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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Preach What You Practice


What if you had to? I've posed the question about doing things you wouldn't want broadcast on the evening news.

Zack, formerly of Rage Against The Machine, could be a bit of a hypocrit according to a friend who used to work with him. A lot of people are. There are examples a plenty of public figures not "doing as they say".

So, what of it? What if you had to preach what you practice? What if twittering every action was required? What if Big Brother of Orwell's "1984" was a reality? What if your actions had some impact on the next generation of humanity somehow? What if there was some being or energy that watched everything to which you would have to account for your life?


SOLD - Zack de la Rocha 07/31/08

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Execution

Marley Collage

What happens when you're in the middle of a conversation with someone and they unintentionally mess up grammatically? The transfer of information falters, the communication breaks down. Focus transfers from message to medium when the tool of spoken language is misused.

The same thing happens when the tools of visual arts are misused. If you can see an errant artifact of the artist's chosen medium and tool employed, the illusion is broken and you see a painting instead of feeling the artist's intended expression.

In a pop cultural setting, think about when you see bad makeup.

So, it's all in the execution of the communication, in whatever form.

For me, internal consistency of brush strokes and paint density are key. If you look at my painting and think "that splotch looks out of place" or "he did something different with his brush there", and I didn't mean for you to think that, I've failed. Crap.


SOLD - Bob Marley 07/29/08

The Hook & The Head Fake (Or RCPM Rocks & RIP Randy)

Inspiration and passion. It fills my soul when I see it in any form. It drives my desire to paint and create and enrich people's lives.

So this past Saturday we went down to Tucson to see Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, my second time seeing them live (this was the first). It was the day after Randy Pausch died from spreading pancreatic cancer.

Both very inspirational and passionate individuals in their own humble ways, I started thinking about what it was that drew me to them.

Both simply make the people around them feel good to be alive. But they do it in different ways.

Roger, with his incredible energy and stage presence connects with his audience by getting them involved in the moment. Through the years he has taught his fans how to help make his concerts a better experience for all: participation. Feel included, feel appreciated and grateful all at once. Feel lucky to be alive.

He does this, I think, by having a "hook" in just about every song that either the audience echoes, or he helps everybody along with, or they just sing it themselves. Below, I've embedded a video of "Banditos" at 2007's Circus Mexicus. Sometimes almost the whole song is the hook. The audience often on cue counts into songs "uno, dos, tres, quatro" without him even prompting anymore. They, we, are his tribe. We know it and we love it. Life is grand at a RCPM show. Beauty is everywhere.

Randy, with his incredible energy and stage presence connects with his audience by taking them for a ride with a payoff at the end. Below, I've embedded the video on YouTube of his "Last Lecture". It's over an hour. But it's worth it. Drawn into his life story and the way that he relates it to general ways to achieve your dreams, he does what great teachers sometimes do: trick students into learning. Using concrete examples throughout, he makes the audience feel like part of the story; following the lecture bullet points they think are about reaching their dreams that instead lead to the completely unexpected end.

The "head fake", the "oh wow" moment. And a double one at that. Like a good twist at the end of a movie, I won't spoil it for those who want to and haven't yet gone on the ride. But what it does, I think, is makes the viewer remember the message, makes them feel good about having "gotten it", and makes them feel good about living.

Roger's head fake? He gets to do what he loves, and you go to every show you can. (We're going again in two weeks to the Tempe gig.)
Randy's hook? Watch the lecture again and see how he pulls you along. (Kinda makes you cry at different moments, huh?)


Monday, July 28, 2008

I Am... I Think.

I think I am, I think I am, I think I am. Wait, that was "can", wasn't it?

I can get as far as "I am". Words are so dicey that I don't know what comes next. There's enough philosophical weight in "I" and "am" to fill volumes, let alone the sentence comprised of both together.

In the context of this blog, however, 3 words can readily follow: product, producer, marketer.

