THE STORY OF RHYTHM & HUES
Rhythm & Hues was actually 34 years in the making. Helane Freeman and Gary Ballen met in 1989 working for different record labels on the same historic project, Eazy E and NWA.
Helane was the art director for Priority Records where she designed over 100 album covers including “The California Raisins”, “Frank Sinatra” and most notably the “Straight Outta Compton” cover. Gary worked at Ruthless Records as a touring stage and production manager and then worked at the label for the next six years.
Thirty-three years later on a sunny Southern California morning, Helane was participating with a group of plein air painters painting a ukulele group she heard about at the Ventura Harbor. Gary was leading the “Cool Hand Ukes” in a wide open field at the Harbor Cove Café, family’s eating on park benches, children dancing and sea gulls flying over the sea of boats.
When Helane realized it was her old friend Gary playing his ukulele, and after catching up on the last 30 years, he encouraged her to play her Cajon during the weekly “Cool Hand Ukes” ukulele jam. One thing led to another and eventually they started performing together and formed Gary and the Grooves, a three piece classic rock group that immediately started to entertain the Oxnard and Ventura music lovers.
Unbeknownst to either Helane or Gary, Rhythm & Hues started to cultivate, the art and music started blending together. Helane decided to paint, with her hands, while playing percussion on the canvas while singing, playing a stomp box with her left foot and a tambourine on her right. Gary would sing and play guitar to classic rock hits, and Rhythm & Hues was born.
You have to see it to believe it.
Drawing is Helane Freeman’s forté; she is an illustrator at heart. A distinguished student, Helane graduated from Art Center College of Design with honors in Illustration. Her uncanny ability to turn paint, pencil and pixels into emotion, movement and perspective comes from her artistic lineage, traceable to Leonardo da Vinci via master/apprentice relationships. She has shared her lineage and inspired other artists by teaching anatomy figure drawing at the California Art Institute.
At the age of 14, Helane began selling her paintings, and her work soon adorned the walls of local banks and several neighborhood businesses. During her career as an illustrator and art director, Helane has worked on over 100 record album covers, including Frank Sinatra – Radio Years and NWA’s Straight Outta Compton, named one of the 25 best album covers of all time by Digital Arts Magazine. Helane has earned six RIAA Gold and Platinum Albums, a Hollywood Reporter Key Art Award for ad design for the film Dumb and Dumber, and numerous other awards and accolades.
Helane’s flexibility is astounding. In addition to her own well-developed style, she can mimic some of the world’s most famous artists, from Norman Rockwell to Roy Lichtenstein. Helane’s drawings and paintings don’t simply evoke other artist’s styles; she’s so accurate in her impressions, Disney’s legal department once took three days to verify that her commissioned Jackson Pollock-style painting was an original work and not a direct copy of an actual Pollock piece!
Helane received the rare honor of having her work proudly displayed in the Smithsonian Institution as part of its Priority Records “The California Raisins” exhibit, now part of the museum’s permanent collection. She has also been commissioned to draw many celebrity likenesses; her pictures of Charlie Sheen and Oprah Winfrey each received first-round approvals on the spot from Charlie and Oprah themselves!
Helane is adept at creating illustrations across all forms of media, from traditional oil-on-canvas to airbrush to digital drawing on her state-of-the-art Cintiq. No matter how large or small the job, Helane is always on time and on budget – with a smile.
Click Here for Helane’s Web Site
As a young child Gary always knew that he would be involved in the world of music. Fascinated by the musicians he saw as a youth; he picked up a guitar at age nine and has never looked back. Five decades of entertaining crowds, he has performed thousands of gigs in bars, restaurants, corporate & private parties and has been an opening act for Air Supply, Jackson Browne, Ben Harper and others. With a repertoire of over a thousand songs, he is known as the “Human Jukebox”.
On the music business side of the coin, he has owned a sound company, merchandising company, was a concert promoter and spent 10 years on the road touring with Air Supply, Lita Ford, Jeff Lorber Fusion, McGuffey Lane, Hurricane and Erika Jayne.
In 1989 Gary went out as the production/stage manager for Eazy E & NWA, and after that tour, worked at Ruthless Records for the next six years. He has appeared in three documentaries reflecting those days; Death Row Chronicles, Facing Suge Knight & The Mysterious Death of Eazy E.
As a personal manager some of his clients were grammy winning rap artist Flesh-n Bone (Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony) Sax & Harmonica player Jimmy Z (Rod Stewart, Eurythmics, Tom Petty, Etta James) and music producer Damon Elliott (Pink, Beyonce, Dionne Warwick, Mya, Keyshia Cole).
“Having spent some 50 years in different facets of the music industry, I thought I saw everything. What Helane has created with Rhythm & Hues is truly groundbreaking.” – Gary Ballen
Click Here for Gary’s Web Site