Lori Wier: Painting the Beat

In the painting studio of artist Lori Wier, nothing is more critical to transforming a blank canvas into a piece of art than a musical library filled with every genre known to man.

Without that library, her paintbrushes, canvases and acrylics would serve no purpose. But paired with an infectious string of beats by Daddy Yankee or a spacey seven-movement orchestral suite by composer Gustav Holst, these tools help create the colorful acrylic paintings Wier has exhibited across the peninsula since 2013.

In her studio, Wier does not limit music’s influence to color. Instead, the rhythm of the music influences the rhythm by which she applies paint to canvas. Most of the time, this shows itself through intricate, kaleidoscopic shapes and patterns. The “repeat” button on her music player is critical here, as it defines Wier’s artistic style.

“As I listen to this music, I paint to it,” Wier said. “Maybe some Senegalese here, maybe a little Nightwish there, maybe a little Trans-Siberian Orchestra here, and then I’ll turn everything off for a little while and then I’ll listen to Disturbed and Eminem. It’s everything and sometimes that gets translated into the artwork. Maybe in a little splash here, a dot there, a little curve there of whatever, wherever the music takes me.

“The Catharsis of a Happy Jellyfish” by Lori Wier.

“It’s just repeat pattern,” she added. “I don’t smooth out the paint; however the paint lays down is how it stays so it’s very textured when you look at it. It’s tactile, you can see all the bumps and clots, sometimes the paint clots on the canvas and I just leave it because it makes all these miniscule landscapes.”

With thousands of songs at her fingertips, and not a single musical genre that she does not like, inspiration is always just a play away. Over the course of a painting, Wier will have listened to upwards of 35 songs ranging from Beethoven to Tupac, Bessie Smith to Bollywood, with an element of each finding its way onto the canvas.

“If I decide on a design, I’ll just keep repeating it and let the song repeat. I’m just dancing along to the songs and if I get tired of doing that particular pattern, I’ll change it and do something else,” she explained. “The music might change, it might not. It depends how good it’s grooving at the time.”

A collection of Wier’s music-inspired acrylics is on display as part of Meadows Art Gallery’s winter exhibit, Winter Whimsy, on view through Feb. 17. The gallery is located in Scandia Village in Sister Bay.


For more of Wier’s art, visit

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