Artist Nina Rose Barber honors Layne Staley with incredible oil paintings

The U.K.-based painter celebrates Layne's birthday by sharing her craft, and this is her story
Layne Staley oil painting "My Strengths And Talents Are My Title"
Photo credit Nina Rose Barber

If he were still here rocking with us, Layne Staley would be celebrating his 55th birthday on August 22nd. As we get closer to the annual weekend of celebrating his life, legacy and music 20 years after his passing during two tribute shows planned at The Crocodile, we're taking a trip down memory Layne with artist Nina Rose Barber. This is her story, and how you can experience her incredible tribute artwork on Friday and Saturday nights.

As a young teen at the turn of 2000 and a die-hard Nirvana fan, I was a little later to the Alice in Chains party as my love affair with the band didn’t come to fruition until 2002. My journey to Seattle began shortly after as I learnt of the Layne Staley Memorial Fund and consequently reached out to Layne’s mother Nancy, seeing if there was anything I could do to help from afar as I reside in the U.K. We kept in touch, and in 2007 I finally made my first visit to the Emerald City for Layne’s annual celebration; the Layne Staley Tribute event, held on the weekend closest to Layne’s birthday, August 22nd.

Wanting to bring along a meaningful gift, I created a four-portrait oil painting and as I was handing it to Nancy upon us meeting for the first time, Mike Savoia, who would become one of my first friends in town was there to capture the cherished and emotional moment.

Layne Staley oil paintings
Photo credit Iron Mike Savoia

The rest, they say, is history!

From this point on, it became tradition to fly over for the annual shows, and the incredible people I’ve met and friendships I’ve been blessed with over the years kept me coming back. Wanting to utilize my art for charity, I started working on other pieces to raise money for the Layne Staley Memorial Fund and Chris Cornell Music Therapy Program at Childhaven in Seattle. However, with 2022 being the 20th anniversary of Layne’s passing and sadly not being able to attend this year, I really wanted to challenge myself having not picked up a brush in two years to really produce something unique that would hopefully gain momentum online. My project was in full swing with a focus to commemorate Layne and raise money for and bring awareness to the Layne Staley Memorial Fund via Therapeutic Health Services.

Founded in 2002 after Layne’s passing by his parents, the Fund "provides hope, education, support and treatment funds for heroin recovery in the Seattle music community." You can also donate in memory of a loved one, so to learn more about the program and THS, please visit their website here.

‘My Strengths and Talents Are My Title’

This is a poignant quote from Layne that stuck with me, and one I felt important to include which emphasizes a message of positivity that this piece embodies. I feel it also serves as a reminder for each and every one of us to look within ourselves and take stock of our individual strengths.

Layne Staley oil painting
Photo credit Nina Rose Barber

‘A Man for All Seasons’

The title stems back from my first meeting with Nancy as this was the name she gave the original painting… Fitting to the multitude of "looks" Layne created over the years, she felt he would have made a great actor. It therefore seemed most appropriate for this anniversary composition.

Layne was an incredibly multi-faceted artist. Not only in physical style which I wanted this painting to accentuate, but his many creative paths were explorative and expressive. To me, he possessed a voice like no other and shared an honest message that has resonated with millions around the world for over three decades. He is an inspiration that will continue influencing generations to come…

Layne Staley oil painting
Photo credit Nina Rose Barber
Layne Staley oil painting
Photo credit Nina Rose Barber

I’m currently in the process of adding a product page to my website and am set to have a range of prints and apparel available from August 22nd, with all proceeds to benefit the Fund. If you’d like to be kept updated, please email me, and I’ll add you to my mailing list.

If you are attending one of the Tribute shows on August 19th and 20th, there will be a limited number of debut prints available for sale.

The print proofing process
Photo credit Nina Rose Barber

Thank you to KISW for sharing this mission... It truly takes a communal effort to reach an audience and I’m grateful for the support from friends far and wide, in conjunction with the ever-talented Lance Mercer, Jeffrey Mayer and Larry Marano. Without your beautiful photographs, this piece would not have been possible.

On Instagram? If you’d like to see more time-lapse footage and progress of the piece as it came to life, you’ll find me @ninarosebarberartist and on Facebook.


"My Strengths And Talents Are My Title"
Photo credit Nina Rose Barber

Thank you SO much to Nina for sharing your incredible talents with us, for supporting the community through your work and for honoring the life of one of Seattle's most treasured artists with your craft.

Happy Rocking,

Taryn Daly