Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: The First Of A Busy Summer's Fruit

09 July 2009

The First Of A Busy Summer's Fruit

2009 05 30 & 31 Sail Inn & Rhythm Room (Endoplasmic & Black Moth Super Rainbow)
16x24 - masonite - available
My last painting from Phoenix...a poignant few nights. Endoplasmic is a band of national-level talent mysteriously stuck playing local gigs...going out alone to paint for them at the Sail Inn for probably the last time was a strange, quiet affair amidst all of the jamming. Black Moth Super Rainbow the next night co-headlined a show with School of Seven Bells. The latter made me turn off my lamp during their set (a first-ever for that one...but then again, they'd just come off a European tour, if you know what I mean). But the former were more pleased than anyone ever has been to have me...an adorably nerdy ensemble, very friendly and very real, the frontman sitting cross-legged onstage below crowd eye level and the girl drummer anonymized and androgynized behind a ninja costume. They said they were happy to have something else for people to pay attention to. This painting is the sequel to the painting from Zilla and Glitch Mob's NYE 2008 run at The Fox Theatre in Boulder...another tentacled alien god shimmering into the foreground from some oceanic mindscape.

2009 06 11 & 13 Crosstown Station & Jardine's (The New Mastersounds & Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey)
20x20 - canvas - available
After checking out both The New Mastersounds and JFJO at Wakarusa, to paint for them both again in Kansas City the week after was a summer-synchronous treat. Jardine's - the Odyssey's favorite KC jazz club haunt, tucked away over the green shoulders of the Country Club Plaza - is the classiest spot I've seen in this town...although I'm sure they're playing had something to do with how much I reveled in the find. This is the last in a trilogy of twenty-inch circular canvases...it falls somewhere between the first's crystal structure and the second's leafiness. An integration.

2009 06 17 & 23 501 Club & Quixotes (Brad Senne, Luke Redfield & Zuvuya)
16x24 - masonite - available
After extensive preparatory background work, I started this one on my first night touring my music through Minneapolis. I'd just set up the easel to paint during the other two acts (my friend Luke, a fine folk musician, had hooked up the gig) when I realized I'd locked my keys in the car. Luckily one of the friendly locals let me use her AAA membership to call a locksmith...but only after I'd broken off a cocktail stirrer in the door trying to break in with the power of sheer dumb chance. Until I was able to dig the plastic piece out later that week, I had to walk around the car to unlock it every time. Mildly tragicomic. Minneapolis is BEAUTIFUL. A garden city, lakes and trees and footpaths and bohemia and strange elegant sweeping architecture. Most of this painting, however, was completed in Denver at Quixotes', where I was granted the honor of opening for Zuvuya (Michael Travis and Jamie Janover's acoustic dance jam band with Xander Greene on nylon string guitar and guest Garrett Sayers of The Motet on delicious bass). There were five painters crowding the venue's entire south wall that night...I'll have much more to say about that show in the next entry when I'll finally have finished mixing the recordings of my show that night. For now, suffice it to say that I'm not sure if that jellyfish has more to do with my friend and fellow live painter Kayla Andreano's jellyfish obsession (I'd been staying with her that week, talking jellyfish A LOT) or that these beautiful stinging beasts are the unofficial mascot of Michael Travis' home team, The String Cheese Incident (who were playing a private rehearsal for their forthcoming reunion at Rothbury Festival the next night, and cheesy anticipation was in the air).

2009 06 25 B Side Lounge (Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey feat Fareed Haque) - collab with Todd Shepherd and Kayla Andreano
30x30 - canvas - available
I loved the look on the faces of JFJO when they saw me show up to paint for them for the third time in three weeks in three different states. :) Half the show I spent preparing the painting below for further work at Sonic Bloom Festival the next day, but the other half of the show I spent in pure artistic bliss on my first live collaboration with Kayla and "Tourmaline" Todd Shepherd. We were all so stupified by what emerged from between the three of us that we stared at this painting for over an hour after the show, mumbling dumbfounded partial sentences. Also, this is the only painting I've ever stepped on. We (mostly Todd and Kayla) spent a good chunk of the afternoon preparing the canvas with layer after layer of paint, and at one point Kayla and I painted our feet and walked a few circles around it...unfortunately all that remains visible of that are a few stray toeprints.

