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Friday, August 29, 2008

Buy Art Now!

Jim Morrison - (i) inspired by photo by Joel BrodskyHere's another one for Primitive Kool. It'll be for sale at their "dead rocker" show late September in San Diego, California. They currently have a whole bunch for sale on their website. Paul's been hurting recently, so if you're interested in buying one, check them out. He's offering 30% off until August 31st. Yep, 2 more days! He'll ship'em too.


Jim Morrison 08/29/08

Who's In Your Five?

Randy Rhoads

So I decided to do a couple more for Primitive Kool's "dead rocker" show this September. Along with Randy Rhoads and Jim Morrison, I'd love to do Bradley Nowell but Sublime vinyl is seriously expensive!

My wife and I were talking about the idea of collections. I've got my EC going, but that's restricted to the albums I received from one person. Knowing that you guys like making lists, my wife thought it'd be cool to get you involved in picking who I paint. In return you'd get a discount for pieces on your list. What do you think?

Here's how I'll work it. If you're interested in seeing me paint your favorites, leave a comment on this post with your top 5 bands or musicians. If you feel chatty, you can tell me why those are your top choices. If you feel really chatty, have a blog, and want to give me extra incentive to paint ones on your list, then do a post on your blog about your favorites and what my artwork means to you. I'm a sucker when visitors get involved!

Then I'll get to work painting as many as I can, barring huge difficulties in finding albums, and I'll post about them here. If I paint one on your list and you want to buy it, I'll give you 15% off (a little more than $25). Sound good?


SOLD - Randy Rhoads 08/29/08

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Go Forth

Jimi Hendrix - (i) inspired by photo by David Montgomery
I'm more than a bit envious of people who got to see Jimi perform live. I'm sitting here listening to The Verve's "Forth" that came out yesterday marvelling at the studio production. This is the first time I've gotten to hear new songs from an epic band live before they were released on a studio album. My wife and I got lucky enough to see them in London and Vegas. They played the first song on the album, "Sit and Wonder", at both shows and the second song in Vegas. There are differences, refinements, on the album, but I feel most privileged to have witnessed firsthand the evolution of great music.

I think that's the deal with stories. That's why legally you need 1st person accounts to consider an event fact. A human can only convey their interpretation of an experience in their life, pieces thereof really. To put stock in a story degraded by the filtering through a second human, forget about it.

So, "you had to be there" isn't poppycock. Being front row in London to see a band you thought was broken up for good is ineffable. The emotional connection I somehow feel to The Verve now is non-transferable. My spine tingles and tears obscure my sight listening to "Love Is Noise".

Yes that happens with other music, of course, but hearing this album makes me feel something all-encompassing. All senses have memories of this. You can recount in detail events of your life, but it is nigh impossible to cause another to feel what you felt.

That's why I tear up when narrator Emma Thompson says Will Ferrell "lived his life" in "Stranger Than Fiction".

I hope you live yours.


Dude (Remember When MTV Played Videos?) [EC]

Steven Tyler

Growing up in the 80s, my taste in music was pretty well influenced by MTV. The artistic and sexual aspects of video both caught my eye as a young teen boy who took a lot of art classes. For better or worse, music videos helped form my visual aesthetic and expanded my musical appreciation.

Aerosmith was one of those bands that I got into probably mostly because of their videos. I'm glad because they've put out solid albums for a long time. From Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" to Tool's "Sober", here're some other musicians that I don't know if I would have given much attention then if it hadn't have been for MTV:

Peter Gabriel
Guns N' Roses
Pearl Jam
Michael Jackson
Depeche Mode
Faith No More
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Talking Heads
Jane's Addiction
Blind Melon
Cyndi Lauper
Dire Straits
Billy Joel

That video of "Sober" still gives me chills. I stopped at '93 with MTV's yearbook because that's when I graduated high school and started getting most of my new music from random finds in record stores and the radio.

I know there're a lot more videos that were instrumental in popularizing certain groups. Who wouldn't you be a fan of if it weren't for MTV?


