Artist/musician Glen Neff has been composing and creating his whole life, not to mention for his 23-plus years as a citizen of Cerrillos/Madrid/Santa Fe. The consummate hippie artist, Neff likes to push buttons through improvisational pieces in both disciplines and is all about stories. We caught up with him ahead of his show at the Jean Cocteau Cinema (5:30 pm Friday July 7. Free. 418 Montezuma Ave., 466-5528) and were like, "Oh hey, Glen—you're a cool dude."
Would you consider yourself an artist or a musician first?
Both. All along. For my entire life. As a matter of fact, I started as a watercolorist early on, and it's like improvising with music—painting and composing are the same way of thinking for me. When you sit down with watercolor, it's loose and free and you don't know what you're going to get, and I see music the same way. It's wonderful, that aspect of it. Some of the paintings I'll have in this show are meticulously masked off, some are a hundred hours each and not improvisational. Some have a more studied approach.
Can you describe a little what we might see?
You're going to see five or six pieces from what I call my Icon series. They're mostly watercolor with some mixed-in multimedia, like acrylics. They're outer-spacey images, very feminine, almost angelic. That's one group. There's another that's more surrealist; one of them is very political. They all have a story, if you want to make a story for them—I wouldn't tell people how to see the story.
Do you ever stop creating?
Never. I've got hundreds of hours of music, a number registered with ASCAP; I've got a couple hundred paintings sitting around, I built my house between Cerrillos and Madrid—designed it from scratch, and it's all to code.