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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Into The Light

Billy CorganI took this photo with just one of the small lights of my Tabletop Photo Studio. Shining the spotlight on Billy Corgan, as it were.

The Smashing Pumpkins have apparently gone through a bunch of internal angst, kinda like their fans. As Jeff noted, Iha left and worked with A Perfect Circle and has recently put out a second solo album. Corgan magnanimously reformed the band, but with only the recovering heroin addict drummer, who had previously been fired after an overdose, from the original lineup. I guess it fits with the music.

And that's what it's about, authenticity. Being oneself. Something you don't try, you just do, be.

Do I be?


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Out Of The Dark

Yesterday, we were surprised by the early arrival of family. So now I've got my neice next to me playing LPS with her new friend Blueberry. Not quite sure what that is...

Also, yesterday I got that Jerry Garcia commission and one for the Smashing Pumpkins. Here's James Iha to start. Who's next?

The trip to the record store for those two was very exciting. I also picked up a bunch of Tom Waits, which you don't generally run into, an Iggy Pop, which I've gotten a couple requests for, and several other cool finds. All from cleverly positioned boxes, right under the front counter. I love it.


Monday, November 24, 2008

In The Dark

Jerry GarciaDo you like surprises?

Jenn and the girls are here! Jason's family showed up for the wrong holiday! They're here from Texas for Thanksgiving and then they'll be here again for Christmas. Woohoo!

It's hard to focus on my art on a day like this, but I've got commissions! This Jerry is a gift from a woman to her husband for Christmas. He's a Deadhead who'll flip over this and she wanted to make sure it'll be a surprise.

My wife and I are terrible at keeping things like gifts secret. We just end up telling each other way beforehand or even giving each other the gifts right when we get them. I don't know what it is about secrets like that, but I've never liked them much. It's more fun just to give the present for me.

Can you keep secrets?


SOLD - Jerry Garcia 11/24/08

Friday, November 21, 2008

Like Blogger, Only Different

Eric Clapton
Evan Williams, the creator of Blogger, the host of this blog, went on to also create Twitter. I just joined. That's right, I'm a-tweetin'.

I was anxious at first, like back then. It's another new thing. New language, conventions, tricks, etiquette. New people. Or, well, so far, old people more instantly. Which is helping me feel at ease already. See, the cool thing about Twitter is that it's more interactive than blogging. Called micro-blogging, it's basically the same thing, but with a couple really cool differences.

ProBlogger's Rowse compared it to a dinner party conversation. You can whisper (send direct messages), chat with one person more openly so people can listen in (send @ messages), or you can just talk and see who's listening (send straight updates). The last one is the closest to regular blogging and is the basis for the site. You can use up to 140 characters to say what you're doing, ask a question, share a link, yell at the world, whatever. People who follow you will see those updates. They can then respond either by starting a conversation using @ messages or by sending you basically an instant message.

Then if a bunch of people are on at the same time, group conversations can develop. Technologically, a neat thing about Twitter is that you can receive and send tweets from a cell phone. So people can be anywhere doing anything and still be involved. It's like text messaging, but more public. Of course you can keep your updates private too, so only people you know can see them.

Part of Twitter's importance lies in its ability to integrate with other social networking sites. Facebook, blogs, and others can be tied to a Twitter profile, both sending and receiving updates. I haven't even begun to explore how it all can work together, but it will be cool. The fluidity of the update timeline and the amount of people following people means a much faster and wider spreading of information.

Also, you can search the tweet timeline. So you can catch up with someone's updates, follow past conversations, or look for other people interested in what you are too. Or you can find out if anybody's tweeting about you (or me, in this case).

It's a little overwhelming, and I'm not sure how it'll work into what I do online to promote my art or how I'm going to figure out how much time to devote to it. For now, it's wide open though, and I'm excited to reach out to people in a new way and hopefully bring them into the fold here.

One thing, it's gonna force me to be more concise. 140 characters! Can he do it?


SOLD - Eric Clapton 11/21/08

Thursday, November 20, 2008

From Green Day To Green Week

MobyHas anybody else noticed the green logos on NBC stations this week?

