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Louisiana artist exhibits at Beatles Symposium in Mississippi

An engineering graduate of the United States Naval Academy, a Navy deep sea diver, and the Louisiana State Director of Small Business Development, Rande Monroe Kessler is the last person one would expect to be a Beatles artist. But he has been selected to debut his complete set of Beatles mixed media sculptures at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi's Beatles Symposium, "From Cavern to Candlestick," on April 1-2. The four symbolic representations of John, Paul, George, and Ringo tell not only the story of the Fab Four's lives, but their professional careers.

"Paul's sculpture, for example, features a faucet," Kessler explains, "because he was the one who could turn on the charm! And John's piece bears the almost microscopic word, "Yes" hidden on the sculpture. I built George's figure around a child's discarded rocking horse...a dark one, of course. And Ringo's rendering is constructed upon the smashed Kaiserkeller stage. True fans," he smiles, "will know what that's all about!"

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Our John Too by Rande Kessler

Three of Kessler's four Beatles sculptures were featured in 2015 at the Beatles at the Ridge festival in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. "But Ringo hadn't joined the band at that time," Kessler told BeatlesNews. "Now the drummer's in place, and the Beats - as Gerry Marsden always called them - are ready to rock!"

Kessler, a well-known Louisiana pen-and-ink artist who was once selected as "Caroline Dorman Artist of the Year" and who won the Melrose Arts Festival, started his career by portraying Southern scenes: egrets in the nest, Southern cities (such as Atlanta), baskets of Southern produce, and Southern homes. But having been a member of a rock band for years and writing/recording rock songs in his spare time, Kessler recently turned his focus to rock themes.

"In 2014, my wife, Jude, asked me to do the cover of the third volume in her John Lennon Series, She Loves You," Kessler said. "And to achieve the softness needed in a portrait, I sketched Lennon's face in charcoals. Once I had stepped away from the structure that pen and ink demands, I just kept going. These eclectic sculptures are as far from a rigid, unforgiving pen and ink work as an artist can go!" Constructed from iron sundials, antique postcards, travel stickers, and rusty trowels, the Beatles pieces are unique. Each one tells a story, and for fans, it will be a story they know well.

She Loves You book cover

Kessler will be on hand in the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi lobby all day Saturday, 2 April, to talk with fans and answer questions about the Beatles sculptures. He is also challenging fans to try to discover and list the plethora of hidden symbols in the works. "The person who comes closest to finding all of the images will win a gift basket of Beatles books and posters!" Kessler promises. "I might even include a copy of my original CD, Preferred Risk!"

Kessler's popular "Doors of Liverpool" poster which depicts the famous front doors of The Beatles' homes as well as the doors of The Grapes, Cavern Club, and Blue Angel, will be available for purchase on 1-2 April, as will his T-shirts depicting all four Fabs in an original sketch called "Shine On." Kessler will also be signing the last few first editions of She Loves You along with his wife. "And Doyle Jeter, who did the illustrations for the books, will be there as well," Kessler adds. "You can get both artists and the author to sign your copy, if you time it right!"

Tickets for the entire weekend's events (including presentations by six Beatles experts and authors, three Beatles artists, a Beatles tribute band, and more) are only $35 a person. Delta State University will also be sponsoring activities and events centered on The Beatles for this event. For more information on those activities, call 662-441-0100 or go to the GRAMMY Museum MS Beatles Symposium 2016 website.

For tickets to the "From Cavern to Candlestick" Beatles Symposium, go to GRAMMY Museum Mississippi's Facebook Page or GRAMMY Museum Mississippi's website. For more information on Rande Kessler, go to RandeKessler.com.

Related articles:

• Weekend of Beatles activities to highlight Beatles symposium in Mississippi (3/28/16)
• Beatles music expert Bruce Spizer to close Beatles symposium in Mississippi (3/21/16)
• Louisiana lithographer to exhibit at Beatles Symposium (3/14/16)
• Noted Beatles author to address Beatles Symposium in Mississippi (2/29/16)
• Beatles cookbook author to speak at Beatles symposium in April (2/22/16)

Published March 7, 2016

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