Normal History Vol. 416: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Thomas Anselmi—former singer in Slow (circa mid-’80s, cited as an influence on grunge)—came over with a painter friend to look through about 125 paintings in my $100 USD series.

“I haven’t actually seen you since … well … ” I said, walking ahead of them on the stairs.

Tom filled in the blank. “Since I was a teenager?”

Slow was made up of what at least one Vancouver media outlet called out-of-control teenagers. Tom messaged me briefly in late 2016 saying that he was moved by the paintings I was posting on Facebook. What transpired a couple of months later wasn’t just a studio visit resulting in three sales, it was an energy-infused meeting with ideas for showing my paintings in L.A. in situations not unlike the How Art & Music Can Change The World events we’ve presented since 2002. An art exhibit, Mecca Normal songs and a lecture connecting our history to that of riot grrrl and the PNW DIY movement of the ’80s and ’90s.

This is pretty exciting stuff in my otherwise quiet life. In fact, it got a bit too exciting near the end. After Tom had paid me for Girls Dominated The Landlines AKA The Phone, he brought out his wallet again and wandered, all eyes on him, to where the painter had made a pile of the ones he was interested in buying. Suddenly Tom was holding No Hat #138 and the painter was saying, “Hey, that was in my pile!” and Tom was saying, “I showed you this one before we even got here,” and I’m saying, “Settle down fellows! Have some of that Tension Tamer Tea I poured half an hour ago!” (even though it was Bengal Spice).

In the end Tom managed to pay me for No Hat #138 before the painter could get it back off him. Crikey, selling paintings IRL is pretty heightened stuff. I could get used to it!

“My First Love Song” from the album Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989) (download):