Yesterday I painted Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day. Turns out that the band is quite active environmentally.

It also turns out that Moby, who's recorded with Debbie Harry, is outspoken about the environment as well. Both he and I recycle as a means to create our art. He samples recordings and I paint on them.

Do you think about how your actions will impact the future of humanity? Before or after you act?


Moby 11/20/08

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ignorance Or Bliss

Billie Joe ArmstrongThis is for my neice, Jason's older daughter. Losing my brother-in-law is a pain, a knowledge, I could do without. Blissful ignorance. But this isn't about that.

I don't like being ignored. The reason isn't my ego. Well, partially it is. But not entirely.

The main reason is that I know people are missing out on something cool. If they ignore me, then they don't get to see my art. This probably sounds pretty arrogant, the self-important professional artist spouting off about how good his art is again. Maybe it is.

But I know what a kick people get out of seeing my art, maybe not bliss, but certainly a bit of enjoyment. I don't necessarily mean buying one for themselves or even giving one as a gift. I mean just seeing them. Taking the moment to get what it is, to remember their favorite music, to wonder what that would look like as a piece of Vinyl Art, and then maybe wanting one enough to tell somebody else about it.

So, I know I can't ask the people who ignore me why they do. But I can ask you, you who've been so kind as to read this, check out a few of those old posts, and give that bit of attention, that energy, that moment of your life to see my art. I can ask you, are you glad you know?

Also, like the above posts all from before, does anybody know how to get back blissful ignorance?

Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?


SOLD - Billie Joe Armstrong 11/19/08

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

Amy WinehouseI treated myself to a trip to the local record store which has had the most new releases on vinyl. I found this Amy Winehouse new. I also found Lennon's "Imagine" and The Verve's "Urban Hymns" used on vinyl, both pretty dang rare.

I picked the hottest photo of Winehouse I could find in high resolution. I'm not totally sure the piece is done. What do you think?

I know I'm not selling it, though!


Monday, November 17, 2008

When The Old Is New

Jazz. The old, new again.

The Beastie Boys' 2007 release "The Mix-Up" is an all instrumental album, their first. They'd sprinkled in funky jams on previous albums, but nothing like these. Jazz, specifically hammond organ-based jazz, is some of my favorite music. Blue Note. So forth.

To bring genres who's time of widest popularity has passed into the present like this CD by the Beasties is awesome. I also got the album along with "License To Ill", their first album as a rap group. Yeah yeah, I know. I didn't have it yet. It's new to me!

I listened to that album while painting Stevie Nicks earlier today. "The Mix-Up" I listened to while painting this Billie Holiday. Both paintings are Christmas gifts from a woman in Phoenix who remembered seeing me on the news. I was new old news.

I've painted Billie Holiday before. A couple times. Stevie Nicks too. But every time is unique. Every time the composition is different because of where I put the image, the record's label, and how I edit the image. The old, as yet new.


SOLD - Billie Holiday 11/17/08

Personal Checks

Stevie NicksI take'em.

But that's not what this is about.

How do you know when you're being authentic? How do you maintain your identity? How do you adapt and still stay true to yourself?

What are your personal checks?

I've drawn a line in the sand a couple of times. But over time, the wind and water can fade those lines. Do you know where they were? I guess that's the purpose of policies, but people dance back and forth over society's and their own lines.

For me, I try to maintain my self with my gut check. After Jason died, when I didn't know which way was up, the only feedback I found I could trust was my stomach. When it got tight, something was up. It seems to be good for letting myself know when I need to take a sec and ask why.

I think I have a pretty good sense of purpose with my art here, but please, if you ever think I've crossed a line, let me know.


SOLD - Stevie Nicks 11/17/08

Friday, November 14, 2008

Express Yourself [EC]

Ice CubeSince N.W.A. put gangsta rap on the map with the MTV video of "Express Yourself", Cube's been tellin' his story. It ain't pretty. Even today (this is some heavy shit).