I, the marketer, am selling things that I, the producer, have created and packaged along with I, "Daniel Edlen, professional artist", the product, to be sold along with my artwork.

Keeping them distinct is a trick, let me tell you! I can have 3-way arguments in my own head! With the "me" that isn't even related to Vinyl Art watching and laughing.

Fortunately, I'm enjoying all of me(s). I hope other creative peoples out there reading this are too. If you're not, please take a moment to vent here as a comment. I'm a good listener, er, reader. It'll make you, or at least a part of "you", feel better.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Let The Dark Shine Through

HendrixI've got some good anger and sadness going on today, that's for sure.

But it somehow brought up something about my painting (in my head anyway. I don't know how it works). I use only white paint. Straight outta the tube.

The black, the shadows, the dark is the vinyl showing through. The density of the paint controls the amount of vinyl you see.

Hold the painting at an angle so a bright light reflects at you and the image looks like a negative.

Negatives can be positive. Everything and its godamned opposite.

Let it shine.


SOLD - Jimi Hendrix 07/25/08

Grawlix Not Included (Or Authentic Passion Expressed Authentically)


DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing" fuckin' blows me away. Just heard it here.

(Sorry for the French, or New Yorker. Blame Hugh over at gapingvoid for ruining my sense of propriety with blogging. I'll use it sparingly. I want it to have the impact I mean for it to have. "$#@&!" just doesn't cut it.)

"Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt", well, shit, the whole album, makes my neck tingle. I'm not sure what it is though. I just am in awe of his mixing. The way he layers the sound seemlessly, the way he creates melody with loops and rhythm with scratching, man!

I love what the WWW has become. I can discuss its future with Jarvis and Godin, I can chat about my artwork with teenagers wanting to try it too, I can connect with people looking for the coolest gift, I can remind myself of kickass music.

I can be inspired to be creative.

What can YOU do with the WWW that blows you away?

SRV is also for the woman's anniversary gift to her husband. I get to paint Jimi today!


SOLD - Stevie Ray Vaughan 07/25/08

Thursday, July 24, 2008

High Contrast (Or The Late Show With David Schoffman)

Robin Trower

Grey is boring. Grey is flat.

It's called "black and white" photography, not "shades of grey" photography.

You want pop? You want drama? Grab your "contrast" slider in Photoshop and slam that puppy all the way to the right. See what shakes out.

Hmm. Wait a minute.

What the heck?

Feeling flat?

Crap. The problem is that while what I learned is true that everything can be broken down into shapes, that's not the whole story. It's all in the edges.

Back in art school in the late night class I took with David Schoffman about acrylic abstract painting, that's what he taught. Quality, consistency, success, and depth are created at the edge.

Has some philosophical implications, huh?

Or not.

In any event, you can see some of the pieces I painted in that class in the news video about my current art. Robin Trower is for a woman giving an anniversary present to her guitarist husband.


SOLD - Robin Trower 07/24/08

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Am I Just Forwards? (Or Why Blogs Are Causing The Collapse Of Society)

This is just still bugging the heck out of me. (Bear with me as it's about blogging, but before I go paint I wanted to get this out.)

I've been reading blogs all morning, most I found by following breadcrumbs in Seth Godin's or Mark Hurst's archives of brilliance. From Fred Wilson to Nick Carr, from Infothought to WorldChanging, I perused some heady, intellectual posts written by well-respected bloggers. Then I found Creating Passionate Users by Kathy Sierra. I got really excited because she had clearly been very influenced by Godin in her intent, packaging and enthusiasm. The one thing that was very different was that her and Dan's posts were long. (I'm not linking to any of these as the actual examples aren't important. Again, bear with me.)

Seth's posts generally fit on one screen. Bite-sized. Grabbing my attention, delivering, and releasing me to move on to something somewhere else, usually much less profound. Kathy and Dan's posts are mostly 4 screen lengths long. (This still isn't the important part. Almost there.)

