Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: July 2011

28 July 2011

My Talk From The Dallas Museum, Plus A New Guitar Video & Custom Hat

"The world is not to be put in order; the world is order, incarnate. It is for us to harmonize with this order."

"Darwinians make the fuss they do about the 'randomness' of mutation only in order to contrast it to the non-randomness of selection. It is not necessary that mutation should be random for natural selection to work. Selection can still do its work whether mutation is directed or not."
– Richard Dawkins

“We are part of the mysterious. Rationality is only a thin veneer with us.”

Flashback to May and it's The Manifestation Celebration – where I am somehow giving the most freewheeling, speculative, and controversial talk of my life so far to a packed presentation hall in the Dallas Museum of Nature & Science.  If the museum only knew what went on under their roof...well, it'd be because they found my recording of the talk, which you can finally download for free:


It's a real roamer of a presentation, taking us through biology, astrophysics, psychology, and philosophy to arrive at the suggestion that our solar system's passage through galactic space might trigger cascading changes in the Sun's magnetic fields, Earth's geological activity, the evolution of life, and ultimately human consciousness.  (It stirred up quite a conversation on my facebook wall...feel free to chime in!)

In other news, here's my latest in a growing series of custom hats!  I'm taking orders, so if you're in the mood for a new lid, just email me with your specs (address, budget, and hat size/color – unless you have your own for me to paint).  I suggest clicking on the picture to appreciate it in its full blooming detail...


Lastly, here is the live video of "The Made & The Born," an ultra-spacey adventure in guitar looping at Tribal Convergence 2011.  Recorded deep in the Oregon rain forest, the damp cold air stretching off into endless midnight, this haunted piece exemplifies my efforts to adapt each improvised piece to the place and time.  You can download this track (and now the entire ninety-minute album) for free...


Many more beautiful things to come when I get back from next week's Rootwire Music & Arts Festival (where I'll be not only playing an afternoon set and a sunrise set, but giving a workshop and painting live all weekend).  Hopefully I'll see you out there...it's going to be the best boutique small festival of the summer.

In the meantime, I'm gearing up to take my music touring to the next level and could use your help!

I have spent the last three years working hard to reshape my life (quitting jobs, living out of my car) so I can re-dedicate my life as a creative offering...and now my career is moving too fast for me to keep up.  If any of you are interested in helping me find a booking agent so I can keep giving my music and painting the time they need – or if you know event promoters or venues that would enjoy my special brand of heartfelt virtuosity – please make the introduction!  I'm looking for audiences ready to listen and be inspired (bar gigs are generally a failure), and am open to playing in all kinds of unique settings.

The opportunity to make music for you is a gift I cherish.  I know a lot of you signed on for this newsletter because of my paintings, but if you like the music please tell your friends.  I run this circus on zero marketing budget and every success I have had so far is because of the support of enthusiastic people like you.

You know where to find me...

20 July 2011

Paintings from an Electric Forest; Music from an Acoustic Jungle

"Lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and...stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to walk about into a hitherto unknown world.
If the answer is yes, what more do you want?"
– Wassily Kandinsky (possibly the first live painter)

"The waking mind is the least serviceable in the arts."
Henry Miller (reinvented the novel; also a painter)

This is how I started 2011:  playing and painting in the mountainous rain forest village of Sinai, Costa Rica; watchless, clockless, countdownless, uncertain of when consensus time made the New Year official; enchanted by strange bugs and the quiet depth of its isolated village culture.  New Year's Day, I played a concert outside the village kitchen to a receptive lawn-full of international appreciators, deep in the dreamy mystery of our strange little festival.

That show is now my latest free live recording, Vive En Costa Rica.  I released this album in secret back in March – made it available for people who paid for a copy of The Body Electric – and then figured it might as well just be out there for everyone to enjoy:


The spacey, kinda spooky improvised first track (named in honor of a genuine faerie sighting) scores this reel of the travel clips I took down there.  Looking through my eyes:


And here are the paintings from my Fourth of July weekend up in Michigan at Electric Forest Festival. Click on each picture to see it in terrifying full detail:

Looking At The Blue Flame
2011 06 30 & 07 01 Electric Forest Festival
(Toubab Krewe & String Cheese Incident, Tiesto)
18"x24" – opaque pens on stretched canvas
$20/1 or $30/2 for 11"x17" signed posters – email me

My original plan was to have a blue-and-gold series of sculpted pieces based on themes I'd started at Sonic Bloom...but original plans don't count for much in an improvisational sport like live painting.  Especially when the skies open up and drop a huge "welcome to the festival" storm on everyone...which is perhaps why the design ended up with so many little blue dots:


Rainbow Tunnel
2011 07 02 Electric Forest Festival (String Cheese Incident)
18"x24" – opaque pens on stretched canvas
$20/1 or $30/2 for 11"x17" signed posters – email me
check availability/price of original painting

The festival's official documentary team caught a delicious HD timelapse of me (and Christian Jaxtheimer, and Rae Vena) working on this piece, start to finish – check 1:48 of this video to watch the whole Saturday Night String Cheese Incident concert breeze by.  It was a return to older themes, dating all the way back to my idle classroom sketches in college...but in a lively, tribal style that capitalized on my chisel-tip bold markers and completely ignored the patient layer upon layer of outlining I developed in my own pen-specific voice.  Working in the ghost sunlight of my awesome new powerful battery-powered LED lamp, this painting came together like the holographic tunnels in some private realm of sylvan dreaming...I've never felt so eerily transported while working on any other piece.




