Tag Archives: Artists

An Interview with Christopher “Captain Pookie” Pike, On His Phish Based Paintings

Christopher Pike began a thread on Phish.net a few years ago offering his painting skills to create pieces of art based on interpretations of Phans favorite shows, or personal show experiences. Soon thereafter, there was a long line generating for everyone who wanted their experiences laid down on canvas. He just donated one of his painting to the Barefoot Bob Memorial, showing his compassion for this community. I recently sat down with him to pick his brain about his work. His name is Chris Pike, better known as Captain Pookie.

Barefoot Bob Memorial Donation
Barefoot Bob Memorial Donation

Chris Stowell: How long have you been painting?

Captain Pookie: I started painting 13 years ago. I had just moved home to Watkins Glen after spending a portion of the ’90’s in Asheville. The change on environment was a little shocking and I found myself bored and a little blue. I was at the store one day and bought a canvas and some cheap acrylic paints on a lark. I was probably stoned at the time.

CS: Wow, it’s amazing what a change in environment can do. Are there any other mediums you work with, either with paint, or without?

CP: For sure. I’ve always had creative outlets since my earliest memories. I was raised in an environment that was very supportive of expression of creativity. I can play 5 different instruments and have played in bands regularly since the eight grade. I’ve always written fictitious stories – that’s probably what I’ve done the longest. My first novel was published in 2005. Really, there isn’t any medium I won’t tackle, but music, writing and painting get all of my time.

CS: Your book is still on my reading list. Alright, time to get a little Phishy, then we will get back to your works of art. When did you start listening to Phish, and what was your first show?

CP: Well, the first time that I HEARD Phish was sometime in 1995. I was hanging out at my best friends house and A Live One had just been released and he was playing it. I remember really liking Bouncing’ and Stash, but for whatever reason… perhaps for no reason at all I never got that into them at that time. Which is a drag because my friends were going to so many great Phish events like Clifford Ball, lots of 95, 96 and 97 shows. I turned down a ticket to the Fleezer show for Christ’s sake. My head was just in a different musical space at the time, which I don’t regret at all because what I was onto was very fulfilling and uplifting to me. So Really, I’m a 3.0 noob. My first show was Fenway in April 09.

Star Lake 2012
Star Lake 2012

CS: Alright, back to your painting. What made you decide to start doing Phish inspired paintings? Other than your love for the band, of course

CP: I’ve always reacted to music, and emotional stimuli in general, in two very specific ways. One is that I will fell a sensation that my body is changing shape. It manifests mostly in my face. It’s like an invisible force is pulling gently on my flesh and my insides. I also see color patterns…like I really SEE them. I’ve never been one to close my eyes at any bands performance, but if the band gets going at a good clip, or falls into some deep mind groove my vision tends to blur and I just sort of find myself in this dimension of puddles of colors that are reacting to the sounds being made. I think it may be my mind’s response to the elation the music brings me. Anyway, eventually I started painting approximations of what I would see while listening to music at home.

CS: It’s clear how much the music influences your work in that sense. So I’ve noticed that there are a few themes incorporated in to your work. What are they and what do they represent? The eye in specific.

CP: Yeah, the eye. Eyes have always made appearances in my work. And I’m not sure I’ve ever thought, “I shall paint an eye here for this reason.” I don’t necessarily lump myself into the surrealist movement, but the surrealists have a conceptual tool they use called Automatism, or Automatic Drawing where they draw unconsciously, doing their best to just allow their hand to create something where the next movement is informed only by the one before it, as opposed to getting one pre-determined image onto paper. It’s similar to how I paint. I usually only ever start with one shape or a flow of one particular color and then each step is created in light of the previous with no conscious reason. I think I might be hesitant to pry apart my psyche and find reasons why certain symbols are there. I’d rather just feel any emotion that an artistic piece emits as opposed to analyzing it.

CS: I totally understand not prying apart your psyche. That was way more in depth than I expected. Thank you so much for opening up about that. When a client approaches you to do a painting for them, what kind of questions do you ask them, or do you just ask for a show they are inspired by?

Pookie Bethel Blessing
Bethel 2011

CP: Well it starts with them wanting me to paint a specific show that means something to them, whether it was their first show or whether there is an intense emotional memory tied to it. I like for them to give me as much back-story as they are willing to so I can get an idea of the emotional and mental space they were in that day. I’ve done some painting for people that had very heavy reasons behind them. Certainly several for people who have lost loved ones or close friends and they want me to memorialize a show they were at with that person. It’s pretty heavy when people open parts of themselves that deep and raw for me to see. It’s really daunting to feel like I need to do something like that visual justice. It can be emotionally overwhelming a lot of times and a few times I’ve gotten teary-eyed having their story in my mind of just a gorgeous summer day and these kids driving across the country having belly laughs with their friends that they love with all their hearts and for one tragic reason or another they lose those friends and have these beautiful memories that they entrust me to do justice to. Then I listen to the show and try to “to tap in” as honestly as I can while painting it.

CS: These paintings hold so much value to their owners, that’s for sure. So where can people go to get their own painting?

CP: They can email me at cbpike@hotmail.com or message me at Captain Pookie on Phish.net I’m always interested in painting. Thanks for being interested!

