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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hendrix And Sex, Where's The Connection?

Vinyl Art images now distributed by WENNWow, that was weird. Kind of a traumatic moment. I checked my email this morning to find a message from a friend telling me my Hendrix painting was being used in a post on Perez Hilton's site. What?! I looked at the post, and sure enough it was there (it's not anymore, I know, keep reading). Yeep.

Good, bad, not sure, freaking out. The post has a link to a site claiming to have a sex tape of Hendrix, so that's why they used my photo. The credit for the image was given to WENN (I had sent a bunch of high quality images to a lady who worked for them in London, but she hadn't ever told me they were accepted, much less were in distribution. They probably didn't tell her either, so I'm not blaming her. I have contacted her to find out more.) but there was no connection to me. Good, bad, still not sure, confused.

I thought, well, a whole lotta people will see this, but I get no credit, but I don't really want to be associated with sex tapes, or do I? No, I hope to avoid controversy. I just want people to see my art. But they have to know it's mine. Hmm, so I commented on the post (#81). I sent an email to the lady at WENN asking for any information and filled out the online contact form for the main WENN site asking for clarification. Then I sent a nice message to the "tip" address for Perez asking for the image to be changed. After I saw the email address I kind of wished I hadn't posted the comment because now the public could see the connection to me. Good, bad, thinking worse now.

Sometimes a knee-jerk reaction out of fear isn't the best course of action, so I was worried. But then a couple minutes later I reloaded the post and the image had been changed! I was amazed at how fast that happened! I haven't received any direct contact back, but I'm glad the image is different. Then I thought, oh great, my comment makes no sense now and it has my website. So I figured I'd comment again (#82) to say thank you. Since it was the very next comment, hopefully nobody'll think I'm an idiot, though they might think I made it up. Oh well. I'm glad my painting is gone and we'll see if anything else happens.

Now on with my day. Peace.

(Like the oh-so-dry humor of my post title?)

SOLD - Jimi Hendrix 04/30/08

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Pearl And The Mirage

The Verve at The Pearl

Ah, Vegas. I wasn't sure we'd be up to going so I didn't post about our weekend plans until now. We drove up Saturday to see The Verve play at The Pearl at The Palms and drove back Sunday. We made it, though there were several moments we seriously thought about turning around. The sensory bombardment of Sin City probably was a bit much, but the gig was awesome!

Our time on the Strip started out terribly. We checked in to The Mirage to find it lives up to its name. From far away it looks beautiful, but that fades quickly. My wife stepped into the bathroom in her socks to find the shiny marble floor soaked with water from a leaky toilet. Two hours later we ended up in an older room with an $8 pair of socks comped by the hotel. What a runaround, so badly handled. Don't stay there. I have never been one to complain privately, let alone publicly, so this is serious. Don't stay there.

Then we drove to The Palms off the strip. It's the hotel with the Playboy fantasy tower attached where Paris parties. From an excellent parking spot we walked right to the Pearl, which is just off the casino. It also lives up to its name, a jewel of a venue. We had assigned seats, unlike in London, so we didn't stress about waiting in the line to rush down to the floor. That gave us a chance to check out the concession stand. In London, it had closed by the time we got to it, so we didn't get to even look at the shirts and such. At The Pearl, though, we had plenty of time, no line, and I was able to get one of the $10 keychains. I needed a new keychain to replace the mini Sharpie that Marc Ford previously of The Black Crowes had used to sign a ticket stub, which I had lost at the Phoenix airport a couple months ago. This was perfect. The show was perfect. Great seats at the back of the front section so we could stand or sit and not worry about people behind us. We could relax which was nice because we've been so exhausted lately. The acoustics are incredible too. It was such a treat to see Nick do his dance on the guitar pedals. We could hear him so clearly this time; his sound level had been low in London. Someone apparently shouted out up front that he was the "Picasso of guitar". Pretty appropriate.

I've been distracted by a Windows Vista glitch on our HP laptop the past week as well, so art doings have been sidelined, but I figured it out this morning thankfully. So I can get back to business. I've got a commission of Melanie to do, the Florida Music Festival coming up, and I'm in contact with another artist from San Francisco whose daughter is doing an art project partially inspired by my work. She might put me in contact with some places to sell my work in SF as well as some musicians who might want paintings of themselves!

I'll get back to work and soon I'll let you in on a cool promotional idea I have brewing.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Record Store Day - My Contribution

Record Store Day They added my quote! It's the 4th one. Here's the start of it:

"In West L.A., stores like Record Surplus, Penny Lane, Rhino, Record Rover and Moby Disc became my refuge growing up, offering hours of uninterrupted bliss. The racks became my friends, suggesting new plastic etched with brilliance with albums placed randomly askew, teasing me with a corner of the sleeve, and hand-scrawled dividers shouting undiscovered names.