He said in a recent interview, "Rap is a mirror. And if you're ugly, you can't blame the mirror."

What do you think?

Creative-types who speak their truths, tell their stories, catch flack from other public figures and groups if that truth is disturbing. Are they creating more ugly? Is reaction, fear fear fear fear, ever better than thoughtful action, love love love love?

Ask yourself why, like the little kid, "Why why why why?" What's the intent? What's my intent? Why do I feel like doing this, why did I do that?

My intent with this piece is to bring peace. Little by little.

Help me?


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Soul's Embodiment (Or Shut Your Mouth)

The iconic Isaac Hayes, the one with the bald head and gold chains, the composer/singer of the movie theme about that "bad mother", was everything that was soul music in the '70s. This Hayes' "Black Moses" persona came to represent the man himself, the trailblazer that paved the way for thick soul and rap and disco and long-song concept albums and modern film composing.

Isaac Hayes, the real man, had a hard life from beginning to end, filled with actual events that could very well be parodied in a typical blaxploitation film. From cotton picking and shoe shining to bankruptcy to religious and health impairment, he kept getting beaten down. No wonder his creative legacy is about rising up.

The man was cool.


SOLD - Isaac Hayes 11/13/08

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stripped Down

Chuck D
Boy, Rick Rubin sure has had a big impact on music since the '80s! My wife loves to hate him. He was involved with The Black Crowes, her favorite band as a teenager, and both helped and hindered their music. He influenced the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie Boys. And he got Chuck D to start Public Enemy.

Raw is what he brings to the table. Laid bare. The passion is all that's left after he reduces the production on albums.

Kinda what I do in stripping down my portraits, editting them down to the essential. Almost past that, letting you fill in the blanks.

Chuck D's work strips down his message too, hitting you hard with it. Can hurt, but through pain is growth. Stripped bare. Say it.


SOLD - Chuck D 11/12/08

"Who Knows What It's Worth?"

Paul Mawhinney has what's being called the world's largest record collection. His dilemma is how to keep it together as his health and finances fall apart. Valued at over $50 million, he's asking only $3 million. That he hasn't received any serious offers makes him feel like nobody cares. His pain is quite apparent. That's passion.

I don't think it's that nobody cares. I think he just needs a better marketing campaign.

I just saw on TV an infomercial for Sugarman's "The Midnight Special" DVD series. For $15 shipped you get each volume on a delivery schedule, with over 100 songs performed and classic comedy routines. Own a part of history.

Make it valuable. Make it give back to those who'd buy it. The owners of the footage are getting a return on their investment of preserving the show until now. They make money and solidify the show's (and by association, their) place in the history of our culture. The buyers of the DVD series get to share that history. You have to win when you buy something.

Whoever buys The Archive, like whoever would take over Roger Steffens' massive collection of Bob Marley and related music and memorabilia, will have to store and maintain the albums. That's a LOT of overhead: time, money, and space. It took somebody with the money and clout like Scorcese to really get the ball rolling on preserving film libraries in Hollywood. This guy needs a guy like that. And in some "you get what you give" kinda way, he oughta get something for it, whatever type of return the benefactor values.

That's the bottom line: the value. Individually the records would go for a total of $50 million. Together, the collection has a totally different value. One that's not solely financial. Imagine being able to say you're keeping a part of history alive, single-handedly. Talk about an ego boost.

So the problem becomes the value added. How will that egomaniac also pay the rent? Figure out how he'll make the collection make money back along with the status of ownership and Mawhinney'll have his buyer.

If you figure it out, tell him.


Would, For The Absence Of Light

Leonard Cohen
This Leonard Cohen is for this upcoming show in Ottawa here opening December 13th. Half of the proceeds from the silent auction of the pieces will go to a local charity for kids.

Subtle smudges. My other tool besides the brush, my finger, spreads dots of wet watered-down paint into tapped tiny suggestions of light, of volume. It creates basically an organically-edged wash, softened shade. The black vinyl still dominates, pulling the face back into the depths.

The depths.


