Julia Felice and the Whiskey Crisis is proud to present Rule of Three, a serial release of collaborative art in sets of three: an original track, a Whiskey Crisis-twisted cover track, and a piece of visual art created by a local or regional artist in response to our two pieces.

Our first release, “Part I: Everybody’s Gotta Worship Something,” drops on January 24th, 2020, with a party at The Range in Ithaca – see our Next Shows page for details!

Part I: Everybody’s Gotta Worship Something

Our first release features a collaboration with J.P. Feenstra, the visual artist behind 2017’s Devil on Your Back. Read about J.P.’s creative process below, and then take a listen to our cover of “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” by the Smashing Pumpkins and the original “The Arms Dealer,” written by Harry Nichols.

Artist Interview | JP Feenstra

Describe the process you took to create this piece.

The whole project immediately reminded me of what Peter Gabriel did when he released Us in the early 90s. He had also commissioned artworks based on each track in his album, and a lot of those pieces were remarkably physical: collages, sculptures, found objects, and so on. And I loved how individual they all felt. So that kinda became my north star. I started by listening to the two tracks (which are absolutely phenomenal by the way) and deciding what kind of headspace they were putting me in on an emotional level, and after I settled into that feeling, I just gathered a lot of physical materials: I used an old charcoal drawing of a skull from my personal portfolio, deconstructed and distressed an old picture frame, pulled dried flowers that my partner and I had hung around our house, re-purposed a bunch of art materials from some of her past projects, and then just leaned on ye olde artschool symbolism to do the rest and started constructing this kind of memento mori.

What elements of the music do you feel is expressed by the artwork you’ve created? 

Both Bullet and Arms Dealer are leaning into this really heavy lyrical subject matter, but they’re doing it in a very musical and elegant way. Sonically, it’s just not the approach you’d think those songs would take if you just read the lyrics for example. A lot of my personal art does the same thing, so really the whole piece was me expressing these weighted subject matters like death in a way that felt somewhat elegant and almost noble. 

What do you think is the meaning or significance of the title of the piece?

The line ‘Everybody’s Gotta Worship Something’ was really the one line that just screamed at me when I was doing my little sonic seance with the two tracks. Everybody’s looking for an idea to get behind, be it wealth, fame, or hitting those 35,000 followers on Instagram. All that shit. And this was a response and also a personal reminder, “Sure, having something to believe in is important. But just remember—we’re all still gonna die.” lol

You’ve done a ton of album and promo art for Ithaca bands. When creating this art, what process do you tend to follow? Was the process for this project any different than what you have done in the past, or was it pretty much the same?

Ha, you guys like to keep me busy and I love the work. That said, this is the first time I’ve done an actual physical piece for a band. It’s just not something you see often nowadays, which was part of the reason I really leaned into it. But, in general, how I approach any project, be it music videos, concert posters, album art, etc, is the same: first I analyze what the project is, then how it makes me feel, then how I think that feeling should be expressed in context. After that, my approach is just building up layers of whatever until I feel like I’ve said everything I need to say. That remains true whether I’m digitally adding paper folds, type, and grunge textures in Photoshop for a concert poster, or physically tacking dead flowers on top of ink on top of glitter on top of old drawings for an album cover.