The result of the length difference is that while Creating Passionate Users is full of, well, passion, I didn't enjoy going through the archives as much as Seth's perhaps more sedately stated quips. Neither is better, I love both. Both are brilliant. I stay jazzed enough to read all 4 screens of Kathy's and I love the quick A-HA of Seth's terseness. (We're getting close now, but not yet!)

It's the fact that blog posts are listed in reverse chronological order. It's a hassle to keep scrolling up and down, bouncing up the archives: go to the bottom of the page, scroll up to the top of the last post, read down, scroll up to the top of the penultimate post, read down, and so on. With Seth's blog, that bouncing is rarely necessary, so my brain and eyes can flow much better up through the posts.

Why the devil are the posts displayed that way? (There it is!)

I wish (if one can, please tell me!) one could provide the option for re-reversing time. Thoughts flow forward in time, not backwards. I know that most people reading blogs either subscribe and get each post in order, or they read the first couple posts and move on. I must be weird in that when I find a blog new to me and I get excited to read more, I want to go back to the beginning. I usually find the archive links and find my way to the very first post on the blog. I know posts are usually meant to stand alone, but I like to see them as they came from the author. A serialized piece of the author's life, if you will. Doesn't make sense in reverse.

I think that the fact that blogs are set up this way is either symptomatic of or an influence on the atomization of our attention, communication and relationships, at least online. People are chunking their lives into asychronously cross-linked pieces, and because it's difficult to read a blog in time-order the pieces get smaller or they get more isolated. Can anybody say "today's kids"? (don't get me started on Twitter! No, really don't get me started using it.)

I'm not judging this in general, or blaming anything or anybody. I'm just observing myself and extrapolating to a philosophical and sociological argument that makes me feel better because then it's not just me.

Is it you too?


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This Is Your Music, Our Culture (Or Why The X-Files' Original Tagline Will Doom Us All)

Amorica, The Dreaming, Utrenja

Why do we like the music we do?

How do we find out about new music?

In my experience growing up, the musicians and albums pivotal in shaping my musical taste were usually recommendations from trusted individuals. I think we're rarely bold enough to try totally new things without someone suggesting (sometimes insisting) we do it.

We like change to be slow.

I recorded the above three albums with my iRecord today, and I was thinking about how we as individuals assimilate new pieces of our collective culture.


"Amorica" (Come and Save Me)

The Black Crowes' album is my wife's favorite album by her favorite band as a teenager. I got this copy from the lady who traded me for a painting of Van Halen. It's on white vinyl. Very cool.

Before my wife had me listen to the Crowes, I only knew the songs like "Remedy" that were played on the radio. I didn't know they played such kickass southern blues rock. I loved The Allman Brothers, and The Outlaws' "Green Grass & High Tides" was one of my favorite rock jams, but my musical collection had never veered into the 90's bands' take on southern rock. It was out of my element, especially as I had gotten more into jazz, industrial metal, and ambient electronica (read: intellectual music).

I certainly wouldn't have thought to listen to their albums on my own, but my wife had already done the research, as it were, and I opened up to a whole new group of music. She could tell me this was her favorite and I trusted her judgement.

"The Dreaming" (I Love Life)

Kate Bush was discovered by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and also sang backing vocals on Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up". I hadn't heard of her until I was in high school and my friend Michael played this album for me.

I was very picky about my music then, focussing on the prog rock I knew like Genesis and Pink Floyd, and the psychedelic and classic rock I was discovering gradually on my own by spending hours in used record stores. I also hesitated to listen to female vocalists at the time. Yet, Michael was the guy who'd figured out the second album to play over "The Wizard of Oz". And he'd introduced me to Jefferson Airplane's "After Bathing at Baxter's", my favorite album to this day.

So I listened. It was weird, but I gave it a chance because of who was playing it. I wouldn't have even listened to it at all if I'd seen it at a used record store, much less gave it enough time to grow on me. She's amazing though, very unique voice and musical sensibility.

