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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Family Focus

Until March next year, I'll be "out of the office". Abbey will be about 2 months old then, if all goes well with her year-end delivery, and that feels like a good amount of time to devote solely to our growing family. After that, I'll take care of business again, responding to emails, blog posts, tweets and so forth, and painting commissions.

Besides Abbey's birth, I'll have the Bookmans show sometime in January. So definitely check in come March and I'm sure I'll have news to share. This business of Vinyl Art has been built on moments when I say "That was unexpected", so I'll bet there'll be surprises too.

Like Alice Cooper signing a piece to auction for Ear Candy Charity.

Alice Cooper
Happy Holidays and New Year!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coming Soon To A Bookmans Near You


Yesterday I delivered 20 pieces to Bookmans to be distributed to all 6 stores around southern Arizona. So exciting. The cafe in the Mesa store is open and looks terrific, but the show will coincide with the grand opening soon. I'll definitely let you know the date when I do.

I found this album at Bookmans. Totally cool. I didn't think I'd get to paint Bogie unless I started painting on film reel cans or something. I've talked before about actors I love. Film is definitely a big part of the culture that has shaped my aesthetic, that I'm thankful for in a big way, visually and musically.

This is a list of a good number of movies that stick with me, in no particular order:

Tank Girl
The Usual Suspects
Blue Velvet
Wilder Napalm
Hugo Pool
Being There
The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
Fight Club
Joe Vs. The Volcano
No Country For Old Men
The Big Lebowski
Batman Returns
The Fifth Element
Monty Python & The Holy Grail
Yellow Submarine
I Heart Huckabees
Mixed Nuts
Hudson Hawk
The Shawshank Redemption
Good, Bad, and The Ugly
The Truman Show
Silence Of The Lambs
Meet Joe Black
The Natural
Barton Fink
The Last Temptation Of Christ
Monster In A Box
Hellraiser III
Dick Tracy
Falling Down
The Sandlot
Who's The Man?
Wings Of Desire
Pulp Fiction
The Shining
Max Headroom
The Professional (Leon)
Big Night
Field Of Dreams
The Untouchables
The Fisher King
The Princess Bride
A Fistful Of Dollars
Zorba The Greek
Feris Bueller's Day Off
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
The Odd Couple
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Men In Black
Willie Wonka And The Chocolate Factory
Home Alone
After Hours
Glengarry Glen Ross
L.A. Story

What do you think? A few surprises probably. What would you add?


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ignorance Is Not An Answer

Frank Zappa - (i) inspired by photo by Emerson-Loew

Earlier today I talked about "yes". Responding and receiving yes as an answer is satisfying when backed by a good gut-feeling.

Ignorance isn't an answer. Yes, no, and maybe-so are.


SOLD - Frank Zappa 12/15/09

For You, Yes

It's nice to hear "yes". It's nice to be able to say "yes".

It can lead to some unfortunate situations and events, like the death of Michael Jackson, though. Thus it requires listening to one's gut to figure out if a "yes" is possible and positive.

Usually I can say "yes". After all, creating for you what you want is largely why I do what I do. But I treat everybody uniquely, as you are unique, answering every question the best I can when asked. As I type "Peace." uniquely every time, with intent and desire, I answer "yes" with presence and enthusiasm.

This Michael Jackson is a gift for Bob Bookman, a thank you for my upcoming show at all 6 Bookmans locations in southern Arizona. As details have been worked out, they've said "yes" to my requests, making me feel appreciated, valued. But their "yes"'s have all come after careful consideration and planning, making me feel confident in the decisions behind the "yes".

MJ wasn't so fortunate.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Authenticityness And Life

Otis Redding I like making up new words that are just a bit different than what dictionaries present. This is most helpful when a word has become so bogged down with buzzissicity or cultnotation and I don't want to convey all that crappage along with what the word actually means. See?

Authentic is one such word. Merriam-Webster says it means genuine, actual, and real. Nowadays, though, it's applied to people who appear to mean what they say, I guess, and do what comes from the heart. In essence, "keeping it real". What the heck does that mean, really?

If you mean "not fake", then what is fake? What's a real fake?
If you mean "true to one's character", then what is not true to one's character? What's a poseur?

How do you do that? I mean you are what you do. Is as does. So if you act like a fake, then it's authentic in that you, well, are acting like a fake.

