Chris Milk, American Recordings, Aaron Koblin, @radical.media and the Cash Estate Collaborate To Present Unique Interactive Art Project
The Johnny Cash Project, an online global collective art project and visual testament to the life and career of Johnny Cash, "The Man In Black," celebrates its official launch today, with over 5,000 frames submitted to the dynamic website in the three weeks since the site's soft launch.
The highly interactive website celebrates the February 2010 release of American VI: Ain’t No Grave, Johnny Cash’s final studio recording, produced by Rick Rubin. The Johnny Cash Project sets out to engage fans of the beloved musical icon from around the world in an unprecedented collaborative project: the creation of an ever-evolving music video for the title track of the album.
"Chris told me about this great art project he had in mind, but needed an iconic artist for it to work," said Rick Rubin. "His description of it sounded so new and unusual, that I was interested just to get to see it! While I think he had originally intended to work with a living artist, I suggested Johnny Cash; he thought about it and realized that Johnny's passing changed the meaning of the project for the better, and The Johnny Cash Project was born."
The project’s goal is to empower fans to create a living portrait and a dynamic tribute to Cash that will never be viewed the same way twice. The website offers a single image template, and using a custom drawing tool, invites visitors to share their visions of Johnny Cash by designing their own frames, which will then be strung together and played in sequence over the song. The portraits create a moving, ever-evolving homage to the beloved musical icon. As new visitors to the site discover and contribute to the project, the hope is that Cash’s living portrait will continue to transform and grow.
The site soft-launched three weeks ago, and has been populated by talented artists and eager Johnny Cash fans with no publicity at all. It has received nearly 75,000 visitors from 150 countries. The quality of the submissions is a testament to the level of artists the site is attracting. It is truly a communal art project. While the video can now be viewed in full, the submissions continue to come in with increasing frequency as visitors create and watch rapidly evolving versions of the video.
Ain’t No Grave is an album deeply rooted in themes of mortality, resurrection, and everlasting life. When Milk and Rubin began collaborating on the Johnny Cash Project, they were focused on highlighting these concepts.
“Johnny’s spirit truly does live on – not just through his musical catalog -- but in the hearts of all the people around the world he has touched so deeply,” said the project’s creator and director Chris Milk. “The Johnny Cash Project is the visual manifestation of all that love coming together, not just to produce a music video, but to show how Johnny’s enduring spirit continues living on inside of all of us.”
American VI: Ain’t No Grave, released on February 26, 2010, is the sixth and final installment of Johnny Cash’s critically acclaimed American Recordings album series.