GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - All of us have listened to music, but how many of us can say we have seen music? That is unless we've seen the work of Jackson County artist Robby Amonett.
Amonett has developed a unique style of painting where he goes to live shows and tries to capture the energy and excitement off those performances on canvas. Right now, his work is on exhibit in Gulfport.
From country to punk rock, from rap to jazz, Robby Amonett turns music notes into brush strokes.
"I love all music. I started out doing mostly jazz and rock and did some classical," said Amonett. "I've painted a symphony, a chamber orchestra, any kind of music."
Amonett paints music, but he doesn't do it in an art studio. He goes to bars, restaurants and other music venues to watch live shows. While the musicians take the stage, Amonett takes out his acrylics.
"Watching a live performance, there is something special about a live performance you can't get from a tape," said Amonett. "Instead of painting from a photograph, when you paint live, you get the essence. A songwriter, they're sitting there and the music is more about a feeling of the story of the song. It's a calmer music, so the painting is calmer, but if you get in punk rock shows, it's very intense so the painting will be intense."
To be able to see music, Amonett said a person must understand the relationship between sound and light.
"Painting is pulling the light out of something, and of course, music is sound, so they kind of intertwine," Amonett said. "The psychology of color has a correlation with sound. I guess how Jimmy Hendrix said he used to hear purple when he played. I kind of hear colors, so I try to translate that into paint."
Amonett also spent several years painting a series of jazz paintings. For this, he drew inspiration from looking at photographs of jazz legends and, of course, listening to their music.
"I used live recordings, so it was technically live music, but it was recorded live music. I listened to the same 12 artists for six months and never got tired of it," Amonett said. "It was a very intense, in depth listening of jazz music."
He said he is a firm believer in the theory of Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, that all forms of art are interconnected.
"The humanity, we're all human. The desire to communicate through whatever medium you choose, to show our human side," Amonett said.
Amonett travels all along the Gulf Coast to Jackson and even up to Nashville painting live shows. Some of his work is currently part of an exhibit called "Scenes of a Scene," which is on display now at Mississippi Coast Community College Jefferson Davis Campus. The exhibit will be open through Oct. 18.