Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: One Heart, Many Petals...And A Few Eggs

14 April 2009

One Heart, Many Petals...And A Few Eggs

> Imagery

available - 2009 04 03 Mondrian Hotel (DJ Maji) - 20" across

Attempt #2 at using a compass on a circular canvas to explore new territory. This one is a bit more "vegetable" and less "mineral" than the last...a more complex design, intentionally lacking in radial symmetry (numerous different radii with the compass, repeated with rules but somewhat irregularly). Tiny variations in radius due to the dulling pencil on my compass gave it a slight asymmetry, which is ultimately more organic anyway.

2009 04 04 Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre (One Heart Umbrella Campaign Charity Dinner)

I have always wanted to do more charitable work with my art – specifically, to do live painting at a charity dinner. And I finally got my chance when Mesa's Broadway Palm Theatre, under the PR direction of the amazing Gary Kimble, organized a benefit gala for Emma and Taylor Bailey. These girls were born joined at the heart, and that heart is now failing due to the stress of having to pump blood for two bodies. So Gary and company put together OneHeartUmbrellaCampaign.org (a tie-in with the Broadway Palm's production of Singin' In The Rain), where they're auctioning off umbrellas signed by a tremendous array of celebrities (including Debbie Reynolds, William H. Macy, Alice Cooper, Ellen DeGeneres, Josh Groban, Amy Grant, Goldie Hawn, Hugh Jackman, Jim Belushi, Reba McEntire, Geoffrey Rush, JK Simmons, Michael Phelps, Firesign Theatre, Kevin Bacon, and the full casts of every production on Broadway, just for starters) in order to raise money for their post-operation care (their separation and the double heart transplant is being donated by the surgical team). I made it very clear to Gary that I had to be a part of this, that I needed to donate a live painting to the auction. I taped an umbrella to my easel and worked on it off to the side while they put on an awesome variety show and dinner for a packed house.

At the end of the night, the Taylor's priest came up to me and suggested I offer them the umbrella as a memoir – after all, there are a ton of umbrellas already up for auction. And I did, and they took it home. So there it is...like Gary said to the crowd that night, in one sense these girls gave the biggest gift of anyone, because they gave everyone the opportunity to do good with their energies, to contribute to something meaningful. There is now a foundation to fund the medical care of children like Emma and Taylor who were born with such rare complications that no other organization exists to support them. And I finally got to do a live painting for something real.

2009 04 05 XL Men's Urban Pipeline (Community Arts Expo)

I knocked this one out while chilling at a delightful monthly event that transforms one of downtown's empty parking lots into a community art fair. It was as strange as it was charming...but only because I had no idea before coming out that most of the participants were vocal members of the LBGT community (the DJ was pounding the gay disco all Sunday afternoon, much to the chagrin of those such as myself, whose booths were set up right in front of his speakers). There was some lovely work there, though, that made the day just fantastic – my personal favorite being the dichroic glass pendants by Nick & Brent at SweetEarthArt.com.

2008 12 18 & 2009 04 10 & 11 Chipper's Lanes, Mondrian Hotel, & Tempe Beach Part (Zoogma, Pere La Chaise, & My Fest) - 16"24"

As befits my "Phoenix is Purgatory" hypothesis, I've taken the opportunity to circle back around and work on a few old paintings that didn't feel totally finished. You know, burn off some karma. This is one of them, from my Colorado tour with Zoogma last December (original painting here). If it feels a little "rain" themed, it is...my normal outdoor set-up at Mondrian Hotel was compromised by the first Phoenix rains since February. Apparently, rainstorms here are sporadic, and I kept moving my easel back outside, inside, outside...eventually just camping out between the DJ and the front door, while everyone squeezed like clowns into the bar. I finished it the next day at Tempe's gorgeous waterside park, where they were having a huge convention of non-profit organizations to raise awareness of the various programs available to benefit children. I set up next to the stage for my friend Nicole Duran's new project, RaiseTheVibration.org...the music was surprisingly angsty and screamy given the context, but the vibes were indeed high. I even got free reiki from a beautiful woman. :)

available - 2008 12 31 Quixotes (Sporque, Vibesquad) & 2009 04 11 Easter Moon (Tech Itch) - 16"x24"

Be glad I don't have the energy to give the full story of painting at this rave by the Firebird Raceway on the south extremity of town...it was a very long, very interesting night where I was set up between four other painters, some of whom where quite friendly and some of whom were strangely cold (as if that's required of someone in order to be professional). This is another act of closure (original painting here)...I went over the first night's work with a coat of spraypaint, then one of my fat yellow graffiti pens, and ended up with something that reminds me of one of the local desert flora reaching up into the psychedelic architecture of night (Seriously...what makes you think there isn't some vast, transcendental structure webbing our planet's sky? You really think that you, with your primate brain, evolved on the savannah to comprehend distances of a few mere miles, would even notice something a light-year across?)

available - 2009 04 12 Easter Moon (Daedelus, Chali 2NA, Z-Trip, Turner & Heit) - 30"x15"

Same party. The absolute freakin' highlight of my entire musical evening was Daedelus's mashup of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" and Imogen Heap's "Hide And Seek." Oh my God, it was amazing. I'm still getting chills just thinking about it. Check that dude out if you haven't already.

