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Friday, October 31, 2008

Turn On The Lights

Ronnie Wood

I'm no good at talking about myself. When I was in school I strove to be invisible. Not for any particular reason, just because I was generally uncomfortable being noticed. I still have a difficult time being social, making small talk and such. It's just who I am. I'm the kinda guy who likes to get used to being in a place so I don't have to turn on lights to find my way around, so I don't disturb... I don't know what, the universe or something. A born watcher.

But where my art is concerned, I really have something to talk about with a twinkle in my eye. I love what I do, what I can do. Creating these pieces of art to send out into the world makes me feel productive, like I matter. Like I matter to this universe of matter by leaving my mark on matter, as a matter of fact.

I think every being feels a need to be loved, noticed, appreciated, acknowledged. For some reason, I'd usually rather displace those to my art. Maybe it's a way of protecting my self, by removing the focus of interaction with other people from me to my art. Maybe I don't really have the thick skin I think I do. Fortunately, I do with my art. I know it's good. That's why I'm writing this blog after all.

So, as I finish up the Stones with Ronnie, I'm turnin' on those damn lights! Take me as I am.


Ron Wood 10/31/08

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Odd Man In

Charlie Watts

The classy eccentric. THE drummer.

He's an odd one, that Charlie Watts. A white drummer who swings; jazz-inspired. And he wears suits, naturally!

More interested in philosophy than groupies, he's kept a surprisingly stable family existence all throughout his career with the Stones. The thing he hates most is leaving home. Deals with it by being slightly obsessive compulsive with his luggage and his ritual drawing of every hotel room in which he stays.

So self-effacing you'd think it was false modesty, but it ain't. He doesn't get what the deal is about his playing. But he loves it, turned onto music by saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, his first drum a banjo with the neck twisted off. At age 13. Can't read music though. Plays by feel. The emotion of Keith's playing leading him.

Doesn't like talking about himself, or watching himself. Just plays drums. With an honest passion rare in the world.


Charlie Watts 10/30/08

Covered Art

Keith Richards

This copy of "Beggars Banquet" has the rather silly, watered-down replacement cover that the record label forced. The original cover, also used for the CD, shows a dirty bathroom wall above a toilet. Much more meaningful context for the album name, with even some good messages of peace and love. Certainly more relevant to the counterculture of '68.

RSVP on the lower left of this cover does prompt response. I expect it did enrage those who knew of the artistic censorship, and maybe even did elicit response. There've been many examples through the history of the record album of controversial covers, some of which were changed to satisfy the uptight. What stories do you know about?

My favorite Black Crowes album, "Amorica", was altered after its initial release. My friend Robert Benson, who's got this cool post today about the cover of "Exile on Main Street", has chronicled Gigwise's top controversial, weird, worst, and best album covers.

What's your favorite album cover with its own story? The Beatles' "Butcher Cover" perhaps?


Keith Richards 10/30/08

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sex, Drugs, And The Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger
I realized I hadn't painted the Stones! Since I just did all 4 members of Led Zeppelin, I thought I'd do the same for Mick and company. Both bands put out such a large amount of amazing music, both with strong STRONG blues and R&B roots. Rockin' music, man. "Monkey Man" off of "Let It Bleed" is currently my favorite song, but all of "Exile" is amazing too. Late '60s and early '70s, wow. I know the times were troubled, but the music thus inspired was intensely good.

Everything about the period was intense. Whether it was the popularized drug culture or the free sex movement or the social unrest and rebellion, extremes were tested. All I can say is, for better or worse, when you search for Keith Richards images on Google, you get a lot of pretty women and puffs of smoke. How are he and Lou Reed still alive?


Mick Jagger 10/29/08

Redemption Sung

[EDIT: 1/05/09 - For some reason, even though my friend says they shouldn't've, YouTube forced me to choose between changing the music, muting the music, or deleting the video. I've muted it for now. This is the case with the Jimi Hendrix video as well. I'm not sure what to do, as reuploading the files won't change anything, and probably won't even succeed. Drat. Any suggestions?]

