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Artist Jim Watt launches multi media initiative 1000 Watts in an effort to raise $100,000 for the jazz community.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

1000 Watts aims to raise $100K through sale of 1000 artworks created as musicians improvise, captured on film by photographer/filmmaker Danny Clinch - funds to be distributed to jazz artists in need.

We have received the following press release;


1000 Watts aims to raise $100K through sale of 1000 artworks created as musicians improvise, captured on film by legendary photographer/filmmaker Danny Clinch - funds to be distributed to jazz artists in need.


There’s a trumpeter and a bass player. The third member of the trio’s instrument? A paint brush. Artist Jim Watt is creating a series of 1,000 ink washes using a traditional Japanese ink called sumi along with water. He paints as a jazz ensemble improvises in real time.

“I’m very present to the ink and the paper and the water because it moves very quickly and can get out of control very quickly,” said Watt, who calls the collaboration 1,000 Watts. But I’m also very much listening to what they’re playing, and it is impacting, what I’m painting.”

It’s an effort to raise $100,000 for the jazz musician community, hit hard during the pandemic when music venues closed. One hundred dollars from the sale of each painting will go towards that goal.


What happens when the gigs disappear for jazz musicians because of a stinky killer coronavirus…they’re stuck without money to survive and pay the bills, not to mention rent or mortgages…worst of all, the community fractures…but creativity thrives…that’s at the heart of the donations-to-musicians 1000 WATTS multimedia project based in Asbury Park, New Jersey…the goal to raise $100,000 to help with the financial needs of the talent…

Artist Jim Watt is at the center of the endeavour with collaborations with jazz trumpeter Antoine Drye, photographer/filmmaker Danny Clinch, artistic director/producer/scorer David Spelman…Inspired by an improvising jazz ensemble led by Antoine, in real time Watt paints using a traditional Japanese ink (sumi) mixed with water to create unique black-and-white paintings…series of 1000 ink washes…cost $350 with $100 for the fund for musicians…paintings will be released in five series of 200…

The project launched in May, with the first 200 11x15 paintings available now…many are already sold…a short film of each painting’s creation comes with the purchase…Danny is documenting the entire affair for a film…

To view paintings, go to the Jim Kempner Fine Art space in Chelsea or peruse online at where you can buy one of your own…who gets to weigh in on where the funds are distributed…a board of prominent artists including Drye, Wynton Marsalis, Bill Frisell and Jimmy Owens will convene to decide how, and to whom to distribute the funds…

Official launch event at Jim Kempner Fine Art will take place on June 10…501 W 23rd St, New York, a one-minute walk from the High Line…I’m shooting to be there.
- Dan Ouellette, Jazz & Beyond Intel

Artist Jim Watt announces that jazz luminaries Wynton Marsalis, Bill Frisell and Jimmy Owens are joining him, jazz trumpeter Antoine Drye, famed photographer/filmmaker Danny Clinch and artistic director/producer David Spelman with Jim’s multimedia project, 1000w. The four musicians will act as an advisory board to the project’s goal of distributing funds—collected through the sale of Watt’s art—to jazz musicians who have suffered during the pandemic.

Watt is creating a series of 1000 ink washes in the monochromatic Japanese Sumi ink and water as a jazz ensemble led by Drye improvise as Watt’s paints in real time. Footage of the making of the ink washes from a fixed overhead camera and Clinch’s handheld filming will be the raw material for the making of a film—an artistic expression inspired by expressive nature of the washes.

Spelman will be scoring the film and the art work is being sold through Watt’s New York City gallery, Jim Kempner Fine Art. Thru the sale of the ink washes, $100,000 will be donated directly to the jazz community, which has been especially hard hit during the pandemic with the closure of most venues.

“I was inspired to do this project, much because of the pandemic and the effect it had on jazz musicians – even the best-of-the best - who suddenly found themselves without gigs to play – and at such a terrible time,” said Watt. “Late last spring, Antoine and I began hosting Jazz at The Shop, a bi-weekly donation-only outdoor jazz series at my Asbury Park studio. For many, and despite their world-class talent, it was their first opportunity to play since the world shut down in March. Onlookers were utterly awed by the level of the music. Even during non-pandemic times, one couldn’t get that caliber of music outside of the world’s finest jazz clubs.”

In all, $30,000 was raised over ten performances and all proceeds went to support the performers. “The opportunity was as much about the ability to play with peers in front of a live audience as it was about the financial,” added Watt. “I was inspired to create 1000w to continue to financially help musicians as well as to create a magical collaboration between painting, music and filmmaking.”

Though color has been a signature of Watt’s previous work, art for 1000w is entirely black-and-white – and spontaneous. Playing the scale of the project off the limitation of color, 1000w will be a thorough exploration of iteration and process, taking further ideas first touched on in Watt’s 2020 project 100w (100 watercolor works on paper harkening the coming of spring).

Along with the creation of art and music, is the making of a film to be directed by Danny Clinch. In his storied career, Clinch has captured portraits and documented the live performances of some of the greatest musicians of our time, including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Tupac Shakur, The Smashing Pumpkins, Blind Melon, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Pearl Jam, Willie Nelson and Björk. His work has appeared in publications including Vanity Fair, Spin, The New Yorker, The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

Nothing quite captures the essence of the form—the discovery born from collaboration and improvisation—like live performance. The artists intend to capture this current with 1000w and continue to perform live in spaces, both in Asbury Park and New York City throughout the summer months and possibly beyond.

There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment.
Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere.
The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see will find something captured that escapes explanation. This conviction that direct deed is the most meaningful reflection, I believe, has prompted the evolution of the extremely severe and unique disciplines of the jazz or improvising musician.
Bill Evans liner notes from Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, 1959

Joe Dimino of Neon Jazz Interviews Jim Watt about 1000 Watts
Click Here To Listen!

Jim Watt, Antoine Drye, Danny Clinch and Jim Kempner featured on NY1 Today with Roger Clark, discussing 1000 Watts!.
Click here to watch the segment!