“Muses” is a column for which creators from different disciplines reveal sources of artistic inspiration and instigation.
Flying Lotus has been making expansive electronic music with a basis in hip-hop beats since 2006, when his debut album led the way for a discography that has touched on elements of spiritual ambience and astral jazz. He’s the nephew of the great pianist and harpist Alice Coltrane, and from his home base in Los Angeles—where he founded the record label Brainfeeder—he has collaborated with a long list of artists including George Clinton, Thundercat, Solange, and Kendrick Lamar. His latest album is Flamagra, which includes a track featuring spoken-word by David Lynch.
I’m a big art collector, and one artist I love is Mati Klarwein. He did a lot of album covers, like Bitches Brew for Miles Davis and one for Santana [Abraxas, from 1970]. His paintings are really amazing—some Surrealist kind of mishmash with religious and semi-religious imagery in there. I’m really into old Renaissance art. I like the kind of ancient feeling of imagery of the heavens and the angels. Mati has that in the way he uses color and fluidity.
David Lynch has been an inspiration in most mediums. I’ve been a fan since I was a teenager and when I was in film school. He inspired me first as a filmmaker, and when I saw his cool animations, I got into his paintings. That is how we started: he doesn’t see himself as a filmmaker, I guess because he spends all day painting. Something I like about his work is it very much handmade. He gets dirty with stuff—he uses mixed-media and will paint weird toys and weird objects and figure out how to throw them into the paintings. He is just an all-around madman in all respects. I have a print of his called Ant Bee Tarantula.
I collect things I’m into. I don’t have a look that I go for. For a while I was buying up stuff that was really dark and scary. Then I got some things that are happier, funnier. I have a beautiful diorama from this artist named Meredith Dittmar. She makes these beautiful clay sculptures with a cool style that feels like mandalas. She is in Portland, and I bought a couple of things from her. She’s just so awesome.
Joan Cornellà is a weird old Spanish dude who does freaky stuff. I have a work by him in my dining room. I was really into lots of stuff in the early days and then, when I made some cash, I was able to afford some. The Joan Cornellà was one of those. I love it. Yeah.
I have a print by him in my house. The thing I love about his work is how mad everything feels. It also feels within my reach as an artist—I feel like he is a better version of me when I am drawing. The stuff that I like to draw, he’s got that style dialed. I draw and my stuff is really loose like his, and when I see his stuff, I feel encouraged in a way. But he’s got that runny-ink thing—that’s all him. I wouldn’t even try that. I like his interpretation of people and obviously the stuff that he did with Hunter S. Thompson. It’s super-inspiring weird bug-out shit that I love. I have a print of the iconic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas image of Hunter and the doctor driving. I have another one titled Let’s Party that’s right at the bottom of my staircase too. When it’s time to start the day and I’m walking downstairs, I can go, “OK! Let’s party!!”