Michael Garfield Visionary Art & Music

08 July 2016

Big Summer Update (Part 1): New Music Video, New Live Paintings from Sonic Bloom, Moogfest Technoshamanism Talk

Part 1 of my Big Summer Update!

Hello, friends!  Summer is always the craziest, most productive time of year for me – a time of festivals, wide rambling, big plans, and major changes.  A lot of new readers, too!  Whether this is your first time getting one of my updates, or you've been getting them for years, thank you SO MUCH for taking in all that I have to offer.  I don't think the muse would speak to me so frequently if I had no one to sing to, or to paint for...

So here goes.  In this update: I rededicate myself to music; share two sweet paintings from Sonic Bloom Festival; and link you to the most important and high-profile talk I've ever given...

Check out my new press reel featuring previously unreleased footage from my history-making 2013 concert with Google Glass and my full-band experiment with the AI music visualizer Synesthesia!  This video is my love letter to the music career that I've neglected for the last few years, and my battle cry for getting back in there to serenade and rock you, my friends, as hard as possible.

To support the soul-work of my music, I'm now offering folks the opportunity to join a small group of backstage subscribers who get early access to new albums, as well as exclusive tracks and live sets.

Subscribe to me and you'll help fund a constant stream of anthems, ballads, instrumental voyages, inspired collaborations, local residencies, visionary ventures, and extensive touring that began for me in high school, and will hopefully continue until death.

With your support, I'll get creative in my giving. I'll send you special treats throughout the year reserved for this community, and you'll get to bask in satisfaction knowing you're a patron for a true and dedicated artist, helping me inspire people without worrying about how I'll sustain myself.

Thank you for listening, for sharing, for subscribing, and for anything you do to help me share the music in my soul!

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New Live Paintings From Sonic Bloom Festival

A moment of surprise, a burst of color, dinner interrupted by – what? Tyrannosaurus turns to see the unexpected, just off frame. Is it the UFOs that haunt the background of this ancient scene? Or were they always there, and something even stranger lurks just out of sight?

Alternatively, our protagonist has waited long and hard for his ET compatriots to land and save the last few dinosaurs by lifting them off-world. The Earth has suffered for two million years' of asteroid impacts, volcanic eruptions, mass disease, and other catastrophic changes. Those who still survive will find a new home somewhere else, another planet orbiting a distant star – and possibly return, one day...

Painted live with oil and acrylic paint on a 3'x4' canvas at Sonic Bloom Festival 2016, to the music of Seied, Cloud D, Milky.Wav, Space Jesus, Insightful, Giraffage, Louis The Child, Living Light, Prophet Massive, Quixotic, Kalya Scintilla & Eve Olution, Phadroid, Tipper, Clozee, Phaeleh, Govinda, Djunya, SoDown, Fort Knox Five Feat. QDup, The Cat's Pajamas.

Painted at the SolPurpose Visionary Art Academy at Sonic Bloom Festival 2016 with oil and acrylic paint, spray bottle, and paper towels on a 24"x18" canvas, under the tutelage of Martina Hoffmann, Randal Roberts, and Morgan Mandala.

I already knew they were great people, but it turns out they're all amazing teachers, also, and I was inspired to FINALLY see this kind of learning space facilitated in the festival community, which has in ways assumed the burden of the University without actually living up to it. To start the week with intimate, hands-on initiatory craftwork - Music, Visionary Art, Flow Arts, and Permaculture sections, running parallel - transformed the whole event and I am now excited for the prospects of real lineage transmission in that venue. I have hope for festivals as a rhetorical device to lure our culture's pollinators into curious communion, in a way I haven't had for years.

That's not to say that it was easy or one-sided. Lots of people worked through major darkness in that class and in the festival that followed. I was one of them - and while hurling paint at this dark emblem of my transformation, Martina chatted with me on the balance of the light and darkness of the artist's vision, Giger's fear that he would die to learn his afterlife is like his paintings, my conviction that creators have responsibility to those with less imagination to communicate the best of future possibilities (as agents of reconnaissance - for all of us, like Jews in Exodus, wander through the landscape wondering, and benefit from climbers in our tribe whose bodies love to see the view from nearby hills). This set the tone for hours of profound discussion later with the future-minded Adam Psybe and Robert Jacob Max, both of whom declare the need for, and embody, critics, jesters, and contrarians in the festival world's all-too-often cultish, caste-divided, and escapist attitudes.