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wishing Intentions

Bob Marley

I realized last night that yesterday's post about music that I want was a wee bit selfish. I had a tough weekend in regards to the ups and downs of the grieving process. I felt like I needed to focus on me a bit. No judgement, just how I felt. I genuinely wish I had that music, but I also genuinely wish for things bigger than me, things like "make love, not war" and so forth.

As Bob Marley did with his whole being and all of his passion, I want to make the world a better place. But I wonder why or actually what that even means? Who am I too judge the state of the world. I don't know Life's plan. Jason's death sure shows that.

People championing causes and using their energy to "make the world a better place" sometimes have muddled intentions. It's always important to remember the storyteller along with the story. Life is individual and each person has theirs to live. That often means intentionally or haphazardly having an impact on other lives. How the others react to the impact is part of their experience, but it seems maybe more selfish to hope to affect others in the first place. It means you want to do something that means you were important, that means you have a legacy to leave, that you left your mark.

I'm like this, don't get me wrong. I want my art to mean something to people, for it to have a wide-reaching impact on humanity. Here's the trick though. Is it for me or humanity?

Heck, I dunno. I do know that 2 pieces (Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne) sold at a group show up in Canada, and a teacher at my mother-in-law's school commissioned the above Legend. So that's cool. Sometimes I think I think too much...


SOLD - Bob Marley 08/26/08

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wish List

Keith Moon
Keith Moon is another one for the "dead rocker" show at Primitive Kool late in September. He indirectly inspired this list I recently posted. I kinda like lists. They give a cursory picture of taste and background. Early on in this blog I posted more lists because they came to mind then. I wasn't doing the lists, as most do, to start discussions about what should(n't) be on them, but more to let readers know who I am.

Since Jason died, though, I've been kind of a mess. I feel so lucky to have my art to create and my blog to write. Both have been very helpful in keeping my scatteredness in check. I'm so overwhelmed at the continued response I get from my work. And now visitors are getting excited enough to even subscribe to my ramblings. Who I am is becoming refocussed in this universe without my brother-in-law.

With that focus, I pay tribute to my friend Michael who loved making top 10 type lists, and present my list of music I currently want. Pretty straightforward. I haven't had a lot of extra moola to grow my music collection, but bands keep putting it out. Tomorrow comes The Verve's new release. We WILL be buying that. But here're some I know I'd like to own:

Beck's "Modern Guilt"
Wolfmother's self-titled debut
Amy Winehouse's "Frank"
Korn's untitled album
Norah Jones' "Not Too Late"
Springsteen's "The Rising"
Oasis' "Dig Out Your Soul" (coming in October; we'll probably save for it)
Kasabian's new one (when it comes out)

Also, I used to wile away the hours in used records stores listening to CDs and records that simply looked cool or different or that someone had suggested. I know my new friends Barbara and Jeff would have some great ones for me to check out.

So how 'bout it? What would you list as the 5 albums that you've recently discovered (old or new) that you think I oughta give a listen?


Keith Moon 08/25/08

Connecting Events

John Bonham - (i) inspired by photo by Dick Barnatt
September 27th on OB in SD, CA Primitive Kool Gallery is putting on a "dead rocker" show to celebrate a new school of rock, a la the Jack Black movie. I've got a bunch there from the last show I participated in that are already for sale. Bonzo is the first new one. I'll be doing Keith Moon, Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan as well.

"It's Yours Take It" in Boston looks like it was a great success. My piece made somebody smile. And I will be doing another Steven Tyler probably this week.

I'm loving the comments, so thank you. I also really appreciated the emails about Perez Hilton using my Marley piece in connection with Gwen Stefani's baby's name. The picture's down now because they're not supposed to use the thumbnail image from the photo distributor at all, much less not associated with a post about my art. This happened before, so at least this time it wasn't associated with something offensive. But this means I'm connecting! Pretty cool.

By the way, one of those connections has some pretty cool news too! Talk about exposure!


John Bonham 08/25/08

Friday, August 22, 2008

Keyword Conundrum

Page and Plant

When people go into Wild About Music and see this painting of Page and Plant, they're already in the frame of mind to see music-related merch and art. When visitors land on my site and particularly my blog, I suspect they aren't as prepared for what they see.

