Originally created 07/13/06

Prodigal son artist, musician returns to his Augusta roots



Like the complex pieces he produces in his downtown studio, Augusta artist and musician Troy Campbell's life is something of a collage.

Over the past several years, Mr. Campbell has played with a David Bowie tribute band and a rockabilly ensemble, toured and performed with the Big Apple Circus and on the tech crew of Dragontales Live, and twice auditioned for the Blue Man Group.

Settled, for now, in his hometown of Augusta, Mr. Campbell said his travels fueled his expansive aesthetic and his fondness for the city he calls home.

"I'm really lucky that I've had the freedom to go off on these adventures, tangents, whatever you want to call them," he said. "But I also recognized that I needed depth. I need to explore grounding. I'm very proud of Augusta and blessed that the prodigal son has been allowed to return."

Musically, Mr. Campbell is flexing his drumming muscles as one of the revolving-door members of local favorite The Hellblinki Sextet. Artistically, he splits time between delicate floral paintings informed by the traditions of Eastern calligraphy and dense collages that incorporate scraps from popular culture and Mr. Campbell's life.

"There are a lot of common threads, a lot of parallels, between the flowers, collages and even the drumming," he said. "It's all very percussive. You are holding the stylus, there are marks, there is a rhythm. We even use the same language - composition, tone, color."

Mr. Campbell said an important part of his creative technique involves acknowledging how something feels.

"It's all about being hands-on," he said. "The way it feels, be it painting or drumming, is fantastic. My mom used to teach cosmetology, so I don't know, maybe it comes from that, but I find real pleasure in being dextrous.

As an artist and a musician, Mr. Campbell cites Matisse and Elvis as significant influences. He said that while those might seem stylistically disparate, they represent the challenge each artist must approach and conquer.

"We all have a need to make sense of our experiences and longings," he said. "Coming to terms with our passions and interests, building on our memories, that's all part of the human experience. That's the question I'm interested in, how to make all of this into a unified whole."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

SEE IT


Mr. Campbell's artwork is on view at the Bee's Knees, 211 10th St., and at Frameworks, 210-B 10th St.



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