Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
[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
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
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
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
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
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
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.
Friday, October 17, 2008
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
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
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.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
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
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
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)
winylowe.com (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
[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: firstname.lastname@example.org]
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
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
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
[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
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.
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).