Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: 2017

18 April 2017

Two New Paintings + 360 Video: Symbols of Transformation + Future Fossils Podcast with Aunia Kahn & Simon Yugler

“I think there’s something almost archetypal and profound about leaving your home, country of origin, about leaving your comfort zone and traveling OUT into the world…let’s just start there. Initiation 101.”

On the road to the MAPS Psychedelic Science Conference in Oakland this week! I'll be there to show art in the gallery, record live podcasts on the Psymposia Stage (free to the public), and play music on the Beckley Foundation Bay Cruise, Friday night. All of the recordings I make will be made available to everyone as soon as I can – there's still a ton of music, videos, and more to share from Australia!

And now, the new stuff.  Big projects on the way – enjoy, and stay in touch!

360º Video: What Inspires My Art?
YouTube Permalink

Here's a quickie (12 minute) talk I gave in Byron Bay, New South Wales back in February for Harmonic Temple, an Earth Frequency Festival pre-party.  It was the first time I've ever been asked to speak publicly about the thoughts behind my art – along with my friends, the talented artists Randal RobertsMorgan Mandala, and Collin Elder, who are admittedly all better painters than I am, but a little less enthusiastic about jumping up there and letting fly with freestyle riffs on evolution, science, technology, the power of symbols, and so on.

This rant earned me the title "Terence McKenna 2.0" from Collin...decide for yourself.

"Submicroscopic Blacklight Party"
48"x36"– acrylic on canvas – studio
Reproductions available here:

A collaboration with two of my favorite artists in Austin, Greg Pettit & Elliot Rogers.  This painting evolved over a week of intense studio work in preparation for our trio show together at the ALTernate Reality Gallery​ in Austin, Texas. All three of us have what you could call "an obsession" with the microcosms of the body – immune cells attacking pathogens, molecular conveyor belts transporting nutrients within the cytoplasm, DNA's translation into RNA – it's truly alien and wonderful "down there," as psychedelic as it possibly could be.

(In fact, in his book The Cosmic Serpent, anthropologist Jeremy Narby argues that the content of the DMT experience, and consequently all the art of medicine traditions worldwide, is of molecular biology – that ayahuasca and its sister visionary plants are showing us what modern humans need a microscope to see. Who knows?)

"Xenoscaping II"

36"x24" – acrylic and oil on two canvases – studio
This one is the second in a series dedicated to Randal Roberts, Kaliptus, and Jack Shure - three fantastic painters whose influence is clearly felt in this alien still life, second "xenoscape" in the series, inspired by the ineffable neither-alive-nor-dead extraterrestrial "Hypotheticals" from Robert Charles Wilson's Spin/Axis/Vortex science fiction trilogy. I spend a lot of time thinking about how people are also places are also things and around we go, each one of us a location, an ecosystem, a mostly vegetative bio-intelligence more ancient and bizarre than we let on...

New Future Fossils Podcast Episodes 
with Aunia Kahn & Simon Yugler

This week’s guest is the artist, gallery owner, podcaster, web designer, and musician Aunia Kahn! Among her many notable achievements, she curates Alexi Era Gallery in Oregon, hosted the Create & Inspire Podcast, and survived eleven years housebound with disability to emerge more creative, passionate, and powerful than before.  Listen here.

This week’s guest is travel guide Simon Yugler – named one of Open World Magazine’s “Top 30 Adventurers Under 30,” Simon facilitates initiatory experiences as the leader of experiential education journeys for young adults. We talk the alchemy of travel and how to practice right relationship as a stranger in a strange land.  Listen here.

04 April 2017

The Oddest Chicken + Psychedelic Yoga + Tech Ethics + The Future is Exapted/Remixed + Future Fossils with Susan Molnar & Joanna Harcourt-Smith

“Instead of choosing your work, I would highly recommend that you choose your play...The play, at the end of the day, is a lot more important than the work.”
Joanna Harcourt-Smith

Thanks for checking out this update!  Lots of new work in the cooker for you (you can see some of my many new paintings in progress on Instagram) – but a lot of the work lately has been in reorganizing and reimagining my life from the top down and inside out.  Every moment is an opportunity for our renewal, for a fresh start, and in spring especially.  My hope is that by getting straight at home and in my heart, that change will ripple out and grow and help us all move lovingly into a more coherent, generous, and optimistic future.