Again, my friend had done the hard part of finding and realizing that, hey, this music was worth a listen. I trusted that Michael wouldn't play me crap, especially because he credits me for introducing him to Genesis, Peter Gabriel and all of prog rock in the first place.

"Penderecki: Utrenja, The Entombment of Christ" (I will praise thy passion)

In high school, I was a geek, proudly. Physics was my favorite subject. I even went during lunch to learn stuff Mr. Layton didn't teach in class. He had the most awesome sound system in his room with huge speakers up against the ceiling in racks he'd built. One lunch he told the group of us geeks that he wanted to play us some music.

Polish avant-garde classical composer, Krysztof Penderecki, wrote the music that would later be used as the soundtrack to "The Shining". Yeah, that music. This was similar: a wall of atonal sounds produced by an orchestra, chorus, and operatic vocalists. If you weren't specifically listening to it, you'd force whoever was to turn it off. It's an assault of sound. Beautiful painful passion.

I rarely ventured into the classical section, but this one album got me into all things modern classical. Just incredible piece of work. It vastly broadened my musical horizons. All because I trusted my teacher.


Trust seems to be the uniting factor. I was open to it and I personally trusted the individuals sharing the new music with me. They knew, so while it was new to me I wasn't scared.

"Trust No One" will lead to the breakdown of society. Trust is the key to keeping humanity afloat and culture intact.

I know because it's a prerequisite to love. Agreed?


Friday, July 18, 2008

Human Being Good

Bruce SpringsteenOdd but deep phrase, isn't it? Think about it for a sec.

Is it what the grammatically challenged cannibal said?

I like words that are both verbs and nouns (no, not like "Google"), especially when they can lead to philosophical discussion. Is the human being good, or is the human being good? (Heehee, oops, I guess you can't hear the emphasis difference in my head. You get it though, right?)

Biblically, "good" is where we started. There is a reason why "good" means more than just "less than great". Good is what G'od (a contraction that my dad taught me) wants of us. If we are to truly reflect Life's purpose for us, good is what we should shoot for, consistently and genuinely.

Heck, it's what Steve Martin strives for in his work.

And it's a powerful question to figure out what you can do with passion that will benefit the world.

My question is why be anything but good? Yes, it's hard. Life is a challenge. Aren't things and experiences more precious when you use effort to get them? We are living in order that Life might experience the limitless possibilities of its creation. So live! Live with passion, taking responsibility for your life.

And then my question becomes:

if, at any given moment, what you are doing is something that you wouldn't want anybody to know about because the action carries some personal, emotional, social, environmental, economic, or legal consequence that you wouldn't readily accept,

why do it?

SOLD - Bruce Springsteen 07/18/08

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Will It Be "Like Butta"?

Frank Zappa - (i) inspired by photo by Emerson-LoewThank you Dan Davis and Channel 3! This is the first time I've had people visit my site and then call me right away interested in commissioning a piece. One paid already through PayPal for this Zappa to give as a gift. The cool thing about this piece is that I used an album that my friend, Robert Benson sent me with a bunch of records he was going to have to chuck.

I hope it spreads.

That's my goal, connecting with others passionate about music and sharing with them what I do. I'm really excited to be reaching more and more people. We'll see who reaches back.


SOLD - Frank Zappa 07/17/08

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Omigosh, Omigosh, Omigosh!

Bob MarleyI was on TV! Woohoo! They did a great job of editing it too, I thought. Cut my rambling down, which is nice because I definitely did go on a bit. Hey, I was excited! It's what I do!

Here's the link to the video on Channel 3's website:


Bob Marley 07/16/08

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Usually Detest Categories, But...

... in this case, it just made sense.

As I've discussed on this blog, one limitation of blogs in general seems to be the efficient and effective access of the archives of posts. I can't expect the majority of readers to start at the first post and read them all the way through. Time and attention are precious and I don't want to waste yours. Yet, I want you to be able to get as full a sense of me and my art as you want. So here is a way to start.