So I checked my email this morning to find that YouTube had blocked the public display of this video of my painting of Bob Marley due to a claim by "a copyright owner" and a "music rights issue". The music backing the timelapse video is "Redemption Song" by Bob Marley and The Wailers. The record label is Island Recordings. Island is owned by Universal Music Group.

Guess who knows the EVP of the digital media side of the business at UMG?

Me. We went to high school together. How cool is that?

So, I went to the dispute page at YouTube and claimed fair use as I didn't use the entire song, it doesn't infringe upon the market for the recording, and the video is educational in that it shows my process, not directly selling anything. Voila! It's back up!

I got an email back from my friend at UMG and he said that they expressly allow this type of usage and they certainly hadn't put in the claim. Apparently YouTube has an automatic filter to flag user generated content that also uses something copyrighted.

Phew! I was glad to find out I hadn't rubbed the label the wrong way. In my thinking big, I hope at some point to work with the label promotionally, so thank goodness I didn't piss anybody off.

I get all anxious when legal issues pop up. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you've been accused of doing something wrong you know you didn't do, or you know isn't wrong? Man, that sucks. Fortunately I seem to have gotten rapid resolution, redemption if you will, to this deal and don't have to worry about getting personally sued. Also, I'm glad that my response automatically dropped the block on the video.

So now you can see it!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Don't Know Where To Put One?

Ray Charles

Give one away!

Last week, I asked you to think about where you could put one of my paintings in your home. I know a lot of you who see my paintings probably think, "That's cool, but it wouldn't really go with my decor." So you don't know where you'd put one, even if you want one.

I've got the answer. Make that someone else's problem!

Really, the majority of the commissions I've sold have been as gifts. I love that because it means people think enough of the paintings that they want someone they love to own one. They make great unique gifts because they show you pay attention and know what the giftee's favorite music is and sometimes even their favorite album. I definitely try to use the album you know they'd like. Makes for an even better story.

So, I painted Ray Charles on his Christmas album as an example of what might just be the perfect holiday gift.

And you can keep the snazzy sticker.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Every Picture Tells A Story

Rod Stewart
Part of the reason I don't want to reproduce my paintings is to preserve the unique story each piece will have and its original connection to me. It definitely is due to my ego as an artist, but each piece is a part of me, and I like knowing that that identity will remain intact.

This blog will hopefully serve some role in creating kind of an electronic provenance, a way to connect the pieces with their date of creation and something of my thoughts at the time.

So every picture will have a story to tell. If you own one of my pieces of Vinyl Art and would like to leave a comment here and/or on the post of the blog with your painting, I would be thrilled. You could talk about you, why you own the piece, and any stories or anything else associated with the portrait. Your comment will add record of the link in the chain of your piece's story.

Let it be known.

And if your piece doesn't make an appearance on this blog, let me know! Send me a picture of it as it hangs in your home and I'll make a point to mention it, keeping your anonymity intact if you want.


Rod Stewart 10/27/08

Getting Down

Jim Morrison
As I continue to add to this blog, it also continues to be a struggle to make the daily decision to be an artist. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to do what I like doing, i.e. creating, being productive. It is, though, the accoutrements (said Frenchily, this is currently my wife's favorite word) of the job of professional artist, the stuff that would be delegated to support staff in a normal commercial venture, that are trying. They aren't trying in the sense that I don't like doing them. I do really like the promoting and the networking and the organizing. It gives me a chance to learn more and more about connecting with people, with humanity, which is necessary for my ultimate goal.

It's the feeling of hitting my head against a wall over and over that kinda sucks.

I don't mean to whine and complain that I don't get tons of comments or anything. This isn't about feeling ignored. I don't mind that. If I did, I wouldn't have started this blog at all. It's the getting down on oneself. Being my own worst critic and all that.

It's tough to self-motivate when the business of being an artist is as flaky as it is. It's hard to push myself to do anything but paint when my vision of success isn't materializing more rapidly. Getting down to business takes a lot of energy.

