Battle of the Nudes 20th Anniversary

"When Gord asked if I would contribute cover artwork for his new album Battle of the nudes I was overjoyed and overwhelmed. I told him he could pick any painting and I’d be honoured. He chose a painting of my son, with angel wings holding two guns. I don’t know why he picked that one or what drew him to it or what he felt it signified and I was too shy to ask. I regret not getting to know him better. 

For me the painting was about how kids play dangerous games. They play war, they play search and rescue, they play at being bank robbers, they play high stakes games. At least in their minds. In a way their games are harmless and yet these games reflect a system, a way of interacting that is far from benign. So the painting is really about two sides of play. And also about the importance of play as a way of learning about the world and of life’s consequences. The red white and blue shirt, the wings and the guns overtly reference the news then and now but it is also a painting of a child playing a part or perhaps stuck in a role. 

It’s of my son , but these are all props, the painting just came to me , a reflection of the 70s Enacted by a child of the 90s. His name is Ben Claytor and he’s 28 now. He’s always been a great actor and collaborator for paintings and drawings. I really appreciate that ! So I guess you could say the painting is about acting, playing, and the world children find themselves navigating. 

But back to to Gord. I doubt he ever knew how much this album cover meant to me. He made me feel like I had contributed something worthwhile and I have always taken comfort in that in my darker moments of doubt. And for many people I think that was an impact Gord had. He made us feel like valuable contributors to this strange life.”  

Jon Claytor