As he approaches the start of his sixth decade making music, Mick Fleetwood's status as a superstar is beyond dispute.
As one of two standard-bearers of the rock band Fleetwood Mac he cofounded some 48 years ago, he can lay claim to two of the biggest selling albums of all time -- Fleetwood Mac and Rumours -- and to helping launch the careers of some of England's greatest guitarists -- Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, and Danny Kirwan among them. Indeed, despite the steady entry and exodus of key players, he's never wavered in his commitment to continue the group's musical mission. The band's new tour, celebrating the return of seminal member Christine McVie, is a testament to both his passion and perseverance.
Lately, though, Fleetwood has furthered his artistic ambitions with a series of photo exhibitions showcasing his lush scenic landscapes. He's currently represented in several galleries around the country, including an exhibit in Fort Lauderdale's Wentworth Galleries that continues through December 21.
Fleetwood attributes his initial interest in photography to time spent on holiday with his family as a child and particularly to the influence of his father, "the boring snapshot taker." In recent years, he's expanded his artistic ambitions, turning a casual pastime into an ongoing enterprise.
"If you really have a passion for it, you'll find a way to reconnect," he said by phone during a rare respite in the band's tour. "When I was asked to show my pictures, I was just doing it for myself and doing it for fun. I wondered why anyone would want to look at my pictures. Then the person who was nurturing me said, 'Because they're really good, Mick.' With music or anything that's creative, that's all you need. You don't have to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. If you're enjoying what you're doing, you may be surprised. You may have something that people will actually enjoy."
Having garnered this attention, Fleetwood has found a new mission beyond his muse, one he hopes will inspire others.
"With this little journey of showing my pictures, I've had great conversations with people," Fleetwood says. "I consider it a nice opportunity to talk about 'the creative process,' which I firmly believe in. Without that, I would have been in a whole heap of shit. If I hadn't become a musician and had my parents say, 'It's a pretty odd thing to do, Mick, to go out and bang a drum, but if that's what you really want to do, we'll support you,' I'm not sure what I would have done. So in talking about this, maybe someone out there will think, 'Well, he had a go at it -- why don't I?' "
Of course, Fleetwood's also aware that at least part of the reason his art gets attention is due to his famous name. "Yeah, hey, I'm very quietly aware of that, but I also got over that too," he insists. "There's a good and healthy double-edged sword here. I know there are people walking into that gallery to look at my pictures because they know about Mick Fleetwood the rock star. But I also know I've put my ass on the line and they might think it's a whole bunch of shit. [laughs] I'm already quietly objective and in good humor about what I'm doing. I've found that people like the work. There are people that say, 'Wow! I didn't realize I'd come in and look at a whole show of mostly very calm, very classy, and very poetic pictures. Frankly, I thought I'd see dogs with their bottoms hanging off chandeliers or something.' And that's kind of nice when they find it's something else, another side of whatever this creature is. That it's just me."
"Reflections, An Exhibition of Original Photographs by Mick Fleetwood" on display through Sunday, December 21, at Wentworth Galleries, 819 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. An artist's reception with Mick Fleetwood will take place on Thursday, December 18, from 6 to 7 p.m. for VIP guests of Mick Fleetwood and from 7 to 9 p.m. for VIP guests of the gallery. Call 954-468-0685, or visit wentworthgallery.com.
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