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As Musicians Rock Out, Novato Artist Paints Along

July 18th, 2018

As Musicians Rock Out, Novato Artist Paints Along

Neal Barbosa has shared the stage with the likes of Warren Haynes, the New Orleans Social Club and Sol Horizon. But, the Novato resident isn’t a musician. He’s a painter.

The stage is Barbosa’s studio. He creates artwork during shows, with a paintbrush in each hand.

A painter since he was about 9 years old, he’s had a 15-year career as a live painter, painting at venues from Finland to the Bay Area’s Exploratorium and Paramount Theatre.

You can see him in action alongside Danny Click and the Hell Yeahs!, Moonalice and Big Brother and the Holding Company at the Italian Street Painting Marin on June 23 and 24 in downtown San Rafael.
Q What got you into live painting?

A I loved music and my hippie uncle used to take me to all kinds of music in Sonoma County and anywhere around here. I used to hang out with my friends, listening to their bands. I didn’t play an instrument at the time and I wasn’t good enough to be in a band, so I came...

Music Art Rock

July 18th, 2018

Music Art Rock

Live music makes people do all sorts of things. Some folks are compelled to dance, some can’t resist singing along and some feel the need to shout “‘Free Bird’!”

For Neal Barbosa, live music puts him in the mood to paint, and he does it onstage while bands perform at venues throughout the Bay Area and beyond, a practice known as live painting.

Originally from Orange County, Barbosa was already a talented young artist when he moved to the North Bay at age 15 to live with his “hippie uncle.”

“He introduced me to all kinds of music that was going on around here,” Barbosa says. “I really wanted to be involved in that, but I didn’t play an instrument at the time, so I asked myself, ‘What do I do?’ And I came up with the idea of live painting.”

Barbosa isn’t the first to paint live onstage; artists like Denny Dent have been painting along to live music since the 1960s, though Barbosa didn’t know about Dent when he started....