For DMB-inspired painter, ‘songs are gifts’
For more than 20 years, Dave Matthews Band has inspired fans of all types of ways: blogs, books, T-shirts and artwork. Lynda Sokolowski, a New York-based artist, took her love and passion for the band and turned it into a living.
“‘I can’t believe that we would lie in our graves dreaming of things that we might have been.’ Those words hit my heart,” said Sokolowki, the creator of LJMS Art, which produces DMB-inspired paintings, prints and more. “Some songs are gifts. I hear the song and I see the painting.”
Sokolowski first saw DMB in 1996 on “Saturday Night Live” and loved them, following them on and off over the years. In 2001, after moving away from her son, she rediscovered DMB and used the band to bridge the distance.
“I felt as though Dave wrote some of those lyrics for me, for that moment,” she said.
Sokolowski has a degree in design, and from the time she was 6 years old, she believed she was going to be a fashion designer. Drawing people had always been something she enjoyed, but she never felt suited for it, so she turned to something slightly different.
“My joy was always in problem-solving, imagining,” she said. “So the challenge of turning lyrics into something visual was so exciting for me.”
The first painting she did was inspired by the DMB song “Spoon.” She launched a website, and from the beginning there was a lot of interest from other fans.
“I received so many heartfelt letters,” she said. “I felt like I had found my home.”
So, why Dave Matthews Band?
“Why do you fall in love with the person you marry?” Sokolowski replied. “Maybe because one heart just vibrates at the right frequency when connected with the perfect place — a puzzle piece that fits. My heart just connects to the music, the lyrics, to the spirit of the fans. I like a lot of bands, and yet no one moves me like this band.”
Sokolowski shared a story of her first show in Camden, New Jersey and how kind and generous everyone she met was.
“I love that it all starts with Dave, then little by little spreads to me or you, and we take it and spread that love even farther,” she said. “This is what I hope my painting does.”
The inspiration is limitless for Sokolowski, and she takes Dave Matthews’ lyrics very seriously, she said. People can interpret the same lyrics ver differently, so she sometimes worries she’s been too specific.
“When you are 20 years old, the interpretation may be entirely different than when you’re 40,” she said. “I love how the lyrics mold to who you are at the moment, how you hear the parts that define what’s going on in your life. I think music is this time’s poetry.”
Painting is just a part of Sokolowski’s business. In 2008, she published Dave Dances … Life, Love and Art Inspired by the Music of the Dave Matthews Band, which she described as a “dream come true.” Book two is in the works now. With Dave Matthews Band’s new album, Away From the World, coming out in September, Sokolowski is sure to remain busy for a long time.
“I’ll be like Grandma Moses in my rocking chair, saying, ‘Bring me another canvas, sonny. I’ve got a new idea! I’ve got to paint ‘#41′ for the 100th time!” she said.
Fans interested in submitting to Lynda Sokolowski’s second book can email her at LJMSArt@hotmail.com.