Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: June 2014

30 June 2014

Mycelium Music | New Live Painting | Custom Violin | Upcoming Gigs | New Merch at Zazzle

“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”

“Thoroughly conscious ignorance has been the prelude to every advance in science.”

The summer's abundance of travel, inspirational friendships, and powerful new chance meetings is well underway...freshly home, I'm eager to integrate all that I've learned and experienced in the last two weeks – and looking forward to some amazing gigs in the month ahead.

I can't wait to share all of that new work with you – but I'm a little behind.  So first things first!

Mycelium Music Compilation Vol. 4
A Benefit for the Amazon Mycorenewal Project

I'm honored to be on this album alongside friends Supersillyus, Numatik, Cactus Bath, and Wei Chi Field, as well as a host of other talented producers.  My track, "Throwing Sparks," is something totally different for anyone familiar with my electronic guitar improvisation – a lush and glitchy arrangement supporting my first Chapman Stick recording since 2008.  Proceeds go to the Amazon Mycorenewal Project, using fungus to clean up oil pollution in Ecuador...a worthy cause!

New Live Painting:
"Manna Vesicles"
2014-04-18 Scoot Inn – Sheer Khan, Resonant Frequency, The Human Experience, Andreilien
04-22 Austin Community College – The Human Fractals, Bob Slaughter
05-14 Empire Control Room – JPOD, Blunt Force, Cactus Bath
05-22 The Parish – The Nadis Warriors, Random Rab
06-04 Lanai – Fractala, Ram-Z, DRRTY WULVZ, Subaqueous
06-05 Empire Control Room – Quanta, Akasha
06-07 Archaic Revival Festival – Manoj, Desert Dwellers
06-12 Elanosphere – Studio

Inspired by vintage science fiction paperback cover artwork and fantastical NASA concept paintings, "Manna Vesicles" is also my first in a series of odes to the Texas Hill Country, a sacred landscape whose rolling terrain flows with abundant sunlight and spring water, nourishing an incredible diversity of creatures and cultures.

Sometimes when I look up in the sky and see those almost-invisible floating orbs, I wonder if they aren't dust but chi, the subtle energy of the cosmos flowing through and binding the world together. Given recent discoveries about the Earth's magnetic field and its relationship to storms, human biology, and solar activity, I imagine a field of orbs like this in every open sky – fields of interpenetrating influence, transforming cosmic radiation into something life on Earth can use.

The universe is a vast, mysterious place – most of it invisible to us. Space isn't really empty – it's full. This painting's a reminder of that.

Custom Texas State Flag Violin

My girlfriend Nicole Taylor repairs violins and guitars for a living.  Recently her boss at Westbank String Shop asked me if I'd like to paint the state flag of Texas on a client's violin...and I convinced them to let me have my way with it.  (Here's another shot of the finished job on instagram.)

New Custom Hat: Elephants & Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds and elephants adorn this latest lid.  I love doing these – let me know if you'd like one of your own!  You can see all 154 I've done so far on my facebook page.

New Merchandise on Zazzle

Every once in a while I meet someone who bought one of my phone cases or laptop decals, and I'm always impressed with how well they came out.  Zazzle does a good job!  So I'm glad to announce new items featuring my painting "Inner Light" from Rootwire and Art Outside Festivals last year. And there are plenty more where those came from:


Upcoming Gigs

I'm honored to be opening for the ultra-talented Taylor McFerrin, son of Bobby McFerrin, in Austin this July.  His jazzy live electronica is taking the nation by storm and it's going to be a totally fun way to spend my only gig in Austin this summer...

And then it's off to three amazing festivals!  Gratifly is a beacon of transformational culture in the Southeast; Portal is a very promising new event in the Northwest; and Arise is widely considered the best music festival in Colorado.  I'll be speaking and painting at all three, as well as playing music with an über-talented coterie of special guest collaborators.  Who's coming with me?


Thanks for reading!  Feel free to stay in touch and have a beautiful day...more soon!

06 June 2014

Skytree Collab | Aya Awakenings Panel | New Visionary Guitar Electronica | Hummingbird Hats | Summer Festival Calendar

“Altering perception alters the claims reality makes on you."
– Erik Davis

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do."

It's that time of year again – when I cast myself out onto the open road and throw myself wholeheartedly into the blessing and crucible of festival season.  Part fishing expedition, part pilgrimage, I cherish this season for all of the new friends made and old friends revisited, the meditation of the highway, the sizzle and fervor of the festival weekend.

This year I'm not only playing music and live painting, but giving talks on entertainment as social action and leading open discussions on transformational sobriety at festivals across the country.  My summer tour calendar is below.  I hope to see you out there...in the meantime, enjoy the abundance of music, art, and ideas I have for you in this newsletter.  May they alter the claims reality makes on you.

Thank you so much for reading and listening!

Guest Appearance on Skytree's New Album


The opening track of crystalline bass wizard Skytree's new album Cirrus Sapiens features some glitchy guitar and ukulele courtesy of yours truly – along with samples from ethnobotanist Dennis McKenna talking about the curious part of our brain responsible for religious experiences.  Check out "God Detector," and the rest of this amazing album, here.  LostInSound.org gave it a great review you can read here.

Visionary Plant Medicines – Panel Discussion


This February I was lucky enough to participate in a panel discussion on indigenous plant medicine traditions, modern entheogenic experiences, and the future of human consciousness with documentary directors Rak Razam (Aya Awakenings) and Mitch Schultz (DMT: The Spirit Molecule).  Stream or download our far-ranging conversation for free here.

In this video excerpt from the discussion, I explain how a DMT trip in 2008 taught me about mind, nature, and reality:


New Visionary Guitar Electronica Live Sets


Upbeat, cinematic, invigorating – great for a "getting things done" montage or a drive across the sunset. I was honored to be the first musical guest for Create Culture, a new First Wednesdays monthly by the Third Coast Visions art collective here in Austin at Lanai Rooftop Lounge.  About a dozen of us get together for live painting to DJs and the occasional live musical act in a slick upstairs open-air nightclub.


Real bluesy and deep.  A performance at Wake the Dead Coffee House (San Marcos, TX) supporting Texas Wild Rice Festival – improvised to live visuals by Topher Sipes of ARTheism, featuring Ashleigh Stone on vocals & George Matthews on human beatbox.

Custom Painted Hats


This hat and the one below were painted as a pair for a couple that loves hummingbirds.  Since my own recent hummingbird visitation on a hike in the gorgeous Texas hill country – and because it is the spirit animal of Sonic Bloom Festival, my longest-running annual festival engagement – these beautiful birds have been on my mind a lot of late.  

Metaphysically they represent love, joy, buoyancy...a kiss from the sky.  But my paleontologist friend once pointed out to me that they're always on a sugar high from all the nectar and extremely territorial – if they were the size of turkeys we would fear them.  Funny how that works.

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My Summer Festival Calendar

Every year I get better at picking only the juiciest, heartiest, most dialed-in transformational festivals to give my time, love, and energy.  These events are some of the finest boutique small festivals in the country.  Look them up if you're not familiar – good things are happening everywhere, these days!