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RHCP’s Chad Smith brings the “explosiveness” of drumming into visual art with upcoming exhibits

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Credit: Laura Glass

This weekend, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith‘s visual artwork is going on display as part of the Ad Art Show at the New York City Oculus, and at Ocean Galleries in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. The pieces are based on photographs taken of Smith drumming in the dark with neon drumsticks, which are then manipulated in post-production.

“[I’m] adding paint and different things, just to try and bring out the explosiveness and the power of the drumming, to try and help have that translate to a flat surface, because drumming and music is not,” Smith tells ABC Audio.

Smith first launched the collection in 2019. Speaking to ABC Audio then, the drummer raised the possibility that “snobby arty people” might dismiss his work as a “vanity” project. So, did that end up happening?

“I haven’t had anyone come up to me and go, ‘You’re a joke, this sucks. Why are you wasting your time? Stay out of our art lane!'” Smith says. “I haven’t had the art police come up to me yet and give me a fine or slap me on my wrists.”

In fact, Smith has seemingly been embraced by the art world — for the Ad Art Show, he was named the exhibit’s host and featured guest artist. For Smith, his work feels “authentic,” since it’s an “extension of what I already do.”

“If I was, like, ‘I’m gonna take up sculpting!’ and all of a sudden I make a blob of clay and I throw it against the wall and I think, ‘Isn’t that amazing?’, it’s, like, ‘Nah, I’m not buying that,'” Smith says. “I would want people to go, ‘F*** you!’ But when it’s art through music and through drumming, and then a different take on it, I’m OK with that.”

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