Entering Steve Scarlet’s Sonic Underworld

Steve Scarlet is guitar. In the Toronto rock scene, you know he’s one of the guys who’s been kicking out dirty rock n’ roll for pretty much as long as he’s been alive. If you’re part of the Queen West crew and have never seen a Sinisters show at the Bovine, you might just have to relinquish your rock n’ roll card.

Most recently, you may have seen him shred at a Voodoo Bunny gig, rocking out next to his smokeshow wife and VB’s lead singer, Tres – an insanely talented mixed media artist herself. I had no idea that Scarlet, too, is a very talented artist – guess it runs in the household! The two play together and apparently paint together as well, and they kick ass at both.

Scarlet’s style is bright, punchy and macabre all at once – big, bold, basic lines draw you in, but dozens of little details keep you enthralled indefinitely. If the Sneaky Dee’s sign were on acid in a voodoo church, you might be able to envision a Scarlet piece without actually seeing it in the flesh. It’s accessible and engaging artwork; you don’t have to pretend you know what you’re appreciating as you peruse the gallery, because these are just fun, extremely well-done pieces you’d be lucky to feast your eyes on every day.

Addicted fired out a few questions to Scarlet himself – here’s your chance to get to know him a little better!

For anyone who’s been a part of the Toronto rock n’ roll scene for the last 20+ years, your name is a familiar one. For those who are not – give us some background on your musical track record.

I’ve played guitar in The Sinisters, Plasma Blast, Viletones, Drunkula, and some other projects, I currently play in Voodoo Bunny and my new project Cyclops 7666.

When did you start painting and what compelled you?

I’ve always been drawing and painting, since I was very young — early meditation I guess, but I  really don’t know why. It was ’til about junior high, then I kind of forgot about it and moved on to other things.

What inspires your art? What artists do you admire?

My inspiration for art is just from about anything from music, sights and people, to voodoo culture, Africa, and animals — I like all sorts of artists, from music producers to chefs. There are too many to name.

What are your preferred mediums? Are there any you’re curious to explore?

Watercolours mostly, and some times I use acrylics. I’m still exploring those ones.

Do you have a process when creating a piece, or do you just attack the canvas?

I kinda just go with the flow. Sometimes I have a rough idea upstairs in my noodle, but it just kind of happens. But I di have a style, I guess — I like lots of detail, colors and layers.

Addicted is all about harnessing the passion we have for things we love (our addictions) being constructive with that energy, versus letting it consume us negatively. What are your addictions?

Good coffee, vintage musical gear, New Orleans food andculture, Berlin and of course playing, writing and recording music.

Scarlet’s first solo show opens at Toronto’s Brockton Collective on May 2, 2014 at 8pm, and serves as a book release for the material as well! Come by, check it out and score some art!

Brockton Collective
442A Dufferin St.
Toronto, ON

Voodoo Bunny on Facebook
RSVP to the show – May 2, 2014

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Emy Stantcheva
Emy Stantcheva is a lifelong music junkie-turned-music biz dabbler, from music publicity and artist management to the not-for-profit sector. By day, she champions the indies at Canadian Independent Music Association and MusicOntario, and moonlights as Lifestyle Editor for Addicted and rep for southern rock n’ roller Basia Lyjak. A healthy living fan (yes, vodka is a plant), vegetarian of 20 years and lover of cooking, wine and craft beer, she’s always on the lookout for tasty and cruelty-free wares and fares. She’s also known for her hoarding of cats (she has four) and leggings (300 pairs and counting). With her feisty way with words, Stantcheva brings a fresh and intelligent perspective to Addicted’s Lifestyle section.
Emy Stantcheva