Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: Helices, Spraypaint, & Custom Shirts

18 March 2009

Helices, Spraypaint, & Custom Shirts

> Imagery

(You can get a better look at each painting - and all of my previous work - at myspace.com/michaelgarfield or my Visionary Art Gallery at Photobucket.)

available - 2009 02 28 & 03 01, 08 Grizzly Room & Sail Inn (A Meaning To Memorize, Indigo Children & The Noodles) - 16x24
This one happened in two very different places. I worked on the first layer of clear hexagonal plates at the same bumping house concert I mentioned in my last newsletter, and the second layer of tentacles at an outdoor Grateful Dead Tribute down by the canal. The two extra layers of spraypaint between and after the other layers were the result of me sitting at home looking at this bizarre painting for minutes at a time, trying to figure out how to give it more depth. The three different types of embellishments on the tentacles adds an extra veneer of weird, since they must not all be coming from the same thing...and are those eyes all over them? Plants have gotten in the habit of growing down for me, recently. Even ferns, apparently.

available - 2009 03 06 & 07 Mondrian Hotel & The Firehouse (Pere La Chaise & Leaf) - 16x24
I love my new gig at the Mondrian Hotel in Scottsdale. It's outdoors, for one - and I set up my easel along a low white wall next to a beautiful flowery tree and the back gate of the building, which opens to a deep, wide lawn way off the street. And it's "Pere La Chaise" themed (that's the French graveyard where Jim Morrison is buried), so that means 1960's bohemia. I'm there as a performer, and it feels more like an acting gig than the more familiar pseudo- lighting/video vibe. I feel like I'm getting away with something criminally good - like I'm getting paid to pretend to be an artist?

available - 2009 03 11 Rogue Bar (Michna, Eliot Lipp, Jared Alan, Living Humans Being) - 16x24
This would have been a packed house in Boulder, but here in Arizona it was an audience of about sixty people in an almost impossible-to-find (but charming) dive bar duplexed with a liquor store, parking lot capacity = eight cars. Eliot Lipp was great as always, but I was really pleased to hear the other acts, especially Jared Alan and Living Humans Being who are local talent and really worthy. This show was put on by Thru The Wires, which is just about the most passionate garage-production company I've ever met. And the painting: I decided to lay down a field of spraypaint stars first, which tipped my whole endeavor toward what feels to me like a Phil Dick vibe (he wrote VALIS and Radio Free Albemuth after an extended and vivid communication with some transcendent space intelligence). Quite satisfied with the pink and blue part, which reminds me of oceanic jasper.

available - 2009 03 13 Mondrian Hotel (Pere LaChaise) - 16x24
Hard to tell from this picture, but the background is entirely filled with a field of the Flower of Life, gloss black on matte black, and it was from that matrix that I extracted patterns for the rest of the piece. Kris D and Krystle Smith do something similar with their paintings, but Kris lays it out in advance and Krystle often throws the grid on top. Both of them use measuring tools to do this - but I enjoy the challenge of trying to freehand ideal geometries, and I'm more fascinated by the irregularities that I have to build into each subsequent layer. The whole theme here is biological form arising from the Logos, or quantum plenum, or whatever you want to call it: the hidden order that shapes "the world of ten thousand things." Consequently it should come as no surprise that while working on this, I got into an extended conversation with a math student from Carnegie Mellon about whether mathematics are eternal archetypes or created by the human mind... :)

taken - 2009 03 13 (Sonoma Ladies' Medium)
My first custom order, filled. I'm so happy to be doing something people can wear. Paintings are wonderful on a wall but art means something totally different when it's carried around on your person. I consider custom designs like this a consecration practice, blessing the body.

available - 2009 03 14 Mondrian Hotel 1 (Merona Men's Small)
The creative director at Pere La Chaise wanted me to try painting on other things beside masonite, so last Saturday I brought some shirts to work on. I enjoyed myself thoroughly but noticed that working on two shirts in one night rather than one big painting seemed less interesting to the night club crowd. First of all, it takes a lot longer to work on fabric because I have to go over everything two or three times for decent opacity. And secondly, the designs just aren't as extensive or grandiose. Nonetheless, a fun experiment.

available - 2009 03 14 Mondrian Hotel 2 (Converse Men's Medium)
Same night, second project. If nobody buys this shirt, I have half a mind to keep working on it indefinitely.

> Writing
Playing The Body Electric, Part 1 (Visionary Music Blog @ Colorado Music Board):
I believe that we as a species are currently witnessing the evolution of a new relationship between the inner and outer worlds, renegotiating that tricky self/other boundary...and in the process we might ultimately reach a new platform of musical development at which the individual has internalized not just the other players, but the instruments themselves.

Phil Keaggy Struts All The Tricks (Fretbase):
If you’ve ever wanted a single nine-minute demonstration of every acoustic guitar technique imaginable, Phil Keaggy delivers. On my regular YouTube shred-trawl, I recently discovered a gem of a performance by Keaggy in which he demonstrates the perfect execution of everything from standard fingerpicking to slapping, looping, mid-song retuning, and body percussion.

Adrian Belew's Out-Of-This-Word Signature Parker Fly (Fretbase):
Getting your own signature guitar is the rockstar version of a Lifetime Achievement Award - the opportunity to have an entire corporate skunkworks at your disposal to implement the craziest, most mind-blowing customizations ever. In my opinion, though, most people totally blow this opportunity…but Adrian Belew sure didn’t.

Finally! Clock Your Riffs With The "Shred-O-Meter"
I can’t decide whether this is a legitimate rehearsal implement, or a ridiculous novelty, but either way it exists: the Shred-O-Meter, a speedometer for your guitar. Coupling an analog needle-based display with a “super-metronome” that goes up to (brace yourselves) 1300 bpm!, this device finally allows guitarists to know when they’re playing fast enough to travel backward through time.