Philadelphia’s Dewey Saunders has a rare knack for bridging the creative spectrum. Under the rap monikers Emcee Unless and Dewey Decibel, he creates pointed, catchy hip-hop, including this year’s fantastic mixtape #BOOMBOXBOOKWORM. But Saunders is also a visual artist, and no lightweight at that – his work has shown up in places that run the gamut from The New Yorker to the cover of the last Brown Recluse album. His latest art exhibition, Indian Summer, opens tonight at Center City’s ING Direct Café.
The Key: Visual art and music are two completely different mediums. Are your methods for recording a song versus making an illustration also different?
Dewey Saunders: They’re both similar processes, even though they’re completely different mediums. I’m in the same mental space when I create, so I’m basically accessing the same zone that allows for visual art or music to happen. If I have an art exhibit coming up, like I do now, I focus on my art side, and have the music on in the background. When I’m done with that, I’ll turn my attention back to music. They work within each other as well, though differently.
It’s funny because the music I’ve been listening to at the time of a show can definitely influence a show. With this show, Kool A.D. from Das Racist put out a mix tape called 51 and it’s incredible. And psychedelic, quriky songs definitely go along with the bright colors in my paintings – when I came up with the title for Indian Summer, I was definitely listening to a lot of Neon Indian. Continue reading