The Art & Music of Michael Garfield: Sonic Bloom, Ramble On The River, Field Guide To Live Artists

06 July 2010

Sonic Bloom, Ramble On The River, Field Guide To Live Artists

"The way you stretch the envelope of culture is by creating language...Culture cannot evolve any faster than its language, because what cannot be said cannot be done. What cannot be said cannot be put in place."
- Terence McKenna

I am so, so committed to language creation. McKenna imagined a post-verbal world where we all broadcast our intricate messages on our skin like octopi, "as though the project of communication becomes high-speed sculpture in a conceptual dimension made of light and intentionality." Others have pursued the same posthuman xenolinguistics in myriad interesting ways.

So let's take a low value for the exponent here and assume that a picture is worth merely a thousand words. I have no choice but to try a new approach: less rambling and more imagery. I want to show you where I've been painting...detailed close-ups...strange angles that show the diversity of sheens and textures in each piece. I want us to paint the skin of each other's minds with the living rippling of our heart's tongues, a bright and noisy quiet in intimate explosion, like chatty squid with a direct line to the Beloved. So here's to that.

But first, preening.

• Press

Just a couple of delightful recent snippets about my art and music culled from the infowebs that I am honored to share with you. I got a wonderful shout-out in one of the more thorough write-ups on this year's Wakarusa Festival:

"[Michael's] work is multi-dimensional ethereal reflection; like peering into a vortex. His channel to the divine is wide open and clear, much like Alex Grey, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he achieves the same kind of world-renowned respect and affection."
- Caeli La, Lost In Sound

Less hyperbolic but equally exciting, my latest (free) instrumental EP, Daylighting: Electronic Improvisations on Acoustic Guitar, was somehow picked up by one of Colorado's most highly-regarded reviewers:

"Don't jump to conclusions based on 'acoustic guitar improv'...this sounds more like some of the sonic explorations that came out of the Robert Fripp/Brian Eno collaborations than some hippie 'jamming' on an acoustic in a park somewhere. [It's] full of odd timbres and textures, but the occasional splash of melody erupts and there's a strange, sci-fi psycho-Western feel to a lot of it – let's just say if they'd ever done a psychedelic drug sequence on Firefly, this would have worked perfectly as the accompaniment. It's occasionally beautiful, frequently evocative and never less than interesting."
- Cory Casciato, Denver Westword

• Illustration

Stun Flower
2010 06 23, 25, 26 Ogden Theatre & Sonic Bloom
(Hamsa Lila, Tinariwen, David Starfire, Eminence Ensemble,
Michal Menert, Signal Path, Merton, Octopus Nebula, Bluetech,
Zilla, Big Gigantic, ill Gates, Project Aspect, The Acidophiles, Deru,
Rena Jones, Vibesquad, Lynx & Janover)
24"x24" – paint pens on masonite
email me to inquire about or make offer for the original
email me to order $20 poster prints (11"x17")

Dedicated to the work of Dan Winter, one hell of a physicist and the man whose research so emphasizes the phi rosette phase-conjugate love fields emanating from the heart of someone in love.

Click to enlarge and see the painting in various states of completion:


Detail of the flower's heart, as the galactic arms spiral inward to sweet completion:


I had the color-shifting LED flashlight aimed at this thing almost all weekend. People kept bringing their friends back to me to ask me to show them, too... No promises that I'll actually paint something with one of those lights in mind – one of those ten-in-one pictures that distributes various scenes across the spectrum, coming together in a weird cluster of superimposed notions under full white light – but I'm thinking about it.

UFO Jellyfish Gnosis
2010 06 26, 27, 30 & 07 03 Mishawaka Ampthitheatre
(EOTO, Eskmo, Karsh Kale, Sonic Bloom Orchestra, D.V.S*, Jantsen,
Future Simple Project, Heyoka, Beats Antique, Post Paradise,
Holden Young Trio, Futaba, Dave Watts, P'Nut Daniels, Michal Menert)
24"x24" – paint pens on masonite
email me to inquire about or make offer for the original
email me to order $20 poster prints (11"x17")

Yet another reason I want to share more angles on what I do is because I get to paint in beautiful places – like the riverside idyll that is The Mish:

This one, dedicated to my friend Brandon Watson for letting me steal the title from his religious views (and facebook group – population: 2), has all kinds of shininess going on. Mmm:



Gem Chains
2010 06 Studio Commission
16"x20" – paint pens on canvas panel
email me to order $20 poster prints (11"x17")

As my live paintings have gotten larger in the last few months, the smaller end of things has opened up for more accessible custom work. That means modest canvas panels like the one above, and also hats, guitar cases, tattoo designs...I'm eager to get creative with venue as you and I all work together to think of cool places this could go.

And as increasingly the case, body painting figured hugely into my weekend at Sonic Bloom Festival. You can check out the gallery on my Facebook visual art page, here:


• Writing

Lastly (for now, with much cooking for the next newsletter), enjoy these two latest entries from my Field Guide To Live Artists at Examiner.com – an ongoing interview series with anyone and everyone who sets up their art studio at public events and works in front of an audience. This go, we have new interviews from two live painters active in the Denver scene...


If anyone you know is a live artist, invite them on board! The goal is to create the most comprehensive directory available, to give everyone free press and opportunities for cross-promotion, and ultimately to publish it all in a beautiful full-color coffee-table album. So join in!