I just get all fidgety when labels are applied that are buzzwords and have weird connotations. Who needs all that baggage?

As far as I, myself, am concerned, what I can say is that what I write comes from my gut. I don't set out to manipulate or game anybody. Yes, my intent is to promote and sell my art as well as share of myself, but that's what I'm here for in the first place. What you see is what you get. I just try to make sure my "packaging" matches my "product".

What I do, what I accomplish, what I gain are Life experiences. That's all anybody can hope to gather, to accumulate, to get. Life. That's authentic.

Live it.


SOLD - Otis Redding 12/10/09

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Full Bleed

Lou Reed - (i) inspired by photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
I've been giggling all day.

See, I painted this piece yesterday, inspired by a photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Today I received an email from him in response to my query verifying he took the cover photo of Lou Reed's "Perfect Night In London". He not only said that he'd taken the shot, but that he thinks my work looks cool and he would pass along a piece to Lou, if I wanted to give him one.

Well, yeah!

So this piece is on its way, hopefully ending up in Lou Reed's hands.

Lou Reed.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Thankful: for Tumblr

Before Thanksgiving I shared my thankfulness. Now I'm really excited. I've figured out a way to do even more.

See, as an artist, I'm largely a visual person. So doing "Thankful: for" text updates to Twitter with things during that day that I appreciate is all well and good, but what about taking pictures and sharing those? Or videos or audio even? How do I directly share the full range of creativity of our culture that inspires me?

Enter Tumblr. I'd created a tumblog awhile ago, just getting a feel for how the site works. It's really pretty cool. It's basically like this blog in that it displays in reverse chronological order, has a modifiable template, allows comments and sharing, and is public. The difference is that the primary use of tumblogs is to share small bits, an image, an audio clip, a quote from somewhere else online, and it allows uploading of original content online and from cellphones. I didn't quite know how to take advantage of it though.

Now I do.

I realized that Twitter and Facebook, while extremely popular and very good at sharing small bits, are member-only sites. You have to create an account and profile to access the content. This blog isn't. But this blog is more meant for sharing about my art and life in slightly longer, rambly, daily-ish posts. Tumblr combines the best of the two and can be unrelated to me directly without confusing readers, hopefully.

So, I've started my Thankful: for tumblog.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Value Vs. Color: Which Side Matters?

Dave Matthews
I usually paint on the 1st side of an album. There've been a few times, like with John Lennon's "Imagine", that I've chosen the 2nd side. In Lennon's case, "Imagine" has different labels, with a less distracting open apple half on the 2nd side.

This is the 2nd LP of the Dave Matthews Band's recent release. When I paint on the 2nd LP of a double album, I don't worry as much about which side. In this case, the other side is a much brighter green. The brighter the label, the harder it is to see the white paint, lessening the contrast, muddling the image a bit. The value is too high.

So the color doesn't matter. It's the value that matters.

Tell me art doesn't teach tolerance.


SOLD - Dave Matthews 12/03/09

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Spraygraphic's 2nd Annual B-Sides Vinyl Art Show

Coming up this Saturday from 7-9pm will be the second time around for a vinyl art show at Hoodlums. I've submitted this Miles Davis along with a Lou Reed and Michael Stipe. Chuck from Spraygraphic is a great guy and curates a good show, while Steve of Hoodlums does his part to help our local culture. Pieces come in from all over the world and the local participants will probably drift through at some point. The boutique record store has a stage in the back for live music as well.

My wife and I will hopefully be able to be there, at least until our bedtime.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful: for Life, The Universe, and Everything

Billy Corgan of Smashing PumpkinsI've been tweeting "Thankful: for" updates for awhile. Things I realize I take for granted usually. There's so much to be thankful for in this Life. What is there to not be thankful for? All Life has purpose. If you look at everything without judgement, instead with love and understanding, it's hard sometimes to even differentiate objects because the world is so bright.

"Siamese Dream" by Smashing Pumpkins came out when I was in high school, probably around the time I started painting Vinyl Art. I was definitely one of those angsty teens to whom Corgan was speaking. I didn't really know it or acknowledge it, but his fuzzy voice and guitar echoed the fuzziness of my emotions. I didn't know what the hell was going on in the world.

