Michael Garfield Art & Music: Feathery Fedoras, Cyberacoustic Jams, & My First Foray Into Graffiti

05 February 2012

Feathery Fedoras, Cyberacoustic Jams, & My First Foray Into Graffiti

"I have an abiding interest in the UFO mythos, that sense of longing people have as they watch the skies and hope to see something truly different and startling. We never imagine that aliens will be boring."
– Jon Lebkowsky

"We are part of a symbiotic relationship with something which disguises itself as an extra-terrestrial invasion so as not to alarm us."
– Terence McKenna

Well, we are all now definitely in the thick of it, aren't we?  I've had four conversations in the last 24 hours about the importance of learning to interpret the symbolism of waking life as if we are actually dreaming...clearly something new is emerging through us, as us, and this new reality is making itself known through the now-commonplace occurrence of synchronicities and the instantaneous manifestation of our thoughts and feelings in the world at large.  (If you don't believe me, let's talk about it.)

In related news, I just reviewed my friend's evocative documentary on the evolution of cyberspace, Internet Rising.  The review is up on Reality Sandwich, where you can also stream the entire film:

We may not agree on the nature or potential of cyberspace, but we all recognize its intrinsic value as a medium of (transnational and transpersonal) connection – and maybe that is the first idea that seven billion egoic agendas can get behind.  “What’s good for cyberspace?” might be the question that saves the human species. (Read the whole review.)

Meanwhile, my live art interview series, The Field Guide To Live Artists, picks back up after a long sabbatical with a spotlight on the work of Jon Blake, aka Crazy Redbeard:

"People seem to like what I do. I enjoy making people happy. So if I can increase the joy in the world from pushing some paint around, then it's really a no brainer, I guess." (Read the whole interview.)

Live in Austin, NYE 2011
Watch & Share in HD on Youtube / Vimeo

The climax to one of my favorite improvisations so far.  Thanks to Interstellar Transmissions for letting me set an appropriately trippy tribal tone for their initiatory prayerformance on the eve of this most-anticipated year.  Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile remains one of my favorite albums of all time and this is the closest I've ever come to reproducing that sound on solo acoustic guitar.  Download the entire 10-minute track for free from my Soundcloud page...

Feathery Fedoras!

Positive vibrations, negative space.  Wear these hats above your face.  And if you'd like one for your head, just email me and that doesn't rhyme.  (But if you have time and are inclined, then here's the full line of my designs.)





Adventures In Graffiti

Back in the misty collegiate dawn-age of 2003, my friend and classmate Andrew Giessel wrote an essay called "Graffiti and Public Memetics."  A fan of hip hop culture and DIY, Andrew (now a postdoc neuroscientist at Harvard) introduced me to the rhetoric that graffiti isn't mere "vandalism," but the reclamation of public spaces, a celebration of the commons by stealing it back from the corporate entities that sold it off from under our noses.  Why do we accept without argument the idea that public spaces are not actually public?  Why not beautify our creative commons with common creativity?

Luckily I live in Austin, where there are many places that public wall art is encouraged rather than criminalized.  I couldn't get away with this kind of thing on the walls of the suspiciously owlish Frost Bank, but most of this place still remembers what it's like to have an inclusive culture, and gladly invites people to contribute to their rainforest-esque abundance of bohemian atmosphere.  It's an easy city to step out of your shell and scrawl:

Wall Art @ Spider House Café

I'm not sure what this is, exactly, but I loved making it:  standing on the bench in a booth in the back room, working on it for about half an hour, while everyone around is absorbed in their homework...

Wall Art @ Ruta Maya International Headquarters

This takes up the whole wall over the toilet in the men's rest room, about four feet across.  It's one of the few pieces in a very busy bathroom that hasn't yet evoked any contrary replies.  Who's going to argue with this?  No, really.

"Vandalized" Valentine's Card: "Whooo Loves You?"

This was a Valentine's Day card I picked up at the post office because I am on an owl kick right now...but it needed someone to take it up a notch, so I did.  Maybe this is what the card originally looked like, before the US postal service decided it was too intense to be cute.  I disagree.  Thanks again to Louis Wain for the inspiration...

In the next newsletter, I'll have pictures of the most time-intensive painting I've ever made, as well as more recent live concert footage and plenty of other goodies.  I also have a super huge announcement that will forever reshape the face of my career (!).

Thank you so much for your time and attention!  Feel free to write me any time.  And keep participating...