Art, like love and evil, is manifest in many forms. The obvious art in the San Diego music scene is onstage-creating a tune that doesn't suck is an artful skill. But the drummers, bassists, singers, guitarists, keyboardists and other music-makers you see on stage are often not one-dimensional artistes. They often create their own images for flyers, T-shirts, CD covers and other band merchandise. Some even branch out beyond the venue-whether it be sculpting a la Michelangelo, painting like Thomas Kinkade (OK, fine-like Bob Ross) or stitching their own designer duds a la Dolce & Gabbana.
Here's a sampling of San Diego musicians who create in different forms:
JOHN FINKBINER, sculptor and painter
John Finkbiner may be known by many as the singer of local band the Stereotypes, but he makes more money painting than making music. His artwork has become popular enough in San Diego that he's able to sell it from home, where he's turned his garden into a makeshift gallery. People come over and buy pieces, hoping a sprinkler isn't ill-timed.
"I try to make my artwork very accessible," he says. "Everyone should be able to have real art in their house."
The self-described Mr. Mom steals time at night to draw and paint while his toddler son is sleeping. He also paints scenic art for theaters around town and reproduces fine art for sale. While he loves the songwriting process and the energy of playing live, he gets solitude he craves through his visual work.
"It's the complete opposite," he says. "It gives me peace of mind."
To see more of John Finkbiner's artwork, check out www.stereotypesmusic.com and click on the black and white idol square.
MARY FLEENER, comic artist
Mary Fleener's life is posted everywhere. Staying organized is essential for a woman who's not only singer-bassist-dulcimerist for the Wigbillies, but also an underground comic writer and illustrator. Without post-its-those little, yellow scratch pads of organizational joy-she'd never be able to keep track of all of her deadlines and appointments.
On top of her musical projects, which include supporting friends like local folk icon Cindy Lee Berryhill, Fleener's constantly working on comics. Currently it's a strip for a Ramones DVD box set. She also reproduces panels from her comics like "Fleener" and "Nipplez 'n' Tum Tum" onto canvases, ceramics and even an iPod cozy. Known for her "cubismo" style and occasionally pornographic story lines, her work has appeared on the covers of books, magazines and CDs, and been on display in galleries from San Diego to L.A. to New York.
"I get bored really easily," she says of the need to constantly create, adding that it's all an outlet for everything from outrage to depression.
"Writing songs and drawing help me to purge myself of my frustrations."
Mary Fleener has 13 paintings and 13 pages of comic art on display thru April 7 at Southwestern College, Chula Vista. "Triple Play," is a three-woman show in celebration of Women's History Month. You can also visit www.maryfleener.com.
ZACK WENTZ, author
K8 WINCE, painter and apparel designer
Kill Me Tomorrow's Zack Wentz and K8 Wince say that their low profile is what allows them to do more. Besides singing and playing drums in KMT and Tender Buttons, Wentz also writes articles, fiction and produces visual art. His wife K8 plays bass and sings in both bands in addition to painting and designing a clothing/accessory line called Blood & Guts. She also creates the visuals for their CDs, website and merchandise.
Wentz doesn't think "bigger, more successful" bands would have the time to do all that they do. "At the level we're at we're kind of keeping everything going simultaneously," he says. "That's important because if you do something exclusively you can get burned out. You have to fertilize it with other media."
The couple's multimedia fertilization has allowed them to collaborate in ways that complement their music. For example, Wince illustrated Wentz's novel, The Garbageman and the Prostitute, which is sort of a literal accompaniment to their recent album of the same name.
"K8 started painting for therapy," he says. "And the thing I like about writing is that it is completely up to me. It's private."
To see more of Zack Wentz and K8 Wince's works, go to www.killmetomorrow.com.
JEN JANSEN, photographer
Jen Jansen, bassist/singer of The Displaced, is inspired by the people she sees. She captures their images and turns them into characters, their stories told through both her band's music and her photography. She's become known as a go-to for band photos because of her imaginative style.
"With a little bit of humor, a little bit of menace and a lot of strange props, I create my own little worlds," she says.
But to Jansen, taking pictures is less about the end result-it's about the interaction and spending time with her subjects. A series of photographs called "Dave Wilson vs. Bacon" were taken to recreate the hilarity of Wilson's obsession with whiskey, cigarettes and buttered bacon on a recent trip to Las Vegas.
"He is that kind of wild character and I wanted to capture that," she says of the documentary style. "I don't want to create something fantastical. I want there to be some honesty."
To see more of Jen Jansen's photography, log on to www.thedisplaced.com.
AMBER EVERSON, clothing designer
Amber Everson, singer-bassist of the Glossines, discovered her affinity for fashion when the all-girl trio decided to wear costumes on stage. Her initial inspiration-a huge pile of fake fur.
"My friend gave me a boatload of this fun, furry fabric," she says. "So we used it to make fur bikinis for our show with Bow Wow Wow."
They got such a kick out of the costumes and needed a way to bring in money, so they started designing clothes to sell at their shows. The Glossines line has become so popular that the girls bring everything out on a rolling clothes rack. Presentation, Everson says, is key. Fans love going to a rock dive and digging through a rack as though they were at a thrift shop.
"We always get three or four girls going to fashion school that are just so into it," she says.
New items include panties with "The Glossines" screened on the money spot. The rest of the line is mostly recycled clothing that they embellish with other colored fabrics and safety pins.
"We give old clothes a second life."