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Trumpet & Travel #4 - Brian Swartz meets painter John Nolan in Dublin.

In this edition of Trumpet & Travel, I had the pleasure of traveling from London, England to Dublin, Ireland to finally meet painter John Nolan in person.

Warning: This is a very charming story.

Years ago, I would say maybe around the turn of the 21st century, I had bought a couple of inexpensive paintings at an antique shop in Larchmont Village near Hollywood, CA. They weren't anything terribly special. One was a charming little watercolor of a cafe scene in Paris that was done just after WWII, and I had also bought a pair of wood cut prints that seemed to be Mexican or Aztec in style.

It had become a hobby of mine to research the origin of the paintings on the internet because I couldn't read the artists' signatures. While doing this research I discovered an entire network of art from all over the world that existed on the internet and I began to pick out artists that struck me or whose art stood out. One of those artists was John Nolan.

John Nolan's painting style is distinct. It is a unique mix of pop, abstract, surrealist and impressionist using bright colors which grab the eye and bring you into the details. It's quite clear that he is a master craftsman as well as being very prolific.

Well, until 2004 or '05, my appreciation of John's art was just private. And then there was When MySpace came along, artists and fans began connecting online like never before. I can remember becoming fans of actors like Bill Murray and it seemed like you were actually connecting with them. Sometimes they were fake accounts or fan pages, but sometimes they weren't.

So, I found John Nolan on MySpace, we connected and I began corresponding with him. Right away, it seemed like we had a mutual appreciation for the art that the other created. MySpace was one of the first websites where artists could upload their music or their art and get heard or seen by anyone, anywhere in the world. John would post his latest paintings and I would post my jazz recordings. John then began posting pieces of art that he said he had painted while listening to my music. I was deeply moved by this.

In 2006, I had recorded a new CD that was due to be released in the summer and I was looking for a unique painting to use as the cover art. I sent a note to John Nolan and asked if I could use one of his paintings for the cover of my CD. Without hesitation, John sent me high resolution photos of about 150 or his paintings and said I could choose any that I wished.

I poured over the paintings and chose (with the input of my lovely mother, Sunny) "Crescendo."