Hopefully my reinvigorated dedication to a life of love and play inspires the same in you:  release from all the fear-based narratives of both the mainstream and the "counterculture" media; enthusiasm and appreciation for the minor victories and humble private graces; the time and space to notice that which doesn't serve you, and the calm to walk away from it and into something beautiful and good and true without resentment or regret, but simple joy and gratitude for second chances.

Change is in the air.  Let's make the most of it, friends.

Here's my latest work.  More soon – 


"The Oddest Chicken"
48"x36" – acrylic on canvas
Original painting available (email me)

I present to you "The Oddest Chicken" (Australian for "The Artist Check-In.") Painted live at Rainbow Serpent Festival (Victoria, Australia) during and after the Chinese New Year's celebrations. I had an amazing time in Australia and a big part of it was finding the confidence to stride boldly into this bold year.  I hope this piece does something similar for you.

Here's a 360 time-lapse video of this painting in progress (as well as fuzzy cameos by Randal Roberts, Morgan Mandala, and Luke Brown) with an excerpt from my talk at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors on how psychedelics prepare us for an age of accelerating technology:

You can also check out my gallery of 360 photos from the making of this painting, and the rest of the tour, here. Enjoy...

...and while we're on the subject of Australia, psychedelics, and technology – here's a video of the talk I gave at The Commonwealth Bank of Australia's Innovation Lab (where they've had people like Richard Dawkins and Guy Kawasaki come to speak):

Click here for the slideshow that accompanies this presentation.

Click here to stream the audio of the full talk plus the spicy 90-minute discussion that it led to – these bank employees CHOSE to stay at work until 6 pm on a Friday to keep this conversation going...

And if that's not enough evolution talk for you, here's the latest chapter of my book, How to Live in the Future.  In this section I explain how everything's a remix, including you, and how "exaptation" (a little-known concept from evolutionary science) can improve your creativity:

An excerpt:

"Long before the first amphibian crawled out to lay our modern mythological foundation, our ancestor – some lobe-finned fish – had stubby little feet it used to cling to rocks in shallow water. The good idea of what we now call “hands” lay there unnoticed, latent, till the moment that the pool dried up and (we are told) fate benefited fish with feet, fish that could waddle back into their brackish lakes (which as a site for Epic Moments in Life History are far more likely than the sea, since estuaries offer such a trove of coves as evolutionary testbeds). All the pieces were already there, just waiting for sufficiently large waves to roll up and away, remixing them."

And we have two new episodes of Future Fossils Podcast!  Click the images for download links to awesome chats with coder and tech educator Susan Molnar and podcasting psychedelic socialite Joanna Harcourt-Smith:


20 March 2017

What is the Opposite of Fear? + The Evolution of Beauty + Talk & Music from COSM + JF Martel on Future Fossils

“Ultimately, art does have a function: it’s to help us better navigate the infinite chaos that is reality.”
JF Martel

Yay, it's spring!  Time to navigate the chaos of 2017 with grace, open-mindedness, exuberance, and playfulness.  Here are some things that, hopefully, will help you with that – starting with a few quick videos and one extremely deep and magical discussion...

New Videos

On my recent tour of Oz, I stopped by Uplift Connect to chat with them about what I've learned from studying the fossil record and what it can teach us about the extraordinary times we're living in.

Here's a quick two-minute takeaway insight I hope serves you as well as it serves me.

I think this is the coolest video I've ever made – in which I lay it plain how sex, art, and consciousness all intersect and led to the creation of the world we know.  Bookmark this for when you have seven minutes to appreciate it.

It's a 360º time-lapse live painting video of my first collaboration with my friends Randal Roberts and Morgan Mandala, two of the coolest people I know.  But the real magic sauce is in how the music and narration combine with this video to create a synesthetic, synergetic and emergent something-greater-than-its-parts.

I literally spooked myself with the synchronicities of the end result.  Enjoy!

New Podcast

My latest inspiring conversation about the cosmos is with JF Martel, film-maker and author of Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice – as well as the three-part essay "Reality is Analog," about the philosophical themes lurking behind Netflix's series Stranger Things.

You can download it here or subscribe to the show on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

New Music & Talk from COSM

Stream or Download it here.  

Recorded live on 12 November 2016 at COSM, Alex & Allyson Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, in Wappingers Falls, New York.  Performed on acoustic guitar, voice, and hardware effects pedals (no computers, no prerecorded samples, entirely live and improvised).

