Gecko the Mad Scientist


James Payne was three years old when he first started painting with pastels. His fascination for visual art only grew as he began designing clothes, making charcoal compositions, and drawing sports pictures. But painting was at the heart of everything and by 18, the fascination had turned into an obsession.


Payne’s first collaboration with music was with Chapel Paralys, an 8-piece psychedelic metal band from St. Louis. After the birth of his daughter in 2009, he left Chapel Paralys to work with Soundscape, an instrumental band. It was there he truly began to develop his process of painting alongside music.


Similar to a bass player melding to a drum beat, Payne’s art responds and compliments whatever melody arises.  Whether it’s the hum of an air conditioner, the laugh-track from a sitcom, or even the sound check on a stage, James Payne is never sure what colors he is going to choose nor what patterns will emerge until the sound vibrations have inspired him.


Payne attempts to document, subjectively, the ways in which elements shift and patterns emerge in nature. From cloud formations, to crackling fire, to flowing rivers, to eroded land formations, every piece of organic material has a story, a cycle, and a pattern that can be documented from an original perspective. That perspective comes from one specific place for James Payne: sound.


James Payne has painted at over 40 music festivals, mainly in St. Louis and the Midwest area, and has sold upwards of a thousand pieces. He was born in 1984 in St. Louis, Mo. and credits most of his creative influence to his mother.


Having grown up in South City, he has been exposed to the wide array of architectures St. Louis has to offer. Gecko sees massive potential in using art to enhance the environment, especially the less fortunate buildings. He is excited for the opportunity to participate in St.ART and work alongside fellow artists to use the moving power of art to build a better community. Gecko pushes for all humans to have the freedom to choose what they enjoy.