“Thrash Unreal” is an abstract representation of a song by the band Against Me!. The layered red and black represent the power struggle that the singer was experiencing when the song was written.
Against Me! was a band from Gainesville, Florida headed by frontman Tom Gabel. Through endless touring and record releases, Against Me! and Tom's growling deep and angry voice quickly became the modern cornerstone of anarchistic radical punk rock and Against Me! became known as "The angry white man band."
In 2005 the band came out with an album which quickly received mainstream success with the song 'Thrash Unreal.' Though still remaining true to their original sound, the album showed much more confessional and emotional lyrics that made a small group of fans believe they were "selling out" from their original roots. During this time he received a very long letter from a fan named January describing how lyrics in one of his songs completely changed her life. Tom kept the letter to himself.
In the 2007 album Tom input more direct lyrics that he believed would help expose his struggles. Unfortunately, no one he knew picked up on the encryption. When the band was dropped from their record label in 2010 he began to act out.
It was then that he met up with fan January in a New York cafe knowing that she would be one of the few to understand. In reading Tom's 2005 lyrics, January had received the courage to transition to being a woman, despite being involved in the masculine punk scene. Tom then revealed to her that he himself had extremely intense gender dysphoria - a dissatisfaction with his gender identity. He had been stealing women's clothes and cross dressing in secrecy since youth and wanted to become a woman.
Tom now identifies as Laura Jane Grace. Laura continues to be the growling and intense front of Against Me!, only now in high heels and a dress.
“Woe” is an abstract representation of a song by the band Say Anything. One of the prominent lyrics in the song is “She said, ‘I can’t get laid in this town without these pointy shoes. My feet are so black and blue. And so are you.’” The black and blue colors in the piece represents the agony of the character in the song, while the splatters represent the feelings of angst in a polished environment.
Max Bemis grew up locally here in Hollywood, CA where he and his close high school friend formed the band Say Anything. He left college two years in and fell deeper and deeper into drug abuse in an attempt to deal with an unrequited and ended relationship. Spending night and day for 8 months in a New York apartment, he endlessly worked on a concept Pop-Punk album ".....Is a Real Boy". The stress inflicted on himself at this time triggered a complete mental breakdown where he believed his life was staged, and uncontrollably ran around Brooklyn acting out and screaming at people until he was eventually captured and hospitalized. When he was admitted he believed he was being executed for making the album, knowing that the dark manic emotions he channeled into the album could impact his fans' lives.
He was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, and has since worked with "Half of Us", (other organizations), and used his social platforms to bring awareness to mental issues awareness, encouraging his young fans that it "makes you cool in your own way."
".....Is a Real Boy" was released in 2004 and went on to become one of the most influential and pivotal albums of the pop punk genre.
“The Sense” is an abstract representation of a song by the band Hot Water Music. The red, orange, and yellow in the painting represent a flame metaphor held in the lyrics, which represents an ongoing emotional struggle in ruminating over past experiences.
Named after a book by Los Angeles hero Charles Bukowski, Hot Water Music is a punk rock band from Gainesville, Florida. The band was the product of singer Chuck Ragan (b.1974) , the son of a PGA pro golfer and a gospel singer, who became increasingly reclusive and rebellious in his youth.
After being kicked out of high school, and habitually a runaway, Chuck was eventually detained in a long-term rehabilitation center. After he completed fourteen months, his insight proved to be so substantial that he was asked to be a paraprofessional facilitator, and stay to help counsel kids his age and older.
Deep with struggle, depression, and regret, his songs show an unapologetic, terrifying, and therapeutic honesty. Today, Hot Water Music is on hiatus and he takes pride in his family, fly fishing, and his solo acoustic folk music career.