Work / Illustration

Clay Frankel of Twin Peaks discusses his purposefully sloppy artwork

The sound of Chicago garage punk band Twin Peaks is joyful and purposefully sloppy, a sound that is demonstrated in their recent artwork for the album, Down In Heaven. The sleeve of the LP and singles released earlier this year were completed by guitarist and vocalist Clay Frankel, who creates their artwork on the road and between tours in his parents garage. Today (7 September 2016), the band releases Holding Roses, the third video to accompany the album made by Goons “long time Chicago pal and collaborator”, with guidance from Clay. To celebrate its release we spoke to Clay about his introduction to drawing and the records that motivate him artistically and musically.

Is drawing something you’ve always done or a recent venture?

I used to draw as a kid. I got into Daniel Johnston and his artwork, which is simple and cartoony, and I drew stuff like that. Just mindless doodling that stemmed from boredom. After high school though I pretty much stopped any sort of drawing. Then, after a few years of touring with the band I got back into it. We go on long periods of touring and then there will be a few weeks at home in Chicago where I had nowhere I needed to be, and a lot of free time. So I started painting. I really don’t know anything about painting. I got a hold of a book of Van Gogh paintings and a book of Picasso stuff. I wanted to be able to do stuff like that. So I got some paint from the pharmacy and some big paper and gave it a shot, I really sucked at everything I tried. Picasso my ass. But it didn’t matter. It was fun.

What do you listen to when your drawing?

Yes I listen to music when I paint. All sorts of stuff. Lately I’ve been going into the garage after my parents go to work and throw open the big door and hang up some paper and paint for hours, listening to anything. JJ Cale, Blaze Foley. Ne-Hi is a great band for painters. Also the album Moon Over Madison by Hasil Adkins. That’s a whole garbage bag of colourful music. 


Clay Frankel: Walk To The One You Love


Clay Frankel: Holding Roses

Do you feel your drawings mirror Twin Peaks’ sound?

I don’t intend painting to reflect the band’s music, but the music we make is colourful, and so is the way I paint. Also it’s sloppy and amateurish, so there’s a connection there between the two. I could actually make really tight music if I wanted to but I choose to make wonky recordings because that’s what I like. With painting it’s less of a choice, it’s sloppy because I’m too lazy to learn better. 

Which other artists do you admire?

I like Parquet Courts and all their artwork on the last record. I think all Fat White Family music videos are fucking great. They inspired me to get naked in a cemetery in our last video. I like Matisse, Bukowski, John Fante, Celine, Black Lips, Brazil by Terry Gilliam, Mark Gonzales videos, The Rolling Stones. All that stuff is inspiring to me. I don’t know too many painters. Who’s got the money for a museum ticket?


Clay Frankel: Down In Heaven


Clay Frankel: Down In Heaven

What are your favourite record sleeves?

The last record I bought was Wild Man by Hasil Adkins. It’s got a great cover. Check it out. Oh yeah and also there’s this album called Country Rhodes, Take Me Home by a guy Red Rhodes. It’s just wordless slide guitar music. Good for painting.


Goons & Twins Peaks : Holding Roses


Goons & Twins Peaks : Holding Roses


Goons & Twins Peaks : Holding Roses


Goons & Twins Peaks : Holding Roses


Goons & Twins Peaks : Holding Roses