Keywords are causing this to happen. For example, when E! reruns its 101 top moments of Saturday Night Live, my 2 posts about it get a bunch of hits from people looking for information about the show, not my list of favorite comedians or review of Knocked Up. I don't know if this is a problem to be resolved or just a normal occurence for blogs, but I'm always trying to fine tune my keywords.

How did you find me?

Now that you've found me, what words would you think to use to find me intentionally through a search?

Though artwork on record albums is becoming a bit more popular, I don't think most people would even think of the concept when looking for a gift for a music-lover or for cool unique things to add to their own collection of music-related stuff. I get a lot of people searching for "vinyl art", when they're really looking for vinyl art toys or vinyl window stickers, so I also get a lot of people not even remotely looking for what I do.

So can you help the right people find me?


SOLD - Page and Plant 08/22/08

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Johnny CashThis Johnny Cash is a donation for a silent auction to be held at the 3rd annual charity golf tournament for the Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk teams "Simply The Breast" and "Team H.O.P.E.". The auction is being held on September 27th the Superstition Springs Golf Club in Mesa, AZ.

They saw my interview on the local morning news and simply asked me if I'd like to participate. I hope I come off as approachable and that I don't intimidate with my words. I'm continuing to add to this blog both to create a journal of my journey as a professional artist and to connect with creative and passionate people.

The connecting part relies on you to take the next step after reading a couple posts on this blog and maybe checking out the gallery. I just added a new page of testimonials, comments I've received from happy customers. The page has links for most of the people to their sites, my videos or related blog posts. So you can check that out too and get up the courage to leave that comment that popped into your head when I said "Johnny Cash... donation for... Breast Cancer... auction".


DONATED - Johnny Cash 08/21/08

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pam And Tommy For PETA [EC]

Tommy Lee
I've been catching clips of Pam Anderson's stylizedly shot and edited reality show on E!, and besides being rather impressed with her in general, I was interested to learn about her longtime involvement with PETA.

Apparently her ex, Tommy Lee has also been involved with the organization. He posed revealing all his body ink for a poster quoting him, "Ink, Not Mink" as discussed on PETA2. I found that out while searching for a good image to use to paint him for my Elliott Collection on a Motley Crue album.

After trying in vain to find a good enough photo of the drummer from back in the day, I decided the connection between Pam and Tommy and PETA and proceeds from my work going to charity was too good to pass up. I knew the poster picture'd make a good painting too.

So, this one is a bit different from the others in the collection so far in that I already have a charity in mind. $100 of the $175 you'd pay for this piece will go to PETA in your name.

Long ago, I loved Bloom County's lampooning of Mary Kay's use of animal testing and also was a member of the World Wildlife Fund for a few years, so animals exploited and endangered by humanity have a soft spot in my heart. I'll be thrilled to get to send off your check for $100 to PETA to help their cause.


A Break In The Story

B.B. King

I've got this link above so that people who find my site and blog after buying a piece of my art can connect with me.

The only thing I don't like about selling my work on consignment is that I don't get to connect with the buyer. I don't know anything about them or what their plan is with my work. I don't mind, it's just that part of what I really enjoy with selling my work is knowing who wants it and why.

I was doing my state sales tax and realized that I've sold 5 paintings of this image of B.B. King, all through consignment. It's great that people are responding to my work strongly enough in the context of a retail shop to plunk down a chunk of change to take a piece home. Very gratifying. But I would love to know the story behind the purchase.

Maybe someday I'll find out.


ON CONSIGNMENT - B.B. King 08/20/08

The Groove Was Gone?

CBS news last night ran a story about the "comeback" of vinyl. I wish they didn't characterize it as though vinyl had disappeared both as a means to distribute music and as gold to be sought by passionate collectors.

Certainly during the 80s and 90s with the dominance of cassettes and CDs, record labels didn't produce as much vinyl. The demand wasn't there. As a result, some used record stores also had to shrink or perish. And yes, many of lesser years could be heard to say "what's that?"

But nobody I knew who had loved vinyl previously gave it up wholesale, getting rid of their collections and replacing every album with a CD, or later, an MP3 download. People who loved vinyl kept loving vinyl. The new media were just more convenient for the music industry to use to distribute new releases.

