A Trace of Art: Trace Deaton
Creativity has been a part of Trace Deaton’s life since he can remember. At five years old Trace wanted to be his big brother, mentor and best friend, Tom, and then the Beatles changed the course of their lives forever when they saw them on a black and white console tv as they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. At that very moment, Trace knew he wanted to be a musician. “So my career path was set at the tender age of five… I never really wanted to do or be anything else,” he said.
Very soon after that, Trace landed his first gig! His kindergarten teacher invited him to play his guitar at show-and-tell! There was only one small problem. He didn’t have a guitar and he surely didn’t have a band like he had gloated to his teacher about. Panic ensued, as well as many tears. But, mom jumped into action and immediately went looking. “My mother being the coolest mom on the planet went into super hero mode and started calling around to our friends looking for a guitar,” Trace said.
After a few phone calls, a red and black acoustic guitar showed up. “I lied about having a guitar and received a guitar. I have been lying and playing guitar ever since!!” said Trace.
And so begun a long, successful musical career that truly blossomed at age 10, while Trace was recovering from a serious illness that literally stopped him in his tracks. One afternoon Trace was playing baseball with his buds when he just collapsed while rounding the bases. “Suddenly my body just completely shut down and I couldn’t run or even walk anymore,” Trace said.
After a week of examinations, swollen joints, high fever, and tests, results came back pretty gloomy. Trace was diagnosed with rheumatic fever, something his uncle has died of around the same age Trace had been. HIs treatment: stay off his feet for several months as well as a massive dose of penicillin. “I practiced guitar, ate a lot of ice cream and started a lifelong love affair with my imagination because sometimes that’s all I had,” he said.
After missing the fifth grade, being spoiled by his family, and entertaining his imaginary friend Dino, Trace was given a clean bill of health and returned school. In the seventh grade, Trae’s love for the guitar flourished. “I was obsessed with music (still am.) I played and practiced guitar 24/7,” Trace said.
In high school, Trace and friends started a band called Showdown. After playing at their own homecoming dance, they broke up after graduation, as many bands do. Trace’s next move was starting another band called Showdown. “We were actually a jam band way before the term was coined,” he said. But even with a good band, Trace was looking for more. “I wanted to write and record my own songs,” he said.
Trace moved to California to follow his dream, hooking up with his manager Stan King and working production jobs with bands such as Styx and The Doobie Brothers as well as performing with former teen idol Ricky Nelson. “There are many stories you wouldn’t believe happened to a kid from Kentucky,” Trace said. Not only did Trace have a long, successful career playing guitar, but he also sang and played keyboards. “How did I do that?” He asked himself. “Who gets to play music until they are 40 years old?”
Then there was that one time he died. “I actually died twice,” he said, “But twelve months to the day, here I am with a different outlook on life and at my creative peak,” he said.
And quite a bit has happened between his brush with death and now. Not only is Trace doing art full time after retiring after 20 years of online advertising, but he has created something unique to his brand. He calls it Artography, a combo of photography and art. “It gives me a license to do whatever I want. It is creating new worlds that don’t exist,” Trace said. “They are somewhere between reality and fiction. Which is what I am doing right now,” he said.
Trace is proud that he does a lot of different things. “I do the photography, art and writing. I have photographed hundreds of models and landscapes, I have video and animations, and my artography. Under the umbrella of TraceARTography, there are a lot of different mediums,” he said.
Trace has also been working with many top line musicians, including long time friend and now collaborator, Adrian Belew (David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Talking Heads) doing animated music videos, as well as tour promotion videos and album covers. “This is just different aspects of what I do,” he said. “I enjoy being free to explore artist expression in all different directions, it’s very freeing and working with musicians is a really natural fit, being one myself helps me interpret their ideas into visuals” he said.
Gathering a nice online following, Trace has decided he wants to write a book about his life and experiences. His work is currently being showcased at the Bleubird Art Studio and his work can be purchased online with Bleubird’s social media platforms.