Joseph Arthur Hijacks A Billboard, Paints All Night, Reminds Us Why He’s “Pretty Good Company”

This pair of Joseph Arthur videos are strangely (purposely?) old-school downtown New York. In the Gabriel Judet-Weinshel-directed “Second Sight,” we get JA projected against a billboard at Lafayette and Grand, decked in his ubiquitous shades, because that’s how you achieve this second sight thing. As he sings, “I’m in the dark, but I can see the light,” etc. He basically mouths the words, but at one point wipes his face, at another he seems to get self-conscious and stops singing all together. Here and there the camera tilts to other spaces to soak in the surrounding cityscape … pleasingly, nothing happens, you just get a better sense of the area. The second video, “Paints Me Gold,” finds Arthur in a leather (or pleather) jacket, shirtless, doing some sort of Jackson Pollock live painting. Because I evoked downtown NYC, let’s say Basquiat or Keith Haring. I don’t mean the style of the work, but the style in which we watch the work get made. This work: chalk, spray paint, other paints, a broom.

“Second Sight”

“She Paints Me Gold”

We received these notes on the latter:

“She Paints Me Gold,” inspired by a collection of still photographs by Cerise Leang on New Year’s Eve 2007, documenting one of Joseph’s all night paintings.

Both of those tracks are from the Vagabond Skies EP due out 6/10 on Arthur’s Lonely Astronaut. Remember, he’s releasing many EPs this year. The Foreign Girls EP is out 7/8 and then he’s doing a full-length, Temporary People, due 9/16. If you want to rest your eyes some, here’s another Vagabond Skies track, “Pretty Good Company.”

Joseph Arthur – “Pretty Good Company” (MP3)

Finally, fitting with this Big Apple them, JA has a couple NYC shows upcoming, if you’re in the area:

07/11 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom (with band)
07/12 New York, NY @ Maxwell’s (solo)