Music inspires me to paint more than anything else, from certain artists, to lyrics, to genres. Scroll to the bottom to stream some great playlists.

David Bowie

David Bowie is my biggest inspiration. Everything from his music to the way he lived his life but most of all his lyrics. There are so many lines from so many songs that conjure ideas in my head. Here's just a handful from one song, Quicksand from Hunky Dory:

  • torn between the light and dark
  • herald loud the death of Man
  • don't believe in yourself, don't deceive with belief
  • knowledge comes with death's release
  • a mortal with the potential of a superman
  • I'm tethered to the logic of Homo Sapien


Two other artists that conjure surreal imagery with their lyrics are Beck and Bob Dylan. Beck's Mellow Gold album is filled with surreal lyrics, check out just the very first verse of Loser here:

In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey
Butane in my veins and I'm out to cut the junkie
With the plastic eyeballs, spray-paint the vegetables
Dog food skulls with the beefcake pantyhose
Kill the headlights and put it in neutral
Stock car flaming with the loser in the cruise control
Baby's in Reno with the vitamin D
Got a couple of couches, sleep on the love-seat
Someone came in saying I’m insane to complain
About a shotgun wedding and a stain on my shirt
Don’t believe everything that you breathe
You get a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve
So shave your face with some mace in the dark
Saving all your food stamps and burning down the trailer park
Yo, cut it

Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home is another, check out verse two from Subterranean Homesick Blues:

Maggie comes fleet foot, face full of black soot
Talkin' that the heat put plants in the bet book
Phone's tapped anyway
Maggie says "The Man, he say
They must bust in early May, orders from the D.A."
Look out kid, don't matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes, don’t tie no bows
Better stay away from those that carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose, watch the plainclothes
You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows

Another couple of bands to check out for great, surreal lyrics are Happy Mondays and Parquet Courts. Shaun Ryder is a poet and although there are a number of songwriters in Parquet Courts, I think the best lyrics come from Andrew Savage. Check out Happy Mondays lyrics here and Parquet Courts lyrics here.


While working I listen to a lot of ambient music. There are three eras that I'm fond of; the 70s, the 90s and now. Early German electronic music such as Tangerine Dream and Brian Eno's collaborations with Robert Fripp are favourites from the 70s. The 90s saw a revival with ambient house such as The Orb and The Future Sound of London. This music has never really gone away but there seems to have been a revival in the last few years with artists such as Vermont and Teleplasmiste.

Here are a few albums I recommend, click a link to read a review.

Tangerine Dream - Phaedra

Teleplasmiste - Frequency Is The New Ecstasy

Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92

The Orb - U.F.Orb

The Future Sound of London - Lifeforms

Vermont - I

Vermont - II

Fripp & Eno - No Pussyfooting

Fripp & Eno - Evening Star

Eartheater - RIP Chrysalis

Ken Camden - Space Mirror


Another genre to just zone out to while working is early 70s Krautrock. Everything by NEU!, Harmonia and Cluster is essential but here's a brief list

Harmonia - Musik Von Harmonia

Cluster - II


Kraftwerk - Autobahn

Can - Ege Bamyasi

Faust - IV