This music is an invocation of creative spirit for the benefit of all beings. Recommended listening environments: painting parties, cuddle puddles, chillout sessions, game night, long daylight drives, and making love...

33% of sales go to supporting the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors and their project to build Entheon, a museum of visionary art.

Stream or Download here.

Delivered at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (Wappingers Falls, New York) on 12 November 2016, this talk – my first at COSM – was truly epic (three hours, minus the half-hour of pauses and throat-clearing I edited out for your benefit). Based on the work of Penn State professor Richard Doyle – especially his book, Darwin's Pharmacy: Sex, Plants, and the Evolution of the Noösphere – this is a talk about art as magic, and awareness as the medium of all creative work.

It's about how we got here and what we're doing and how the cosmic table's tilted in favor of evermore creative and intelligent ideas and organisms. It's about your purpose in the world and where this ride is taking us and how you can embrace the change and chaos for a more creative and rewarding life...

New Merch

I've been slacking on my society6 merchandise shop for a while, so I just fixed that with dozens of new items featuring some of my favorite recent pieces.  If you have a new device or space, consider fancying it up with some of these new decals, cases, pillows, notebooks, tapestries, etc.  ...

That's all for now.  Thank you for reading and have a magnificent week!


17 February 2017

Greetings from Australia Tour! Abundant Creativity From Oz & Onward

“Through how many dimensions and how many media will life have to pass?”
– Loren Eiseley, The Incredible Journey (p8)

Greetings from the last week of my Australia tour!  This last month's surges of intense and revolutionary energy have served my citizen diplomacy and art so well, and I'll be sharing videos and fresh work from this trip for quite a while to come.  Some of the most amazing moments:

- Painting my first collaboration with my friends Randal Roberts & Morgan Manley;
- Giving a talk on psychedelic transhumanism to executives at the largest bank in Australia;
- Visiting the Easternmost point of the continent and its stark, beautiful eroded beaches.

That is not to say that it's been easy.  This has been the most demanding, difficult, and complicated journey that I've had in years, and knowing that it's all scored to the music of my country's painful transformations hasn't made it any easier.

My heart goes out to everyone who's suffering right now, but all this just reminds me of the deeply valuable, important work ahead of us, to keep our minds sharp and hearts open.  Here are some things I hope will let some light into your life.

Australia Tour 360º Travelogue (Part 1)

Here are the photos (and videos!) I've been taking with my Samsung Gear 360 camera while on painting/music/speaking tour Down Under. I'm so excited to share these with you!
360º photography is such an immersive, rich, delightful way to share the feeling of a place, the energy of all these festivals and underground gigs carrying me on a song-line through the synchronistic magic of Australia.

How to Live in the Future Part 3: 
The Future is Both True & False

The latest section of How To Live in the Future, the book I'm writing in public, is a timely message for an age of fake news and splintering realities:

'Lying will persist as long as there are lines to cross, as long as there are others to communicate with. So you cannot really say and mean that lies are fully false; for each of them contains the truth, reflects it, and says yet more about the hidden mind that models and presents such falsehoods. (You can, but then you would be lying to your self, aware of it, and holding both perspectives from opposing banks across an oxbow of your fractal subjectivity, and only ritually “siding” with one view to immanentize and involve and push-against, cuz God gets bored, so what?)'

Making Sure Technology's "A Good Trip"

Here's the slideshow for my five-minute talk at Ignite Freelance Austin last autumn, "Tech Ethics As Psychedelic Parenting." Twenty slides on how to rightly think about the future.

I've never given such a whirlwind talk before – just 15 seconds for each slide – and it was great to wrangle my discursive and nonlinear ideas into a simpler presentation.

Comments welcome!

New Paintings: Red & Green Bioglyphs
16"20" – acrylic paint on canvas
both currently available

18"x24" – acrylic paint on canvas
both currently available

New Instrumental Track:
"Slow Dream Through A Wet Wood"

Okay, not new, exactly.  I recorded this in March of 2014 with Casey Smith of Spindlegraf on voice and Ableton, back in the peak of my engagement with the Boss RC-300 looping pedal.  What starts off as very dark and sparse grows roots and crystallizes into something groovy, rolling, even funky.  It is unique amidst my hours of solo music, similar ideas but somewhat different colors, more inflected with the faerie magic of a sylvan film score and the curiosities of small things...