It actually seemed to me that the main symptom apparent was the almost non-existence of turntables in electronic stores. I don't know if it was because all the hip little mini-systems were coming out with CD players included or what, but that was what I noticed.

Of course I did start buying CDs. Not to the exclusion of vinyl, but techno just doesn't make sense on vinyl. The music is created and mastered digitally, so there isn't anything lost. Also, I remember finding bootleg copies of live shows of Stevie Ray Vaughan during an outing to Record Rover. I was looking for Beatle bootlegs as the crackdown was happening and boots were vanishing from store bins, and in the glass case at the register were all these CD boots. Long live shows wouldn't fit on vinyl and with the increased ease of creating CDs and duplicating them, bootleggers were making and trading them instead of cassettes. They were way expensive at the time, but worth it, because there wasn't a Napster yet, much less the whole torrent thing.

But I still sought out older releases used on vinyl. Even then they were more expensive, or at least the same, as a used CD, yet I still went to the vinyl section of Moby Disc before hitting the CDs.

Today, I head to the back of Zia Records to look for "rough" vinyl to use for my art, but I'm delighted to see more and more in the NEW section of the vinyl racks. Amy Winehouse, White Stripes, Spoon, and lots of reissues, great stuff. I won't use them for my art unless somebody commissions one, but I tell ya, I'd love to be able to buy them for my collection. I'd probably find out first how they are recorded and mastered, as if they are recorded digitally then I'm not sure of the point, but to hear Jack White's voice recorded analog would be amazing.

If you haven't seen this yet, please check it out. It's only 3 minutes and it shows what my art is about.


SOLD - Stevie Ray Vaughan 08/20/08

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In Demand!

Frank Sinatra

Well, I went from having no work to do for commission or consignment to having 5 in one day. Wild About Music in Austin sold my B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Led Zeppelin, and Roy Robbins in Pacific Palisades wants 2 Sinatras for my first repeat celebrity client! Woohoo! I'm also doing a few pieces for a show in September at Primitive Kool in San Diego.

Also, the Rage Against The Machine arrived safely fortunately. I'd thought it might have been lost between DHL and the USPS, but apparently because it didn't have very far to go, it got delivered before the tracking info got transfered, so it just never showed up as "delivered". Whew! My faith in delivery hasn't been broken.

I was asked to donate a piece to a local fundraiser for a team that's going to walk in the Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk. The silent auction is at a golf tournament, so I'm not sure who to paint. Maybe Olivia Newton-John or Carly Simon? Or Melissa Etheridge or Marianne Faithful?

What do you think?


SOLD - Frank Sinatra 08/19/08

Gene Simmons' Moneybag [EC]

Gene Simmons of KISS

I love that Gene trademarked the moneybag. The thing we love to hate, money is what unites and separates us at the same time. I exchange my value for something you value, with a place-holder in between. As the ultimate means to an end in capitalist society, "money makes the world go 'round".

I used to cringe at the thought of selling my art, as Chris Guillebeau discusses in this post. In college I'd read Marx and sort of understood his concept of the exploitation of the worker, and I didn't want to feel that way with my art.

Then I realized that I WAS the means of production though. I owned myself. And I owned my art. As long as I didn't compromise that, as long as I didn't "sell out", I wouldn't have a problem selling my art. Maintaining control is difficult though. It's required that I decide on certain policies before considering specific situations.

Such a situation has come up. I previously decided, like Seth Godin states in this piece, that I don't want to create any conflicts of interest and take paid advertising. My online presence is meant solely to promote my art and to connect with a community of people passionate about creativity and culture. In promoting my art, yes, I am hoping to find people in that community interested in celebrating their particular passion with a commissioned piece of mine, but money is not an end.

Ramble, ramble. I'm not good at talking about myself like this. Suffice it to say I only say good things about things I think are good, and bad things about things I think are bad. And I won't take money to do the opposite. That's pretty simple. I value your trust and my principles.