But anyway, the painting...I swiped a few big masonite panels from the Raise The Vibration's area at My Fest, where they were letting people just go to town on them and paint inspirational slogans or whatever to display around the camp. At the end of the day they had a few left over so I made out like a masonite bandit. But since I went straight from there to the rave, I didn't have time to give them the typical black priming coat, so with this one I started by using my 3" black graffiti marker and giving it my first ever "brush-textured" background. It kind of harkens back to my second-ever live painting, once upon a time in Boulder. You probably can't tell from that tiny picture, but I signed it both ways so it can be hung "upright" either horizontally or vertically.

One of my best-ever live painting stories happened to me while working on this piece. Earlier that night I met the daughter of someone whose work has had a profound influence on me: Drunvalo Melchizedek, the author of The Ancient Secret Of The Flower Of Life. We got to talking and by the time I had started this painting, I had given her one of my extra masonite panels to work on. She wanted to use one of my easels but since it was already being used to display another painting I was trying to sell, I suggested she go find some twine and tie her painting to my back, so we could paint conga-train style. And she did. And we did. It was probably the most ridiculous thing I have ever done in public. Matt Brown of The House Of Flying Paint was working next to me and stopped what he was doing to walk over and give me a very curious look. "I don't know," I told him. "It's a first for me, too!"

Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures of it.

available - 2009 04 12 Easter Moon (Rabbit In The Moon - Urban Pipeline Men's Medium)

The last act that night was the oh-so-Easter-appropriate Rabbit In The Moon, which is widely regarded as one of the finest shows in rave culture. Admittedly, their costuming was amazing, but given my fondness for live electronica, and since the flyer said "100% live show," I was expecting a little bit more than one guy on a computer and another guy shouting weird kraut-rock stuff like, "I – control you! I – control you!" over and over. That said, almost everyone was at the first stage to see them and from where the painters were set up, between stages one and two, there was very little traffic, so I got to work on this new shirt in almost complete peace.

And about the shirt: I've been thinking a lot recently about the massive global transition that I believe is coming in the next few years...I've done a lot of research into actual hard science about this stuff, astrophysics and geomagnetics, evolutionary biology, and the postmodern science of time. And as far as I can tell, there is a real consensus about something major going down in 2012, not just among the pre-modern indigenous cultures, but from numerous modern methodologies, as well. So the whole "world as egg about to hatch" thing has been preoccupying me, recently. "I'll split this shell" is a line from one of my old songs, "Time Machine Dream". The image came back around on a new octave sometime in the last few weeks, with all of the reading on hyperdimensional intelligences and chaotic bifurcations I've been doing. Plus, it seemed right, for Easter: a visual pun on the resurrection of Christ just as we seem geared up for what some people are likely to interpret as the Second Coming. It's either a happy little shirt or way too damn heavy. I can't tell, these days.

> Writing

Three recent essays from my Visionary Music Blog about the shifting self-other boundaries of contemporary music performance:

The 3-2-1 of Musical Performance

For whatever reasons, our culture has decided that we are not all musicians. Instead, a few trained (or not-so trained) specialists are expected to get up on stage so we can live vicariously through them. There are musicians, and there are spectators. But I don't think the distinction is so clear cut; we're all participants in something larger called a "concert" that requires both artist and audience in the same way that fertilization requires both male and female.

YOU'RE The Musician; YOU Make Some Noise!

I don't want us all relinquishing our creative agency to whomever The Machine decides is going to be The Next Big Thing. In an age when we can all produce our own books/video/music/fine art/theater, I think it's time for us to reclaim our inspiration from centralized corporate governance. At the same time, even as an artist I prefer to let the guy on stage take the reigns for a little while.

Playing The Body Electric, Part 1

I believe that we as a species are currently witnessing the evolution of a new relationship between the inner and outer worlds, renegotiating that tricky self/other boundary...and in the process we might ultimately reach a new platform of musical development at which the individual has internalized not just the other players, but the instruments themselves.