This is the start of something beautiful - or, the maturation of a thing that desperately needs to find a master's stance and bear the weight of its identity in culture. The festival is more than just a party, people. We are seeing the emergence of a novel structure that transcends while still including both the city and nomadic people.

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My Moogfest 2016 Talk on "Technoshamanism"

"Easily the most mind-opening presentation Moogfest 2016 had to offer – a multidisciplinary monologue that rivaled Brian Eno’s Moogfest 2011 keynote for all the unexpected twists and turns it took. This one-man show saw artist-musician Michael Garfield take a captive audience on a vision-quest through the lands where metaphysics and emerging technology meet. Make no mistake – it was a ramble, but an insightful and fascinating one from start to finish that traveled from the ancient dragon god Tiamat to the Victorians laying the transatlantic telegraph cable to the Manhattan Project giving birth to a new age of fear and awareness. The 'psychedelic century'? That’s the here and now that’s just beginning, and the more our technology graduates us to the alchemical act of creation, the closer humanity comes to confronting 'the cosmic mystery that we are.' Heavy and heady stuff, and a pleasant counterpoint to the doom and gloom of the average transhumanist cybergrumps whose future-thinking seems improbably grounded in the limited perceptions of the present."

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"Our responses to psychedelic experience represent a case study in our response to a transhuman, transpersonal, or posthuman condition...a signature of these varied and incessantly ineffable experiences has been what I will call the 'ecodelic' insight: the sudden and absolute conviction that the psychonaut is involved in a densely interconnected ecosystem for which contemporary tactics of human identity are insufficient."
- Richard Doyle, Darwin's Pharmacy, pp19-20

01 June 2016

Launching Future Fossils Podcast | New Collaboration Paintings with John Speaker, Tourmaline Todd, and The Deer | Interview in Knew Revolution #1

"I just want to inspire curiosity in people, more than any specific question. 
Curiosity is the cure for depression and despair."

Future Fossils is the new podcast I cohost with Evan "Skytree" Snyder, a masterful electronic music producer and industrial engineer with whom I've collaborated regularly since we first met in 2012 as performers at the South By Southwest party for the documentary film, DMT: The Spirit Molecule.

It's about time!  All kinds of time.  Our first two episodes explore Chronos & Cairos – the measurement and felt experience of time, respectively – the quantity and quality – the numbers and the feelings.  Does time REALLY have a direction or a shape?  Maybe the Big Bang and the Black Hole are the same object seen from two different "angles" and time's actually a double helix.  We go deep and deliciously weird.  

Enjoy episodes 1 & 2 on Bandcamp while we get our iTunes/Stitcher syndication going, and weigh in with your thoughts in our discussion group.

New Collaborations with John Speaker & Tourmaline Todd
And New Live Painting for The Deer

Speaking of time, one of its consequences is new art!  Click on each image for the story of the piece, close-up magnifier view, and how you can order prints:

Feature Interview in Knew Revolution, Issue 1

From the feature interview in KnewRevolution Issue 1, in which I offer my best definition of "visionary art," discuss identity beyond names, and say more with less:

"You and I emerge from genius, like legged fish from oceans. We may think we're separate but nonetheless we're still made of genius. It’s the vast intelligence that guides our actions and transcends the subject-object language that we’re stuck employing to describe it."

"Festivals are supremely valuable as an opportunity to create spaces between spaces, places for people to meet in uniquely vulnerable ways and learn and share with one another in the discovery and creation of new forms of social interaction and identity. But too many of them are weaponized consumer pit traps, and even the ones that try their best to be conscious still have to play by the broken system in which they take place. So they’re not, as I once thought, a way to make a living, nor are they sustainable as a way of life. But neither are desserts or holidays, and they enrich our lives immeasurably. All in right proportion."

"The more popular something gets, the more easy it is to sell, and so the real fringe keeps on moving. The molten frontier of human evolution isn’t standing still waiting to be mainstreamed, and as a rule of physics it never will be, because it keeps moving. What’s normal today was revolutionary a generation ago."

Read the first issue of Knew Revolution.

Upcoming Adventures

10 May 2016

MG on Third Eye Drops Podcast / Oodles of New Original Art / New Tunes from Paint Jam, Loopers' Night, and Austin Airport

This newsletter is already too long, as usual – so thanks for reading, and away we go!