Hopefully, that also gives more weight to it when I do say good things. Like with the iRecord. They asked me for a testimonial to put on their website and I obliged. I also had the thought that I could help promote their little white box on my site and blog because I think it is such a great gizmo. They were excited and wondered what kind of compensation I'd want for sales generated by my referrals. I hadn't even thought of that! I told them that I'd rather just keep it informal, providing a link to their site. I have the original iRecord. It does work as easily straight out of the box as it looks like on their site. I've chronicled my use of it in these posts and will continue to do so.

If you do get excited about their product, please tell me! I'll answer questions about my experience with it too. I truly don't care if they link me with your purchase, but I'd like to know what you think. I'm sure they would appreciate feedback from you too.

So, if you've got a collection of audio and video recordings on anything analog, like VHS tapes, records, or even 8-track, and you want to preserve those recordings and make them way more easily portable on an iPod or whatever, check out the iRecord. Consider this my whole-hearted endorsement of the product and the company's customer relations.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Lo Maximo

Creativity crosses all language. This is pretty cool, even with its slightly pyramid-like scheme. Originating apparently here, the idea is for bloggers to share with others what inspires them in the blogosphere.

Barbara over at Layla's Classic Rock Faves awarded it to me on her private blog, Writing from the Inside Out. So here goes:

I'm going to start with a Flickr profile of a Spanish artist named Pablo Morales de los Rios, because when he started uploading his caricatures, he blew me away. Very friendly too. Here's his Flickr profile to start with, but go to his photostream and check out his collection of caricatures of an incredibly diverse bunch of people. His personal site is wonderful as well.

Second is a blog which slapped me in the face with some scary social truths. chartreuse uses the blog format pairing text with photos in juxtapositions that might make you cringe or wince, but will definitely make you think. Be openminded or suffer.

Third sort of follows second, as this blog led me to chartreuse. He might surprise me and pass this along, but in any event, Seth Godin is continually inspirational. He truly loves music enough to pick apart the system which isn't doing its job to promote it. For free he disseminates pearls of wisdom that effected a complete shift in my approach to promotion. He substantively responds to emails too!

On a wider scale, Chris Guillebeau has written a manifesto for you to take over the world. Literally, no fooling. It takes some work (damn!, ;) but it's brilliant. A great way to re-look at your life, with practical ways to put your plan in action throughout his blog. I know these blogs aren't creative in the sense that they create objects of art, but they are extremely creative and inventive in life.

We are creation after all, so finally, I pass this cool award along to my dad, Michael Edlen. (My mom doesn't have an "online presence", and he's thinking about starting a blog, ;) Besides making me and raising me and introducing me to music, he's got his own outlook on life. Growing up, he helped me explore and develop MY own, even when it completely diverged from his. His views on individuality go almost beyond the concept of tolerance and got me to look at the science of life. Very, VERY, inspirational to me, in particular and;

he, as super-realtor, also helped (if I remember correctly) start the trend of "staging" houses in the areas of Pacific Palisades and Brentwood in Southern California. Years before the popular shows now filling HGTV's prime-time slots.

SO there're my 5. Kinda off-beat, not what you'd expect. But then, I'm not.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Open Your Heart [EC]

Madonna Early on Madonna involved herself in charities, helping raise money for the fight against AIDS among other causes. This October 15th, Blog Action Day will raise awareness and hopefully funds for humanity's social dilemma of poverty. You can join in! Go to their site and sign up to participate. Oprah just re-ran her special with Anderson Cooper about the hidden population living in terrible poverty, so maybe she's going to be involved too!

About a week ago I was impressed by an ad from the Ad Council. Don't Almost Give is sponsored by them, providing connections to other organizations that help humanity. There are opportunities to get involved physically and financially. These are the types of charities I was thinking of when I decided to start my Elliott Collection [EC]. My goal is to get you involved or to encourage your continued support of your favorite charity.

All posts labelled [EC] are related to a painting that you can buy for $175 with $100 of that going directly to a charity of your choice in your name. My brilliant dad suggested I set it up thusly: you send me 2 checks, one for $75 to me and one for $100 to the charity. I'll forward the charity check to them and you'll get all the membership information from them. Then you'll have a great piece of art that you relate to musically and which becomes a connection to help humanity.