SOLD - Leonard Cohen 11/12/08

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rock & Roll Never Forgets

Bob Seger
I feel bad. I just found out my friend Robert is having financial problems, may lose his house! I don't know if I can help much, but what I can do is point you here, his blogger profile. The website link there will take you to his main site where he offers his vinyl collecting ebook for donations.

This Bob Seger is a gift from a wife to her husband for his "man cave" which has picture disks and such on display. She also bought my John Lee Hooker for her mother-in-law.

If you're thinking about commissioning one from me for a holiday gift, you can go to Robert's site too. He's offering a 15% discount on my framed pieces, and he gets a referral. So everybody wins!

SOLD - Bob Seger 11/10/08

Who Needs High School Reunions?

James Taylor
Facebook is a perpetual asynchronous reunion of one's entire past. A comprehensive, free, controllable environment to reconnect at levels ranging from a nod of recognition to full-fledged rekindling of friendships. Some people sign up, set up a bare-bones profile and find a bunch of old classmates using the Friend Finder. Then they never log in again. Some go nuts with all the bells and whistles provided to find new networks of people and to share with those you already know the depths of your interests and hobbies.

Some, like me, have used it primarily as part of my online presence as it relates to Daniel Edlen, the artist. The thing I've found odd is how because I used to go to school with someone, it usually somehow biases the reconnected relationship. They still are who they are, which is cool to see, but it is funny how it makes it easier or harder to share what I'm up to now.

This James Taylor is a Hanukkah gift from the father of a friend of one of my old classmates to my classmate's father. The friend's father knew of me because my classmate had shared my video with others on Facebook. Pretty cool.

A neat thing is how all of this interconnects. So if you are on Facebook, you can become a fan of this blog, or add me as a friend! I won't bite.


SOLD - James Taylor 11/10/08

Friday, November 7, 2008


Ringo Starr Well, it looked better than HELP.

I love stories of why things happen like that. I love stories period. Attached to objects, they kind of carry with them the human intent captured by the object. My head spins when I think of all the stories attached to the albums on which I paint.

Like with these 4 albums of the Beatles. Robert sent them to me because they were too scratched to do anything with but throw them away. Two of them even had a second copy of the same album! I don't know exactly where they all came from, so maybe he'll leave a comment about that for me, but in any event, what happened to them? Why are they so trashed?

Records of the Beatles are by far the most plentiful in my playable collection. I went a wee bit nuts collecting bootlegs on vinyl when they were still available in West Los Angeles record stores. I've talked about some of them here, those that I've archived digitally with my iRecord. I couldn't imagine doing anything even to duplicates to leave them in the condition of these records I just used.

I love records because they are a physical manifestation of something ephemeral. Records were the first way sounds were preserved, captured "for the record", as it were. It's pretty cool when you think about it. Like the Internet and printing press and video, the invention and mass production of vinyl changed the way our culture works a great deal. Beatle bootlegs are great, like the story of the "Help!" album cover, because they show how the creation of the music fits into the greater story of humanity and our creativity. Marvelous.


Ringo Starr 11/07/08

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Vinyl Art Available At The Record Ranch

George Harrison

I've been given the opportunity to try out this new auction site, one devoted to music and music-related items. My friend Robert Benson, who gave me these seriously beat-up Beatles albums to use, introduced me to Chris, the guy running it. It's more down-home feeling than monsterous eBay, with free basic listings. Sellers only pay if the item sells. You can create a "store", and list items for much longer than on eBay. Another cool thing is that the site automatically extends auctions if someone tries to automatically outbid at the last second. Long have I been leery of participating in eBay auctions because items are usually "sniped" right at the end.

So we'll see! I put up 6 pieces to start. For those of you familiar with my pricing for framed pieces, they're listed at $25 less to start if you bid. The site also has a "*grab it!" price that's basically like "Buy It Now" on eBay, and I've put them at the same price as here in my gallery.

Hopefully it'll get some more exposure for my work, and maybe even referrals.


George Harrison 11/06/08

The Currency Of Fear

Paul McCartney

Money "Can't Buy Me Love", but how about fear?

