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Friday, May 30, 2008

Seeing Truth

Taj Mahal
Back when I was a pre-schooler, my mom put me in a program in a lady's backyard called Monart. It was my first art instruction. Mona Brookes was apparently testing a new method of teaching children how to draw. What it taught me was seeing without prejudice.

I don't mean prejudice as in the racial or sexual types. Take that to the extreme, I mean seeing without any judgment or intepretation of what I'm perceiving. I was trained to turn off the normal filter through which we see things, no longer abstracting from my perception anything other than shapes and colors. While painting Taj Mahal, it isn't Taj Mahal I'm painting. It's a collection of shapes distinguished by their values and their boundaries.

This skill leads to the philosophical desire to avoid categorizations, to reject descriptions in words, and to cease assuming. I try to take in my perceptions without analysis and certainly without opinion. If you can do this, you can see without the voice in your head telling you lies, like Ruiz says in "The Voice of Knowledge", you can appreciate the perfect beauty of all this world presents you, and you can love without qualification.

Sounds corny, sounds like what I was objecting to in Ruiz's book yesterday, but I guess I mean "love" in the sense of accepting everything Life is. It's kind of a peaceful feeling, but also sort of disconnected. To be a part of humanity means communicating with language which inherently labels and categorizes with nouns and adjectives. If we could communicate without speaking normally, we'd be set.

Hey, wait a minute. Look at the painting of Taj Mahal above. 'Nuff said.


GIFTED - Taj Mahal 05/30/08

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Don't Believe Yourself

AND, don't believe anybody else! Great advice. It's all lies. I knew I liked this book.

Last post I started talking about a book my dad gave me. I forgot to talk about the Elvis portrait I did. This one is a commission for a friend of my dad's who owns a plantation/hotel in Mississippi. He might even sell my work in his gift shop! Nice contact to have, and a very nice guy.

I certainly hope you aren't as scatter-brained as me right now. I do recognize and accept it, though! I don't feel bad about it. I'm doing well, right?


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rain? Here?

Bobby Darin

It's raining today. In Phoenix. Arizona.


The Beatles and Bobby Darin are for my first high-profile client. Pretty cool. He bought my Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland from Roy Robbins in Pacific Palisades, CA. I hope he likes these too. Maybe he'll even contact me!


SOLD - Bobby Darin 05/22/08

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Do You Own A Piece Of Vinyl Art By Daniel Edlen?

The BeatlesThen I've got something for you! All I need is an address.

So if you've got one of my pieces, drop me a line. It doesn't matter how you got the piece: radio giveaway, direct purchase, or gallery find. I just want to reconnect, and give you a little thank you. You see, I truly appreciate the time and attention you've given to my work.

Speaking of that, if you'd like, tell me where you have the piece and any cool stories associated with it. You can even send me a picture of it in place. I'll share fun stories and photos here in a post as anonymously as you want.

I hope you'll share or at least let me personally send you my thanks.


SOLD - The Beatles 05/21/08

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Freedom In Discipline

Johnny Cash - (i) inspired by photo by Jan OlofssonIn the wonderful yin-yang of life, if you think about it, aren't rules and boundaries freeing? My oldest lab whines and stresses until she knows for a fact what her physical boundaries are. As we grow up, we test social boundaries, stressing until we know with what we and those around us are comfortable. As adults, we delight in dancing over that line in Vegas or Mexico or on Spring Break.

Don't you worry at work if you don't know what is expected of you?

As a professional artist, I'm my own boss. Great in theory, but in practice, a big challenge. It is a big challenge to stay accountable to oneself. This past week after painting a piece a day for Primitive Kool, I've decided to set that as a goal for myself, my future self. I'm telling myself that I expect myself to paint a piece a day. I'm setting up my own guideline.

So now I can relax and follow my own rule. Pretty neat I think. Good way to keep focussed on my art too. I'll bet there are a LOT of posts out there about this very thing, but if you don't experiment yourself, then it isn't your experience yet, right?. I found that when I wasn't painting, doing my "work", I felt disheartened. Don't get me wrong, Jason's sudden death accounted for most of my heartache, but at least this way, with this rule in place, I'm free to do what I need to do for my business.

What's been your experience with the freedom rules provide?


SOLD - Johnny Cash 05/19/08

Editing Prefection

{Insert funny picture cleverly analogous to post title.}

[EDIT: 5/19/08 - Oops. "Perfection". Shoot, now the URL for this post makes me look slightly stupid, or at least hasty.]