I did latch onto music, fortunately. It's seen me through, really. I wouldn't be where I am, doing what I do if my Life's soundtrack had been different.

So that's why I do what I do, giving thanks to those who've created by contributing back to our culture as I can. I just said that in my monthly email newsletter, to which you can subscribe by emailing me. But it bears repeating. I am SO thankful to all of you who read my blog, check out my art, follow my updates and connect with my work in one way or another.

You help me give thanks.

Peace. And Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Am I Good?

Paul Brady

If you have passion for what you do, put yourself into it, care, then you've asked yourself this question.

Does it show self-doubt? Does it encourage discouragement? Does it mean you aren't?

I think all it means is that you're human. And humans are good. By definition.

Yes, like all artists and those who take care in what they do, I am racked by self-confidence issues every once in awhile (like today). It's not rational or reasonable, it's not predictable, it's not preventable. It's just an emotion that overtakes us who live.

Give it its due. Value its purpose. You needn't look outside yourself for the answer. You needn't look inward either for a response. That's its value. It is. As are you. Let it serve as a reminder that we are simply living, being the best beings we can be, and doing as we are.

You are, after all, the only you that will ever be. So, of course you're good.


SOLD - Paul Brady 11/20/09

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Better Half, Musically

Dave Matthews
"I didn't just marry a beautiful woman, I married a record collection." - anti_tomwaits

Me too. My wife's taste in music has had a HUGE impact on what I listen to regularly now. All the modern British bands, the Black Crowes, The Jayhawks, Dave Matthews, Kings of Leon, The White Stripes, and honestly, The Rolling Stones are new to me since meeting and marrying my wife. I wouldn't have gone to any of the concerts we've gone to as well, meaning I wouldn't have done a lot of the travelling we've done.

This isn't to say I don't listen to what I used to as well, it's just that what I care about in music has changed. Words. Emotions. They matter as much or more than the artistry of the music now. Before I listened largely to ambient techno instrumentals and prog rock. Now lyrics matter. Voice matters for how it moves me. Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake, you know.

I'm just so dang lucky. And now we're going to have a baby! And the John Lennon nursery, totally her idea.


SOLD - Dave Matthews 11/19/09

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me! Again!

Kelly Jones of Stereophonics

Last year I gave myself Amy Winehouse.

This year, Kelly Jones of Stereophonics. I recorded the album with my iRecord before painting this. Such a good album. Excellent on vinyl bought from Juno Records.

This is the official video for one of the best songs off this album. Watch it. Listen. Turn it up if you can. You'll understand why they're one of our favorite bands.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Giving Back(spacer)

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam - (i) inspired by photo by Paul Martin
This piece is another for the fellow who commissioned these. This one is for his wedding's MC.

An artist friend asked if she could interview me. Today she sent me a list of really good questions about my art. Really good. I'll definitely share her post when she's got it up.

Answering her questions left me very excited about my artwork. See, I love culture. My parents exposed me to all kinds of creativity, both seeing and doing. I saw museums, plays, musicals, concerts. I did art, piano, writing, gymnastics. As I grew up, I kept adding to my creative aesthetic. Listening to Pearl Jam's "Ten" as a teenager, the perfect timing for the explosion of grunge in my life, left an indelible impression.

Contributing to that culture which has enriched my life is one of my main goals with my art, both Vinyl Art and Liter(art)ure. I love the idea of giving back. Getting to paint Eddie Vedder on the band's new album, inspired by a photographer's captured moment is a dream.

And goals and dreams do come true. I'm proof as so many projects I'm involved with right now have to do with giving and celebrating our shared culture. I hope you share it with me.


SOLD - Eddie Vedder 11/17/09

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Forecasted Shower

Peter Gabriel - (i) inspired by photo by Trevor Key
Nicole bought us some seriously cute, soft stuff for Abbey through my baby barter deal. And she wanted Peter Gabriel. Very cool.

Speaking of Abbey Grace, my wife's baby shower is coming up this Saturday. We're so excited because of the guest list. Far flung family are flying in, all spending at least one evening with us. Those that are also staying the night are planning a second round, late night party too! I get to be here for that part.