––––––––––––––––––––– New Words –––––––––––––––––––––

I just love sitting in on Third Eye Drops – one of my favorite podcasts (and I listen to a lot of them).  Shane Mauss, you may already know, is a superb comedian, and host Michael Phillip does a great job of steering every conversation into splendidly bizarre directions.  Click the image for a listen:

Also worth a mention that my Third Eye Drops appearance with Erik Davis is now up on YouTube, in case you want to see the funny faces we were making while we spoke.  :)

––––––––––––––––– New Visual Artwork –––––––––––––––––

"Leviathan (or, Technocore in Love)"
oil and acrylic paint on masonite panel (48"x24")

(There are also plenty of pictures and videos of this piece in progress on my instagram profile.)

"Kaiju (or, This Time The Turtle Wins)"
oil and acrylic paint on canvas (36"x24")

This spring has been a total spree of small new canvases and other tiny pieces.  Lots of new collaborations, sketchbook pages, custom painted items – most of which are still available and very inexpensive.  This is the best way to grab original art from me right now, for less than a lot of you spend on your monthly internet bills:

- available, make an offer -

- available, make an offer -

- available, make an offer -

- available, make an offer -

- available, make an offer -

- available, make an offer -

- sold -

- sold -

- NFS -

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––––––––––––––––––––– New Music –––––––––––––––––––––

Please accept this windfall of ripe fruit, raw and full of juice. By no means are these polished studio recordings; these are artists who have not all played together like this, diving headlong into mystery, elaborating silence, weaving light and color into music.

This free recording of the highlights from our second Paint Jam features a rare Chapman Stick appearance by yours truly; Math Judson (drums); Andrew Noble (violin); Noah Peterson (saxophone); Shane Dooley (acoustic guitar); Matt Belluomini (electric guitar); and Caitlin Callas (viola).  

(For fans of Cinematic Orchestra and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, because that’s what this reminds me of.)

And then there is this...

Sometimes I have a show on the other side of a security perimeter, no guests allowed.  This bugs the hell out of me, so I'm glad that Facebook now allows you to stream video from anywhere.  Although I've streamed a few live events on my YouTube channel (including my "historic first" Google Glass POV footage while performing at Gratifly Festival, as well as various podcast-format conversations), it was super fun to stream the second set from my recent solo acoustic gig at Waterloo Records in the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.  

If you like acoustic music, percussive guitar and fretboard tapping, songbird baritone-tenor warbling, and deep-as-space songs, you will enjoy this set.

But for those of you who like a more carefully curated package, not the raw live feeds with network latency disasters and potentially embarrassing stage banter, I've just added one more song (my favorite performance yet of "Let It All Get Out," with a slow-burning apocalyptic outro) to Live at Strange Brew Loungeside.  Strange Brew is a fantastic listening room, and these recordings really sound "alive" – it gives these songs, for which I've usually spent years in composition and rehearsal, something special.

Also new this month: three new (and fantastic) free recordings in the Loopers' Night musical archive with yours truly alongside Jen Mulhern (cello); Shane Dooley (guitar); Sarah Jane Hargis (flute); Ana Barajas (voice); Jason McKenzie (percussion); Math Judson (drums); Andrew Noble (violin); Art Pinsof (iPad synth); and Todd Sloan (flute).

Follow us on Facebook if you like live looping music – there will be more, oh yes!

––––––––––––––––––– Upcoming Events –––––––––––––––––––

Full calendar here with many more events.  Let me know if you'd like for me to visit your town and we can get started scheming it to life!

Giving two talks at this amazing event in just one week!  Moogfest is "The Synthesis of Music, Art & Technology" and devotes a very awesome daytime program to the future of creativity and the human experience in an era of technological empowerment.  Thanks to a referral from polymath-wizard Bruce Damer, I'll be speaking on the festival's "Technoshamanism" theme,  getting into a bunch of the issues I discussed with Erik Davis in our last YouTube chat – as well as providing my first interactive live looping playshop.  Read on for more info:


I'm back at Sonic Bloom Festival this year, on an incredible live painting lineup as well as presenting my new talk (tongue-in-cheek title: "How to Live in the Future") alongside some real wizards and witches.  No live music this year on any stage, although I may plan some late-night psy-ambient sets in the SolPurpose Gallery...

Is anybody else attending Boom Festival this year?  My first trip to Europe and I'm super honored that I get to play and speak amidst the international community of visionaries that converge there.

A dream come true!  I'm teaching my first workshop – and playing my first concert – at Alex & Allyson Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors this fall.  I'll have more to say about this later.  Details here.

And that is "all" for now.  Thank you so much for reading, looking, listening, and all of your support!

“Polar flip-flops are the engines of conversions and suicides.  Preferred is the witnessing of the infinite polarities without sinking into the conflict.”

– Alex Grey