I think it requires faking oneself out. I need to trick myself to do the support work in order to keep on keepin' on and get you to connect with my art and what it can do for you. I need to stay down with the cause if I have any chance of spreading it as far as I want it to go.

Are you down? I certainly wouldn't say no to more feedback. I appreciate any time you do devote to reading my ramblings, and am especially thankful for those who feel the fear of commenting and do it anyway.


SOLD - Jim Morrison 10/27/08

Friday, October 24, 2008

Where Would I Put One? (And Other Questions)

Here they are, Led Zeppelin. So, where would you put them in your home? I know it's not a very subtle question to get you thinking about where you might put a piece of my art if you were to buy one, but it is an honest question. We all have limited wall space in our homes.

Given that you like music, like it enough to own a music collection even if only on an iPod, like it enough that you'd want to share that fact with visitors to where you live, like it enough that you know which group or person you'd want a portrait of, the question is then do you even have the space?

If you fit into the above given description, then I can tell you it's worth finding a place. From experience, I know how fun it can be to have people see them and do the double take. I just got an email today from the MVBS to which I gave a B.B. King for their upcoming silent auction saying that they have the piece hanging in their offices and people have asked my last "frequently asked question", can you play it?

I think when people ask that, they are internally grappling with: what is that? is that on the record? is that a real record? is that paint? how was that done? who is that again?

My biggest curiousity is what people's first impressions are. What was yours? Are you still trying to get a handle on what you're looking at?

Here's where I have the 4 British lads hanging.

So, where would you put one?


Thursday, October 23, 2008

VA™ - Now I Can Merchandise Vinyl Art!

Vinyl Art stickers

Tada! As of today, the trademark on my logo should be official. I hope I get a cool certificate.

It didn't really take that long, and I only had to make one clarification and one check-up call to the examining attorney. The form was daunting, and I saved some money doing it all online and without the option to modify the filing. So that was a bit scary. I was worried that since I only had one shot, I'd waste like $200 if I didn't do it right. But everything seems hunky-dory!

I've had my 3x5 vinyl VA stickers for awhile. Some of you might've gotten one if you bought an unframed piece or commissioned one from me directly, or my mother-in-law gave you one. :) She likes being the proud mom. So now I can publicize their existence and say that you'll get one for free if you buy a piece.

The other sticker hiding behind the oval vinyl VA is a treat for a select few. They're on the sly, on the down-low. This one in particular is in trade for another artist's handpainted sticker. I do these with spray paint and white acrylic.

And beyond that, I'm not sure what I'll do yet. I was going to do a contest for T-shirt designs incorporating the logo, but I don't have the cash to have the shirts screened yet. Also, I'm going to eventually do some cool keychains out of metal, maybe for sale or gifts. But, anyway, it's fun to start thinking about how to get the logo known and connected with my art. I think it could be a strong brand image.

What do you think? An artist with a logo?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ambassadors Of Culture, Creation Of Go'd

Robert Plant
Building on my previous post's connection between Zepp and Sigur Rós, in 1970, Led Zeppelin played Iceland and in so doing, created a connection between their music, their culture of England and the culture of the country which gave us Björk and Sigur Rós.

All three groups provide a pure expression of the culture of their countries. This is the power, the relative immediacy, of music and creativity. Creators, whether they be from the world of music, dance, cinema or other creative endeavor, can effect change, can communicate with humanity in a way that alters its course.

A pretty amazing thing.

Another pretty amazing thing is the organic nature of the effect. Nobody can predict or control it. It just happens. There is no direction, no comparison, no model of the impact. There is no better, or worse. There just is creation.

And it is good.


Robert Plant 10/22/08

Take A Bow (Or Today's Vocabulary Lesson)

Jimmy PageJeff left a comment on my post about Biggie Smalls that brings up a point about music. It's a form of communication, just like speech. It has different languages, usually differentiated as genres. Jeff stated that he's not a fan of rap. I didn't connect with the genre either until recently as my musical taste continues to morph and envelop more of the world's music.

