Electric Light Orchestra. This has been one of Heather's main musical influences and sole inspirations towards the collective consciousness of her artwork. After being gifted the album "Discovery" by her mother who was a disco fantastic she instantly became enthralled with everything ELO at a mere age of 4 years old. Till this day Heather listens to them persistently almost everyday and siphons the energy of their music into every single of one of her masterpieces.
The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) are an English rock band from Birmingham. They were formed in 1970 by songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne with drummer Bevan. Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography. After Wood's departure in 1972, Lynne became the group's leader, arranging and producing every album while writing virtually all of their original material. Some of their conceptual material such as Eldorado have been major dreamscape anthems for the focus behind Heather Hermann's work. She is one of the few people who uses their music as prime inspiration for the energy, subject matter and mood behind each one of her paintings.
ELO participated in composing music for the infamous roller disco spectacular Xanadu. Xanadu is a 1980 American romantic musical fantasy film written by Richard Christian Danus and Marc Reid Rubel and directed by Robert Greenwald. The title is a reference to the nightclub in the film, which takes its name from Xanadu, the summer capital of Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty in China. This city appears in Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a poem that is quoted in the film. The film's plot was inspired by 1947's Down to Earth.
Xanadu stars Olivia Newton-John, Michael Beck, and Gene Kelly, and features music by Newton-John, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Cliff Richard, and The Tubes. The film also features animation by Don Bluth.
The visuals, musical upbeat and animation are definately it's high points and make up for what it lacks in plot/casting.
Most of the visuals behind ELO's album art that contributes to Heather's work are the funky wonderous art deco space scenes displaying an array of wild disco-future colors. The use of gouache, acrylic and airbrush are within the same technique genres that Heather continues to carry on through her illustrations. Having an affinity for record collecting, she has an aresenal of strange 80's visual albums; some coming from direct from Japan that are incredibly rare. Hermann declares that her ELO album collection is one of the most precious things she owns and her signed copy of "A New World Record" is kept under lock and key given the importance of Jeff Lynne's signature and what it means to her life.
Heather plans to continue the techniques and homages to such an aesthetic by intermixing retro airbrush into her classic style. Giving contemporary viewers, collecters and fans a chance to own something that feels out of future's past. Shusei Nagaoka is one of the master illustrators behind these wonderful masterworks. His robo-tech touch meets alt future disco tech is something classic for the ages and never looses it's class. Even today it's classified that these retro works were incredibly difficult to produce and the knowledge in making them has been a trade secret. Something magical stems from analog drawing and technical design such as these. They are a prime timeless homage to the potential future. Where rock and disco are king.
Heather other main influence musically is tied to legendary progressive rock band Genesis and both of Peter Gabriel's and Phil Collin's solo works. She acquired her first Genesis cassette, "Trespass" at age 3. Since then she has listened to them nonstop everyday into her adult hood. Genesis and primarily Gabriel played a huge role in her dance career life and were the main focus of developing her style of artwork. Genesis are an English rock band formed at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey in 1967. The most commercially successful and long-lasting line-up includes keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/singer Phil Collins. Other important members were the original lead singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett. Their unique keyboard style and synth techniques were revolutionary for the time and in many respects were AHEAD of their time. Gabriel's wild costumes and sung English tales were something revolutionary to their new sound and stage presence. There is a power within the guitar scores of Steve Hackett and the magical fingers of Anthony Phillips and Tonk Banks that can never be matches again in music history. The albums Foxtrot, Duke, ....And Then There Were Three and Selling England By The Pound, Wind and Wuthering are consistent anthems to the voice behind Hermann's artwork. They play a vital roll in contributing to the Art Deco Dystopia drenched in fantasy, lore, fast paced motion, storytelling that are the fundamental bricks to Hermann's artwork. Heather is one of the few artists diving into reckless abandon for over 20 years endorsing and on a mission to create something new in vision based off their genius musical scores. The song title of classic album "Duke"'s second track "Duchess" has been Heather's theme for life. To be the Duchess and ask that the crowd cry for more when it concerns her vision.
Peter Gabriel hits many notable points in Hermann's developing art career. His ability to shift into unique artistically bound personas singing into visions of a future's past in progressive stage makeup and visuals led Hermann much in her theatrical career. Gabriel's ability
to transition between progressive and spiritual/worldly has always appealed to her creative process. Rhythm of the Heat, San Jacinto, OVO, Sledgehammer, US, SO, and so on are prime influential titles and albums. Some of Heather's fondest memories are listening to his records on a CD player in 2003.
Anywhere you's see her, a purple CD player would be in tow belting out his voice through the head-phones.
Peter Gabriel's "US" album cover
Gabriel has been a champion of world music for much of his career. Hermann has performed to many of his scores on stage and values them of some of her greatest experiences in life. The passionate beats, chorus and musical genius are high vibrational points in her creative process. Each painting is based off at least one score by all of the musicians in this section. Each has a musical primal root and is approached in the same manner as entering a stage. The allure, the draw, and the climax of the epic. Hermann hopes to illustrate special edition covers for Gabriel and Genesis at some point in her career to give thanks and homage to the monumental mark they have left upon her life.