Stephen Colbert came up with a great metaphor on "The Report" last night: the fear market, instead of the stock market. Since 9/11, fear has been increasing in value. At least that's what the government and media have been selling us. We kept trading it higher and higher, giving up freedoms and privacy. Then, the fear bubble burst, and we did it. We elected Obama.

What do we do with all this fear, all this currency, that's now suddenly worthless?

Make change. "And that's the word."


Paul McCartney 11/06/08

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can!

John Lennon

I'm not one to talk politics much, not nearly as much as John here. That's for sure. But I've gotta say that THAT was one heck of a speech last night from President-elect Obama. It was moving enough to see Jesse Jackson cry. Being a skinny, Jewish, white boy, I don't feel the enormity of the day in the depths of my soul the same as a black man. It's not ingrained in who I am. But I could certainly feel the passion from those there in Grant Park.

I wonder what he would say. Or him.

And now we can officially call W a "lame duck". ;)

The message from Barack that I most respect is that he wasn't counting on our belief in his ability to bring change to Washington, but ours. Most inspiring. I hope people realize that we get to work together to make a better tomorrow. Challenges, yes, but faced with hope.

Helped me get out of bed this morning.


John Lennon 11/05/08

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

So What'cha Want?

Beastie Boys

I hadn't known this, but the Beastie Boys started out as punks. After blowing away the world of hip-hop with "License To Ill" and their subsequent records, this EP marked a brief 11 minute return to those punk roots. In both genres, MCA, Mike D, and Ad-Rock aren't shy and hold no punches when it comes to their politics.

Seemed suitable today. Get your sticker?


Beastie Boys 11/04/08

Monday, November 3, 2008

One Day At A Time

OutKast Or, one day at a day. Or something. Minute by minute?

I am finding energy lacking. Ever since Jason died I've been basically exhausted. I'd never gone through traumatic grief before. Still haven't gone "through" it either. Where is the other side?

I know a couple of you who read this blog are going through this particular grief specifically, and a couple others who have grief of their own. What the fuck is with this universe right now? Am I right? I know "everything happens for a reason", blah blah blah. Philosophical wisdom is all well and good, but it sure can be hard to act on.

My wife and I watch Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab show. I wish there was more of it, less editted. But besides that, parts are very interesting. The last episode had a group discussion with Steven Adler talking about taking it minute by minute. I got to thinking about the recovering addict's daily struggle.

They've got something on people who aren't recovering addicts. Not that I'd say get addicted to get this, but every day, they have to force themselves out of their box, their bubble. Their bubble, their rut, their routine, their habit of using. Daily, they get to break out of that rut anew. They have to decide every day.

I don't know if recovering from or moving through grief fits in with the same idea, but I do know that when everything's peachy keen for most people, they are basically sleep-walking. This isn't judgement against it. Great stuff is accomplished by people living normal lives. It's just that stagnation can rot one's soul.

Thank you for reading my blog, those who do regularly. I hope it doesn't ever spiral endlessly in the grooves of the records on which I paint, hopelessly caught in a rut. Every day, I think about inspiring myself, motivating myself to paint, to be productive. To give my art the chance it needs to make it, to be discovered, to be what it can be and to do what it can do. And having this blog to look to every day helps. It really does.

I just wish I had more energy, more focus. One day at a time. Hey Ya!


OutKast 11/03/08

Get On

Vinyl Killers 6 I didn't do James Brown like last year, but I did do a bunch for this year's Vinyl Killers show up in Portland, OR. Half sold! Woohoo! Happy Halloween!

The John Lennon on the top row and the three with blue backgrounds on the second are still available at You can buy them online there.

Jason, the owner of the Goodfoot Pub and curator of this year's show did an amazing job. Below is a picture of just one wall. Mine are kinda in the middle with the blinding reflections.


You can see all the pieces in the show here. There's also a news story here about the show with a couple sentences about my work specifically. Looked like a pretty cool scene. Hopefully I'll be able to go next year!