Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: March 2012

27 March 2012

New Collab Painting, Guitar Gear Interview, "Extinct" Video, Custom Hats

"Life is a copiously branching bush, continually pruned by the grim reaper of extinction, not a ladder of predictable progress."
Stephen Jay Gould

“No moving parts in one’s true nature, nothing to break down.”
Ken Wilber

"Extinct" live at Whip In (feat. Toni Lane Casserly)

I turned 28 this year, on January 8th – a birthday I share with fellow mystic rockers Elvis Presley, David Bowie, and Stephen Hawking.  Part of my strong association with the Capricorn archetype is what the ancients called "melancholy humor" – a moodiness that draws me inward to reflect on cosmic truths, predisposing me toward science and philosophy, fixing my attention on the profound vistas of the interior landscape.

To celebrate this portentious day – when Saturn (the planet of time, fate, and responsibility) returns to where it was on the day I was born – I played my ode to the inescapable reality of death at the show that night.  "Extinct," originally recorded at last year's Manifestation Celebration next to dinosaur skeletons in the Dallas Natural History Museum, carries the Buddha's tears on its sonic conduits.  It's a reminder that all the life we enjoy is given us by the death that made room for us – that our own transformations are to be welcomed, and black is as holy as green.

It may not seem like a timely message as spring blooms all around us, but when I had to pick a track to go on my friend's recent benefit compilation for Rock Against Cancer, it was the obvious choice.  "Death is the road to awe," as they said in The Fountain – it's half of the mystery of existence, half of our nature, and thus it is to be embraced as we come to know and love everything we are.  Wisdom grows from accepting our limitedness so thoroughly that we move through it into our eternal nature...

Interview With Everyday Guitar Gear

"A transcendent exploration of what one man can achieve with an acoustic guitar...his glitched-out grooves [are] simultaneously calm yet very much switched-on."

When I tell people I make electronic music on the acoustic guitar, that statement conceals a huge part of the story.  That part looks like this:


Now, anyone who wants a window into my process as an improvisational "cyberacoustic" guitarist can read all about it in this article – where I go into detail about every pedal I use, as well as the inspiration behind my playing and what's it's like for me to do this crazy octopus high-wire act on stage.

“When I pick up my guitar and play, I’m agreeing that this is an instrument, that this is a guitar, that I play the guitar, and that I play the guitar in some specific way. That this is what it’s ‘for.’ There are an infinite number of ways for the universe to express itself through the functional relationship between a human being and a guitar.” (read more)

If you're a musician or freestyler of any kind, you'll dig the conversation...

Maithuna
(a collaboration w/ Chaeli Cardenas)
18"x24" - paint markers on masonite

I worked on this painting for weeks at farmer's markets and street fairs in Boulder last summer before throwing up my hands in frustration and handing it over to my friend Chaeli Cardenas to do with as she pleased.  And "as she pleased" turned out to be pretty amazing.

Legend has it that I inspired Chaeli to pick up paint markers at the Shpongle show in Dallas two years ago...and she immediately overtook me with her talent, painting gorgeous animal portraits of depth, sensitivity, and playfulness.  (Do you see the hidden wolf in the painting above?)

All sales of this print are split between me and Chaeli, who just moved down to Austin on a wing and a prayer to start a new artistic life on her own terms...help her follow her bliss!

Hand-Painted Hats

There's still a week or two remaining to preorder one of the amazing embroidered flatbills Grassroots California is making with my design – here's the picture if you haven't seen it – email me if you'd like to buy one directly from the artist before GRC announces their own presale and they're gone for good!

