Stewart Copeland has led an extraordinary creative journey for more than four decades. As drummer, producer, and composer, his musical footprint stretches radio, television, film, stage, and even the gaming world.
Copeland is unquestionably one of the most acclaimed drummers in music history. His work with The Police, who he co-founded, cemented his place in the history books of rock and resulted in an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. He has also performed on a number of notable recordings for artists like Peter Gabriel, Tom Waits, and Mike Rutherford. He is a member of several highly touted supergroups including Gizmodrome, Oysterhead, and Animal Logic.
Copeland has spent a substantial amount of his career composing. Most notably, Copeland has provided soundtracks for films like Wall Street, Airborne, Talk Radio, and Good Burger. Television scoring work includes a variety of programs including The Equalizer, Babylon 5, and Dead Like Me. He has also composed for opera and ballet.
Copeland has paved a unique creative path over his historic artistic career. In the spirit of innovation, "What is Art?" is now available to bring a new dimension to his rhythmic style and sound through 14 visuals on canvas made in-part from drum performance
He's a legendary drummer. He's an acclaimed composer. And with the release of "What is Art?" he dives head first into the world of Rhythmic Expressionism. Featuring 14 different works on canvas, "What is Art?" takes drum performance into a new direction - from sound to sight.
To build the collection, Copeland worked with Los Angeles art team SceneFour over a twelve month period. The creation process is an extensive one, but begins with open shutter photography. Outfitted behind the drum kit in a pitch black studio, Copeland works with drumsticks that light in a variety ways to build rhythms that are visually captured into a single photographic frame. The drumsticks are pressure sensitive as well, where the amount of light being generated is directly related to the power of the hit. A second phase of production takes place post capturing, with each of the captures meticulously worked with to bring out their true abstract nature visually. Once printed, several of the pieces are then augmented by Stewart and then reprinted again. Copeland then names the final works.
Each piece in the collection is numbered and individually signed by Stewart Copeland and SceneFour. All feature Certificates of Authenticity. Each is available to collectors worldwide exclusively through StewartCopelandArt.com.
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In early 1977, Copeland founded the Police with lead singer-bass guitarist Sting and guitarist Henry Padovani (who was soon replaced by Andy Summers), and they became one of the top bands of the 1980s. The Police's early track list (before their album debut) was largely Copeland compositions, including the band's first single "Fall Out" (Illegal Records, 1977) and the B-side "Nothing Achieving". Though Copeland's songwriting contribution was reduced to a couple of songs per album as Sting started writing more material, he continued to co-arrange all The Police's songs together with his two bandmates. Amongst Copeland's most notable songs are "On Any Other Day" (where he also sang lead vocals), "Does Everyone Stare" (later to be used as the title of his documentary on the band Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out), "Contact", "Bombs Away", "Darkness" and "Miss Gradenko". Copeland also co-wrote a number of songs with Sting, including "Peanuts", "Landlord", "It's Alright for You" and "Re-Humanize Yourself".
Copeland also recorded under the pseudonym Klark Kent, releasing several UK singles in 1978 with one ("Don't Care") entering the UK Singles Chart that year, along with an eponymous 10-inch album on green vinyl released in 1980. Recorded at Nigel Gray's Surrey Sound Studio, Copeland played all the instruments and sang the lead vocals himself. Kent's "Don't Care", which peaked at No. 48 UK in August 1978, actually predates the first chart single by the Police by several months ("Can't Stand Losing You", issued in October 1978) as "Don't Care" was released in early June 1978.
In 1982, Copeland was involved in the production of a WOMAD benefit album called Music and Rhythm. Copeland's score for Rumble Fish secured him a Golden Globe nomination in 1983. The film, directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola from the S. E. Hinton novel, also had a song released to radio on A&M Records "Don't Box Me In" (UK Singles Chart n. 91)—a collaboration between Copeland and singer-songwriter Stan Ridgway, leader of the band Wall of Voodoo—that received significant airplay upon release of the film that year.
The Rhythmatist record of 1985 was the result of a pilgrimage to Africa and its people, and it features local drums and percussion, with more drums, percussion, other musical instruments and occasional lead vocals added by Copeland. The album was the official soundtrack to the movie of the same name, which was co-written by Stewart. He also starred in the film, which is "A musical odyssey through the heart of Africa in search of the roots of rock & roll." (Copeland is seen playing the drums in a cage with lions surrounding him.).