Take Sigur Ros. Only the second band that I've seen the lead guitarist create a reverb drone with a bow from an orchestral instrument, they speak a different musical language than, say, Eminem. They really even differ from their progressive avant-garde influences, yet they follow from them, linguistically. I'm not an expert on the group, so maybe Jeff could chime in with a comment giving some more about them.

But, for me, even though very different in language, my interest in both hip-hop and avant-garde aural landscapes can be traced back, in part, to Bob Green's The Grassy Knoll. His music is trip-hop/instrumental rock using orchestral and rock instruments along with electronic sampling. Crazy amazing stuff. But you have to understand the language spoken.

Have you ever heard something that just sounded like noise? Of course. Ok. Have you ever heard the same thing some time later and you could understand it then? That's because you learned a new language. Mind expanding (didja catch Jimi in there?).

Here's a listing of all the pieces from Green's first 3 albums. I can't get Realplayer to work for me, but they are worth a listen if it works for you.


Jimmy Page 10/22/08

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Of My Music (Or, Have You Seen The Bridge?)

John Paul Jones

Straight ahead. Zeppelin. One of the best. Stands the test of time. And all that.

I've gotten some very beaten copies of their albums. So I decided to paint all 4 members. Today I did Bonzo and this one of Jones. Tomorrow new solo images of Page and Plant.

I'm hoping to frame them and get them on our wall to show you. All together, they'll look pretty cool.

Just straight ahead blue rockers with a psychedelic progressive twist influenced by Motown and Stax. Heh. Usually, surprisingly, I won't listen to the band that I'm painting while I'm painting. Today though, I even listened to the album on which I was painting. Zepp's perfect for painting. Bonzo's done on "Houses of The Holy". "The Crunge" is one of my all-time favorites, funk though it may be, not rock. It's one of Jones' favorites too.

"Where's that confounded bridge?" - Plant's tribute to James Brown's "take it to the bridge".


John Paul Jones 10/21/08

Monday, October 20, 2008

Don't Compromise Yourself [EC]

You're all you've got. Janis said so.

It all depends on one's authentic intent. If I were setting out to sell my work so that it could be used and reproduced in other contexts, then great. I've got nothing against doing art for graphic design. It's just that that isn't why I'm creating Vinyl Art.

Vinyl Art pieces are original portraits of musicians and entertainers handpainted with acrylic on vinyl recordings of the subject. Their purpose is to celebrate our shared love of music. Each one is a unique expression, a piece of me, that hopefully will connect people with the music and culture they love.

To that end, I've also on several occasions tied my art to charity, including this piece. It is painted on an album given to me in trade. For the albums I received in that trade, I've decided to give $100 of the $175 for a framed piece to a charity of the buyer's choice. I love this idea, getting to give to charity and linking my art with that act of humanity.

See, that's my ultimate goal: uplifting humanity, making the world a better place. This art is my contribution, my way that I best know to be creative, productive. I won't compromise my art or myself.


Dead Wrong

Notorious B.I.G.

As I wait for Eminem to put out a new record, I'm learning more about the west coast/east coast world of rap. Some pretty nasty, powerfully real shit. Mostly autobiographical, as most authentic, passionate music is, the words of Biggie, Snoop, Tupac, Dre, Combs, and Mr. Mathers reveal the lives they've lived.

And in a twisted feedback loop, they hyperbolize those lives, and deaths.

Modern poets, however vulgar, they speak the truth of the coastal streets.

Or do they create it? Persistence
spittin' 'gainst resistance.
I don'know, only know existence.
This shit's just
pissed us all off 'cause
we hate to see hate
playin' us against
each other, brother
of another color,
another city. I don't
blame Em for lyin' low.
Life's not even worth the sickest flow.
He had ta blow, for awhile
he'd be in denial if he didn't go.
Rappers are artists too, yo.
- vinylart '08

You may not like it, but, yes it is art, not for the faint of heart. No, seriously, this is heavy. What the warning labels are for. But it is their truth. Power to those who have the guts to share it.


