David Frazer in his studio in country Victoria. CREDIT:SEAN MCKENNA

David Frazer in his studio in country Victoria. CREDIT:SEAN MCKENNA
(Excerpt from The Age The artist turning Nick Cave songs into wood engravings By Andrew Stephens)

In 1981, when he was 15, David Frazer and his mate Garry went to a Tom Waits concert at Melbourne’s Dallas Brooks Hall. A teacher had introduced them to the music of Waits, whose voice has been described as everything from a swallowed angry cat, to crunching broken glass, to sounding like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon (then smoked, then run over by a car).

The concert had an epic effect – Waits’ lyrical story-telling had “a rural feeling of melancholy and alienation” that resonated with Frazer, whose childhood was spent in the Wimmera. But his admiration for Waits transcended the aural: Frazer was intrigued by the imagery the music produced.

Decades after that concert, Frazer has been granted permission to create an artist-book transforming Waits’ music into pictures. The timing is great: the Castlemaine artist is about to launch his latest book, Love Letter, on the song by Nick Cave. The book has the musician’s blessings – Frazer says Cave was thrilled with the results – and its limited edition copies bear his signature.

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David Frazer