It'll be so fun to get to show off our nursery. We'd bought a whole bunch of the Carter's John Lennon Collection when it was available. Clothes, basinet, blankets, bouncer, playard, crib sheets, frames, bookends, stuffed animals - my wife stashed it away. Then once we were pregnant, we color matched the main colors and I painted the nursery. The sun is on the ceiling circling the ceiling fan with the ceiling and walls a soft sky blue. I painted John Lennon animals and flowers around on the grassy hills, with birds perched above the door and closet. Here's a shot of the crib and some of the painting taken from the rocking chair:

John Lennon inspired nursery There are more shots in the baby barter deal post. Once Abbey's born, I can tell I'm not going to want to leave her room.


SOLD - Peter Gabriel 11/10/09

Monday, November 9, 2009

Impishness On Fire

Fire Imp by John T. Unger

Last Friday was John T. Unger's birthday. I got this from him that same day, the piece he traded with me for an unframed Robert Johnson. This is Fire Imp #12 in raw steel, cut from scrap metal left over from his firebowls which are in turn made from scrap propane tanks.

I talked about John and the legal battle in which he's engaged. Since then, he's founded Defend Art, an organization designed to help artists nationwide with legal issues both financially and informationally. How cool. Good coming out of a really messed up situation.

If you haven't checked out this post of his, I strongly suggest you do now.



Thursday, November 5, 2009

'Tis The Season

Gord Downie, Miles Davis, Tom Waits, Bob Marley

As we near my wife's due date, time is getting wacky. It's almost my birthday! Then all the holidays. Man.

Imagine throwing a wedding into the mix?

The fellow up in Canada who has commissioned these pieces is getting married early December. My wife and I got married late December, but we did it in Vegas, baby! He's apparently doing the whole deal as these four are for his groomsmen. How cool! What a neat idea. All get basically the same thing, but personal for them. It adds that edge of thoughtfulness.

I am finding that my Vinyl Art makes for a great gift, for any occasion. People seem to feel much better about splurging on art if it's for a loved one.

I certainly know I'm thinking pretty much only about things to give Abbey once she's born!


SOLD - 11/05/09

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Show And Tell

Vinyl Art @ The Goodfoot

This past weekend, Vinyl Killers 7 was open and is now online. My 5 pieces are still available and can be bought online.

The show looked HUGE! Every year it keeps getting bigger. This year, Jason used my Tom Waits from last year for the poster. Very cool.

The nice thing about these group shows is the new audience that gets exposed to the concept. Recently it's become apparent how helpful taking advantage of every opportunity for exposure can be, online and off. Profiles with online galleries I created long ago have brought new customers while the new video has done the same.

All it takes is one person at a time. I've said that before, but it deserves to be mentioned again. I really don't pay much attention to the ups and downs of the numbers of people following me on various sites. That doesn't have any impact on my business. I sell work to one person at a time. Heck if someone sees my work online somewhere, gets the concept, and moves on, that's great! If they bookmark it, share it, or contact me, even better. But I don't expect people to follow all that I do. That'd take, well, as much time as I take doing it!

So I show you what I do, as I do it, and tell you about what's going on that's relevant. If you get hooked, cool! If you say to yourself, "Hey that's neat!" and think about it months later when figuring out a birthday present, awesome! If you go, "Wow!" and then tell all your friends right then, beautiful!

That's how the ripples spread, and that's how that one person connects. That's how I get to do what I do, that I love SO much. So thank you for what you do that helps. You, one person.


Friday, October 30, 2009

THIS Is What It's All About

Eddie Vedder - (i) inspired by photo by Paul MartinHere is Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam on "Vs.", received in trade, painted for Nate Anderson of Ear Candy Charity, inspired by a photo by Paul Martin with his blessing. So cool.


SOLD - Eddie Vedder 10/30/09

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On The Wall

Jon was kind enough to send me a shot of the 4 pieces he commissioned as they hang on his wall. This is a cool layout! It's a nice alternative to the square. Even though it was really hard to sell these, I'm so glad they've found a good home.

I love getting to catch up on the story of my pieces, following them where they go. I've talked about this before, missing out when I consign pieces because I don't know who buys them, or when pieces get bought at charity auctions. But I have been lucky enough to have several owners send me pictures of their Vinyl Art.

If you own one or gave one to someone, I'd love to know what people think, and a picture would be awesome. If you can send one, just email it to me!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Twitter Can Help An Art Business

This video wouldn't have happened without Twitter. Plain and simple.

