Art Lord & the Self-Portraits

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Before moving to Baltimore, Samuel T. Herring, William Cashion and Gerrit Welmers of Future Islands alongside North Carolina bud, Adam Beeby were Art Lord & the Self-Portraits. The tale of the German Lord of Art (from Germany, Ohio) and his Self-Portraits runs much deeper, but first – news and songs!

The band will reunite for a ten year anniversary show with the original lineup in Raleigh, North Carolina this Valentine‘s Day, exactly ten years after their very first show. To commemorate, Friends Records is releasing a 2xLP retrospective dubbed The Definitive Collection, the first time the project has been pressed to vinyl.

Sarah Register of Talk Normal mastered the release, including “(We're in the Same) Bubble Baby” and “Lantern Sigh”. The collection spans all four original albums, plus live and rare demo recordings from the project’s formative years.

In order to fully grasp the inception of Locke Ernstfrost’s self-portraits, which magically came to life to perform his songs for him because no one else was good enough, Samuel T. Herring has kindly provided a synopsis of the Art Lord.

At the beginning of the 1980’s, the spectrum of music and art were being blown wide open. The world was changing and the people wanted a star, an icon, to challenge their mode of thinking. Someone they could follow, whether to watch them ascend or plummet into the history of textbook lore.

At the age of 18, Locke Ernst-Frost, would be such a man. Propelled into being—Locke—the self-proclaimed, German Lord of Art (from Germany, Ohio), the New York art scene by storm. Giving his one of a kind viewpoints on the banality of life, he tore apart the American pop culture idolatry, and chastised the world audience’s foolishness for falling for such simple tricks.

However, this proved to be too great of a challenge for the young man. While the world heralded him as the savior of art, he realized that he was becoming the thing that he despised. The spotlight was too great, the level of observation too high. He wanted to escape the life he had created. And so, at the ripe old age of 19 he banished himself from the spotlight, to a bunker in Zurich, never to be heard from again.

Flash forward, February 2003, Locke Ernst-Frost emerges from the banks of the Tar River, in the small, college town of Greenville, North Carolina. It has been two decades since the Art Lord has spoken, and no one knows his name. The myth. Ernst-Frost has been in seclusion for the last twenty years trying to crack the aesthetic code. He has spent everyday, since his retirement, dreaming, sculpting and painting the most beautiful thing in the world. Himself. After being set away for so long, he believed it was time to finally step out of the darkness, and sing to the world his tales of woe.

After auditioning musicians for his project, he realized it was fruitless. No one was good enough to play for him. Determined, he gave life to the only beings who were worthy to stand on the stage beside him, four tears dropped on canvas, and his Self-Portraits were born. Together, they set out, Locke, #1, #2, #3, and #4. Finally, the Art Lord and his Self-Portraits, could tell their story to the world…How hard it is, to be, so great.

The 2xLP collection is here, tickets to the show are here.