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Bischoff follows his muse to new medium

Korum Bischoff and his latest artistry in silkscreen form. - JULIE BUSCH photo
Korum Bischoff and his latest artistry in silkscreen form.
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

The legendary island drummer celebrates music through silkscreen.

Korum Bischoff found a musical outlet in a most unusual place: his laundry room.

A year ago, the island’s noted percussionist quit his band, the Dead Science, and became a full-time graphic artist.

Inspired by screen-printed rock posters, photo essays and being part of the Bainbridge music community for a long time, he decided to delve into screen printing.

“I never tried silkscreening before,” said Bischoff, a founding member and current vice president of the Island Music Guild. “It has long been tied to the music world and seemed like the perfect medium for a show documenting the music community here on Bainbridge.

“You’ve got students, singer/songwriters, so many facets on the island.”

Bischoff is a graphic designer for One Reel, which produces Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival and Teatro ZinZanni. His silkscreen exhibit will hang in Pegasus Coffee House until March 2.

Bischoff’s “screen print essays” are 8-by-10 and 5-by-7 silkscreens that pay homage to students, technical wizards, singers and promoters, such as Eddie Williams, Alan Simcoe, Norman Johnson, Dave Bristow, Paul Lewis and Bryn Kepler.

The silkscreening process was “hard to learn and harder than that was choosing the subjects,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d have enough to fill the (Pegasus) space, but I nearly did.”

The show isn’t meant to be a who’s who of local musicians.

“It’s meant to illustrate many of the different ways one can be involved in the enjoyment of music, whether a musician or not,” Bischoff said.

“It is also an attempt to demonstrate some of the many roles that need to be filled in order to create a thriving music community.”

In a panic

Bischoff learned the process late at night in a frantic phone call to an acquaintance between Christmas and New Year. The prints had to be hung on Jan. 27, inspiring what the artist described as “a panic attack.”

Bischoff tackled the messy project in his laundry room.

The first one he did was perfect, so he soldiered on, working on the project every day for a month, after his wife and 2-year-old son were asleep.

He starts by taking a digital photo of his subject – a pretty simple portrait – makes a black-and-white image of it on his computer and prints a transparency. The outcome is not meant to be “photo specific.”

He adds two colors that give life and vibrancy to the print, which takes about five hours to produce.

It’s clear that the silkscreens are a labor of love. The expressive screen printings reveal the artist’s care and creativity, yet allow the personality of the subject to come through.

Bischoff would like to parlay his new talent into a business venture: children’s portraits.

The idea came to him after he completed this project and did silkscreens of a neighbor’s child and a drumming student of his.

“This is an emerging, cutting-edge trend for the non-oil painting set,” Bischoff said. “I want to do a hipper, rock ’n roll-style portrait of kids.”

The resulting prints, including one of his aunt and uncle’s dog, were well-received.

“They were shocked when they realized it was their dog, shocked when they realized I had made it,” Bischoff said.

Friends who came across his silkscreens at Pegasus were equally surprised. They called Bischoff to say, “I saw your name. I didn’t know you did this kind of stuff.”

“My identity on the island has always been the music guy,” said Bischoff, who moved to the island while in middle school and made a name for himself booking acts into Pegasus and playing in various bands, including the Dead Science with his brother, Jherek, and Sam Mickens.

Bischoff made three prints of each silkscreen, but none are for sale. One he’ll keep, and one goes to the subject. The framed prints will become part of the Island Music Guild’s permanent collection.

“This is a gift to the music guild and a gift to some friends,” Bischoff said.

* * * * *

Screen tambourine

Korum Bischoff’s silkscreened prints are on display at Pegasus Coffee House through March 2. This “screen print essay” represents a range of islanders who contribute to the music scene, from students to promoters.

On March 4, the exhibit will reopen at Island Music Guild with an artists’ reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

Afterward, at 7:30, Bischoff will sit at his drums to back island singer/songwriter Holly Figueroa, the founder of indigrrl.com. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $12. For more information see www.islandmusic.org and gumboproductions@earthlink.net.

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