Sharing - telling stories about Life
Painting - process, product and promoting
Consigning - getting my art out there
Blogging - blogging about blogging
Giving - free art
Traveling - finding culture
Listing - "Top 10" ways learn about me

I noticed other blogs have both tags and categories. I decided to create categories and just add them as a label. What I've done for you, then, is created a way to assemble all the posts relevant to a certain topic in kind of a chapter. I know what the main topics of my posts have been, and now you do too! Clicking on the links above will generate an automatic search for those posts in each category and display them in reverse chronological order.

Also, while I've got you, I welcome your comments on any and all posts, no matter how old. If there's something you've got to say, SAY IT! I moderate all posts to keep out extraneous links, but I will publish any relevant comments, whether they be glowing reviews, probing questions or scathing criticisms. And I will almost definitely respond.

So, happy post-hopping, and as always


Not Destined To Make Old Bones

I was watching the VH1 rockDoc about The Who and heard it put that way about Keith Moon. Of course there are a lot of people who've listed musicians who've "lived fast and died hard" or however it's put. And of course there are more than those I've included in mine. But these are the creative souls whose art impacted my sense of my culture the most. They had a raw passion for living Life. I don't mean to glorify their behavior, just to note, to list, in no particular order, those brilliant fires that went out "early":

Keith Moon
Jim Morrison
Jimi Hendrix
Janis Joplin
Sid Vicious
Kurt Cobain
Shannon Hoon
John Bonham
Nick Drake
Bradley Nowell
Layne Staley
Gram Parsons

It's musicians like these and the fans thereof that make me want to do what I do.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Creating Family

Jimi Hendrix - (i) inspired by photo by David Montgomery

I apparently have quite a bit of nervous energy today. I get excited, ramble, and paint quickly. This one of Hendrix I just painted listening to Infectious Grooves "Groove Family Cyco". Perfect for freneticism (not sure if that's a word). How about "franticness"?

This piece will be on display in my mother-in-law's office. She's a school secretary at a local public school. Since I started this (ad)venture of selling my Vinyl Art, she and my wife have helped the most. They've been so dang supportive emotionally and practically. Both started any local word-of-mouth I have today, and both sold quite a few that first holiday season to friends and co-workers.

My whole family, both mine in California and my wife's here, in Utah, Texas, and Indiana have been wonderful. My mom found the first shop that continues to consistently sell my work on 6th St. in Austin. My dad has put me in contact with several family friends that have bought pieces. My aunts up in Utah have referred friends too.

It's really been the foundation upon which I've been able to build my self-confidence as a professional artist as well. Before doing this, I was quite unsure of myself and what I wanted to do. Now I create something I feel worthwhile for the whole world to know about. But it all comes back to family.

Now my wife and I are thinking about having children. In pondering the reasons to, I realized that procreating and raising offspring is about the most creative act Life can do. It is, after all, how more Life gets to experience individuality. Make a baby, fill it up with what you want. What an awesome responsiblity. It's what Denis Leary even got serious about briefly in his uproarious "No Cure For Cancer". Pretty big check in the "pro" column.

Still scared (you-know-what)less, though.


Jimi Hendrix 07/14/08

Love For Humanity (Or Why "Swimming With Sharks" Killed)

Van HalenTold ya.

This is in trade for that awesome collection of vinyl from the woman who found me on Craigslist that I mentioned last week.

Triggered by a desire to reach out for more connections like this one, I've been kind of randomly exploring more of the vast expanse of blogs. It's hard to get a handle on social media because it really is the uncategorizable, so it's a little scary to just look at what's out there. That's why most look to the homogenization and aggregation of what can be found.

But when the trails of breadcrumbs are followed to the fringes, the blogosphere is a marvelous place because the technology and what people do with it is evolving as we're using it. With no actualized boundaries and possiblities only judged socially, everything can be tried and everybody can comment. Attention is being scattered to the point of atomization. Everything is individual and timeless.