You're making my art more special! You're helping me achieve my goal with my art: connecting and communicating with people passionate about creativity and culture.

Listen. Understand. Love.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Break On Through

Sinatra and Springsteen

Ahh, the trials and tribulations of being a professional artist. I don't want to rant too much, but today was a stink-fest. eBay sellers dropping the ball, lying, and backtracking. DHL-to-USPS deliveries up in the air with possibly lost paintings. Trademark paperwork almost slipping through the cracks. Miscommunications with galleries leading to delays and maybe losing business. And don't get me started on people emailing me saying they want to commission work with specific requests and then seemingly vanishing.

This is hard, definitely. On days like this I give myself a philosophical head-fake to keep going. Randy Pausch put it that the walls you run into are there just to keep out the people who don't want it enough. A test of desire, basically. Am I passionate enough about my art to break through those walls?

As long as I get emails like the one I got a few minutes ago from another who is passionate about art and music, a director of a fine art gallery and a collector of music from an early age. He saw my work at the FMF 2008 Rock Walk in Orlando, really liked the Jim Morrison, reads this blog, and wants to connect. That's why I'm doing all this. It was nice to get a reminder of that. I don't know what'll come of it, but good things I expect.


SOLD - Bruce Sprinsteen, Frank Sinatra 08/14/08

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Controversy [EC]


"I check the box... but only because the box is there." Eden Atwood discussing her sex

I thought that was brilliantly put. Labels are terrible for society, I think. Prince certainly avoids them, even going so far as to change his name to take back control of his identity. We are not our description. Our description should only be for convenience in helping describe of who we are, not defining who we are. That's why it's a "description", not a "definition". All too often though, that convenience is corrupted and connotations are ascribed to particular words.

Words. Evil things they can be. The mere creation of a label, and subsequent group, highlights differences. Humanity is generally scared of things different, things unknown, things not understood. As a result, when a label is applied, what you aren't becomes instantly separated from you. Groups are isolated from each other. Stereotypes develop, connotations get attached when things go wrong, and groups (so defined) become mutually misunderstood, mistrusted, and even hated.

"I wish there was no black and white... we're all just the same," sings Prince.

Growing up exposed to so much creativity and culture, I was lucky to be so inundated with individuality that I don't really apply labels in my head. As my ability to listen to emotion grows, playing catchup with my ability to see without judgement, I'm realizing how broken we all are, how fears and insecurities are expressed with anger and conflict.

Listen. Understand.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

People Are People [EC]

Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode

I didn't buy an album of DM's until "Songs Of Faith And Devotion" came out in '93. The song "Walking In My Shoes" played a lot on the radio and when I listened to the whole album, I was pretty dang impressed. Turns out I just about knew every song on "Some Great Reward" from the radio growing up as well. I hadn't put them all together.

Through the words of Martin Gore and the voice of Dave Gahan, Depeche Mode definitely reveals its passion for humanity, tolerant of every individual's frailties. If only people would listen and ask "Help me understand" large scale conflicts between nations and small scale disagreements between neighbors could, I think, be resolved without so much collateral damage.

For all the discussion about the use of synthesizers during the 80s, great music is great music and has the power to change hearts.



Monday, August 11, 2008

One Way Or Another (Premier Piece Of The Elliott Collection [EC])


Helping to herald the advent of the 80s era of music, Blondie is "my music, my culture". I grew up in the 80s: Madonna, Michael Jackson, synth pop, and mainstream punk. Fusing elements of disco and German techno with pop subject matter and their punk roots, the group broke into the mainstream with their passion and authenticity.

This portrait is the first in my new exclusive Elliott Collection. This collection will be limited to the largely 80s selection of albums I received in trade. I was fortunate to be entrusted with these albums because she felt I was honoring music as passionately as she felt about the bands with whom she'd grown up.

She wanted me to paint on them. I feel a twinge of guilt using these records, though, as they are still playable. So I'm going to preserve them with my iRecord before creating my artwork. I was just asked to provide a testimonial by the support staff of my little "magic white box". I hope they use what I wrote, and maybe take me up on my offer to promote their product more officially. In the meantime, I'll keep saying I love the thing!