Available - Notorious B.I.G. 10/20/08

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Power Of Pink

Melissa Etheridge Previously, I'd painted Johnny Cash for a local group's quest to join the 3-Day Walk this month. This Melissa Etheridge is simply for Breast Cancer Awareness. Fortunately, talking publicly about breast cancer isn't taboo anymore. This is in part thanks to the very public journeys of famous people like Etheridge, and more recently Christina Applegate, as well as the sheer number of people and families touched by the disease. And I was very impressed by the subplot of Samantha's struggle on "Sex And The City".

The problem, though, is still very much real and still lacks a permanent solution or means of prevention. That's why so many people participate in raising money to throw at research. Lifetime is premiering their new movie "Living Proof" tomorrow night starring the very talented Harry Connick Jr. about the development of Herceptin. It sort of reminds me, at least by its promos, of "And The Band Played On", the extremely moving 1993 TV film about the discovery and initial response to HIV and AIDS. Even that soundtrack can make me cry.

I don't have much personal to say other than I was encouraged to paint this, my first publicly available piece with a color tint. I won't do color often, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I feel so lucky to be able to paint in the first place, let alone possibly make a difference in the world for the better with my art. Getting involved celebrates humanity, which is why I'm here. I don't know how I'll sell this, if I do. Maybe an auction somehow. We'll see. I'm open to ideas.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Notes Are For The Soul

Gil Scott-Heron Speaking to and for his fellow black man, beat poet Gil Scott-Heron proclaims words are for the mind. Music is for our souls.


Take some time and, after watching that historical YouTube video I linked to above all the way through, wander around YouTube. Listen to something you remember from when you were growing up. Listen to something it then calls "related" that you have no idea about.

Also, you can give my radio station a try. Listen to what I like and what Yahoo! thinks I might like.

Feed your soul.


Gil Scott-Heron 10/16/08

THIS Is My Music, My Culture!

Alex Turner Now, THAT is a record store! I just wished I'd known about it earlier! The ex-manager of one of another local small chain of used music stores who had displayed my art over a year ago had left to open his own store, Revolver Records. I didn't know about it until last month and finally went a couple days ago. Man! I felt like I was back in West L.A. at Record Rover. And to be named after my favorite album of all time!

Stacks of boxes of records, tightly packed bins of new and used vinyl in all possible genres, all crammed into an old house in downtown Phoenix's arts district. I'm glad it's a bit of a drive because I'd be there WAY too much if it weren't. Hopefully though, as they are in the arts district, they'll be able to devote some wall space to my art. TJ wants to if they can.

They have listening stations for both vinyl and the small selection of CDs. Rare and cool looking albums adorn the walls along with framed band t-shirts. I tell you, I felt at home. The prices were so reasonable too! Beatles and the rare Hendrix album with the original cover with all the nudes, all less than $50! Most records were around $10.

So I found the above Arctic Monkeys, a Led Zeppelin III (for a buck!), Nick Drake's "Bryter Layter", a Gil Scott-Heron album, "The Eminem Show", and "Born Again" by B.I.G. There were tons more, including several that I'd've loved to buy for my listening collection, but I didn't want to go TOO crazy.

I already have "Favourite Worst Nightmare" on CD and love it, love it, love it. The Arctic Monkeys are sweet, and put on a great live show. Alex's energy is awesome. This record was in excellent shape even though it'd been opened, so I recorded it with my iRecord. I do think that these new albums being pressed on vinyl that have been digitally recorded or mixed or mastered at some point don't sound "better" on vinyl. How could they, if the recording isn't analog to start with? So I'm not overly conflicted about using them for my art.

In fact, I'm starting to paint more pieces of those musicians I, myself, truly love. I want to build a collection of paintings that really fit my tagline "this is my music, my culture". The Hendrix and Lennon last week started this off. Hopefully I'll eventually get them hung in our dining room to show you how cool these look on the wall. I'll post pics then. Now to decide whether to actually paint on a Nick Drake album.


SOLD - Alex Turner 10/16/08

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 08: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For [EC]


This year, Blog Action Day is about poverty. I've painted Bono because of his passionate history of working to make our world better. It is in us. We can be better.