And even better, for those tolerant and persistent, there is inspiration for ruling the world and powerful bottom lines lived by individuals and communicated for all. There is art designed to connect and cultural creativity to be found in real life and found out about online. Humanity's flow is being captured in unfiltered moments, first person stories, and thoughtful criticisms.

I love it.


(Just) Do It

I'll have a painting to post later today, I swear. But right now I'm feeling energetic, like I've got something to say, so I'd better say it before the moment's past.

That's kind of what I want to say: don't hesitate. Do it. Don't even wait for the "just". Do it. What's the worst that can happen?

Call a friend simply to say "I love you, have a good day" (call, don't text it).
Table dance (do the Conan).
Add a comment on a blog you've just found (not necessarily mine).

There's freedom in being free. Push boundaries, break out of your box, break the damn box. Be inspired, allow it in. Get scared, get your pupils wide, don't blink (you'd think I like rollercoasters).

Be timeless, out of time, in the "now".

Live. Oh, and make your own LAUNCHcast station. Share it too.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cybernetics And Peace

Continuing to listen to my new LAUNCHcast station, Rage Against The Machine's "Killing In The Name Of" reminded me of something else I wanted to share of me. At UCLA I majored in Cybernetics (since renamed), which fundamentally was the study of control and communications of systems biological and non-biological. Back then the cool yet nerdy example was the character Data on Star Trek. The coursework was big picture stuff: understanding ecology, statistics, and theoretical computer science's concept of The Internet.

Control. How do we model the human heart and its interaction with a new drug to help it work better? Create a theory, turn it into math, throw tests at it, get feedback, modify the theory, redo the math, continue testing, and so forth. Control the situation, the system.

Can't control humanity. Even Hitler with his focussed, passionate charisma could not change what was true, what was inside individuals. Yes he, and all of history's evil dictators corrupted those willing to "do what they told ya", those willing to look at people based upon labels and groups rather than tolerate individuality, but society will give people their just desserts eventually.

Now, communication can effect change. I latched onto this side of my major, realizing how amazing the possibilities of The Internet were. This was when browsers and email were in their initial versions. Dialup bulletin boards gave way quickly to Usenet as students and early adopters quickly pushed the boundaries of computing power and revolutionized how humanity flows. Telnet and chat clients began to explore what today we take for granted in communicating with all the variations of social media. It's incredible to think back and see how society has layered on top of The Internet a whole new method to reach out, to listen, and to be heard. This can theoretically lead to endless tolerance and compassion, lead to acceptance of self and others, lead to

Peace. Help "make it so".

Keep Hope Alive

For some reason techno hits my emotions hard. There's something primal about it. The Crystal Method's "Keep Hope Alive" sends waves down the back of my neck and tears down my cheeks. I've started to rate songs, bands and albums, developing my own Yahoo! LAUNCHcast station to share what inspires my art.

Listening to such a raw form of human communication made me think about our world's condition. Recently I was responding to a blog post about world peace, and I came up with the realization that it's not about peace as in an end to war. It's about inner peace, inner hope for Life. Eastern beliefs focus on acceptance, recognizing the perpetual existence of opposites. I can certainly attest to the fact that everything and its opposite are more present than ever. They pull the pendulum of Life into swinging so far around they almost touch at the top. Human war and conflict will never cease until individuals stop worrying about everybody else and focus on their own inner peace. Accept yourself. You are perfect as you are, as Life made you. Live and experience your piece of Life and find peace. Others can and will take care of themselves.

Gandhi Lived this. His methods weren't about imposing his will on others, they weren't about treating a symptom. They were about treating the cause of his suffering, his drama. Get right with yourself. Let others be. Individuals are here for a reason, Life living lessons. Learn from yours, learn from others. Then there can and will be


Friday, July 11, 2008

Chrono(il)logical Order

Since I started this blog, I thought it was odd that one could only easily read a blog in reverse chronological order. I even flipped the order of the archive at first until it did something weird or I just decided to go with the flow and not confuse readers.