Future Fossils Podcast with Cory Allen

“It’s just all what is. And I accept every state of being as glorious.”

Join two dedicated truth-seekers and cosmos-abiders as we make a lot of dirty jokes and somehow manage to harmonize our angles on the practice of rigorous inquiry into the nature of reality and consciousness…

We have a totally tangential, irreverent, penetrating conversation. (Luckily for you it’s audio only.) Somehow it all hangs together…much like Cory and I would, if they ever found out about the unrecorded parts of this chat. (Kidding!)

Episode Show Notes & Download Permalink
Subscribe/Rate/Review Future Fossils Podcast on iTunes

Third Eye Drops with Douglas Rushkoff

I also had the honor of another guest appearance on Third Eye Drops Podcast, this time with Douglas Rushkoff, one of my favorite authors on the complex interplay of magic, myth, and media.  We went deep, as per usual – check out our whole chat here.

25 January 2017

I'm In Australia! // New Song, 360 Video, Painting, Stickers // Westworld Problems & Body Hacking on Future Fossils

“Do not look for the purpose. Think of the way we came and be a little proud. Think of this hand – the utter pain of its first venture on the pebbly shore.”
– Loren Eiseley, poet-archeologist

Greetings, friends!  Since we're now at cruising altitude on the adventure that is 2017...

I'm on tour in Australia for the next month.  Here's my tour schedule (more updates to come) – if you know people out this way please introduce us!  Time is precious and I'm eager to contribute all I can to the enduring reputation of Americans as generous, inspired, helpful, interesting, lovely people, regardless of the tensions of our world at large.

Thanks hugely to my supporters on Patreon for helping me fund this trip.  You've helped me immensely with your many modest contributions – every bit has helped and I can't wait to pay it back

Here are my latest works, for you – the fruits of my love's labor – enjoy, and stay in touch!

Unplugged in Odemira, Portugal
(freestyle instrumental intro) 

Filmed at the ruins of a gorgeous old windmill in rural Portugal while I was visiting form Boom Festival in August 2016.  My song off the forthcoming album about how every moment of our lives is like a little near-death experience. Every choice we make, a little death...a gorgeous new horizon.

Be sure to watch this video on Chrome or the YouTube app so you can move around it and explore the whole surround...   Full lyrics and more info here.

In the moment before acting lies a void
where every future gleams, reflecting every other

each potential a uniquely blooming world.

In the space between two thoughts

where every instant pours, expanding now into infinity
and every possibility unfurls...
How do you choose your next life?

"The Land After Time (Littlefoot Considers Singularities)"
48"x24" // paint pens on canvas

The Land Before Time is one of my favorite movies from childhood; the title implies an antipode, a post-historical reciprocation.  In my vision of this moment, my most time-intensive painting to date and the latest in my series, The Psychedelic Age of Dinosaurs (Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus, and more soon), Littlefoot grows up and lives through the Singularity to inhabit a transfigured landscape populated by mysterious and metamorphic life-forms...

Painted at Unify Festival 2016 (Santa Fe, New Mexico), Green Beer Festival 2016 (Boulder, Colorado), and months of work in my Austin, Texas studio.  Finished on New Year's Eve 2016.

New 4"x3" Stickers: "Beija Flor" & "End of the World Party"
High Quality Weather Resistant Vinyl, 
Backsplit & UV Coated


The show that explores our distant past, deep future, and the countless other dimension-perspectives on time and the human condition that our mainstream narratives ignore.  Subscribe to us on iTunes (for iOS) or Stitcher (for Android).  Here are our latest episodes:

0014:  "Westworld Problems" with Michael Phillip

One of my favorite TV shows ever, Westworld, deserves a conversation smart enough to match its writing.  If you're not familiar with this awesome sci-fi series and its explorations of consciousness, robotics, free will, and the human spirit – go watch the first season right now and then come back and listen to this fun and penetrating chat with Michael Phillip, host of the Third Eye Drops podcast, on what WE think's going on in Westworld...  (Download here.)

0015:  Body Hacking & Sensory Substitution with Trevor Goodman

While I'm in Australia, I'm missing a super fun and interesting event in Austin, The Body Hacking Conference.  Trevor Goodman helps throw this annual celebration of our expanding horizons and bold new approaches to re-imagining the human body.  This conversation gets into some very out-there places – but nothing that won't seem normal in ten years...  (Download here.)


