by Jane Roser
On my thirteenth birthday, I asked my dad for the Purple Rain record, and as I opened it with excitement, he said, “I don’t know why you would want this.” When I recently spoke to him about that moment, dad admitted that he “did a lot of soul searching” before purchasing that album for me. At the time, I think most baby boomers just didn’t get Prince. In fact, the infamous watchdog group PMRC (whose most well-known member was Tipper Gore) was founded in 1984 partly because of Purple Rain. It was considered by some to be so lewd that “Darling Nikki” was number one on PMRCs “Filthy Fifteen” list (which is probably why the album sold over 20 million copies world-wide).
Now, on the first anniversary of Prince’s death I raise a toast to the man, the legend. My homage is through art, or more accurately, a new adult coloring book released by Feral House honoring The Artist. The book includes forty-two images created by several different artists, some are incredible and fun to color, like the Prince as Jimi Hendrix picture, the psychedelic Peter Max-style art by Kristen Ferrell, BKW Burtner and Corinne Halbert or the decorative Aubrey Beardsley-style of artist Mehendra Singh. A few are a bit too ink-splotchy to properly color and some are just bad line drawings. But, all in all, it’s great fun and I love reading each artist statement about what inspired them to create each piece.
My favorite ode was from artist Jason Atomis who describes attending a Prince concert and how “a crazy guitar solo literally climaxed with what looked like purple jizm pumping out over the audience,” which is both highly illustrative and slightly disturbing. Images associated with Prince are found throughout the book including the iconic love symbol, paisleys, doves, motorcycles and, of course, rain. Each page is perforated so you can rip it out and create cool wall art or perhaps use as super funky wrapping paper.
The only drawback, besides a few editorial typos (number Ten missed that “and” is not spelled “adn”), was that my purple crayon went blunt rather quickly.