Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: From Independence To Integration, Part Two

26 August 2010

From Independence To Integration, Part Two

"To learn something new, take the path that you took yesterday."
- John Burroughs

People I meet often ask me what it is I'm doing out on the road – and since my touring combines art, music, and lecturing along with a profound amount of synchronous conversation and spontaneous diversions that don't make sense until days or weeks later...well, I've had a hard time explaining what exactly I do for a living. But here it is:

I'm developing my intuition to navigate an accelerating and increasingly complex world – and in the process, inspire people to find their purpose in the wondrous cosmic order so that they can bring their love and effort into alignment. I'm learning to be in the right place at the right time, all the time...to be useful to the world as only I can be, continuously.

There's still a gap between the guidance I get and my decision to act upon it – a gap I'm learning to narrow until choice disappears and I am always doing and being what I must. There is a profound satisfaction that comes from this, and it seems like more and more of what I do is about helping people find the insights they need to figure this out for themselves.

Because I am the agent of a future in which everyone is the loving participant in a harmonious greater whole; when everyone is connected to both the dignity and humility of their lives, here; when we all know why we matter and are so blown open to wonder that our greatness can't possibly go to our heads.

Last week, the Perseid meteor shower lit up the skies of North America with streaking fireballs. Here are the latest tracers burning off from my own meteoric descent – into the truth of my human nature, my own reconciliation with body and destiny, as this tour draws to a close and I return home with new eyes and a wider heart...

Lecture Notes (ITC 2010)
2010 07 30 – 08 01 John F. Kennedy University
(Integral Theory Conference 2010)
Prismacolor markers on Bristol paper
11"x17" prints available: $20 + $5 s/h (order)


Allow me to geek out for a moment. I haven't doodled in class ince 2005, but I was psyched to have another opportunity to engage this favorite pastime when invited to the second biennial Integral Theory Conference at John F. Kennedy University. All weekend, there were eight tracks of presentations on everything from the neurophysiological correlates of post-rational consciousness, to the woeful state of evolutionary science in the academic integral theory community, to the multiple ecologies perceived by people at different developmental levels, to the role of metatheory in architecture. I was in dork heaven. And consequently, I got to spend some time with my old techniques, good old markers on paper (although both have gotten an upgrade in recent years), starting small and working out from the middle instead of starting big and filling in detail like I can do with the paint markers. What you see above are both original pages and a single-sheet compilation of the weekend's sketches, photo-stitched for print-making convenience.

Custom Name Badges (ITC 2010)

I also had the opportunity to customize the name tags for several other attendees, which is a wonderful exercise in reading a person and doing my best to give strangers some deeply-relevant, intuitively uncanny bling. In fact, customizing badges at another integral conference in 2007 was my first taste of using intuition to create a work of art and check it against the person's response. Made a few people pretty happy with these, which as you know feels really good.

Thanks to Sean Esbjörn-Hargens and Mark Forman for working so hard to organize this conference, and for inviting me to participate in the landmark Integral Art discussion panel...unquestionably the best conversation I've ever had about the future of human creativity.

Bubble Matrix
2010 08 04 Club 6
(Psychedelic Bicycle Ride Visionary Arts Expo)
paint markers on cradled gesso board
original: check price & availability here
11"x17" prints available: $20 + $5 s/h (order)




While in San Francisco a few weeks ago, I was invited to set up an art table across from my boyz and girlz at MAPS for an arts exposition honoring psychedelic art, concert posters, and the like. Stanley Mouse was there (and borrowed a lamp I never got back); DJ Logic was playing in the basement (and was nice enough to stop by my table and chat).

This painting inaugurates my use of fill-them-yourself pens loaded with shimmering blue acrylic to create a semi-transparent layer between patterns. I thought I'd never be able to do this! That this was something restricted to the MFA, we-use-brushes crowd. Apparently not. Admittedly, this one is in the ranks of my rare paintings for which I used a ruler on the first layer (but we're talking about five out of a hundred and ninety, here, so I don't feel too bad about it).

Thanks goes out to Erin Cadigan for organizing the event and having me on board.

Fire From Ice
(before)
(after)
2010 08 06 & 2008 12 14 Rootwire & The Mountain Sun
(Zoogma, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, Magmablood, Garanta)
paint markers on masonite
original: check price & availability here
11"x17" prints available: $20 + $5 s/h (order)

Once upon a time, I traveled with the band Zoogma on their first tour up to Colorado (my first time as a dedicated tour painter). The results included this timelapse video and the original version of this painting...but after a few years of it sitting around, narrowly avoiding one buyer after another, I figured it was time to take it a little deeper. New technique: paint numerous glowing metallic layers and then smudge them until it looks like dirty money. (Zoom in on the "after" shot for more detail...)

This one goes out to the Zoogma boys, who have gotten so much better over the years...

Cosm Eye
(before)

(after)
2010 08 07 Rootwire, 2009 11 07 Trinumeral Festival,
& 2009 09 10 Boulder Farmer's Market
(Pnuma Trio, M80 Dubstation, Conspirator, Papadosio, EP3, The Malah)
paint markers on masonite
original: check price & availability
here
11"x17" prints available: $20 + $5 s/h (order)


This painting has almost gone through more transformation than I have in the past year. Click on it for a closer look at those translucent structures in the foreground...I definitely want to do more "space squid" type stuff, as these luminous biomechanical patterns – the angelic to H.R. Giger's demonic – are so core to my own mystical experiences I don't know what else to say about it.

This piece is dedicated to Erik Davis, who wrote the best article ever on the Lovecraftian tentacled-space-god meme and its relationship to the dignity and disaster of modernity...

Let It Go
2010 08 06, 07, 08 Rootwire
(roeVy, Freepeoples Frequency, Nala,
The Werks, Papadosio acoustic)
paint markers on masonite
original: check price & availability
here
11"x17" prints available: $20 + $5 s/h (order)



Instructions for finding an awesome new style:
1) Paint something you don't like, then spray a fog of paint over it to make it a background layer;
2) Paint something else you don't like over that, and raise your hands in frustration;
3) Black out half the painting with more spray paint;
4) Add a transparent layer of monochrome intricacy over the whole thing, as if a new universe is fading into this one, pushing the grimy graffiti of mere human creativity into the irrelevant past.

This one reminds me of that uniquely psychedelic bother of ideas coming too quickly to hold onto them – just as you try to focus on one pattern, it becomes the background of the next. You might as well just give up and watch the show...

In fact, I think this is what is happening with our accelerating techno-culture right now, the prophecy of various visionaries like Timothy Leary & Terence McKenna (I've written about this at length) and fictionalized beautifully by Charles Stross' sci-fi masterpiece Accelerando.

Because this painting is the closest I've gotten so far to reproducing that feeling of future shock in a visual form, I dedicate it to Mr. Stross. Keep blowing minds, man.