I've been participating on Twitter for some time now. It's been hit and miss as far as usefulness in the moment. But when it hits, it hits. And the hits are much more fulfilling than a straightforward sale. This post is about some examples of those hits I've had with my Vinyl Art.

For me, my art is largely about the connections I get to make. That's what Twitter is about. Yes, there is the noise in the room there, but if you get good at tuning your twitterstream, you can make some great connections.

I've had several. Some that have ended up with transactions financial, others with transactions social. I've developed a relationship with one of my favorite musicians, Bob Green (@thegrassyknoll), whose music I'd discovered years ago during my lazy college days spent listening to random used CDs. Brilliant stuff. I've communicated friendly-like with Prince Campbell III (@chartreuseb), whose blog blew me away, and he even entered my last Vinyl Art contest. Also, brilliant stuff. I respect these creative people enormously. To have produced the content they have and put it out there, and then to interact with people on a very real level is wonderful.

Then there are those connections that have resulted in both a friendship and a sale. First to mind is the one with Ryan Barton (@RyanBarton). He's the fellow who made this video for me. I won't tell you all the particulars about his generosity, but basically he bought 3 pieces from me after I'd jumped in on Twitter seeing he had bought a print from Hugh MacLeod (@gapingvoid) and was thinking about buying my art next. That's the beauty of Twitter, the evesdropping on relevant conversations that persist as tweets but occur as real-time exchanges.

It is the strange hybrid structure of communication, both asynchronous and synchronous, that allows for more connections and more development and expansion of those connections. It happened with Brian Clark (@Copyblogger) as well. He and I conversed first about @chartreuseb and his blog and the crazy comments they'd gone back a forth with long ago. Then he took a liking to my art, eventually buying 4 pieces, sharing my work with his followers and even writing a blog post suggesting how I could improve my business. It is that building of relationships and the ripples which spread uniquely on Twitter that have added a marvelous dimension to my art business.

I was able to give back to a hero of mine too. After finding David Lynch on Twitter, I was then made aware of his foundation (@DLFTV). They enjoyed my work enough to have me paint Mr. Lynch and then have him autograph the piece for a future auction benefitting the foundation. I then painted Mike Love of the Beach Boys for the same purpose, Love signing the piece at one of the foundation's charity concert.

This connection to reality with Twitter relates to local action as well. I will be having a solo show locally at Bookmans (@bookmans) this winter. This is because of Twitter, as Scott Henderson (@espressojunky) found me there and offered me the idea of a show, and then bought a piece for himself. Further, I was able to learn about Nate Anderson and Ear Candy Charity (@earcandycharity) on Twitter. Nate and I have struck up a relationship and $50 from every piece sold or commissioned at the Bookmans show will go to the charity and their efforts to provide musical instruments to kids music programs.

So I get to give back in a very real way to people not even involved with Twitter due to relationships formed on Twitter. I'd say that's a hit.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Yay! I CAN Paint!

I'm still adding more pieces to my redone online gallery, but I'm back to painting too. I've gotten some really cool commissions, and I'm excited to get to them!

I feel so lucky that I CAN paint. Not that I have the skill, but I have the opportunity and wherewithall. This is thanks to my support system, primarily my wife, now in her 3rd trimester ( To have such support is incredible.

This piece is Robert Johnson. I'm trading it to my friend John T. Unger. He has a place in my "Online Motivation" list to your right in the sidebar. If you haven't checked out his article about life and death, do. It's insanely inspiring.

I'm trading this piece to John because, 1) I like him and want him to have at least one of my pieces and 2) he needs financial and moral support. A used car salesman has ripped off his designs and then had the gall to sue HIM to overturn his copyrights for his Artisanal Firebowls. The legal fees could bankrupt John, but his attitude is so amazing (see the article he wrote, really) that he's fighting back with creativity. He's taking the scrap metal from the already scrap metal he uses for his firebowls to make whimsical small sculptures he's calling Fire Imps.

Here's the one I'm getting:

This afternoon, he's finally released the info about the lawsuit, having been advised by his lawyer heretofore to stay mum.

Here's his article about the situation along with how you can help:

I hope you'll take a moment to check out his work and see if you might like a piece of his, or if you'll be moved enough to share the story with others. I know I was.


Traded - Robert Johnson 10/26/09

Friday, October 23, 2009

Can I Paint Again Yet?

