Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: February 2009

23 February 2009

Dinosaurs, Depth, & Dinner Theatre

[As usual, 11"x17" signed prints of these (and all other) paintings are available for $15/each (discounts for larger orders), and I still have plenty of original artwork for sale via my gallery, here: Visionary Art

If interested, just drop me a line.]

available - 2008 10 31 & 2009 02 14 The Bottleneck (EOTO, EZ Brothers) & studio, 18x24

Glass flowers in ghost light, breaking open with molten sparks, empty at the heart. Technically, not a new painting...somebody slipped me a party favor on Halloween and that, combined with a boiling cauldron of crazy sweaty people, made this one extremely hard to finish. (For those of you who have asked whether I'm "enlisting the help of medicines" - or, less tastefully, "on drugs" - when I paint, the answer is: rarely, and it's usually more hindering than anything.) I sat around looking at it in puzzlement for a few months before I decided that yes, it needed more work...so when my girl and I stayed in on Valentine's Day to work on art projects together (or rather, in parallel), I made this one a priority. Pretty pleased with it, finally, after another hour or two's worth of work/play.

taken - 2009 02 14 Studio, 16x24

Impossible spheres and ribbons. Through no brilliance on my part (largely error, as is often the case, at least at first), I managed to turn what I had originally intended to be a straightforward exercise in a single threaded ribbon into a series of impossible relationships. There are a few places, if you look closely, where the spheres' interactions with the ribbon don't make any sense (at least, if the ribbon and spheres are in fact what they appear to be). But more generally, this was a lengthy studio investigation of depth and dimension, layering and texture, starting with a field of blue and gold stars, and ending with row after row of "heat lines" at the bottom of the painting. The ribbon in particular looks to me like the semi-transparent body of some bioluminescent deep sea creature...so I'll have to study that and try to drop some crazy see-through pelagic beasts in future work.

available - 2009 02 18 Vintage Lounge (Triple Shot, Midnight Aurora, Lucky Raven), 16x24

I probably won't be returning to Tempe's lovely new upstairs club, the Vintage Lounge. My stint there was actually pretty cool: the doorman was an awesome guy, and the photographer (named "Roadrunner") made my evening - think Sam Elliott in The Big Lebowski, only with a camera. "I studied all religions," he told me, "settled on none." His business card reads "Story Telling, Photo Tours, Desert Survival." ...But I'm not a cover band guy. No offense to Midnight Aurora, the only people I've ever seen who had the nerve AND the ability to pull off tributes to both Tool AND The Mars Volta. They definitely made that Stegosaurus a little easier to express. But almost nobody seemed interested in getting on the mailing list, and I had to wait fifteen minutes for the bartenders to refill my glass of water while they goofed off in front of paying patrons...and that's how I know not to come back. Life in Phoenix, so far, has been an experiment in painting at unlikely venues. For example:

available - 2009 02 20 Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 16x24

This mysterious affair is what happens when you lure a live painter in from his natural habitat of two- to four-hour concerts and trap him in a chair all day to paint in front of the mostly-elderly patrons of a suburban dinner theatre on their way in and out of Singin' In The Rain. The Broadway Palm's first-ever local arts fair was actually a pretty cool deal (free lunch, interesting fellow vendors, good conversation, and plenty of time to work on my paintings in front of people), although by the end of my first nine-hour day I was ready for fewer compliments on my "good eyesight" and "steady hand," and more new friends who considered what I do to be something more than an amusing parlor trick. I'm totally in love with paradox, so don't get me wrong - I very much enjoyed (if in a somewhat bizarre way) putting my youthful self on display like that. That I need to be working with textile designers was reinforced about a dozen times in one afternoon. And I got to experiment with this intricate affair - what was originally going to be a fairly straightforward painting but got complicated by an unexpected marker explosion within the first ten minutes. By the end of the day, I had a seething, misty, Pteranodon-infested psychedelic dreamscape. Which pretty much described the day, I guess.

taken - 2009 02 21 Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre & Sail Inn (Endoplasmic), 16x24

Take two! Only this time, I rushed off at the end of my day at the Broadway Palm to paint at Tempe's once-and-future king of venues, the recently-resurrected Sail Inn, where Kevin Gordon's improvisational music collective Endoplasmic (myspace.com/endoplasmicband) was playing to my kind of crowd. Speaking of paradox, the Sail Inn is a nautical-themed venue down by the water, yes, in Arizona. It surprised me, too. But there's a canal through Tempe, and a cool almost-sea-breeze blows through the streets there, making it one of the most wonderful places I've found since moving to Phoenix. Endoplasmic is a rotating cast of a dozen great musicians who all take turns rocking everyone non-stop for three hours...a pretty amazing find, here. Although I'd like to say that working on this at the Broadway Palm was pretty cool, too: there was a little girl who kept stopping by during intermission, bathroom breaks, etc. to gape wide-eyed in smiling wonder at this painting...it was a wonderful thing, to make such an impression on somebody. Anyway, this is the first painting I started by laying down a speckling of white spray paint first, which textured the surface in a refreshing way. Not the best example of depth and dimensionality in my work, but a lot of fun while I was working on it.