ELLEN PRIEST
“Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #1-32” is a series of experimental drawings and paintings based on student music from Berklee College of Music’s Global Jazz Institute.

Having spent nearly five intense years completing “Jazz: Edward Simon’s Venezuelan Suite #1-23”, I was eager to break my process open and chew through some new ideas. Experimentation demanded a quicker way of working. I turned to drawing – to me, the thinking-out-loud of visual art.

An NPR junkie, I had often heard the music of newly discovered jazz musicians, especially those from Africa and Latin America, who made their way into the US jazz scene via Berklee College of Music in Boston. “Oh, if I could be a bird in the room listening to classes...” What better way to fuel my own improvisation than to listen to music-in-progress.

Berklee’s Department of Liberal Arts, music faculty and elite Global Jazz Institute welcomed me for a residency in late 2010, and this new body of drawings, brush studies and collaged paintings was the result. The work was exhibited at Berklee in 2012.

Drawings and layered, collaged paintings in this series are based on compositions by each of four BGJI students: Caili O’Doherty, Matthew Halpin, Thomas Wilson and Felix Peikli.

The Berklee Series project and exhibition were made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.










ELLEN PRIEST Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for Song #1 © 2011, Flashe and pencil on paper, 30” x 37½”