Whew! What a week!

I got it done though. My new gallery!

This is just in time, because that video I talked about a little bit ago is done too! It turned out amazingly! I'm so proud of it. Ryan at did such a good job.

I've embedded it on my "About Me/An Introduction" page. If you want to see it in high quality, you can go straight to YouTube. Then if it doesn't start in HQ, you can click the HQ button in the bottom right of the video box. It'll take a bit longer to load, but the paintings look way better.

I also sent out my email newsletter this morning. Baby and Bookmans news were the main topics. Good stuff. If you'd like to be included in my mailing list, just email me and let me know!

Have a good weekend! I'll be back to painting next week. Some cool commissions.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Under Construction; No Dust

The nice thing about having a virtual gallery, instead of one made of brick and mortar, is redoing it doesn't require closing up shop during construction. Handy.

In my last post, I introduced new genre labels for my blog posts. This week I'm going to revamp my main site gallery to be more user-friendly. Each piece is going to have its own page, bookmarkable and shareable. The pieces are going to be the actual pieces, instead of representative images. And they are going to be organized both alphabetically and by genre. Cool.

I realized after creating the blog post genre labels that I have enough pieces to do this now. The gallery will have the pieces listed for sale with PayPal "Buy Now" buttons, or will show the pieces as on consignment or sold. This'll make it much easier to tell people which pieces are on your wish list. Nice.

I'll be letting my newsletter subscribers know first when the change goes live, along with some other cool personal and art-related news. If you're not on my list, you can simply email me at the address above and let me know! Easy.


Nina Simone 10/19/09

Friday, October 16, 2009

Categorically Reluctant

I have over 400 posts on this blog now. I've tried to keep posting every weekday both for my sanity and to keep sharing with you, my art and my life.

This week I sold a Clapton to a woman as a surprise anniversary present to her guitar-playing husband. Very cool. But it was difficult to, over the phone, have her get to the examples of my paintings of blues guitarists. I only have that drop-down list over to your right.

But how do you categorize Clapton? Is he blues? Is he rock? Is he classic? Is he psychedelic?

I really don't like labels, but I know to expect you to be able to find who you want from one huge alphabetical list with a scroll bar is quite unfair. So I'm working on labels. Here they are so far, you can click on each to get all the posts which I've put in that category:


What do you think?


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Culling Curators


Middlemen have it the roughest these days. Record labels, book/magazine publishers, car salesmen, art galleries, realtors. With artists like Slash breaking traditional industry boundaries and with the well known issues of online distribution of information and content, it's tough.

But there's a new breed of middleman. Some of them are calling themselves curators. I'd not use such a, well, stodgy word. I'd use culler, a word not commonly used yet, but accurate. These people are filters.

Remember portals online? Like Ask or Infoseek or, well, AOL? Of course you don't. They've been replaced as the active, social media sites have revolutionized the sharing of information. I don't mean the actual information, the content. Blogs and the like have revolutionized the sharing of that. I mean the sharing of the sharing, the filter, the value-added directory.

So now, on these highly active sharing sites, the deal is to be the best at focussing on what you like to share and then finding the best postings online about the best examples of that, the fastest. These people who have thousands of followers on Twitter and hundreds of friends on Facebook spend their time grabbing links, repeating the ones that fit their focus, perhaps scanning original source sites like newspapers or even content producers and sometimes sharing links from those that haven't yet been shared. It's about building a reputation as the one to follow if you like such-and-such, and it's about connecting with other cullers to get insider tips, faster links, more followers.

I'm not sure what'll happen, but I know there'll be a shakeout, a quick one because everything on these social media sites happens, like, yesterday. It's like a vacuum in 2 senses: it'll suck you in and spit you out, and it's very echoey. Many are basically acting as relays. There are clever uses of the technology though.

I joined in one last month. A lady, @kim on Twitter, started #Artwalk. On Twitter, one way information gets connected together is through hashtags (#). Twitter makes these into links so you can click on them and it acts kind of like an indexing function. Kim's idea was to, once a month, have people share art links they like with the hashtag #Artwalk. Sort of a stroll through art online, turning Twitter into a virtual gallery. Culling at it's finest, if the quality is there.

