Michael Garfield Visionary Art & Music

16 November 2015

Keeping The Portal Open // New Legendary Babe Live Painting // My Talk From Firefly 2015 // Four New T-Shirt Designs // Stuff You May Have Missed

Aloha, everyone! I hope that you're enjoying autumn – and that you don't mind me starting out this latest update with a lengthy but amazing quote. It's worth it.

“Inhabiting your body – reuniting with its intelligence – is one of the most potent political statements you can make. Disembodiment is tacitly modeled and promoted by every institutional hierarchy in our society – whether corporate, political or religious. Each of them is shaped around a top-down ‘command and control’ power structure run by the head of the organization, with executive power consolidated at headquarters – which might lie with the CEO (‘chief’ derives from the Latin word for ‘head’) in head office, or with the head of a political party in the nation’s capital (‘capital comes from a Latin word for ‘head’), or with the head of the church. The implicit message embedded in these hierarchies is that the head should rule. That message remains acceptable to us only because it expresses, even as it further consolidates, our relationship with ourselves."
– Philip Shepherd, "The Embodiment Manifesto"

“Oh, would that my mind could let fall its dead ideas, as the tree does its withered leaves!”
– Andre Gide

Wouldn't that be something. ;) And now...

New Live Painting: "Navel Gazer"

24"x36" - oil & acrylic paint pens on canvas
Painted live at the following spacetime coordinates:
2015-10-17 Austin String Band Festival
2015-10-23 Art Outside Festival*
2015-10-28, 11-02 Studio
* to the music of Liberation Movement, GAUDI, DJ Happy Happy James World, Bonus Junk, Nightmares On Wax, Invisible Allies, & KiloWatts

My first portrait – sort of. Based originally on the legendary beauty of Renee Somerfield (@reneesomerfield), but – just like they always do – it took on a life of its own. In accordance with my tireless and inane quest for personal firsts, this is also the first black and white painting I've ever done. There's a lot of subtle detail and transparency that even I can scarcely believe was accomplished with paint markers...but hey, it's in the limitations of the medium that both adventure and discovery reveal themselves.

Check it out in more depth and detail on my art site.

Four New T-Shirt Designs
Just in Time for the Holidays

Yay, finally, I got some new art on all-over printed tees!  (Still sorting out where to get more leggings, yoga pants, etc. printed after learning that my last manufacturers weren't delivering up to my standards.  But hold on tight!  I care about helping you ornament your lower half, as well.)

Clockwise from the upper left, we have: "Pura Vida," "New Age Cleopatra," "Purple Haze," and "21st Century Romance."  Three of these are based on sketchbook pen and ink work that I took into new dimensions digitally, blending human and machine, you know, like I like to do.

Speaking of which:

My Talk from Firefly Gathering 2015,
"Human Meta-Organisms: Endosymbiosis 
& Emergent Planetary Culture"

Recorded in the Light Lab Creations Dome at Firefly Gathering 2015, here is my deepest and most complete rap yet – mashing up nondual eastern mysticism with western psychology with evolutionary biology with psychedelic transhumanism with your standard MG standup goofery.  And thanks again to David Titterington for his amazing cover art!  Some juicy nuggets from the talk:

Love does not require a relationship between separate selves in order to exist.

The self is something that the world is doing. And the self is an adaptation to a specific set of ecological circumstances. It’s not a fixed point.

To talk about this time in the life of the Earth as the human age is not anthropocentric. It’s not arrogant. It’s an act of our growing humility in recognition that we are a phenomenon of the planet’s automatic processes. That a city is something that the planet is doing.

Listen to it and let me know if it stirs up any big ideas!

Keeping The Portal Open:
MG interviews Erik Davis on the
Blurring of "Real" & "Virtual"

Erik Davis is the author of TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, & Mysticism in the Age of Information (recently reissued by North Atlantic Books with a new afterword). An investigation into how our transcendental urges play out in the realm of high technology, it is a rare treat – both an exemplary work of scholarship and also a delightful read – a florid, fun, and virtuosic play of language. Even more impressive is that in our metamorphic times, this book has aged considerably well. TechGnosis is in ways more relevant today than it was in the rosy dawn of 1998, before The Matrix and the iPhone, Facebook, and Edward Snowden. We’re living in the future. Read this book and learn the territory.

Over a glitchy Google Hangout (you can watch both parts on YouTube), Erik and I discussed our culture’s highest hopes and darkest dreams for our collective future, and how they’ve both become more complicated since the turn of the Millennium.

If you imagine browser windows as a kind of portal in between dimensions – if you wonder when the apes and whales will open social media accounts – if you believe that we can find a way to surf the turbulence of our connected century with grace and humor – then read on

Stuff You Might Have Missed

Free download of my definitive "cyberacoustic guitar" live PA set from Firefly Gathering 2015.  Improvised to a yoga class and thus well-suited for movement, but I hear the music's also good for straight-up chillout sessions, painting, writing, driving – anything where you would like to set a deep and atmospheric mood.  Download it here.