Lesage's Wall
2011 07 02 & 07 03 Electric Forest Festival
(REO Speedwagon, Big Gigantic, Shpongletron & Railroad Earth)
18"x24" – opaque pens on stretched canvas
$20/1 or $30/2 for 11"x17" signed posters – email me
check availability/price of original painting

In honor of Augustin Lesage, coal-miner turned compulsive visionary artist whose enormous early 20th Century paintings evoked the transcendental architectures of Ancient Egypt as if transcribed onto even greater scale into grandiose heavenly landscapes.  I don't even know where to start in describing how hypnotized I am by Lesage's work, but maybe you'll see it in this Navajo-inflected homage:



...and I painted on a lot of beautiful people while I was there.  Check out the full gallery on my facebook art page:


Body Art at Electric Forest Festival 2011

09 July 2011

New Paintings From Sonic Bloom & Custom Hat Frenzy

"I have been possessed by a great yearning to go and find, far from men and far from toil the place where dwell the vast forces that cradle us and possess us, where my overtense activity might indefinitely become more relaxed...To me in turn, as to all the sons of man, it was speaking as every generation hears it speak; it was begging me to surrender myself unreservedly to it,
and to worship it."
(paleontologist-theologian & my patron saint)

While you're browsing my recent live paintings from my now-annual stint as Sonic Bloom Festival's live art gallery coordinator, enjoy this dinosaur-skeleton-inspired number from my recent gig at the Dallas Natural History Museum.  It's free track on my new album, A Million Anniversaries: CyberAcoustic Guitar For Lovemaking – a 94-minute voyage through America's sacred landscapes and the hyperspace of improvised acoustic-electronic music...

Watch it in HD on Youtube / Vimeo!

Next week, I'll have the memory reel from this year's awesome twelve-person live art lineup at Sonic Bloom (because I had so much fun making the video for the Wakarusa live art team).  But for now, here is the latest harvest of psychedelic art – you can click on each image to view it full-size:

Sigil Egg
2011 06 10, 11 Tribal Convergence (SunDragon, Manoj, Mazeguider, Solus, Cohen)
& 2011 06 26 Sonic Bloom Festival (Tipper, Signal Path, Future Simple, An-Ten-Nae)
opaque pens on tempered hardboard – 24"x24"
signed 11"x17" posters – $20/each or two for $30 (plus $5 s/h) – email me to order
check availability of the original painting

Starting with the automatic writing (aka "channeled text," aka "light language"): The first layer of seemingly meaningless symbols, the closest I've ever come to direct translation of the grooves and melodic strains of live music, are constantly re-identified by friendly strangers as some kind of angelic script.  To me it's free jazz – honing the razor edge of my intuitive spontaneity until I can move with the music like one wing in flight.

And yeah, ongoing pine cone obsession.  (And yeah, there were pine cones everywhere at TideWater Falls during Tribal Convergence – a remarkable congregation of intentional creatives from across the Western U.S. and a weekend of potent practical idea-sharing as well as celebration...)  And the seven-sided star ties this piece back to my pine cone painting from Wakarusa through the archetype of the Virgin Mother (the number seven is historically associated with indivisibility/purity/virginity).

As cloud chamber tracings of a different kind of wild pure energy laps like waves around the protective sigil, the prayer of the scribbled glossolalia blanket and illumine the sleeping cone/egg...


Erosion
2011 06 24 Sonic Bloom Festival (Zilla, MartyParty, Break Science, Prophet Massive)
opaque pens on stretched canvas – 24"30"
signed 11"x17" posters – $20/each or two for $30 (plus $5 s/h) – email me to order
check availability of the original painting

The latest in my ongoing exploration of incompleteness – letting each new layer cover a smaller and smaller area and thus leaving the entire process out in the open.  Must be a holdover from my paleontology years, my fascination with fossilization and sedimentology: how the dead dinosaur is covered by mud layer by layer, then its bones replaced by minerals layer by layer, then the fossil bones eroding back out with wind and time after millions of years...

Expect more of these:


Sound Pond
2011 06 25 Sonic Bloom Festival (Octopus Nebula, David Starfire, Tipper, EOTO, Vibesquad)
opaque pens on tempered hardboard – 24"x32"
signed 11"x17" posters – $20/each or two for $30 (plus $5 s/h) – email me to order
check availability of the original painting

Keywords: topographic map, sound waves, interstitial, canyons, corduroy, myosin, rain, onions, cross-section, terraces.

Special notice to the white highlights on white banding that gives the whole thing a much more sculptural feel:


Custom Hats!

Hand-painted and waterproofed, each hat completed in a state of sensitivity to the buyer's natural energy and personal disposition.  Like with body painting, these hats create a savored opportunity for me to connect with people on a kind of profound and mysterious level.

If you'd like one, write me with your specifications: budget, colors and patterns, and whether you have a hat already or need me to find you a particular size and style.  Got a couple of relatively mellow weeks ahead of me – plenty of time to make you something beautiful.

for Allison

for Caleb

for Sarah

uncommissioned – check availability & details

And that's not even touching on the beautiful work from last week's Electric Forest Festival – where the vivid, swirling nightscape of color-shifting LEDs and blacklights on endless branches seeped into me for some of my most otherworldly art to date.  More on that next week.  :)