The problem is that we think "better" means we need to do something to get there. Again, it is in us. Already.

WHAT are we looking for?
What are we LOOKING for?

We don't need to look. We just need to acknowledge. To listen, to understand, to love. This applies to everybody and everything, as it is.

Action will follow once we recognize that everything is already within us. When we have allowed ourselves to love our selves as we are, we won't compare our selves to others, we won't beat our selves down, we won't get mad at others for seeming to be in better circumstances, we won't try to beat them down, we won't get scared of getting worse, we won't attack things and people different from us. We won't take, we won't hurt, we won't destroy. We won't cause poverty of spirit, mind and body.

We will bring out what is good in all of us. We will love us. We will unite. We will give, we will heal, we will create. We will rise above poverty.

The other reason I've painted Bono is that, as part of my taking action to make things better, this piece is one of my Elliott Collection paintings for charity. The deal is $100 of the $175 price for the framed piece goes to a charity of your choice. You send me 2 checks, one to the charity, one to me. I send the charity check off to that charity in your name.

That ties the piece to your memory of giving as well as helps me change the world, getting us closer to


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Christmas Time (Is Here Again)

Elvis Presley Ain't been 'round since you know when.

I don't even remember last holiday season. This year has been so screwed up for us, especially time-wise. Anyway, I love The Beatles' rather random Christmas song from their fan club record.

This Elvis is the first completed commission for a Christmas gift. I ask people to give me at least a month to get a piece to them, so you've definitely got time if you want me to paint somebody for a loved one.

I still have to get Morrison Hotel to paint Jim on for the other commission I've gotten.

Tomorrow though is Bono for Blog Action Day.


SOLD - Elvis Presley 10/14/08

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Power Of Suggestion

Miles Davis

Impressionists played with light in their paintings. We see light, not the absense thereof.

So I paint highlights. It gives me kind of an advantage, using a black surface. I can just suggest the image. I'm not painting the entire thing. The vinyl does a great deal of the work for me.

This is the first of hopefully a series of pieces for a fellow who loves the Blue Note recordings done at Van Gelder Studio, some of the best funk jazz ever.

I get a little nervous painting fabric and instruments, as faces are more recognizable. I received a comment on an old post which I responded to, thinking I'd probably write a post about this idea. Humans recognize faces first. We're so good at it we see faces when there isn't one really there. Just a hint of the 2 eyes, nose, mouth configuration and we finish the face in our minds.

Suggestion. Just the suggestion of a face is enough.

Another issue is the recognizability of the image I use. When I use an image that "everybody knows", like the Lennon I did last week, our culture has done a great deal of the work for me. The iconic image makes it easier to get past the "who's that?" question and go straight to "that's cool!" Our minds don't even realize we do it. If I accurately suggest the image, you don't think about it at all.

This isn't to say that it's easier to paint a face, or to paint an image that everybody recognizes. I do have to do it accurately, and when everybody knows that face, it's easier to criticize. But it is only a suggestion, an editted version of reality. In fact, the more I edit, the more I leave to you to fill in with your imagination and memory, the more likely it'll look "right" to you.

Certainly makes for a dramatic impact when you see the light.


SOLD - Miles Davis 10/13/08

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Think, Act, Spread Peace

John Lennon - (i) inspired by photo by Iain Macmillan Happy Birthday, John!

Join Yoko and millions in celebrating.

Her statement about art and peace is beautiful and inspiring.

Indeed, Peace.
SOLD - John Lennon 10/09/08

Think Locally, Act Globally [EC]

Jimi Hendrix

When I look at the server logs from my main site and this blog, a large number of visitors are from outside the United States of America. It's really exciting to think of people who don't speak English getting to see my work. I wonder how my art is perceived through the eyes of other cultures.

