Some of my high school best friends played in a Boston based punk band called STARS ABOVE up until a few years ago. Two of them are still alive and playing in other bands (the QUIGGS and the OFFWHITES - look em up). This design was done as part of my meditation on the tragic death of the band's front man, who fell victim to the heroin epidemic that has been killing everyone's friends and family across the country. It was a few years ago now that he overdosed, but our thirtieth birthdays are a month and change apart, and he never made it to his... so i got to thinking:
Before he died he asked me to make a design for the band for pins or some sort of logo. I did some sketches for him but he never followed up with it and i don't think the design ever got used. We had drifted apart after my sister died and he started getting into heroin. I was on the road a lot, but i cared about him like a brother and i was blindsided by the news of his death. I knew he had a self-destructive streak but i don't know what i could have done to get him away from himself and recover in any significant way.
So i made this design some three years after he passed, partly because i still wanted to have my art connected to the band, but mostly because i thought of this image of him rising out of his mortal coil and how perfectly bittersweet it is to have his band called STARS ABOVE. I've coordinated with some of his other friends and family to use proceeds from the sale of this design at local punk shows (specifically QUIGGS and OFFWHITES) to assemble and release some of his writings and unreleased songs. He was a prolific writer and an incredibly gifted musician and theres a ton of stuff no one every saw or heard. He was an natural artist in the purest sense of the word.
The proceeds from the sale of these here on etsy will go to heroin outreach and community art/support groups in Lynn, MA where he was from. Hopefully it can contribute in a positive way to the lives that the scourge of drug addiction destroys. I don't know what else we can do, but if this takes off i would like to find some way to help a broader swath of heroin victims too.
Big ups, James...
if you've read all of this, thank you for listening.
*Side note: when i was 17 i overdosed on anti-anxiety pills and was hospitalized afterward. This (along with some other events in my life) contributed to an ongoing hatred and distrust of prescription medication. I sincerely wish that i could effectively share that distrust with people because I see the drug industry as a great evil in our modern world, and one of the most corrosive elements in an increasingly hopeless culture.
**also check out james' older bands: PURE IMPACT, BEST FRIEND, THRU CENSORED VISION, THE CREEPERS... was he in UNION MADE? am i missing some? PINE GROVE something? was that just an EP title?