I feel funny about going back and editing prior posts. I don't think I should, but I do. My sculpture teacher used to say that he would continue working on pieces for years, going back to old works to tweak them just a bit. To me though, it's art anyway. How can it be "perfect"? And the artist can't ask for pieces back from people who've bought them in order to make them better.

I like thinking of art as a document, a record of the artist at the time of the piece's creation. An artifact. To "go back" and change things kind of messes with the space-time continuum or something, it seems to me. So, as I haven't gone back and worked more on old vinyl art pieces, I haven't substantively altered any past posts mainly because I want my blog to represent me as I was when I created each post.

So other than a couple spelling errors, the only changes I've made were a few additions of information meant to benefit visitors landing on pages having searched for something in my post title that I really don't talk about much in the post. Enclosed in square brackets and dated, the edits basically share what I learned about what they were searching for and give pertinent links: "Ask not what your country can do for you", "1 for the money, 2 for the show", and the "top 101 snl moments". I hope that'll send the people on their ways happier that I helped them on their quest rather than frustrated I misled them into visiting my blog.

What do you think about modifying art or blog posts or anything creative significantly after you'd called it done initially?


Inclusion: Circus Mexicus Rocked!

RCPMMy eyes are still a little blurry, bleary, whatever. Or is that the photo...

I tried to take a shot of the wristband, my new bottle opener keychain, and The Refreshment's early album, "Wheelie". That album was Jason's prize CD in his collection, having been on board with Roger Clyne when his group was just known locally here in Tempe. Now I know why he liked them so much, and why they've amassed such a strong fanbase.

Inclusion. Again, yes it's what it's about. My first time in Mexico and my first RCPM show, Circus Mexicus was seriously good. From "Mexico" to "Nada" it was amazing. Around 50 songs! Two mammoth sets. And does Clyne know how to interact with his tribe? Hell yes. From acknowledging those who've made it to all 16 concerts on the beach at Rocky Point to welcoming newcomers, he repeatedly thanked his people for coming together at his favorite thing. Making sure we were on board with the new album and playing requests for old obscure songs written on huge beach balls, he gave away what he wanted to receive. It's in his songs, after all.

They ROCKED! Damn good rock-n-roll. It's the one commercially successful rock band I've heard that sounds to me uniquely Arizonan. They put on a hell of a show too. His voice is wonderful; we couldn't believe he could sing for so long. Guitarist Steve Larson played some kick-ass solos too. We'd hoped that they would play Jason and my wife's favorite song, "Loco to Stay Sane", but they didn't. So'k.

So, revitalized, but at the same time saddened Jason couldn't be there but in spirit, I'm going to continue to reach out to those, like the RCPM fans, passionate about their music and their culture.

"Hello New Day", thank you, Jason.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Singin' The Blues

B.B. KingI've been doing a lot of that lately. But today, I'm getting back on track. I've got exciting things in the works, a new deal to promote, and I've already sold 3 at a show that hasn't even officially opened! Business is rolling!

B.B. King is the first of a new batch for Primitive Kool. They've almost sold out of the ones I had in their Newport Nights show back in October '07. (You can read more about Primitive Kool in these posts.)

So, I'm off. With a bit of a forced smile, "It's getting better all the ti---ime."


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Politics Is The Art Of Controlling Your Environment

Nixon's Resignation Speech

"That is one of the key things I learned in these years, and I learned it the hard way. Anybody who thinks that "it doesn't matter who's President" has never been Drafted and sent off to fight and die in a vicious, stupid War on the other side of the World -- or been beaten and gassed by Police for trespassing on public property -- or been hounded by the IRS for purely political reasons -- or locked up in the Cook County Jail with a broken nose and no phone access and twelve perverts wanting to stomp your ass in the shower. That is when it matters who is President or Governor or Police Chief. That is when you will wish you had voted."

-- HST (Jason's and my wife's favorite author)

Here's to your birthday, sweetheart!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

100th Post Sales Event!

Yep, 100 (keep reading for a GREAT tie-in). I'm kinda impressed that I've stuck with it this long. My blog has become a nice outlet, though, for my thoughts and feelings. While still focussing on my life as an artist, it has become more about me than my art recently. I hope you all who do read it find something of interest. I know I don't get many comments and I think the most common searches that find me are "100 SNL moments" and "examples of repetition", neither of which bring people remotely interested in what I do. Of course, who is who hasn't already found out about my work? I just like the fact that so many people around the world have at least caught a glimpse of my paintings and maybe skimmed through a snippet of what I've written.

