, the space measurer”



9. Television , “Marquee Moon”

From their 1977 album Marquee Moon














A long gorgeous wandering song that evokes dirty New York streets or dark disasters.


“Life in the hive puckered up my night,

the kiss of death, the embrace of life.

There I stand neath the Marquee Moon

Just waiting,Hesitating...”


10. Jethro Tull, “Teacher”

From their 1970 album Benefit














This song is the foundation of my teaching philosophy.


“Jump up, look around,

Find yourself some fun,

No sense in sitting there hating everyone.

No man's an island and his castle isn't home,

The nest is full of nothing when the bird has flown.''





When Brian Frink was asked to submit a pic of himself to accompany his playlist, this is what he came up with. Sheesh. Artists. Who can understand these people?


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