A few blogs have done posts about my Vinyl Art in other countries:

Enrensenf (German video blog, I'm at 3 minutes in)
CHEWINGHOME (French blog)
wheeze (Ukranian LiveJournal)
bluevolvox (Italian blog)
Psicodelia Colectiva (Costa Rican blog)
APPUNTI NOVALIS (Italian blog) (Polish blog)

Pretty cool. I also was featured in an Italian magazine called Match Music. They asked me some questions via email and put the Q&A in a half page addition to an article about the increased interest in vinyl.

A very interesting international connection is with a gentleman from Lebanon. He's collecting autographs and small pieces of art from all over the world to create a large show about world culture, and he was delighted to get one of mine.

Lebanon. Rough place. Beautiful, but not the best place to be at the moment. He's just told me that he had to postpone his exhibition until after the elections there because of the increased violence.

Wow. I certainly haven't had to do that, to change my plans due to fear for my life.

With all the craziness out there in the world, I think it's important to remember that we're all connected. We're all human. We all need understanding and love, and help. If we can expand our thought and hearts to try to change the world, to bring people together, we can make it better for all of us at home.

I'm trying to imagine if locally we had events occurring that restricted our freedoms that drastically. I'm trying to imagine how difficult it would be to carry on, especially if I felt that the rest of the world was an enemy. We need to act, to show people around the globe that we understand their local problems.

I know there are great charities out there with programs that act on a global scale. So, for this painting of Jimi in my EC series, how about giving the $100 to a group like the Peace Corps or Amnesty International or UNICEF that has that global perspective?

I would be honored if you wanted to own a piece of my art in memory of acting to help the world.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Good Gracious

B.B. King - (i) inspired by photo by Bob Guthridge[EDIT - 09/24/09: I received an email from Bob Guthridge, the photographer of the photo from which I drew inspiration for these pieces. He's asked that I credit him and supply his email address:]

This is for the Mississippi Valley Blues Society. They asked me for a piece after they saw my donations to the Alabama Blues Project. Apparently the recent flooding in the region severely limited their fundraising and forced them to put on more events to make enough money to then put on their big annual festival supporting the music. My piece will be available at their upcoming concert and silent auction on Nov. 7th.

I'm trying to use my work to do good. I like the idea that my work can help support our music, our culture. I need your help in this too.

My pieces for the School of Rock are all still available. I also extended the opportunity to have 25% of the proceeds from any commission placed before Oct. 15th go to the school if you want.

Also, all the pieces in this series are still available. They are painted on a specific collection of records I received in trade and I will give $100 of the $175 directly to a charity of your choice. All you'll do is send me two checks, one to me and one to the charity. I'll even suggest organizations if you're interested. I will also be painting more in the series soon.

If you have a way my art might be able to help human creativity and culture, please let me know. It's all part of my plan to lead us to


DONATED - B.B. King 10/08/08

The Long And The Short Of It

Flea and Kiedis

Handpainted. Yep, white acrylic basically dabbed on a record. With a brush. In my hand.

It takes effort. Effort and energy focussed by skill and practice, motivated by passion.

Effort means a long-term commitment. The Chili Peppers have travelled a long road, with pain and anguish along the way. From very rocky beginnings on this, their first album, through a very rocky middle with tortuous drug problems, to a still rocky present saved perhaps by family responsibilities, Kiedis has actively grown as a singer throughout.

Sustained effort. Driving passion, in it for the long haul.


Red Hot Chili Peppers 10/08/08

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sexells Doesn'tit

Is it always about sex? Well, I suppose on one level or another it is. Sex is primal, instinctual. Music is primal, instinctual. I wanna get inside you, let's dance. Feel the rhythm, see the sweat. Raw sex and longing.

Gwen knows, no doubt. Just you watch.


Gwen Stefani 10/07/08

Monday, October 6, 2008

Out On The Weekend

Neil Young
On Saturday, my wife and I saw the Coen Brothers' "Burn After Reading". Brilliant fucking movie. The way they write characters and piece together plots based on nothing more than misinformation, mistaken identity, and collossal miscommunications is incredible. "The Big Lebowski" is our favorite movie ever. So, I wondered if I need to break some part of my communication with you. You know, create discord, drama, much ado about nothing, but ado that when resolved makes everybody happier than before the drama.

