Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: Announcing "The Body Electric" & My Most Ambitious Painting Yet

19 March 2011

Announcing "The Body Electric" & My Most Ambitious Painting Yet

"If you're really listening, if you're awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders."

"The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude."

I'm immensely grateful for the nearly 3,900 people that have signed up for this newsletter over the last three years – for your time and attention, for your encouragement – but most of all, for being blessed with the chance to enrich your lives with my work, to give you something in which you can find meaning and inspiration.

But look, guys. I'm having a hard time balancing "listen" and "express." I don't know how to fill this void, this speakerbox, this opportunity to say – but only what you need to hear. So what do you need to hear? Tell me this and I will do my best.

I'm ready to put the days of unfocused explosive creativity behind me and start channeling this energy into something that will truly serve the needs of the people with whom I have connected. To find the sweet spot that will illuminate and exalt us all the most. To do what only I can do in a way that sets your life on fire like only you can burn.

Because it's time for that. From here on out, this newsletter isn't just my rant box; it's my platform for putting my understanding and ability to work for you in the most ambitious, crazy, brave-hearted way we can conspire to achieve.

And with that, I have some things to share with you that I hope will turn you on and get this started.

..:: Visual Art ::..

The first is the most ambitious live painting I have ever attempted...you'll want to click on this one for a full view so you can appreciate all of the detail:

Going Somewhere (Tree of Flowing Jewels)
2011 01 23 Quixote's (Praang)
2011 02 03 Hodi's Half Note (Invisible Allies, Bluetech, KiloWatts)
2011 02 15 The Aquarium (O Fo Sho, Heavy Is The Head)
2011 02 17 The Whole (William Within, Luke Redfield, Noah Earle)
2011 02 26 Cervantes (Papadosio, Heyoka, Larva Ink)
24"x48" – opaque pens, acrylic, & spray paint on masonite
original painting for sale – email me to inquire
11"x17" poster prints $25 each (two for $35) – order by email
full-size stretched canvas giclée poster prints
(series of ten):

This painting came with me from Denver to Fort Collins, out to Fargo and Minneapolis, and then back to Denver over the course of a month in which I worked on nothing else (artwise). It's the largest piece I've ever done, and because my markers have three-millimeter tips that set a boundary on detail, it's the first live painting in which I've managed to actually accomplish the multiple levels of fractal self-similarity that I allude to in the rest of my work. There's a quality to it that I've only experienced in states when even solid objects seem fluid and selfhood streams like tattering clouds through the gusty sky of the Great Imagination. I can almost hear this painting. It whines and whirs, whispering insect secrets into auroral night. Everything else, every zipping thought and mammalian contraction, shuts off when I look at it, and there is nothing left but the ancient and infinite truth of life, mind, and time...an open secret in which all of our human splendor and dignity, story and drama recedes into unnoticeability, empty as I stare at a foreign sky in silence.


(click to enlarge)

On a slightly less epic note, I've added several new images to my online sketchbook archive on Facebook. If you're not already a friend of my art page there, you might want to be – you'll get updated about my new work a lot faster that way.

..:: Music ::..

As I've gotten more well-connected in the dance music scene through my live art, I've co-evolved to make my music more suitable for the venues and audiences that ordinarily support music made on laptops and synthesizers. Those of you who've been following me for a while have watched as it has mutated, branching off into both intricate percussive fretboard magic built for festival stages and elaborate acoustic-electronic soundscapes at home in chill-out tents and other dusky liminal spaces.

Now, I'm pleased to announce that the transformation is complete. My newest album drops this Sunday – the Spring Equinox, March 20th – morning after the closest Full Moon in years, and a perfect time for the advent of a new age in which the carbon-based past of rosewood and human flesh meets the silicon-based future of blinking lights and loving machines. The Body Electric is my ode to the marriage of the animal and mineral, tradition and novelty.

Recorded live over two weeks at shows in Colorado and North Dakota (while I was working on the painting above...what an epic month!), it's my latest and greatest effort to redefine the guitar so thoroughly that the music shines through unimpeded by instrument. This is acoustic music liberated into an entirely new sonic landscape and philosophical vista. And it comes complete with a lush, poster-sized hi-res file of the hybrid ink-and-digital cover art I designed as a visual counterpart to the music, for your psychedelic eyeball pleasure:


The link goes live on March 20th and then it's a free download for you and everyone else...but anyone who donates more will receive a download code for the unreleased recording of my concert in Sinai, Costa Rica at the Geoparadise Festival on New Year's Day 2011. It's a performance I'm proud of, including my best-to-date live take of fan favorite "You Don't Have To Move" as well as a collaborative loopscape with shamanistic throat-singer Matthew Kocel and some of the more unguardedly silly between-song interludes that have ever flowed through me.

In the meantime, you can listen to and download two tracks from The Body Electric – "Tunnel Run" and "Touring The Body Electric (SHORT)" – on my Soundcloud page. And you can watch the video for "Tunnel Run" – stitched together from a year's worth of going over bridges – right here, right now:


(If you can't see it here, you can watch it on Vimeo, Youtube, or my Facebook music page.)

Again, thank you from the bottom of your heart for following me down these corridors of the imagination and into the ornamented chambers I find there. If I've managed to open you up even a little bit to the vast wild isness of our lives, mission fucking accomplished. Goodnight, you guys.