It’s a hazy Saturday afternoon at Ben Caplan’s place. The raspy-voiced, bearded musician — who, along with his band, the Casual Smokers, is opening for Hey Rosetta! on April 15 — lives at an Agricola Street haunt known for its Monday open mic nights and weekend house concerts. It’s the type of space where music and art seem to constantly be happening. There are at least three pianos in the main room, while homemade stars hang suspended from the ceiling and weird knick-knacks line the shelves. And just as he opens up his living room on a weekly basis to anyone who wants to play music, Caplan has also opened up the opportunity to design the artwork for his upcoming album, tentatively titled Nine Kinds of Trouble.
The Portrait of a Band contest invites local artists to send five pieces to Caplan for evaluation. The winning artist will then collaborate with Caplan to design the art for the vinyl-only release (as well as their website and merchandise). As an added bonus, the winning artist will be paid $1,000 out of Caplan’s own pocket. “At the end of the day, I think art is worth money,” says Caplan. “I think every type of artist creates work that has value. And it’s our duty to support each other as much as we can.” The contest runs until May 10. Go to bencaplan.ca/contest to apply.