Last Friday, St. Catharines’ newest venue, The Green Room, hosted an evening with bluegrass and blues inspired punk acts Stinkbox, Broken Glass Kids, Frankie & Jimmy and Dirtfight, along with a visual art gallery by local artist Lumen. All three bands played utterly fantastic, foot-stompin’ sets full of yelling, screaming and strings.
Lumen’s artwork is often found to be shocking, as she depicts women in compromising situations. Often, they are dismembered, tied up, nude and/or inebriated. Her work typically consists of a three-colour palette of black, white and red ink highlighting the lines and shapes of the female figure.
The unique event was not just a concert with an art gallery, but a complex union between sound and visuals — a strong connection of which Lumen is very conscientious.
“Honestly, I listen to music a lot and then I find lyrics. Just like, certain lyrics will like get me and then I’ll just draw a sketch based on what comes to mind when I hear that and then I’ll just work,” said Lumen.
As a self-declared “bisexual, native woman who draws very violent sexual imagery,” Lumen’s works navigate the limits of the representations of the female image.
“I focus mostly on women because I am a woman. And there’s a lot of art where women’s bodies are displayed, but a lot of it is done by men. So I just feel like it’s a little bit different — being a woman and displaying your body — but on your own terms and not having a man decide it for you,” said Lumen.
About the use of gore and dismemberment, she says, “a lot of it is like kind of venting and a lot of it is just because it’s what I’m good at. I got into serial killers at a very young age, and I got into abnormal psychology at a very young age so I use what I know in terms of psychology in my art.”
The pair were in a band called Dirty Sack of Steel together before starting Frankie & Jimmy, but the group fell apart. Jimmy said that during that time, “Frank had just transposed the songs to slide guitar and then I realised that I wanted to play the harmonica and slide guitar with Frank which is something I wanted to do for a long time. And we were kinda like ‘why don’t we learn all of these old blues tunes so that we can get better at our instruments — he can get better at slide guitar and I can get better at the harmonica. So we start doing that and kept doing it and put out a record and made hot sauce and did coast-to-coast Canada and we’re putting out another record this year.”
“I really like the songs, they are really honest and simple, but there’s also a lot of real musicianship to it. There are a lot of old blues songs that have thumping sounds — which is often someone knocking on a guitar or a piece of wood — but the overdrive stuff comes from more of a punk aesthetic,” said Jimmy.