2009 06 25 & 26 B Side Lounge & Sonic Bloom Festival (Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey feat. Fareed Haque & Lynx and Janover, Anasia, EOTO + Kang + Kyle)
20x30 - canvas panel - available
Fareed Haque's guitars and equipment were put on the wrong plane and ended up in Wichita the night of this Boulder gig, so he had the audience clap along instead of laying down live loops. Of course they were all a bunch of musical laypeople with a few drinks down, so the rhythm was dubious...I took the initiative and clapped and danced as cheerleader to help everyone keep the beat. Later Fareed let me know how much he appreciated the energy I helped bring to the evening (both as cheerleader and painter) and ok'ed me to paint for his band Garaj Mahal at 10,000 Lakes Festival in a few weeks. Yay! As for the night I completed this painting, what can I say about this year's (and my first) Sonic Bloom Festival except that Mishawaka Amphitheatre is one of my favorite venues in the world, and you should go there. I'm sure the canyon river right behind the stage and the beautiful blue skies had a direct influence on the "vibration" of my paintings. And of course I feel I produce better work when painting for world-class musicians.

2009 06 27 Sonic Bloom Festival (Boombox, Big Gigantic, Sasha Rose, Zilla)
20x30 - canvas panel - available
Krystle Smith and I were responsible for assembling a visionary art gallery at this year's Sonic Bloom, which we put together (with lots of help) on the indoor stage at Mishawaka. We moved all of the lounge's couches up onto the stage and made it a sweet elevated chill spot with art sprouting from every direction – including the diagonal ceiling, where I had a row of my own paintings attached with velcro (making the gallery kind of a danger zone...a few times they fell off and nearly beaned somebody...but because of weak adhesive, not the velcro itself). Anyway, this painting is about the closest I've ever come to making a "Krystle Smith" painting. Lots of layers, lots of blue, lots of simple floating elements and hexagonal geometry. At one point I accidentally smeared the green paint on one of those fronds, but ended up smearing the other fronds as well and it acquired a very painterly effect that was previously impossible for me to attain with markers. I'll probably do more "destructive" smearing like this in the future. And DEFINITELY more painting on gradients.

2009 06 27 Sonic Bloom Festival (Random Rab, Bassnectar, Mochipet)
20x30 - canvas panel - available
Each of these bubbles was painted in advance with Wildfire brand UV ultra-white paint, the kind they use for film backdrops (apparently). When you hit this one with a blacklight everything inverts and the bubbles all glow a profound luminous blue. It's totally sweet...I picked up a 9 UV LED flashlight while living in Arizona (at the Walgreens, billed as a "scorpion finder" because the chitin in their shells is UV-reactive) and would occasionally dip out of "normal light mode" and into "UV light mode" while working on this one as an additional layer of strangeness for the audience. I hope whomever ends up with this painting puts it in the same room as a lava lamp.

2009 06 28 Sonic Bloom Festival (Tipper, David Starfire, Beats Antique, Heyoka)
20x30 - canvas panel - available
Harkening back to simpler days, this one. It kind of reminds me of a logging mill, eating away at the fabric of spacetime itself. By this point in the weekend I'd worked myself pretty raw, so I consider this painting an example of what happens when I'm "frame-dragging" (the computing term...although had this been framed at the time, I'd probably have been so tired I'd have been dragging it around).

2009 07 02 Rothbury Festival (Toubab Krewe, Keller Williams, Lotus)
18x24 - canvas panel - available
Rothbury was a very different live painting experience from my residencies at Wakarusa and Sonic Bloom. I was working from the crowd the entire weekend – and even then, only out of a sense of artistic duty, because I was first and foremost there to spend time with a rarely-assembled group of friends. But I still managed to squeeze in some learning, especially as regards preparing panels with various paints and sprays (thanks to Tourmaline Todd for suggesting I use silver spray paint for stars). I'm not normally a big Keller Williams fan (he's too glib for my tastes) but he put on a killer trance party that day. And Toubab Krewe jammed out on "Billie Jean." All was well in the world.

2009 07 03 Rothbury Festival (String Cheese Incident)
18x24 - canvas panel
This one was painted from the hill above The Odeum, Rothbury's main stage (capacity somewhere around 50,000 people?), where my friends and I squatted for the headliners each night right in front of the giant wicker-and-Christmas-lights Rothbury sign (each letter in the word was about eight feet tall...an excellent landmark, and right next to the water refill station). I can't express how difficult it was for me to make this...the first String Cheese Incident show I'd ever legitimately attended (if you don't count the time my girlfriend and I scaled the mountain behind Red Rocks to catch their last show in 2007 for free), and all I wanted to do was dance, my feet were dancing out from underneath me, I wanted to throw myself down the hill and into the heaving costumed flesh festival but I'd pre-sold this painting to some friends weeks before the festival and had to be responsible in the most inopportune moment. Somehow I think the tension helped with a graceful execution, and in person the silver spraypaint gives the whole piece a luminous quality, as if looking up through the waves to the rippling sunlight above. I'm happy with the results, but finally had to admit that calling my live art blog "Painting While Dancing" is a bit of a misnomer, because it was impossible for me to really get down and work on this at the same time. It was an evening of five minute breaks and intense yearning.