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Inverleith House – PRESS RELEASE

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					Inverleith House – PRESS RELEASE
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Autumn Exhibitions
3 November to 27 January 2008
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 3.30m. Admission free.


David G.A. Stephenson: AMERICANA ARTROCKERS


David Stephenson (born 1959, Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK) has had a long association
with the art and music worlds. He has been writing song lyrics since he was ten years
old, becoming especially inspired by the arrival of the London and New York Punk Rock
scenes of the late 1970s. This was followed by an enthusiastic love and wide research of
American Blues and Soul music, which also influenced Stephenson to teach himself
blues harmonica (the only instrument he can play proficiently).


He has always found willing musical collaborators, notably meeting Richard Bell (of The
Blue Aeroplanes) in the 1990s, which resulted in 'I Want To Hang Out With Ed Ruscha'
(verse lyrics based on some classic Ruscha text paintings), and launched at Ruscha's
May/June 2000 exhibition 'Mountins and Highways' at the Anthony d'Offay gallery,
London. Some months later Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth (of Talking Heads and
Tom Tom Club renown) heard the song when introduced to Stephenson at his brother's
Rocket gallery in London. At Frantz and Weymouth's invitation, Stephenson flew out to
their home and studio in Westport, Conneticut, USA to record 'SAMO (Undiscovered
Genius of the Mississipi Delta)', a celebration of Jean-Michel Basquiat's life and work:


        Vincent Gallo to Vincent Van Gogh
        East Village hobo in Andy's Soho
        Downtown 81 - in search of food and shelter
        The undiscovered genius of the Mississippi Delta
Andy Warhol looms large (not unexpectedly) in connection with many of the artists
Stephenson serenades. In response to the photography of William Eggleston (at
onetime boyfriend of Warhol superstar Viva) Stephenson has created (with Anthony
Reynolds of Jack/Jacques fame) a suitably dark and mysterious story song, entitled 'I
Will Return To Memphis With Eggleston As My Guide'.


In 2005 Stephenson worked with British painter and ace guitarist Clem
Crosby as KUNSTKICK - releasing the four song CD '1, 2, 3, 4', song number 4 being an
Iggy Pop-style rock paean to Louise Bourgeois. Specially for this Inverleith House show
Stephenson has made a video to accompany 'Miss Louise Bourgeois (An American
Star)', entirely appropriate in light of her just-opened exhibition at London’s Tate Modern.


         Gonna do the monkey
         Gonna do the spider
         Gonna cha, cha, cha
         With Louise Bourgeois


Stephenson first started to produce videos for his Artrocker songs when he was asked to
take part in a special presentation on Americana at the ICA, London in April 2004,
alongside Jeremy Deller, Andrew Cross and Paul Claydon. Stephenson's latest
song/video creation (showing at this Inverleith House exhibition for the very first time - on
a 'looped' DVD with the RUSCHA, EGGLESTON, BASQUIAT and BOURGEOIS
productions) has been made with the full cooperation of Sir Peter Blake and features film
of Blake working and talking in his extraordinary West London studio:


          Evergreen visions
          American dreams
          From Sir with love
          In denim jeans


David Stephenson became a qualified Secondary School Art and Design teacher
in 2005, and has since taught in schools in Essex and Suffolk. At present he is
teaching Religious Studies, completing the three Rs - rock and roll and religion!
Since 2004 he has lived in Colchester (Essex) with his wife and three-year old
son.




EDITOR’S NOTES

For further information contact Shauna Hay on 0131 248 2900: s.hay@rbge.org.uk


The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is a Non Departmental Public Body
established under the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985, principally funded by the
Scottish Government. It is also a registered charity, managed by a Board of Trustees
who are appointed by Ministers. Its mission is to “explore and explain the world of plants”
and its primary functions are as a centre of scientific and horticultural excellence, keeper
of the national collections and promoter of science in the public domain.


The four Gardens of RBGE - Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan - are numbered
among the most popular visitor attractions in Scotland, bringing together many inter-
related cultural areas of activity.

				
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