I found this cleaning out my hard drive and found it interesting and worthwhile, reflecting on how little and how much my life has changed in two short years. I’ve released more virtuosic and accomplished music since the EP we discuss here, City of Jewels – but it remains one of my favorites, and is still as free as ever on my Bandcamp page. Enjoy...

para bien de todos,

19 October 2015

Quick Science Rant // New Live Painting // Hummingbird Stickers! // Art Outside Announcement

But First, A Riff on Science & Wonder

"Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop."
– Carl Sagan

We have personal stories and collective stories.  I think it will probably help to see the work I do as a writer and speaker as addressing and investigating the collective dimension of our stories.  William Irwin Thompson wrote that history is the ego of society and myth is its soul.  So learning our evolutionary history is to establish a much deeper grounding for our collective ego…and then to recognize it as a provisional and ultimately groundless scientific fairytale (even as the best we have) is akin to seeing past our ego story into our essential Mystery.  

One of my main theses over the last few years has been that science in its finest form as endlessly unfolding inquiry is basically a spiritual practice – the humility of wonder in pure curiosity, beginner’s mind as a prerequisite to any good experiment.  Of course, the process always ends by disconfirming or confirming a hypothesis, and then we start again with some assumptions – how we choose to ask a question’s all about the paradigm from which we’re asking – so there’s always going to be a point of ingress for the myth, the story by which observations are explained.  Laboratory breakthroughs are the moment of divine invasion; scientific journals are the holy texts.  Each has its visionary fringe more sensitive to the anomalies, the saints in wilderness encountering uncanny revelations, and orthodoxy that rejects new revolutionary insights as if they are immune cells.  The only difference between the institutions we call science and religion are the speeds at which each culture is reformed; the process is identical.  Organized religion’s like a solid; science is a liquid.

And I think we’re on the cusp of something even quicker – the networks that we’re growing are accelerating our adventures in discovery and peer review – and we are possibly approaching our real biological constraints of how fast we can mentally adapt to seeing things in totally new ways.  (Of course, we’re also learning how to be more flexible.  In my finest moments I can let new worldviews flow through me…though I always settle back into a lower state of order.)

Do any of you think about this stuff?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Endothelial Goo Conveyor

The first piece that I ever got so fed up with halfway through that I actually tried to destroy it, but the spray paint ran out and it ended up looking so cool, I decided to roll with it and finish what I'd started.  Another step closer to the "H.R. Giger takes 2-CB and gets over his natal trauma" aesthetic I started carving out with this year's painting, "New Age Cleopatra Basks Apocalyptically..."

Painted live with oil & acrylic markers and aerosol paint on canvas (36" x 24") at the following events in 2015:

07-25 Quixotes (Cream Cheese Accident), Denver, CO
07-28 Boulder City Park ("painting in the park" with Randal Roberts, Morgan Mandala, Chelsey Crandell, Joshua Wine Morriston, and many others), Boulder, CO
08-01 Taos Mesa Brewing (Treavor Moontribe, Planewalker, Desert Dwellers, Kaminanda, Kannizle, Buno), Taos, NM
09-02 Empire Patio, Create Culture (Zonra, Soundshaman, Sanjiwan, Fractala), Austin, TX
09-23 The Other Side (Spiritual Rez, Red Sage), Denver, CO
10-02 Westbank String Shop, Austin, TX

Original piece still available – email me with inquiries.

New Hummingbird Stickers!

A few years ago, in preparation for Burning Man, I marked up a plain white tee-shirt with the slogan, "Imagination Is Our Greatest Natural Resource."  This motto grew some wings and flew away, just possibly inspiring this book by futurist Ramez Naam.  It's been a while since I had any stickers, and the time felt ripe to resurrect the motto with a kiss from Beija Flor.

If I see you in person, ask me for one – or you can buy them in quantities both small and large at michaelgarfieldart.com.  Help me spread inspiration and encouragement in your town!

A Roadrunner in Progress

One of the reasons I love live painting is to share the entire process with people. To demystify the creative work and invite other people to imagine themselves as empowered creatives (who much have to spend a few years sleeping in their cars, and postpone having kids for a decade, in order to cultivate their dreams into their waking lives). 

This roadrunner kept showing up on my journey through the enchanted American Southwest and, like so many of my other paintings, just asserted itself as the subject of my next piece. Little did I know that I would have to paint through a vicious windstorm, the easel gorilla taped down and still bucking I'm the gusts, to finish this the night it needed to be finished...

You can read more about this piece, and pick up a print, on my art site.

Playing + Painting + Speaking at Art Outside

I'm honored and delighted to share my first singer-songwriter set in years (here and here are some older recordings) with this year's Art Outside family! We've all got to live our passion, and mine is writing songs about psychedelics, making love in zero gravity, the landscape of eternity, and running from the terrifying beauty of our higher selves.

