Can Utility and The Coastliners
“Those who love our majesty show themselves!”
Kim Poor and Genesis
Kim Poor first encountered Genesis in New York in 1974 and went on to marry their guitarist, Steve Hackett. She toured extensively with the group in the following years and was commissioned to illustrate a book of their lyrics.
Along the way she also introduced them to Brazil, where years later the group’s vocalist, Peter Gabriel, was to make an early foray into ‘World Music’ when he recorded his classic ‘Mercy Street’, using a Brazilian bayonne rhythm suggested by one of Kim’s childhood friends. One of Poor’s paintings, “Entangled”, was also to provide the lyrical inspiration for the Genesis song “Entangled”.
Their strong visual show, their lyrics and music had a strong effect on her. From the moment she showed her work to them it was clear that her paintings and their music had particular affinities - a common ground of feeling, taste and inspiration. Genesis, known for their ethereal music, pioneered the use of visual theatrics in rock performances, creating a continuity of sound and vision, music, literature and art. This marriage of word and picture inspired Kim to create a book of lithographs, watercolours, oils, etchings, egg tempera and glass on steel - 'Genesis Lyrics'. These were the responses of a young Brazilian artist to the mythology-driven English Public School rock music of the 70s.
There is today substantial historical interest in the period and its culture and the major representatives of that scene were undoubtedly the English band Genesis. They emerged from Charterhouse, producing major artists such as Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford and influenced a generation of musicians. Of all the era’s bands Genesis most encapsulated everything that was lyrically whimsical and musically progressive.
Rock music at its root shares with painting, sculpture and all visual arts the ability to reach vast numbers of people. Its persuasive power, like Kim Poor's images, rests on hints and suggestions that set the mind a-floating in a dream state. Both artist and band shared a love of irony and the bizarre, thus conjuring images that allow the melodies to flow freely and entice the imagination of the viewer. Their shared influences are as eclectic as the English tradition of Romanticism, the Pre-Raphaelites, the dreams and nightmares of William Blake, the Magic Realism of South American writers Gabriel Garcia Marques and Paulo Coelho.
Kim Poor produced in many mediums - oil, watercolour, egg tempera, lithographs and her own renowned enamelling technique that was baptised by Salvador Dali as Diaphanism in the 70s.
Her record sleeve for ‘Please Don't Touch’, for example, was inspired by the eccentricities found in the Jack Donovan automata shop on the Portobello Road. This was filled with bizarre dolls, toys and Victorian automated music boxes. In the 70s it was a hub that, on entering, transported you back to childhood with all the wonder and cruelty that could be found in old fairy tales. That sign, ‘Please Don’t Touch!’, was all over the shop, as if to serve as a menacing warning of what could happen if disobeyed. This painting was to influence director Ridley Scott when he produced the toy and puppet sequence in Bladerunner.
You can read some of Kim’s reminiscences of those times in her blog “Visions of Angels”.
Kim Poor and Steve Hackett - A Brief History Of An Extraordinary Partnership
Genesis Lyrics paintings ...
“Sentenced to drift far away now. Sometimes entangled in your own dreams”
Apocalypse In 9/8
“Gonna blow right down inside your soul”
After The Ordeal
Visions of Angels
“Visions of Angels all around, dance in the sky”
More Fool Me
”Here am I. Who while away the mornings since you’ve gone”
For Absent Friends
“Years seem so few”
Harold The Barrel
“Harold the Barrel cut off his toes and he served them all for tea”
Firth of Fifth
“Though no eyes can see the course laid down long before, the scene of death is lying just below”
Blood on The Rooftops
“Dark and grey, an English film, the Wednesday play”
“But I, I would search everywhere just to hear your call”
Eleventh Earl of Mar
“A voice screams, seems to be calling. The face turns, features are burning.”
Watcher of The Skies
“Watcher of the skies, watcher of all ...”
“Blest are they who smile from bodies free”