Godin discussed this question a long time ago, so it's not like I'm the only one wondering. He even in one post I've lost in his archives discussed the difficulty in plumbing the depths of said archives (irony).

I have put a link to my first post over to the right to make it easier to start at the beginning, but I remember Godin suggesting something like an index. Tags attached to each post can be used to search using the search box up at the top, kind of like an index. However that leaves it up to the reader to find appropriate and consistently used tags and forces them to do the search, generating kind of a fragmented posting thread, if you will.

I think what I'm going to do is create my own index. Nonfiction books do this to let the reader know where to find all the references to a common subject. I know to expect readers to go through all 100 plus of my posts is a bit unrealistic. Some posts would probably loose their impact and readers would get bored, skipping and scanning, maybe missing my brilliance. So, the plan is to go back through and assign consistent tags more like categories. Some blogs call them categories even, which made it dawn on me to use them that way. Then I can automatically group posts that follow a common thread using pre-linked searches.

This will be kind of like reassembling what could be considered chapters that were just created in fragments of time. I'm thinking like what they did with the X-Files: releasing a collection of DVDs of just those episodes that follow the main series' mythology, leaving out the stand-alone episodes.

Sound good? I'll be working on this for awhile, deciding what categories and so forth, but I'll post about it when I'm done. And, of course, the new index will show up in the sidebar to the right. Let me know, please, if you have any suggestions about this idea or if you want to vent about the same thing.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Right Time And Place

Johnny Cash - (i) inspired by photo by Jan Olofsson

What a coupla days! Wow. I had posted a listing on Craigslist wanting old records that people might be preparing to throw away. A lady contacted me saying that she was moving in 2 weeks and couldn't take her collection with her. She had been impressed with my work, the reasonable price, and the obvious passion I had for music.

So I met her yesterday. Holy moly! What a collection, and what a great connection! This is why I'm doing what I'm doing. She had loved music so much she ended up working for the manager of Rage Against The Machine! Smart, smart, smart woman. Very enjoyable to talk to and share stories. Stories are what it's about.

I'm painting Van Halen for her in exchange for a vast collection including Zeppelin, Prince, Hendrix, the Beastie Boys, the Beatles, and some great 80s bands. I'll post a picture when I'm done.

Then, today. Hooboy! I awoke to an email from Dan Davis of the local morning news team on Channel 3, He wanted to interview me and film me painting! I had sent him an email awhile ago and he had a last minute cancellation. I apparently responded in the nick of time before he told his producer that he nothing to shoot today. So I scrambled and cleaned up the house, tidied up my studio a bit, and got the above Johnny Cash started so they could see the good part when the painting pops. Hopefully the segment works well once they edit it down. Man, what an experience! I hope I didn't ramble too much.

It'll run next Thursday, the 17th, at around 7:45 am on Channel 3 in Phoenix.

So, hooray for being in the right place at the right time, and prepared for it!


ON CONSIGNMENT - Johnny Cash 07/10/08

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Melody Vs. Lyric

Carole King

Growing up, I definitely paid more attention to melody. The instrumentation, not the words, was what drew me to specific groups. I was more interested in drum or organ solos than the poetry. Let's just say Dylan wasn't my favorite at the time. Heck, before I met my wife, my main listening stack was full mostly of ambient techno like Autechre and Future Sound of London.

Now, thanks largely to my wife, I'm more interested in the words. More aware at least. I understand why my neices listen to the same song over and over, trying to memorize the words.

Carole King seems to me, though I don't listen to her much, to be a good example of an artist skilled at writing both melodies and lyrics. The importance and popularity of "Tapestry" is certainly a testament to that.

What do you pay more attention to when you listen to music?


