Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: New Paintings & Music From SXSW, Untz Challenge, Festival Dates

16 April 2012

New Paintings & Music From SXSW, Untz Challenge, Festival Dates

"Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love."
– Mahatma Gandhi

This one's a special SXSW-themed newsletter – even though that week was so productive it deserves more than one!

Don't let me give you the idea that the infamous South By Southwest in Austin every March is, like, the coolest party ever. Watching as an entire city mutates into a giant convention-festival (with intricate lanyard hierarchy) swarming with corporate sponsors and starry-eyed out-of-town wannabe rockstars while I was inside it made for one of the more stressful weeks of my life.

But it was also an amazing opportunity to get out there and do it.  So I did.  It looked like this:


Which was super intimidating!  But luckily, I had friends:


That's Chance Roberts and Chaeli Cardenas, two of the badasses who will be joining me on the Wakarusa Live Art Team this year.  With them and my friend, songwriter Luke Redfield, SXSW felt that much more like an insane week-long slumber party.

Anyway, I'll start you off with a couple of videos of my cyberacoustic live electronica - first, the romantic one, then the anthem - from my set with Luke at Hole In The Wall on March 13th.  I was busy rocking out, oblivious to the fact that at that exact moment, I was getting a parking ticket.  They'll make for good reading music while you absorb the rest of this newsletter.  (If you can't watch them from your email, try reading this on my website.)



Okay, so you're grooving on that, hopefully...time to hit you with this:

People, I am ordinarily a give-everything kind of guy.  I really only ask for help when the stakes are nuts.  And right now they are!  So I've made this another opportunity to give...vote for me in The Untz Challenge and then let me know – I'll hook you up with a free copy of my best cyberacoustic guitar album yet:


"If you are like us, then [in you] lies a yearning to discover something DIFFERENT and new, something that floors you, something that moves you, something that gets you excited to go home and download everything of theirs available online and to tell all of your friends about it...Michael Garfield could do that for us this summer."
– Sparkleberry Lane (interview link)

I'm now a nailbiting third place out of 100 in this national vote!  There's some stiff competition, but I know I can win this with the support of all of the people I've inspired in some way over the years.  (Hopefully that includes anyone reading this!  If not, please tell me what I can do better.)

You can listen to the track I submitted here.  Thanks in advance to anyone else who is willing to donate a whole minute of their time to help me out.  :)

And to be clear, I'm not just in this for me. I'll use my opportunity to invite hoopers, live painters, and other performers on stage with me. Success is supposed to be shared!  So please, vote.

SXSW Live Art Explosion!

And now, onto two of my favorite live paintings yet.  Because each piece was my constant companion through every waking hour for days, through the madness...

They're huge, so be sure to right-click the pictures for a better look.

Parallel Realities
30"x30" - paint markers on stretched canvas
original painting for sale – comment / declare interest on fb
11"x17" prints for sale – $20 + $5 s/h – email me to order one
Painted at:
2012 03 09 St Elmo's Studio - CODEX, The DMT RMX Party
(Sorne, Birds of Paradise, Something Fiction, Skytree, The Wave Farmers)
03 12 The ND (Eliot Lipp, Robot Koch, B. Bravo w/ Starship Connection)
03 13 Hole in the Wall (Luke Redfield, Rogue Valley)
03 13 Ruta Maya (Ocote Soul Sounds, Afrolicious, Ursula 1000 ft. MS.G, Cilantro Boombox, Hard Proof Afrobeat)
03 14 Stubb's (outside the venue, at the creek) (Fiona Apple)
03 14 Pure Lounge (Various Austin DJs)
03 14 Club DeVille (Tycho, Matthew Dear)
03 11 & 15 Studio

For the DMT RMX party that kicked off my first SXSW, I remixed two earlier paintings – "Many Worlds" & "Sound Pond"  – and ended up with something appropriately evocative of both a rippling pond surface and a cross-section of oceanic jasper, micro-universes captured in each pore.  It was a strange night, on the verge of spring only to be suddenly overwhelmed with torrential winter rains...the streets flooded, my car in amphibious mode on the way to the gig...hence the aqueous vibe of this piece.

For those of you unfamiliar with the DMT RMX project, it's an effort by my friend Mitch Schultz, director of the documentary, DMT: The Spirit Molecule.  He collected over 100 hours of interview footage for a one-hour film, and decided to release the rest of it into the Creative Commons so other film-makers and artists could remix it as they please – into their own docs, or music, or whatever.

It's a total pleasure to have connected to Mitch when I moved to Austin and to have been a part of their amazing launch party – you can find two of the tracks I played at that concert on my latest album.  Should give you an idea of just how intense that party was.

Right-click to view the process:

Right-click to view the detail:

Rainbow Dragons
24"x36" - paint markers on stretched canvas
original painting for sale – comment / declare interest on fb
11"x17" prints for sale – $20 + $5 s/h – email me to order one
Painted at:
2012 03 16 Doc's Motor Works (Black Box Presents – The Hannah Barbarians, ISHI)
03 16 Far X Far Out  (White Ghost Shivers, The Trim, Tea Leaf Green, ToasT)
03 17 Papa Tino's (Luke Redfield)
03 23 Flamingo Cantina (Weston Wimberly, Dak Androyd, ToasT)

It's the year of the dragon over in Asia...and I'm totally feelin' it.  After a week of sleep deprivation and bad traffic, something adrenal was welling up inside me – something fierce – and it erupted in this convergence of my paleontology training and my love for fantasy creatures.  Seeing as I didn't grow up to design movie monsters like I suspected I might, here we are living an alternate-universe approximation.

Not to mention that the Archangel Michael is always depicted slaying The Serpent, frequently depicted in dragon form, and drawing dragons is an integrative act for me, a resolution of my inner conflict between the spiritual and animal dimensions of my being – a marriage of the brain stem and prefrontal cortex.

Here's a bit more reading on dragons, for the magically inclined.

Right-click to view the process:

Right-click to view the detail:

 Other Festival Dates Just Announced

I have the honor of not only painting but also playing music and speaking at all three of these awesome events!  These are some of the most wonderful festivals I know of – overflowing with inspirational speakers and films, in addition to some of the grooviest musical acts I know.

AND they're all small – 3,000 people or less – which always makes for a more intimate environment, a safer space in which the potential transformations can blossom:




More soon, of course.  Onward and upward, friends!  Conquer your opponents with love...