Jones Beach 2009
Jones Beach 2009



Donations from the Artists featured on the PhanArt Blog to The Mockingbird Foundation

The purpose of the PhanArt Blog is not only to showcase the newest lot art and to provide a forum for phans and artists alike to sell their wares free of charge, it is also a venue to raise money for The Mockingbird Foundation, which raises funds for music education for children nationwide.

The first few months of the PhanArt Blog have been a great success, and we are happy to share with you the donations artists that have taken part in the site have made to The Mockingbird Foundation and/or PhanArt for future fundraising for The Mockingbird Foundation.

Since this is the first time we are sharing with the Phish public the amount each artist has donated as a result of taking part in the blog, and in the holiday spirit, we at PhanArt have offered to MATCH all monetary donations made by the artists.

The gracious donations from the blog artists, in no specific order….

Mitchell Rednour$10

Christine Lafferty – $10

Drew Suto – Copies of Surrender to the Flow for the Holiday Bundle

Vinny Naro – Five posters plus $5 of every poster sold via PhanArt blog for his NYE print!

Gregory Brenner – A complete set of prints from his Gamehendge series for auction/sale for Mockingbird

Zack Dacuk – 4 Rift shirts for auction/sale for Mockingbird

Neal Flesner – $10

Eric Wyman – $10

Steve Rogers – $25 and 5 prints for auction/sale for Mockingbird

Drew Fioravanti – $10

You Enjoy Me – 2 ‘onesies’ for future auctions

Jiggs – 4 shirts and a dozen stickers

Daniel Kassel – $6

Erin Cadigansummer 2009 poster and sticker set

Kale Worden – an Alaska shirt

PhanArt shirt deal on 12/15 – $10

That’s a grand total of $91 from artists, plus 11 shirts, 17 prints, a bunch of stickers, and much more! Since this is the holiday season and the first time PhanArt has done a Holiday Bundle, we at PhanArt are going to MATCH the $91 donated by the artists, for a total of $182! Add to the that our Holiday Bundle of phanart which went for $72, and thats $254 raised for The Mockingbird Foundation since November 1st!

Extreme gratitude to the artists and participants of the blog the past couple months. We have had a tremendous response, with more than 30,000 hits on the site since we started tracking in late November. Raising money for The Mockingbird Foundation has been amazing this year, and we still have Mock Show in Miami to go to, and the second printing of PhanArt to finish selling before we add more to the blog!

Thank you to one and all!  If you want to be part of the blog, contact Pete at phanart@gmail.com for more info.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Years to all!

– the PhanArt Board of Advisors

AJ Masthay MSG Poster on sale Tuesday 11/17 at noon

AJ Masthay has AGAIN outdone himself, and in only 2 days time!  Below is his print ‘Atlas’, to commemorate the 3-nights at MSG.  Atlas, one of the more iconic figures from Greek mythology and Manhattan is an eight color print, in an edition of 100.

These prints will be onsale at 12 Noon EST, Tuesday, November 17, 2009. Prints are limited to 2 per person.  you can pick them up at www.masthaystudios.com

Feel free to contact AJ at aj@masthaystudios with any questions.


Welcome to the PhanArt Blog!!

Greetings to all!! Welcome to what we hope will surely be a unique site for fans of Phish to utilize for their benefit, and the benefit of charity.

The PhanArt Blog is designed to provide Phish Fans with a one-stop location for fan creations, including shirts, posters, stickers, and any sort of lot art that fans have pre-tour and post-tour. PhanArt Blog will have art from all walks of life, from the one-and-done fan who puts his cool idea onto a shirt, to professional artists within the Phish community who have been incorporating their love for Phish into their talents for many years, creating some of the most sought after Lot Art.

Furthermore, the PhanArt blog is FREE! Anyone who made a shirt or poster or anything to sell on lot (Phish related, of course) can be a part of the site in 3 easy steps.
Step 1. Agree to be a part of PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish, adding to an already extensive catalog of fan created art, the most unique in the world!
Step 2. Send us a paypal button code or email address for sales, along with a picture and description of what it is you made (phanart AT gmail.com)
Step 3. (suggested) Give 10% of your total sales to The Mockingbird Foundation (MBird.org) and support continued musical education in communities nationwide! Report the total back to us to include in the total contributions from PhanArt and friends

**PhanArt Blog does not charge you to be part of this site. Think of us as a middle man, helping you get your creation out there to fans nationwide!!**

What can you expect from PhanArt Blog?
Well, aside from a central location for all Phish fan creations, with new items posted on a daily basis. You can expect to see lot shirts and posters BEFORE the tour, as well as those hard to find items after the tour, especially if you didnt have the cash or trade for it on lot.

Tuesdays we will feature Phish fan businesses, from T-shirt companies to Organic foods.

Thursdays we will feature an artist from PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish, with websites, bios and links to contact these fantastic and hardworking creative artists.

The First of each month will be dedicated to non-profits throughout the jamband community, and how you can help out and donate to them and support their causes. If you know of a charity we should post, please contact us!

You can stay in touch with us on Facebook
http://tiny.cc/p54XM and on Twitter

Stay in touch with us for updates on Phish, notifications of Great Phish Art and cool creations inspired by the band we love to travel to see.

Updates will come throughout the week, add the RSS feed and check back often as we are fine-tuning the site and we are already getting fan creations submitted for the blog. Lots of great creations out there, finally all in one central location!