Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: Cosmic Consciousness & A Custom Hat

23 October 2009

Cosmic Consciousness & A Custom Hat

> Imagery
2009 10 17 City Hall (KiloWatts, Big Gigantic, Emancipator, Heyoka)
20"x30" - opaque pens on masonite
11"x17" signed prints - $15; full-size signed & numbered (x/30) prints - $50
I recently had the honor of painting alongside Alex & Allyson Grey, Mars-1, and J Garcia at one of the most epic parties I've ever attended, thrown by my friends at Boogie Down Productions in Denver last weekend. It took place at City Hall – not the actual civic building, but Denver's most promising new venue, three floors and a majestic outdoor balcony/lounge area that, all together, make for a ridiculously awesome event space. Plenty of corners and corridors, four stages, a fashion show, two floors of live painting, a hefty and delicious array of vendors, and some of the most lovely electronic music I've ever heard. Alex started the evening off with a sweeping survey of his work since the age of five, showing how his psychological development was reflected in a growing capacity for perspective-taking. I don't think anyone there, myself included, had ever seen such a glorious presentation initiate what ten years ago would have been called a "rave"...the otherwise insane, crowded, sweaty, intoxicated evening was still somehow activated, lucid, and open-hearted. And no doubt Alex's excellent primer on visionary art was largely responsible.

That was just one reason that this evening was one of the highlights of my entire artistic existence. Ten minutes after I started, I damn near had a panic attack about my sloppy first layer, the evidence of that day's anxiousness and confusion. But I stuck with it, and the painting ultimately took on an edgy, urban quality I've never managed to capture...and a ghostly inner glow that half captivates me and half gives me the creeps. The crowd was thick, and since I wasn't granted my own riser that night, I was getting bumped and jammed all evening. But momentum is conserved, and all of that energy traveled up my spine, down my arm, and into the piece. You're looking at the vector space of some 2,500 exultant partiers.

I should also mention that this painting was fueled by the excellent cuisine of my dear friend Araminta David, whose pre-show catering for the artists and production team was definitely on par with the quality of all other art that evening. I can't believe she got a "Guest" lanyard instead of an "Artist" lanyard. If you ever have a chance to eat her food, you had better take it. Just might change your life.

2009 10 14 Studio - Owl & Ice
In more modest news, I finally got to do my first custom hat! This was a surprise birthday present for one of my friend's boyfriend. He likes owls, and she suggested cubes...minor constraints like that really helped "narrow the search space" and focus the vision, and the hat she sent me to work on had just enough texture that it opened up new expressive possibilities with my pens. The "feather" of ice cubes on the left side was just silly enough to work, and I love being asked to do characters, which I normally don't have the nerve to attempt in a large format live context. Not to mention, someone is wearing my art ON HIS HEAD, now! Point being, I LOVED working on this hat. If anyone else wants some custom headwear, email me about it. I'd be honored and delighted.