Now, paying tribute to vinyl, the musicians that created and the stores that redistributed, I hope... "

Check out to read the rest!


Friday, April 18, 2008

Going 'Round In Circles

Nothing But Aging - The BeatlesSo this time I ended up testing my iRecord with an album with too much silence. Where with the last one I had to split the tracks manually, here I had to piece together the tracks. This album, "Nothing But Aging" again by The Beatles, has a couple overdub tracks and demo versions. Overdubs are tracks recorded to overlay previously recorded tracks, adding new vocals or instrumentation, so they often have stretches of silence where no new material is being recorded. The iRecord interpreted those bits of silence as track breaks. The demo versions are several different early recordings of the same song strung together, but again with silence between, so the iRecord split them into pieces. Audacity was a champ again, though, rejoining all the parts of this album, one of the gems in my collection.

It's very meditative watching a beautiful marbled record playing the Beatles and Donovan singing Hare Krishna with the Maharishi. Lets one remove oneself from the normal flow of time, the record's going 'round seemingly replacing the clock's. Nice on a Friday of a week so emotionally trying and psychologically bizarre. Relaxed my stomach for a little bit anyways.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

FMF2008 Rock Walk: Music-Inspired Passion

Dylan, Lennon, Morrison, Davis, Jagger, Brown, CashSo, these are the 7 I'm sending off to Florida. You can click on the photo to see it bigger. They laid out pretty nicely for this photo, I thought. Took it out on the pool deck.

I've gotten a couple commissions that I get to work on: Peter Frampton and Melanie Safka. Both are for people passionate about music that touched them growing up. The people I want to reach the most. Whomever your favorite is, I want to know. I want to create something for you to show off what that music means to you. Make people stop and think, "I know that face... isn't that...?" and then get to talk about why you love them so much. Connect.


Friday, April 11, 2008

The Observer And The Observed

Part of the Uncertainty Principle in Physics (yes, I hear "blah, blah, blah..." after the word Physics now too, even after 6 years of UCLA science courses, but stay with me) says that whenever a subject observes an object, the act of observing changes the object, making the observation always slightly different than the reality a moment before. In a way, listening to vinyl is like that: each time an album is played, the record is worn a bit. I know it's very slight, but sometimes I hesitate to play albums because of it. That's one reason why I'm so thrilled to be able to archive my records with the iRecord.

Some of my records were recorded from "reference discs", not master recordings, so they already bear the artifacts of repeated play. That was the case with the third album I recorded, "Strawberry Fields Forever" by The Beatles, another fan club release. It's got some great rare stuff on it, but the recording noise and extremely short track breaks led to both sides being recorded as one long track each. Oh well, so I got to try out Audacity, a free audio file editting program, to split the tracks. It worked like it was supposed to, even though it took awhile to load in the original uncut file. So, I think I can use the iRecord succesfully for all my records! I could've tried increasing the silence sensitivity setting to split the tracks, but I didn't want to have to play the whole record again. There already was a small skip from when I bought it. So, woohoo!

Oh, yeah, art...

I painted Stevie Ray Vaughan for Wild About Music in addition to the Dylan in my previous post. Today I'm going to frame, box and send those. Next I'm painting The Flaming Lips. The record is a dark, clear, red vinyl. This is the first time I'm using colored and clear vinyl. I'll see how it looks. I might end up spraying the backside with black to make the portraits show up more if the album cover is too distracting behind it. Or I could just create a backing out of black construction paper... I'll show ya both ways before deciding.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Art Of Vinyl Art

Bob Dylan - (i) inspired by photo by Barry Feinstein
Bob Dylan - (i) inspired by photo by Jerry Schatzberg

Choosing the image and creating the composition is the hardest and most important part of what I do. The first painting above is the first image of Dylan that I've used, the second is the second. I used the second primarily because it is very similar to the Lennon image I use. I figured the pair would look good together. However, the difference between these Dylans demonstrates how important the step of choosing the image is to my process. The first is a much softer photo, more sculptural. It shows the volume, the curve of his face more. The second is much harsher, higher contrast. It relies on shape and edges more delicately to create shading and depth. Both are beautiful photos. I'm not placing judgement on either in comparing the two, just pointing out the impact on the final piece of the choice. The first ends up being a more subtle, but perhaps more realistic portrait, while the second is certainly more dramatic and bold, with the expression captured in details of shape rather than tone.

I thought I'd share this comparison because I just painted both, one for the Florida Music Festival and one for Wild About Music. They reveal different sides of the man: the contemplative songwriter and the forceful poet.



