Size: 23.4" (58.968cm) x 33.1" (83.412cm) Edition of 100

Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk

Limited, Numbered, Signed Edition of 100 

Artist print by Ski Williams

Original pencil, French Sepia ink and red vermillion liquid gouche illustration reproduced on 290gsm Smooth Matte French Arches Watercolour paper

A1 prints limited to 100.


About the print:

Ski Williams:

I first heard the music of Thelonious Monk when my father took me to see the film ‘Jazz on a Summer's Day’ when I was 17. This made a lasting impression and I began regularly perusing the second hand LP racks at Ray's Jazz Shop on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue.             

The idea for the print came about when Tony Nourmand of Reel Art Press showed me the picture of Monk in his book 50 Shades and asked me if I could do anything with it. He'd seen my piece featuring the wonderful New Orleans rhythm & blues pianist ‘Professor Longhair’ that had the piano keys reflected in his sunglasses and made the connection.

When Tony read me the quote from Monk that went with the picture – ‘Sometimes it’s to your advantage for people to think you’re crazy’ –  I began to smile and the different elements of the piece started to come together. I wanted to suggest a very New York 1950s bohemian vibe while at the same time making it very tactile. I drew Monk’s head in HB pencil first, then painted onto it with French sepia ink, which you can build up in layers.              

When I draw from a photograph with the magnifying visor on my head, the visual distortion brought about by my eye condition, combined with the magnification, causes me to see a densely integrated pattern of small shapes that make up the image. It reminds me of the bark of the oak trees I love to draw so much and consequently my work has become very much about surface.

On the original piece you can stroke Monk's beard with the tips of your fingers.                             

The vermilion used in the rectangles was painted on with liquid Gouache. I then cut the pattern in with a scalpel and rubbed away at it to create a relief pattern effect. The lettering ideas were inspired by various different vintage jazz LP sleeves and the ‘Wavy’ piano keys I just invented in response to the way Monk's music makes me feel. 


Thelonious Monk