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May 22, 2013

Roxbury artist's portrait exhibit is a record-breaker

ROXBURY — Greg Frederick is an artist who has likely broken more records than anyone reading this story today.

By records, we mean that relic of the musical recording industry — vinyl long-playing albums (the ones with the small hole in the center) and 45 revs per minute single records (the ones with the considerably larger hole in the center).

They both spun on turntables, and now Frederick breaks them into pieces whenever he finds them and turns them into art, giving the vinyl components a second lease on life.

Appropriately, the subjects of his vinyl art are people associated with the musical recording industry — individual artists and bands well known in popular culture, running the spectrum from Elvis Presley to the Notorious B.I.G.

Frederick's eclectic work will be on display from May 24 to June 30 at the Orphic Gallery, on Main Street in Roxbury. An artist's reception will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the gallery, at the site of the former Roxbury Corner Store.

Frederick, 30, studied photography in London for five years before his interest in the graphic arts branched out into putting his photographs on canvas and stenciling them and putting glitter on them. Soon, he was experimenting with shards of vinyl, affixing the pieces to the surface with epoxy.

"Andy Warhol was a bit of an inspiration for me," Frederick said. "He had worked with so many different musicians."

Phil Lenihan, proprietor of the Orphic Gallery, said the vinyl portraits created by Frederick amount to a type of "low relief sculpture," given the three-dimensional quality of the art..

Standing in front of a rendering of famous British rocker David Bowie Tuesday, Lenihan pointed out the image becomes more recognizable when one backs away from the work to a distance of about 15 feet. The same was true of a Frederick portrait of Hamden bluesman Zonder Kennedy, one that had been commissioned by the musician's wife, Lata. Both will be among the numerous exhibits on display at the gallery.

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