So, what is so exclusive about these other than the fact that I'm "ruining a bunch of perfectly good 'bad 80s' records"?

Giving. I'm going to give $100 of the $175 to your favorite charity in your name. No fine print, no fancy footwork, just straight-forward donation.

But these are it. I'll post each one here on my blog with an [EC] in the title. If you want, you can subscribe to my blog through an RSS feed or email with the links in the sidebar to your right (my left, wait, no, my right too). Please contact me by phone or email, both listed at the top of the page.

If there's more than one ravenous Debbie Harry, Steven Tyler, Tommy Lee, or Dave Gahan fan out there, then I'll offer the piece to the person with the best story of why they want the painting. I'll give each piece a little time "on the market" if there's interest in it. The reason can be related to the band, your past, or the charity. Show me your passion!


Friday, August 8, 2008

Man, I Sure Do Love Music

Dark Side and PepperA friend said that to me when we were discussing the idea for my contest. It says how I feel pretty succinctly.

After my dad introduced me to The Beatles and to vinyl in general, I spent a LOT of time in used record stores in the West L.A. area. Moby Disc, Record Surplus, Rhino Records, Record Rover, and Penny Lane became regular haunts.

This was during the transition from cassette to CD, so I was resisting buying CDs at the time. I listened to tapes in my car and records at home. So my vinyl collection grew. I discovered the existence of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab and virgin vinyl, half-speed mastered audiophile quality pressings. I've talked about the copy of "Revolver" I recorded with my iRecord.

Yesterday, still thinking about Michael and how much we loved sharing our passion for music, I decided to record the 2 albums involved in this amazing phenomenon. I have a decent copy of MFSL 1-017, Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side Of The Moon", and a mint condition copy of MFSL 1-100, The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". Such incredible musical creations.

These are albums that I like to listen to straight through. Having grown up listening to records, I've gotten used to hearing complete sides as units. I also listened to the radio and watched MTV a lot, so there are songs that I only know by themselves and don't know the rest of the band's music. Mostly though, if I heard a band on the radio with a song I liked, I'd find the album and listen to the whole thing, and even try to collect a group's entire recordings.

So, I recorded these albums and joined together all the songs using Audacity into one MP3 for each side. These are concept albums anyway, so like Dark Side's second side recorded as one track automatically. That's one thing I never understood with CDs is how they decided where track breaks were between songs with no real break.

In any event, this ramble, which I tend to do when talking about myself instead of my art, is to get you to remember how you listened to music growing up. How did the media, whether it be 8-track or MP3, you listened to impact your appreciation and love for music?


Thursday, August 7, 2008

An Introduction (Or Who's Out There?)

The Fab Four

According to Feedburner, my subscriber base is growing steadily! I don't really know what that means but it feels good that the chart shows it's going up.

So I suppose one thing that means is that there are a handful of people getting my posts automatically sent to them in one form or another who might not totally get the full picture of what Vinyl Art is about. I recently redesigned my site and blog to hopefully provide more complete information that is easier to access. I also added the Table of Contents to my blog sidebar to make it easier to read back into my archive. This past half year has been a bit of a blur, but I think there's some good stuff back there.

The subscriber increase also means that there are more people lurking. I certainly don't mind, but I really encourage comments and questions. You can call, email, or post comments here. You can comment on my YouTube videos as well as on my Flickr photostream. I've made some great connections with people passionate about all things creative and about their favorite music, so join in the fun! You can even stay anonymous.

Let's start with a question all can relate to, I hope. What band or musician has had the most important impact on you?

For me, it's The Beatles because "Revolver" was the first album my dad played for me on his record player. It began my passion for music.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008



SOLVE, born Brendan McGlynn Scanlon, was a beloved artist of the people of Chicago. He was senselessly murdered back in June of this year. His friends and family received an outpouring of love which can be seen in photos when you search for "solve" on Flickr.

