Residency: Car Seat Headrest – Week 1

Read the Leesburg, Virginia-based artist’s first entry.

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Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite artists.

This week, the Leesburg, Virginia-based artist Car Seat Headrest shares his first piece. 


Visuals, Part 1:

William Blake, The Grave (Series of Etchings)

I found the first of these looking through a book on the art of sketching; intrigued by its haunting mood and dynamic poses, I pulled up the rest of the series on Google. I have no idea what any of these mean, or how they relate to the poem they were supposed to illustrate (I’ve read the poem, and they don’t seem to at all), but they look great! Elements of several pieces worked their way into the cover design for Teens of Style, with the help of illustrator Max Wedner. To fully imbue the cover with the power of Blake’s work, I even visited the art gallery where it was hosted, knocked the guard unconscious, and consumed the original drawing!

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Aubrey Beardsley

Car Seat Headrest fans will already be aware of the impact of Beardsley’s work on my tender psyche. A compilation of his work, carelessly left on the household shelf as a relic of my mom’s bohemian phase, disturbed and confused me with its grotesqueries and nudity, while enticing me with its simple linework and distinctive style.

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Diego Velázquez, The Triumph of Bacchus (or Los Borrachos)

I took an art history course in 2011 that helped shape much of the imagery on Monomania. The skin tones and composition on this piece are stunning. It depicts a rather unenthused Bacchus descending on a party of mortals to bless their reveries. I sympathized, and the image ended up on my own “Los Borrachos (I Don’t Have Any Hope Left, But The Weather Is Nice).”

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Tarot swords

Towards the end of the process of recording Nervous Young Man, my friend (and then-guitarist) Katie hosted an impromptu tarot reading session at my house. My reading featured an inordinate amount of swords, which made sense to me. These swords popped up again on “Knife in the Coffee,” the last track of that album.

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Cate Wurtz, Lamezone

Any list of Car Seat Headrest visuals would be remiss without some mention of Cate Wurtz, whose artwork was a major influence on my own output in the early years of CSH. Songs like “smokezone” and “Crows” stem directly from Lamezone pieces, and her art is a common thread throughout the first two-thirds of my discography. Puke City is probably the best entry point into their catalogue, if you’re interested in seeing more (and you should be).

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Pre-order Car Seat Headrest’s new album, Teens of Style, here.

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