ON CONSIGNMENT - Carole King 07/08/08

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Whole World Should Adopt The Siesta


A 40 minute or so nap around 2 in the afternoon. If you haven't, you should try it. After I woke up, I'd sold 2 more pieces and had received an album I'd bought on eBay. And I felt way better.

So Pigpen is for a guy who'd bought Jerry a ways back. He also had bought Louis Armstrong and now is buying Billie Holiday. Cool collection of my work he's building! He's got a bunch of Dead memorabilia too that he's going to frame separately and hang alongside my pieces.

I haven't done or read any technical research on the siesta, but I think it really would help productivity and our mental condition if everybody took them. I feel like I have a whole other day, so like 2 in 1, but I don't get exhausted by the end of it. Refreshing is the word. Or revitalizing. Something like that. Perks ya up.


SOLD - Pigpen 07/07/08

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Originally uploaded by Morales de los RĂ­os
After finding this piece on Flickr because the artist commented on my painting of Sid Vicious, I finally set up direct blogging from my Flickr account. It was, in fact, extremely simple.

So, to this artist from Spain. Wow. The breadth and depth of his work, just posted on Flickr, is amazing. Each piece captures beautiful detail in the exaggerations, reflecting his work in surrealism. They also graphically convey the cultural significance of the subject brilliantly.

Brancusi's sculpture of a bird is probably the single most influential piece in my internal sculptural mashup. And he tought Noguchi as well. Bet you didn't know I did scuplture too? Maybe someday I'll show some, but I really consider them more of my art school work, my formative work, that led me to what I'm doing now.

I'm rambling. I ramble when I'm excited. Can you tell? I hope the artist adds a translation widget to his website, or I'll have to figure out how to go through Google manually, because my Spanish isn't that great anymore. I LOVE ART!!! Making connections like this is amazing.

Please go check out his Flickr photostream and his personal site. Exquisite. Great taste in music too!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Making My Way Through The Dark

Jim Morrison - (i) inspired by photo by Joel Brodsky

It's easy to discourage myself. I feel scattered, I feel unmotivated, I feel disappointed, I feel impatient. I feel my self-worth being attacked by my own inner voice. I don't know why. If I could shut that voice off I could realize all the good feedback I get and all the good things that are happening, but I get stuck in my own head. Vicious damn trap.

On this Indendence Day weekend, I'm going to try to leave it behind, to declare my independence from myself. At least until it learns how to behave.

When I listen to it, I get lost and I set out in multiple directions all at once out of fear. Fear is, after all, its main weapon. I've been taught, and taught myself, fear since I was little. Stupid fears that, while they helped shape who I am today and the life I've lived so far, have also helped my inner voice hold me back. It's rarely the end of the world, especially when it's something in my control. I'm not powerful enough to effect a devastating amount of destruction.

So, jump in the flippin' deep end of the pool. And stop worrying about little crap that makes the mind spiral inward to the point of nothingness or outward to oblivion.


ON CONSIGNMENT - Jim Morrison 07/02/08

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Human Nature Tends To Good

Johnny Cash postal sticker

I love the unexpected email. I received a message from a man in Lebanon. The opening line:

"Your talent,intelegent,knowledge makes you a once in a live time legend."


Way to get my attention! The rest of the message was a gracious and humble request for a piece of me, something, anything, signed. How cool!

I sent a message back asking for confirmation of the mailing address and to find out where the impetus for this request was coming from. Turns out he's doing a project on culture and art. So, I'm sending him one of my new handpainted postal stickers, complete with autograph. Hope he likes it!

These are something I've been playing around with for a little while. Not to sell, but to give away.

Speaking of giving away things, last year I gave two pieces to Roger Steffens and his Bob Marley Ark-hives. He's included my work in the current issue of The Beat, Volume 27 No. 2 2008! I'm mentioned in the Forward and the article "Bob Marley: Art & Soul", which also has pictures of the pieces and of me! I'm published! I'm so honored to be included in this annual Bob Marley issue.

Unexpected generosity of spirit. Good deal.