I read somewhere out in the blogosphere that a blog isn't really a blog until there're 100 consistent posts. So, I've arrived! Whoopee! Now what?

Well, of late, I've been creating pieces for art shows using clear coat and not framing them. I started doing some that way because I had double albums and ones without sleeves at all. It's easier to ship them, and it makes for a more dramatic presentation when there're a bunch of them.

So, here's the deal: I'm going to start selling them that way to people who want to just hang them with a nail through the hole or who want to frame them themselves.

I'll paint'em, protect'em, and ship'em in the original sleeve, for a hundred bucks. Yep, $100 (THERE it is).

All you need to do is click the Buy Now button below and when you get to the payment confirmation page, click on "Who do you want?" and put the name in the box that opens up.

Since it's been awhile and maybe you don't know what I do:


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Nothing Is Real

The Beatles - Nothing Is Real

NEMS BUD 280 recorded by iRecord. This fan club release follows the development of the song "Strawberry Fields Forever" from Take one to the "heavy" version to the second version to the famous final version combining the two. So I listened to the song in various forms 6 times. Great song, and cool to hear the differences. Good music to kind of zone out to also. Escape.

I'm trying to stay firmly in denial, or at least emotionally so, right now. After last week, I need to not deal with reality for a bit. I got to thinking about balance again and how anything in moderation is usually ok, but when it becomes a habit or a means to avoid real life, it becomes a problem. What is real life anyways, though? I mean here's a list:

reading, sports, school, art class, piano lessons, shopping, work, travel, recreation, organizing, cleaning, eating, sex

All reasonable activities, yes? Yet all can become escapes, I know. There've been moments in my life when I've used all as a way to not deal with reality for a bit. It's difficult to draw the line. I guess it's all about intention. Like I've discussed before, we are defined by our actions, but those actions always have intentions motivating them. It's up to the human being doing the being human to have good intentions, to have control over why they are doing what they're doing. Otherwise it can quickly become an identifiable disorder or addiction characterized by the action controlling the actor. Not good. So it's important to be self-reflective, to honestly assess our motivations.

Like right now I'm doing projects and activities that, while I'll be glad I did them later as I've wanted to do them, are currently motivated by my desire to turn my brain off and to let my emotional stress come down a bit. Escape. It isn't real.

So I keep telling myself.

Friday, May 2, 2008


MelanieMelanie is for a fellow passionate about his cause: getting her nominated and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is the audience I am most trying to reach with my art: the people who believe so strongly in the music they love that they champion causes to get that music the attention and recognition they feel it deserves.

I feel fortunate to have a means to express my own passions for art and music. Passion, though, has several meanings to humanity. It can be warm, deep affection, but also can be intense agony and suffering. According to Biblical writings, the Passion describes the process of Christ's crucifixion. It signifies strong emotion and desire. Overwhelming.

So it happens that two of my favorites albums are related specifically to the Passion of Christ: St. Luke Passion by Penderecki and Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ by Peter Gabriel.

The first is a contemporary oratorio composed in 1966 by a Polish composer who I was introduced to by my high school physics teacher. Playing for us "Utrenja", another composition about the entombment and resurrection of Christ which was used in the Soundtrack of Kubrick's "The Shining", over the huge speakers in his room that really projected the music's atonal wall of sound, Mr. Layton opened my mind to a whole new type of music. It's certainly not for everybody, but it demonstrates music's capacity for communicating raw emotion.

The second is the album created from Gabriel's soundtrack for Scorcese's controversial film based on the 1961 book by Kazantzakis. It too communicates powerful deep feelings, accomplished with Middle Eastern and African rhythms and harmonies. In a Q&A for the Florida Music Festival, I was asked who my favorite musician of all time is, and I responded with Peter Gabriel. His music has inspired me the most over the years, from his days with Genesis, to his innovative MTV videos, to his own passion for "world music". I was listening to his most recent album, "Up", while painting Melanie. The song "I Grieve" made me burst into tears, thinking about Jason.

I'm sorry to leave this post on a sad note, but I am this week powerfully, miserably sad. I miss Jas terribly. I had a dream with him in it, the first one I could clearly remember that he was in, and awoke hollering "Help!" because I was drowning. Sobbing, I couldn't go back to sleep for hours. Since that, I can very clearly hear his voice again in my head. Remembering that is good and bad, stirring up happy memories and heart-wrenching grief. I guess that's why "passion" applies to the range of intensely felt emotions of humanity.

Peace. Be well.