And that's the trick I think, quality. With so much repeating of links and connections for the sake of connections, the actual content, the painting by Van Gogh on the museum website, can be lost. We need original, um, content. Again, not the actual content, the link content. The cullers who will make it out with maybe a real thing going will be those who find real stuff to share.

Seems obvious, but the noise level is rising online and it's still hard to tune in a signal. So I call out to you cullers, what do you really want? What do you want to share? Be as specific as possible and put that in your bio info. Then you can become the active directory people will remember and go to, like the old Yellow Pages.

I don't envy your mission, but if you choose it, commit.


Slash 10/15/09

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time For Change

Mick Mars of Motley Crue

I keep getting taken by a fit of the evil chuckles when I look at this piece. Not sure why. Could be that the painting is shaping up to be awesome.

Could be because that video profile I told you about yesterday is shaping up to be awesome.

Could be because that show at Bookmans this winter is shaping up to be awesome.

Could be because my opening up to change is shaping up to be awesome. It's really a matter of deciding, committing. And then accountability, daily. Getting small goals done, checking them off a to-do list is so rewarding. Completing tasks is reward enough! Heck, it's getting me closer to my dreams for my Life. That's the point. Having that end in mind and then creating your journey to it positively, enjoying the way there.

Do you know what you want in order for your Life to shape up to be awesome?


Mick Mars 10/14/09

Monday, October 12, 2009

Head-On Profile

Miles Davis - (i) inspired by photo by Irving Penn

Something hopefully very cool is developing. The fellow who bought the 3 blue jazz pieces, including Miles Davis, is working with me to create a professional video profile! Using our new Flip videocam, my wife recorded me as though I were answering interview questions about my Vinyl Art. I then recorded myself painting this piece of Miles Davis. It'll all be editted together with music and stills and timelapse shots into a clip to share online.

I was really nervous filming myself. I'm not familiar enough with how I sound, let alone look, on camera to know how to do it. Fortunately my wife is honest! After half a beer I both sounded and looked much better, apparently. Yeah, I'm a light-weight. ;)

But having grown up an introverted listener, speaking about myself, especially in public, has always freaked me out. I'm bad enough writing about myself without questions to answer. And you should've heard me give my high school graduation valedictorian speech! I'd wished I hadn't done as well in school after that.

I do like talking about my art, answering questions. That's why I redid my 'About Me' page on my site as a Q&A. Along those lines, oh readers of mine, I'd love to know what other questions you have about me or my art. I am really open and, when prompted, can ramble until my wife tells me I should stop. ;)

So, what do you want to know?


Thursday, October 8, 2009



It gets in you. Doesn't it?

Makes your whole being kinda rise and fall in rhythm.

I am in awe of rock. I don't mean the "rock" as defined by the Hall Of Fame or the radio stations. I mean rock that you can feel below your feet deep in the earth. I mean rock that you can see miles above in the stratosphere. I mean rock that literally blows your eyelashes back when it hits you.

I mean music that is Life, that makes you keenly aware YOU are alive. Alive in *this* moment. And that you can do anything.

The rock that, well, rocks you.


Ozzy Osbourne 10/08/09

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Do You Wake Up To Music?

I've been really curious if this happens with other people.

I wake up with music playing in my head. Usually it's something I've listened to the day before, but sometimes it's totally random. It's like the iPod or jukebox in my head is on shuffle.

The cool thing? If I loop whatever chunk of music is in my head I can go right back to sleep.

Does any of this ring a bell? Or is it just me?


Monday, October 5, 2009

Friends, Family, Fans, Followers, Flickr, Phew!

Facebook Flickr Badge"Badges! We don't need no stinking badges!" I added the above Flickr Badge to my Facebook fan page today. I was trying to figure out a way to make a widget so that those of you who'd want to would be able to share a mini-slideshow of my work on your site or profile or whatever.

I'm a little famooshed this morning after trying a bunch of new things with my online stuff. Stuff. What else do you call it? Presence? Accounts? Profiles? Social Media?

There's Facebook which has a fan page and my personal account with friends and family. There's Twitter with followers. And there's Flickr with contacts. Each site, each environment requires a different approach. Subtle, but different. All try to do the same thing, engage and connect with music lovers and artsy people, yet...

Flickr is the simplest. Upload images, add tags and description, add to relevant groups. The strange thing is though that I get more random connections there. People just interested in art. A lot of street artists. I only communicate with them there for some reason. News about vinyl art shows usually ends up there first.