05 January 2017

Happy New Year! It's An Art Explosion: John Speaker Collab // Free Ableton Live Pack // Future Fossils Episode 13 // Synchronicity & The Inner Eye

“We try to be conscious and respectful of our neighbors…and yet, we MUST prevail.”
– Alex Grey

Greetings, friends, and Happy New Year!  According to the Chinese Calendar, 2017 will be the Year of the Fire Rooster.  Given my love for sacred flames and bird-related things, I'm already gearing up for a year that feels like home:  wild independence, visionary ventures, channeled positive aggression, yang creative push to new horizons, yes let's do this!

Making room for new beginnings also means the end of some things I've held dear.  Tonight is the last Loopers' Night (the music monthly residency that I've hosted here for years).  I'm painting much less live work now, and more at home (where I can join you guys for webcast art jams, like next Friday's).

Fewer public appearances in general means more time to work on my book, album, and podcast – all part of an ecosystem of ideas and art I'm making this year to help people navigate our increasingly psychedelic century.  If you'd like privileged access to my new work and the satisfaction of supporting independent art, please check this out:

And now here are the new things.  Enjoy, and Happy New Year...!

New Collaboration with John Speaker
18"x24" // acrylic // canvas // sold

A collaboration with John Speaker, to whom I mailed this painting halfway through.  He took a piece that led to a dead end for me, and lifted it to new heights. (We've never met in person.)  Check out our as-yet-unclaimed other collaboration by mail here.

Free Ableton Live Pack

I've been making music with the amazing digital audio workstation Ableton Live since I got my first Macbook in 2004...but I've mostly kept it to myself. As I embark on the adventure of recording and publishing my first studio album in nearly a decade, I'd like to share with you some of the tools and toys I'm making for this project. So here is my way overdue first Live Pack, containing two drum racks I'm using for sample-based electronic percussion on the new album.

Both of these drum racks are based on a single-take sample recorded through a Beyerdynamic M88-TG microphone, a hypercardioid condenser mic renowned for its excellent flat EQ response and full-spectrum sound. Both slice one sample into sixteen short clips to be triggered as percussion hits (in my case with a Keith McMillen QuNeo MIDI controller – but you could use just about anything that will send pressure-sensitive commands).

Plenty more sample-based synthesizers and drum kits to come. My hope is that you have fun with these – and that you share whatever music they inspire!

(If you would like to learn the basics of music production and performance with Ableton Live, I'm happy to get you started with lessons over video chat. I'm eager to share more technical knowledge in the years to come, and share the joy of making music/paintings/writing/podcasts/anything I do...)

New Episode of Future Fossils with Rupert "Dr. Chill" Till

“I keep saying to people, this is work. I’m not here on holiday…I’m here disseminating the results from a 3.5 Million Pound European research project.”
– Dr. Chill

Our thirteenth episode features Dr. Rupert Till, aka Dr. Chill, the world’s first PhD in Electronic Chillout Music. Dr. Chill has a habit of reconstructing ancient acoustic spaces from caves and temples, then writing electronic chill out music with 3D printed replicas of the world’s oldest instruments. In other words, he’s a badass at the intersection of academic archeology and international dance festival culture. A pretty great place to be!

We had an amazing conversation about his research, rites of passage, and the perennial trance dance that defines us as human beings at Boom Festival.

Subscribe to, Rate, and Review Future Fossils Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

(Or download the episode and read show notes here.)

Guest on Synchronicity Podcast

I had a wonderful time on the Synchronicity Podcast, discussing "the usual": psychedelics, shadow work, nonduality...dinosaurs...we really went for it with this one.

Give it a listen here.

Guest on The Inner Eye Podcast

The Inner Eye podcast is a collection of spontaneous and casual conversations with visionary artist Jake Kobrin exploring the subjects of art and creativity as well as things of relevance to navigating our existence such as religion and spirituality and psychedelics.  

Listen to our episode here.

Upcoming Awesomeness

The FINAL Loopers' Night is this Thursday.  For the last two years, my cohost cellist Jen Mulhern and I have led groups of daring instrumentalists through alternately groovy and hypnotic electronic live improvisations.  Every month we welcomed new musicians into the adventure.  This month Jen and I move on to dedicate ourselves to other projects, but we're going out in style...

RSVP and learn about participating acts here.