Normal History Vol. 461: 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 34-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

The way I’ve structured my painting business is part of what I consider a political art project that goes beyond individual pieces of work. I didn’t go looking for a gallery or try to enter the official art world, nor did I raise my prices when things got going sales-wise. In an attempt to swerve as much capitalism as possible, I used what I had at hand, which was Facebook, a community where I’d made connections with like-minded people.

It’s very much like what we did with Mecca Normal’s first record in 1986. We didn’t go looking for a record label because we wanted to do that part of it ourselves. Weirdly, Vancouver (which is on unceded Coast Salish territory) had a record-pressing plant. When we went in to watch them do the initial set-up, we were given the option of adding what was called inner groove writing. We had them write in “we live on Indian land” on one side and placed an order for 500 LPs, which we somehow crammed in my 1973 Toyota Corolla when they were ready. It was all a total thrill and the beginning of long friendships and social change, and I wouldn’t trade it for a traditional career in the music industry.

“Fan Of Sparks” from Jarred Up (K, 1993) (download):