Here is the latest batch of hand-painted custom caps:



New Article at SolPurpose.com

Another installation in the ongoing series, Ode To A Paradigm Shift, hosted by my good friends at their inspirational media portal SolPurpose.com.  This one's about the secret spirituality inherent in science, and the beautiful humility of our unique place in the universe: "Copernicus & The Sacred Humility of Science"

"Insofar as science is the process of expanding the boundaries of our ignorance, it is a sacred mission of continual decentralization, marginalization, and humbling. But when all is said and done we are in some sense exactly where we started, because we are in the dead (nay, living) center of the human experience, just as we always were. As our technologies allow us to perceive ever-greater celestial objects, they allow us to peer deeper and deeper into the realms of the inconceivably small…but we always seem to remain poised perfectly between these two extremes, precisely in the middle of the human cosmic measure." (read more)

Next Week...

I'd have included tons of pictures and videos from my adventures South By Southwest in this week's news, but don't want to overwhelm anybody any more than I already do.  So stay tuned because sharing everything from SXSW is gonna be a two-parter!

In the meantime, thanks for reading, feel welcome to reach out with questions or comments, and have a magnificent day...

17 March 2012

A.I., Angels, Mass Extinctions...and Benefit Compilations

"For the first time in human evolution, the individual life is long enough, and the cultural transformation swift enough, that the individual mind is now a constituent player in the global transformation of human culture."


The new benefit compilation from None Backwards features ALL UNRELEASED TRACKS from Mochipet, Up Until Now, D.V.S*, The Malah, Kappa, Benny Loco, This Is Art, and many more!  Plus, gorgeous cover art by my friend Chaeli Cardenas.

My track's a recent live performance of "Extinct," a crowd favorite from last year's A Million Anniversaries: CyberAcoustic Guitar For Lovemaking, recorded back in January with Austin chanteuse Toni Lane Casserly on vocals.

All proceeds from this album go directly to Rock Against Cancer, a nonprofit organization that supports the emotional needs of young cancer patients with music therapy and special music events.  Next week I'll share the video of this song live in concert – in the meantime, enjoy Spring Forward, Vol. II and put some money toward making a few children's hard situation a little easier.


When I'm not painting at concerts, or playing my own, I spend my time thinking and talking about deep time, radical evolution, and the transformation of humankind – you  know, the crazy science-fiction-level questions playing out in real-time all around us these days.

Recently I had the wild good fortune to speak with one of my philosophical heroes:  William Irwin Thompson, former M.I.T. Cultural Historian, founder of the Lindisfarne Association, friend of Marshall McLuhan's and Buckminster Fuller's, and yogic poet world renowned.

Thompson wrote one of my favorite books, Coming Into Being: Artifacts & Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness – a paradigm-busting exploration of the ancient world and human history from the very different perspectives of the people who lived in it.  And his lectures are just as brilliant and far-ranging – he has a way of "speaking in hypertext," connecting wildly divergent ideas with expansive (yet surgically precise) metaphors.

Using my research position at Hybrid Reality Institute as an excuse, I called up Bill Thompson on Skype back in December and this is what came of it:  an intense, luminous, challenging, wild conversation on the origin and destiny of the human species:


The whole thing is in audio format over at my lecture & interview archive.  So you can follow up on all of Thompson's encyclopedic references, the hyperlinked transcript is bundled in every free download:



"Catastrophes are often stimulated by the failure to feel the emergence of a domain, and so what cannot be felt in the imagination is experienced as embodied sensation in the catastrophe."

The man's a genius.  Even if comparative mythology, cyborg anthropology, evolutionary biology, and science fiction aren't your thing, this is a conversation that will rock your world – possibly forever.  Not for my own sake but for yours, I highly encourage you to set aside the two hours and change the way you think about being human...

More Custom Painted Hats

This is just not getting old for me...I love the blend of challenge, creativity, and intuition involved in making someone a hat that fits their spirit.  If you'd like one of your own, email me with the specifics (budget, hat style, favorite colors, etc.) and we can get right to it!

(Also, I've had a crazy run of preorders for my upcoming fully-embroidered collaboration with Grassroots California – and I'm still taking preorders, so now's your chance if you want one before they're sold out!)


