Apps Artists Culture Digital, artist, daniel johnston, ipad app, outsider, space ducks, SXSW, Texas — March 28, 2012 13:14 — 0 Comments
The iPad, the devil and Daniel Johnston
Tortured genius, Texan folk singer and perpetual outsider Daniel Johnston is indeedie a true rare bird. Over a 30-year career he has earned a cult following, with endorsements from Kurt Cobain, Matt Groening and David Bowie and is known as much for his paintings, doodles, drawings and album sleeves as he is for his idiosyncratic music.
He combines these talents with a new iPad app to go with his Space Ducks album/comic book and follows other artists such as Björk and Kraftwerk who have produced work on iPad for fans to explore their music digitally.
Space Ducks launched at the recent SXSW in Austin Texas and the comic book is published by BOOM! Studios.
“This is another instance of bringing it all back home for me personally because I’m a native of San Antonio and went to school in Austin,” says Ross Richie, founder and CEO of BOOM! Studios. “Daniel is a fixture of the central Texas music scene and an international symbol of the unique creativity the region offers. Getting a chance to work with a seminal voice like Daniel is exactly why I got into publishing in the first place.”
As an outsider you would think an iPad app would not be the most natural platform for Johnston to release an album on, but he has previously released an iPhone app despite having never owned a mobile phone himself.
Johnston being Johnston is taking things a step further by making his app a game you have to complete in order to listen to the album and each level unlocks a different track. Challenges are at least familiar: level one is a duck version of Space Invaders. And if you don’t kill them all? It’s back to the start!
Not the kind of thing you want to engage in if you simply want to listen to the man’s tunes, but for those that have seen the 2006 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, which explores his mental health issues, you will know what to expect from this truly original artist.
The film won the Sundance Film Festival Director’s Award, and Johnston’s drawings and paintings have hung in art galleries and museums across the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art.
As a songwriter, Johnston gained kudos and wider fame in the early 1990s when album artwork from his “Hi, How Are You?” record was featured on a