Questlove loves his vision boards, collages and kitschy art


The legendary musician, DJ and Academy-award winning documentarian also makes collages. He makes vision boards and collects kitschy art. Think “Pee-wees Playhouse,” he told CNN in a recent interview.

“I do art and sketching. I mean, I don’t consider myself a first rate artist or sketcher, but my favorite thing is I do my vision boards and I also do my collages,” Questlove said. “I’m always looking for ways to also look for inspiration creatively. Like Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, in order to make better music they became artists. The Beastie Boys used to tell me that a lot of their jam sessions started with a basketball game first, that sort of thing.”

His job with The Roots as the house band on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” also provides him with much-needed creative connection, Questlove said.

He loves to wander into the “Saturday Night Live” studio, visit MSNBC and walk around the building, talking to other creatives. He calls the building “30 Rock University.”

“To be a fly on the wall for moments like the last ‘SNL’ show, to see Kate’s {McKinnon] last show and all those things. To me, I’m such a pop culture nerd that I still find joy in coming there every day and trying out new things.”

Questlove said he’s found inspiration in unexpected places, like paintings of dogs playing poker and terrible cover songs. In fact, he has a broker who hunts down bad music for him.

“I just got 50,000 records from a library in Portland, and it’s some of the worst cover songs of all time,” he laughed. “It’s allowed me to discover music in a way that I haven’t utilized it since I was a kid. I started to think of new creative ways to spin records that didn’t involve the hottest song of the moment.”

People occasionally ask him to DJ parties where he just plays “horrible songs.”

“I think in August I’m gonna do it again,” he said.

This summer also marks 30 years of The Roots performing together.

It all started with Questlove and with his friend Tariq Trotter (Black Thought) going “on the streets and playing for the people” of Philadelphia, he recalled.

With so much going on, Questlove said he doesn’t have much down time. But when he finds himself at home on a Sunday, he’ll spend the day sketching and reading the New York Times.

Questlove has partnered with the publication for a campaign aimed at helping people discover unusual interests like his. Called Story Portrait, the function allows people to personalize their headline searches.

He shot a short film for the campaign in New York City directed by Ghanaian-American filmmaker Joshua Kissi and filmed at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, where Questlove previously took up residence and produced multiple albums. Roots fans will notice many Easter eggs hidden throughout.

“There’s art in everything” if you really look, he said.


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