Motor City Cribs 

Most people know William Hafer as the man behind the huge drum sound of the Paybacks and — along with People's Records/soul DJ supreme Brad Hales — the in-your-face rhythmic grounding to Human Eye's musical assault. What not enough people know is that Billy's also a brilliant painter with an MFA in painting from Wayne State.

Billy's paintings are massive fluorescent op-art retinal assaults that have to be seen to be believed and appreciated. No camera or printing process could capture his palette and, seeing how many of his paintings are practically 10-feet high, seeing them in print or online just doesn't do them justice. Billy recently had a solo exhibition at the Galeria Espacio Kubiko in Madrid.

Billy and his wife, Maria Antonia Castro, moved to their current digs in Chicago's Little Italy this fall after she received a fellowship at the University of Illinois at Chicago to get her doctorate in high energy nuclear physics. Prior to that they had been living in New Mexico while Maria (also a great painter) worked at Los Alamos.

Their two-story apartment's walls are covered with Billy's paintings. And even though the apartment is roomy enough with a studio for Billy to execute his huge paintings and work on Philip Glass-inspired percussion compositions, he's unfortunately run out of room to hang his paintings. "We're already looking for a bigger space, we need more walls."

Human Eye will be playing Horrible Fest III in Cleveland on Saturday, April 19.

More by Doug Coombe

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