Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: Three New Album Covers, New Time-Lapse, & Meeting The Self You Aren't

15 April 2011

Three New Album Covers, New Time-Lapse, & Meeting The Self You Aren't

"To understand ourselves, we must embrace the alien."
- PZ Meyers, octopus neuroscientist

..:: New Time-Lapse & Talks ::..

Last fall, journalist Charles Shaw and I embarked on The Light & Shadow Tour, a six-week, thirty-city journey across the United States that combined music, speaking, and documentary film-making into a profound voyage not only through the terrain of American culture but also into the depths of our nation's conflicted psyche.

A big part of it was gathering interviews for his amazing documentary Exile Nation, which is just about as thorough and moving a view into the issue of justice and prisons in the U.S. as I have ever encountered. But we also had a unique opportunity to speak with audiences all over the map about the role of "the shadow" – the repressed voices not only in our culture, but also in our individual minds:

The shadow is the part of ourselves so profoundly disowned that it shows up not as a quality of the self, but a trait of other people – not a choice that we are making, but a fate that imposes itself upon us. And to whatever degree we continue to refuse acknowledgment of our shadows, we remain the desperate victims of life instead of its joyous collaborators.

It isn't easy to write a new story of the self - and to constantly re-write that story, when new truths come to us in the form of disarming companions, rude awakenings, and other surprises. But it is the work set out before us, if we are to live as whole people and give the most of ourselves to the birthing of a new and better world.

Meeting The Self You Aren't is a free compilation of clips from my talks on that tour, a pastiche lecture on the stories we exclude from our own. I used excerpts to narrate this latest time-lapse live painting video for "Stun Flower" (which is, incidentally, also a music video for the title track from my latest cyber-acoustic guitar LP The Body Electric, and a kind of tutorial for anyone interested in how to draw near-perfect Golden Spirals freehand):

Watch this in HD on Youtube / Vimeo

..:: Album Art ::..

I've been heavy on the album art recently...

Meeting The Self You Aren't features another example of the new hybrid freehand/digital style I'm working out – a tunnel into the unmapped I:


But I've also had the delight of making album art for other people for the first time. Here's a link to Freddy Todd's new mix for Grassroots California, for which I modified my painting "Tunnel To The Moon" with the awesome digital kaleidoscope software Repper:


As much fun as I had with those two covers, I'm proudest of my art for my friend Jay Jaramillo (aka ProJect Aspect)'s debut full-length LP, Put This World On Hold. This album doesn't officially drop for a couple of weeks, but in the meantime I encourage you to click through and get down to his other tracks. He and Freddy are two of the hottest rising star DJs on the scene right now and it's my honor to call them my peeps.

Jay's concept was of a planet of puzzle pieces caught midway through explosion:


Each of these images is available (with or without the type) as a signed, glossy 11"x17" poster print for $25 each, or $35 for two (shipping included – just email me and I can have prints to you within a week!).

..:: Music4Change Interview ::..

Last year I was interviewed by Music4Change, a Fort Collins event production company throwing shows to make a difference. They don't archive their interviews online, and they had mine up for such a flash that I even missed it...so here is the full text of our conversation, in which I discuss getting into the live painting scene, the myth and science of creativity, and the purpose of art as I understand it. It's held up pretty well over the last year:

After some time I came to really understand how important inspiration is to the well-being of a person or a culture. We NEED to be reminded of our place in a bigger context, a broader myth, a grander story in the same way we NEED to eat and sleep and breathe. Meaning is essential to human existence and in fact the search for meaning pretty much characterizes human nature, so artists are indispensable. Eventually, the guilt of “not contributing” as an artist and musician like my friend the chef or my friend the construction worker evaporated. I found my worth, and it’s intimately tied to helping other people find theirs, in age of fear-mongering media and alienating social infrastructure.

..:: Next Newsletter ::..

• video from my concert with Andy Skellenger in Crestone, Colorado;
• a new live painting from my shows with Fareed Haque's Math Games & That 1 Guy;
• another installment of my essay series, Ode To A Paradigm Shift;
• and more I haven't dreamed up yet.

Thanks for your time and have a wonderful day!