After hearing of Lemmy’s death, I felt what better way to show a tribute then paint a portrait of this rock icon. There are few authentic characters these days, and if there was one rocker that lived the “Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll” mantra, it was Lemmy. He and his band stayed true to what they wanted to create, never selling out to the record companies. His disdain for bullshit and politics, made him brutally honest. I can’t think of a man that defined Rock and Roll more than Lemmy.
I started listening to Motörhead in the 80’s along with other NWBHM bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon. I still listen to these same bands today, never really settling on anything except classic metal.
I started out with a sketch on canvas using a sharpie marker. This allowed me to focus on the bold lines that I wanted to get across. For this portrait I wanted to capture the attitude, charisma and rawness of Lemmy’s personality. I decided to integrate a wider color palette than usual. I added some metallics gold, silver and copper to add more “metal” to it.
I built up the layers over several days, increasing the colors and textures. I went back and reworked his face about 10 times, referencing photos from earlier days up through the present. I decided to put a bold, typographic treatment with his name, LEMMY, using an umlaut over the E as a nod to the teutonic origin for power as many metal bands have done. As Lemmy once said, "I only put it in there to look mean."