Wednesday, April 9, 2008

12 Inch 3 Is Catalogued, 4's Date TBD!

12 Inch 3Rodrigo has been putting a lot of work into this. I'm glad he sold a bunch of his pieces. He's going to keep mine until the next show, date TBD. I've made a connection with a guy in London who uses stencils to create portraits of musicians on vinyl. Though he doesn't use albums by the subject, the compositions are cool and the color layering pretty nice. We hopefully will be able to team up for exhibitions in London at some point. It is still where we'd eventually like to move.

I did get one done today, Dylan for the Florida Music Festival. I like the new photo I'm using. I'll post a pic tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It Seems Backwards To Me

For my second iRecording, I threw it a curve with "Return To Abbey Road" again by The Beatles. It's a fan club issue with shorter pauses between tracks and a pieced together medley on side 2. My little new friend still picked up the actual song breaks, leaving the medley intact as one long file. Before CDs came out, I never dropped a needle in the middle of a medley. I pretty much always listened to whole sides of albums, especially bands that did concept albums, like Pink Floyd. I'm actually going to prefer the way the iRecord does it. I'd rather the whole medley stay in one piece, never understanding why they broke them up on CDs.

So I'm really happy with the white box of magic. I might even give it a name...

You can probably tell I'm a bit distracted from painting at the moment. I'll get back to it tomorrow... maybe.

I'd better because the Florida Music Festival wants 7 by the end of April and I need to replenish Wild About Music's supply as well as Primitive Kool's. I did sell one online sort of indirectly through P.Kool. A payment transaction showed up on PayPal for a Miles Davis. I contacted the buyer who said she'd seen the one listed as "SOLD" on P.Kool's site. Based on the buyer's address, I think she had gone to the gallery, seen my other pieces, found their site, got my name, found my site, and, because I have the PayPal buttons, just paid that way. Even if that's not exactly how it went down, I'd told Paul at P.Kool that I would always ask where people found out about me and give him kind of a referral fee. This is the first time it's happened, so I'm going to send him just about what he would normally make selling my pieces himself. I'll feel better anyways.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Preserving, Reaffirming Passion, i.e. Rock On!

50 MB of heaven! It works, the iRecord works! It turned The Beatles "Revolver" into 50 MB. The default settings worked too, which made me happy, no tweaking required. It records at 192 kbps and it split the tracks automatically. I know the picture's not that clear, I might need a new camera now, but that lovely white box is magic! It was seriously easy. I just hooked it to one of the outputs from my receiver, played the album like normal and it blinked orange for audio recording. So, for $200 for the iRecord and whatever for a regular USB 2.0 storage device (mine's a PNY Attache 1G, cheap cheap at Staples) you can transfer all your recordings, audio and video, to MP3. The sampling rate can be increased for higher quality and you can even schedule the recording to use it like a DVR. Holy mackerel, how cool!

I started with "Revolver" because it was the album my dad played for me that initially turned me on to The Beatles, vinyl, and music in general, leading to my collection of the 1000s of records that I now want to archive. This copy is MFSL 1-107, an Original Master Recording released by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab that I bought for $40 in December '93 at Record Rover in West L.A. So clean! Now it's daunting to think about all the work it'll be to record everything, but I'll take it slow and really enjoy listening to them too.

My wife's going to be so excited that I can now archive her Black Crowes concert recordings too!


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Month And A Day

Jerry Garcia - (i) inspired by photo by Herb Greene

Tada! No glare streaks! Just a little bit at the edge. For $100, it works pretty dang well. I can mess with the positioning of the lights too, maybe to minimize even that fuzzy spot. For this one I only used one light on the left side. There's a second light too, both are slick with built in tripods. The backdrop in the box is a nice blue too, so the color balance didn't require any adjusting. I do still need to kick up the brightness and contrast a touch, as it came out a little dark, but the above picture has no adjustments other than sizing and cropping. I can also get the album basically vertical because the backdrop fabric continues underneath and becomes the bottom of the box too, and the little tripod positions the camera so I don't have to fix the proportions either. I used to have to widen the top and increase the height to get it square. It's really neat though, kind of bounces the light all around inside to diffuse it. Anyway, I'm excited.

So, a month and a day after the end of my contest, I'm ready to ship it to the winner! Pretty cool day too: sold three at a local gallery, got a commission on a referral, got offered free records including apparently a Beatles, and got an email from a 9th grader saying I had inspired part of her art project and that she was going to write an essay about me! Me! I've also been accepted to contribute work to the Florida Music Festival Rock Walk. The best thing is my brain is allowing me to focus today. My wife's too, which makes me feel the most positive of anything. I hope it lasts.

Peace. Be well.

GIFTED - Jerry Garcia 04/02/08