Or is it already broken?

I found this post by a woman who clearly gets what the impetus to hold onto records is all about and she responded to my comment with her take on the relationship between packaging and content. Does my packaging model and convey what I and my art are about?

Do you trust the connection between what you see and what you'll get?

As I continue to struggle, as most artists do early on, with reaching the right audience and successfully promoting my self and art, little victories lift my spirits. The jazz aficionado who wants a whole series of Blue Note recording artists. The sister-in-law who wants Jim Morrison for her own Jim Morrison. The repeat celebrity client giving a piece to the daughter of the subject the piece. These help me to know that when my work connects, it hits home runs.

The struggle then, continues to be making sure there isn't any discord or drama I'm not aware of, and to be getting those who'll connect with the content, the work, to see the packaging.

I'll keep plugging along.


SOLD - Neil Young 10/06/08

Friday, October 3, 2008

Outside, It's Like Any Other Bean

A quick link to a friend's post. Please go read it. Please.

Peace. And have a good weekend.

Take No Prisoners

Dave Mustaine
Boy, yesterday huh?

This reached out and wiped the sleep from my eyes and Megadeth took a blowtorch to the cobwebs in my brain.

The above link goes to a new blog, just 13 posts. You must read the first post to get the tone. The clearly European sensibility and the intriguing taste in music and film make me very excited to read as potentially 400 observations develop. I'm following.

With renewed determination and sharpened passion, I forge forth. Indeed, take no prisoners, take no shit.


Dave Mustaine 10/03/08

All In Moderation

[EDIT - 05/09: I've turned off comment moderation, requiring only the word verification. I still get an email when comments are left, so reason #1 below still holds. #2 does as well, so if I end up getting spam comments I will turn moderation back on. We'll see how it goes!]

As I begin to get more comments (thank you thank you!), a question comes up that I suppose deserves to be addressed by way of a policy.

Should I moderate comments?

I do for 2 reasons:

1) I want you to know that I read every comment. Moderating them means that when you see your comment show up, I've read it. I've paid attention to what you've said. Often, I've already left a reply somewhere on your blog or in your inbox. I created this blog to communicate with people passionate about creativity. I want comments to encourage connection. I moderate to let you know I listen.

2) That said, I also want to maintain this blog's quality of communication. That includes the comment section. I don't like the idea of having inappropriate comments that I have to remove, leaving a "This post has been removed by a blog administrator" message. I'm talking about spam with crazy links as well as socially offensive or personal messages. Fortunately, I haven't had any yet, but prevention seems the way to go.

So please don't take the fact that I moderate to mean I'll discard critical or argumentative posts. In fact, those are what I like the most. They provide an opportunity for increased understanding and awareness, and show you care enough to voice your opinion.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Do Be Do Be Do [EC]

Truthfully, there is only now. This moment, well, that one, no that one... wait... now! Yeah, no... now! Sorry, got a little silly. But that was me, then. Now, I'm serious. Pff. No, not yet. Ok, now.

To find inner peace, self love, and all that good stuff, it's best to focus on now. You can only do one thing at a time, "thing" being defined as an action taking energy and attention in moments. Who are you? If you believe that you are a collection of your actions, then you'd better do what you be.

Be who you are, as you are, in each moment. That changes. Trick is to be in control of who you are. The first step in this is determining that.

I heard a snippet of an interview with Randee St. Nicholas who took the photographs for Prince's book in which she said that when people ask "How does he DO that?" she answers "That's who he IS". Prince is Prince. Authentic. Real. Passionate.

Are you? ARE you? Are you you? Be do.


Real Gone (External Input)

Yesterday I wrote about reconnecting with the good in people.

In relating online, sometimes the people get even more lost behind all the noise and manufactured reality. It can feel like nobody's there. So it can feel easy, inconsequential to simply ignore the nobodies (if you check out that link, read the whole thing, you'll see).

Seth, ever the one to look for good, pointed to this (I wish I could comment there to say thanks, but at least I can spread it).