I had been in contact with one of his good friends, SARO, on Flickr so I wanted to do something. It took awhile to get this album, but according to SARO, Brendan liked the band RATATAT. He was in a band too, but hadn't released anything. Not too many pictures surfaced of SOLVE, but this one captured his expression well. He's done in white, and his signature stencil is handpainted in black. The black is cool because on an angle the name still shines through. I love playing with the surface difference between paint and vinyl.

Brendan was a graphic artist who inspired a great number of other street artists in Chicago. In looking through his Flickr photostream I found these two which both have comments from him as well that made me understand how special he was (maybe a younger, low-budget, slightly illegal version of Christo): - stART sign - painted box

This is a YouTube video interview of him.

SARO, BONUS and Brendan's family organized a T-shirt sale to raise money hopefully for a scholarship at some point. The site,, has a more complete bio too.

My piece is on its way to SARO to be sold at the same gallery that the memorial auction was held. I'd hoped to have mine in it, but they said they'd still sell it.

Please take the time to learn about Brendan and his outlook on life. The more people who know of him in death will make his short life all the more meaningful.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Another One For A&E (Or Why We Have No Free Will)

I just found out today that my old friend, the one who discovered this, is living on the street addicted to pain meds and cough syrup.

His life up to this point would be perfect for A&E's "Intervention", only back when I was a part of it, I had no frame of reference or experience to draw upon to see where he might be headed.

I feel so lucky to have extricated myself from the bubble I grew up in as a kid. Looking back at it, I am thankful for my upbringing as it has helped make me what I am today, but I also realize how isolating it was. Everybody gets in their comfort zone, their little rut, but kids grow up in one and during their teen years when they rebel, they don't know what they're rebelling against. I ended up breaking out of my rut without even realizing I was in one.

I don't blame anybody or anything, as I love my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. It's mine. It's perfect. But my question is: do I control it and me?

I've been thinking about the existence of free will recently. I don't think we have it.

(Did he just really say that?) Yep, I did. Hear me out.

In the absence of external input (you type a key or move the mouse), computers know what they are going to do based upon their programming (Microsoft Excel stored on your hard drive), but computers can't always know what they're going to do moment to moment because they don't have control over their external input or their programming. We do. We created them and we programmed them and we give them the input to work on, directly or indirectly. They don't have free will because they don't know what their programming is or how to change it beyond the capabilities we have already given them and thus can't choose to react differently to external inputs.

Yes, I know computers aren't sentient, but a human being's self-awareness doesn't mean Life-awareness. We don't know what Life will throw at us next. Life which created us and which does control our external inputs (windy weather or the death of family members) would reasonably also have programmed us (our instincts and our reason). We are in a vast computer program, as in Douglas Adam's "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy". We also don't know what our programming is for all the science and philosophy we have.

So I think that our programming gives us the sense of free will, when in fact everything we do could be predicted based upon our initial programming and moment-to-moment external inputs, if we knew what those are and will be. I think we catch glimpses when we recognize patterns, when we naturally seek similarities, and when certain truths seem to be universal. I don't think we could ever totally know because of the fact that we are the computer we're analyzing and it's beyond the capabilities we have been given.

If we could figure that out, then likewise, computers we've invented could eventually become self-aware as well. Hmm.

I suppose it's all words anyway, having little or no real useful impact on us. We live our lives. But it's interesting to ponder why one person ends up able to share his passion with the world and another ends up throwing it away. And I did like sharing words with Michael.


Friday, August 1, 2008

What's The Exchange Rate For Scruples?

How about "just don't care"?

Really? Wow. For money?

Don't ask me to compromise me. Won't do it. It's not even a matter of not "selling out". I'm an artist. All an artist has is who they are and how they express that. I may package myself and my work as a product so you can celebrate your passion for music, but I am not for sale.

Especially when it comes to respecting the artwork of others. I happen to kinda like the golden rule. Oh, yeah, and sleeping at night. That's good too.

So I'll interpret photographs as portrait paintings, and I'll credit the photographer of the original image if so requested. But I won't copy a painting.

I stole once. Back when I was in elementary school I went to the market with a friend. They had those big barrels of individually wrapped hard candies. He said we should take one. I did. Oh, the guilt! Wow. Never doing that again. Not gonna steal a painting.

Got it?