Years of experimental guitar practice will definitely enrich the atmosphere we'll feed and share together in the pecan grove at the Folk It Up Stage on Saturday at 12:30 pm – but this will be a set of finely crafted ballads, odes, and anthems for the dreamers and lovers. I've played this festival each year since 2010 and feel like I'll be coming home – I cannot wait to share an album's worth of new material with you!  (If you're not going, it will be recorded.)

Love and thanks for all of your support!

17 September 2015

My Finest Live Record To Date | Midwest Real Podcast | More Gigs in CO, TX

"You've got what the intergalactic call a very 'planetary' mindset, Morty."
– Rick Sanchez, Rick & Morty

"For one brief moment, I felt the heartbeat of creation, and it was one with my own."
"We ALL feel like that all the time. You don't hear US gassing on about it."
– Philip J. Fry & Bender Rodriguez, Futurama

––––––––––– Presenting my new live LP, Balance! –––––––––––

This month's big announcement is what I believe might be my single finest instrumental concert yet.  After ten years of perfecting my unique live rig, creative palette, workflow, tone, and voice, I've finally arrived at cruising altitude.  It's music for discovering the peace you are...with plenty of adventure, longing, glitch, and psychedelia along the way.  Enjoy!

Credit: Photo by Michael Grab | gravityglue.com @gravityglue

When you buy music on Bandcamp, other people can see that the album is getting support – your avatar and comments are displayed on the album page – and they're more likely to buy it themselves.  Your purchase makes a huge difference in how new fans encounter my work!  So thank you...

(Of course, you're absolutely welcome to have it for free, as well.)

Here's what some wild-eyed young kook wrote about this album:

This is the only audio recording of an musical performance that occurred on June 13th, 2015, in concert with Andrew 7 Sealy's yoga class at Firefly Gathering, in outside Flagstaff, Arizona. It descended in the pocked debris field of an old eruption, now a hilly grove of evergreens within a grassy valley deep in Northern Arizona. As the spirit of this place condensed, it clattered through a man-shaped sieve of road-emboldened curiosity and dedication to the task, then killed and resurrected the guitar by using it to channel deep-time grooves through sampled and remixed, responsive, warm, and fluid sound.

What happened there: from wood and magnets, spacey and pastoral rhymes and dreamy neo-minimalist folk-funk evolved some teeth and veered afield to afrobeat and glitch and UFO sound healing, kinda change-your-life shit, and True. Future. Jazz.

One instant reverent and pure as prayer, and then it’s like some weird organic bio-metal fused from everyone’s collected effort that surrounds and holds us, flowing chrome reflecting rainbows. Starting off all kissy, it becomes a party, goes through growing pains, and takes you through them with it, but you GET there – you can catch your breath atop the mountain and behold the epic vista, and we’re all relieved together and we’re all one thing and THAT’S the kinda show it was and is and always is.

When being part of something taking form inspires all of us to grow as well, and tells us through a kind of ritual that circumstances always change – when we involve ourselves – tears flow, the happy ones. This music was created on the spot with only training, no agenda, open mind and heart…

So listen through some quality devices. Better speakers, better sound.

––––– My spot on the delightful Midwest Real Podcast –––––

Credit: Photo by Reid Godshaw | Harmonic Light
"Friends, we've got a sprawling, fanciful, new show with writer, visionary artist, and debonair brain-melter, Michael Garfield! You shan't regret checking it out!  Michael Garfield can only be described as a polymath… a renaissance man… Something of a debonair brain-melter. At times, exchanging words with him honestly feels kind of like speaking to a library with a mouth. I’m not really sure how he does it.  Michael is also a serial creative. He writes for a number of websites, paints and makes music."

This was a totally fun, equal parts profound and silly, chat with host Michael Nelson – who has also interviewed some of my most inspiring friends and allies, so I encourage you to dig deep with his podcast.  He also started a really cool Facebook group, Third Eye Drops.

If you're a podcast fiend like I am, you might also dig my appearances on Expanding Minds, Psychedelic Salon, In A Perfect World, Here We Are, Novelty Generators, New Paradigm Radio, Project Bring Me To Life, Gaian RadioZap Oracle, and Minds.com.  (And of course, there's also my free archives of talks and interviews for the truly dedicated...)

–––––––––– Upcoming gigs this month in CO, TX ––––––––––

Yay, I'm finally coming back to play some gigs in Colorado!  I hope you can attend my show in Denver with Spiritual Rez & Red Sage next Wednesday, or my set for the super fun live looping festival in Colorado Springs next Friday.  

And if you're in Austin on October 1st, the monthly avant-live-electronica group jam I've been hosting with looping cellist Jen Mulhern is coming up – it's a super intimate and hi-fi venue (voted best sound in Austin), and we go as deep as possible with it.  We'll lay a blanket out for you!