Next week: New paintings and music from my adventures at South By Southwest!  Austin's wildest week a year is still in the throes, but I'll have some of my finest work yet online soon.  In the meantime, thanks for your ongoing support, and have a beautiful day...

04 March 2012

My New Collab With Grassroots Cali & Paintings From Houston

"Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant. It is not in itself the life more abundant. It merely points the way, something which is overlooked not only by the public, but very often by the artist himself. In becoming an end it defeats itself."

First of all, the most exciting news since...well, since the last newsletter when I announced my new place on the roster next to Alex & Allyson Grey, Nadis Warriors, Govinda, & D.V.S* at Re:Evolution Media.  But whereas that was exciting for me, this has (also) been exciting for everyone else:

GRC x MG Collaboration!

Last August I painted a custom hat for Ryan Connolly of Grassroots California, who sell limited run custom designs on fitted ball caps at pretty much every music festival I've ever attended.  He liked the piece so much he had his comrade Graham Considine vectorize the image so it could be immortalized in embroidery on a signature MG Grassroots design...and now this picture of the prototype has scored more "likes" than anything else I've ever posted.

Right-click on that picture to take a closer look:  all of that is embroidery!  Everyone involved agrees that this takes flatbills to a whole new level...and pre-orders have been FLYING.  If you want to claim one of these before they're officially out in April (and sold out before they hit the streets), I'm taking preorders right now ($50 + shipping = less than half what this would cost from a company like New Era).  

Only 420 of these will be made, but that's still 419 more than any other hat I've ever designed.  ;)

And now on to Houston, where I joined the Morphis Art Collective for some shows on their home turf a couple weeks ago...

Painting with Chris Morphis at Villains, Houston

Hooo Do You Love?
2012 02 11 Villains (various Houston DJs), 02 12 Morphis Art Studios
32" x 20" - paint markers on two 16" x 20" masonite panels
11" x 17" signed poster prints - $25 (incl. s/h) - email me to order

My first diptych, a pair of "his and hers" owls (I leave it to you to decide which is which) in classic conjoined transpersonal endless-palace-of-spirit configuration.  They look really cool set slightly apart, so the viewer's eye stitches both panels back together...the gold-red background makes these really shiny in person.  I had a hard time keeping the two panels taped together during the show...which is poetic, considering how I was set up to paint with Chris Morphis in between two rooms with two DJs playing completely different music and I was feeling insane by the end of the night, caught between competing influences.  Totally disruptive sonic environment, not recommended.

Right-click to check out the painting in various stages of its process:


The Walls Have Eyes
2012 02 14 Mango's (various Houston DJs)
2012 02 19 Austin Roadhouse (various Austin kids)
18" x 24" - paint markers on balsa panel
11" x 17" signed poster prints - $25 (incl. s/h) - email me to order

Kind of a Jeff Wood does H.R. Giger piece if I ever saw one.  I ordinarily use masonite panels because of their finely textured, high fidelity surface, but didn't expect to stay in Houston as long as I did and had to borrow a piece of this balsa laminate from the Morphis family.  Consequently it was primed by them and I got to work on a white background for the third time in nearly 250 paintings.  It led to an entirely different approach, building things up instead of pulling them out, painting over the luminosity rather than as it...

Right-click to check out the painting in various stages of its process:


Custom Hat Explosion Continues Unabated

The ongoing exploration of all possible ways for me to paint a hat proceeds apace, kindled by the attention my Grassroots California collaboration received over the past week.  In addition to my first live hat painting (the one on the bottom, tagged at one of my shows with Applied Pressure for a friendly donation), here are three of the classier lids I think I've done so far:





And, I was just featured on Leakworthy.com – they "leak" new undiscovered music and artistic talent every week, and have made a gorgeous little page presenting a full slideshow of my live paintings in addition to exemplary videos of my work.  Check out their whole site – it's full of amazing artists!

So much more already for the next one.  I'm excited to share...but for now, thanks and love!