On Twitter, it's more about sharing ideas and people and links related to my art, but not my art directly so much. Followers seem to like big news, like being featured on Playboy, but the better updates are the ones that show who I am as an artist. I like architecture, this architect, these buildings. I came up with this saying on my way to lunch today. I like this lyric from this band I really like. There's this other cool guy here who does this neat artwork. That kind of thing. There is the ability to send messages, but users seem mostly to add images as favorites and occasionally leave public comments.

On Facebook, my fan page is solely news in various forms about my art. This is the charity event to which I donated pieces. Here is the video clip in which Mike Love signs my piece of him for DLFTV. This is the show in London to which I've submitted pieces. Those kinds of things. There is the ability to have discussions, but users seem to pay attention to fan pages more as a news feed with feedback.

Then, also on Facebook, my personal account is, well, more personal. Still about my art but mostly family and old friends and new ones I've made online. The updates are rarer there, as I figure most other stuff besides news about Abbey Grace is too mundane. I do go back and forth in comments more though, with multiple people joining in briefly.

And that's been the most complex part, figuring out where the conversation works the best. Since email seems to be fading, for whatever reason, and is being replaced by all these social sites, where do you find it the easiest to participate in discussions? The most comfortable?

No, really. I'm asking you. Where?


Friday, October 2, 2009

I Know They're Out There Somewhere

This Iggy Pop was a gift from a wife to her musician husband, a friend of mine from grade school. Here is my original post featuring the piece. It looks awesome right above a light like that, between more art even! Sid Vicious, Iggy Pop and the White Stripes. Doesn't get much better.

I love getting pics of people's pieces in place. I've only gotten a few, which you can see by clicking on "owner" in the label list at the end of this post.

I'd also dig pics of the stickers I've sent out, if people've stuck'em somewhere. My wife and I have ours in the corner of our rear windows. I'm looking forward to the day I first see one on somebody else's vehicle.

So if you have a piece of Vinyl Art or a VA logo sticker stuck and haven't sent me a photo, please please do. I'll feature you in a post unless you tell me not to, as well. Or if you know someone who has a piece, tell them! Thanks!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Being An Artist Is Hard

So I overwhelmed myself again. Not with too much to do, but with the other usual concern, money matters. I'm not complaining, and I'm not doing badly either.

But there're no roadmaps for being an artist, a financially successful one. Especially since I'm largely avoiding the traditional gallery consignment route. In the course my dad gave me I'm supposed to write a business plan today, and formulate an ideal day. What are those for artists?

I dislike the commoditization of anything let alone art, and certainly time. This idea is sort of rubbing me the wrong way. Yes, there are certain things I could put into a routine. I think I'd benefit probably. So I'll give it a go, especially when money is tight and will get tighter with the birth of Abbey Grace.

I suppose the planning and organizing is just another thing which right now has a long-term payoff with short-term expenditures of time. I hope so, because as I was contacting Sir Paul McCartney's publicist yesterday, I looked at this post again, remembering my most important ultimate personal goal of creating Vinyl Art.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Big To-Do To-Do

John Steinbeck - (i) inspired by photo by Philippe Halsman

"And they began this day with hope." I'm learning.

What could be better?

It's a big challenge to go from being the sort to float and get things done completely haphazardly to the sort to write down a daily to-do list. Besides getting the hang of figuring out how long it takes me to do things, I also need to decide how to break down larger tasks so they don't show up on my list for a whole week. I know I'm learning a good lesson to not be dissappointed in myself if I don't get to check off everything, but when I've written "work on Steinbeck" for the last five days...

But it's done today. I got Dr. Seuss's "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" today to use for my Liter(art)ure. Neato. I still feel a bit weird drawing in books, but the result is pretty cool.

I just sent out a special secret Vinyl Art commission that got a sweet frame job. I'd never floated a record or used matting before. It's really fun to get to do different presentations of my work. It'll be as fun to figure out how to present my Liter(art)ure when it comes to selling them.

'Til then, I'm just doing them for my wife and I. Checking them off my to-do list.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Steps Ahead (Or, In Front Of The Footsteps)

The Beatles In the Table of Contents off to your right, the Introduction is called "Steps Back" also featuring a painting of all four Beatles like this one. This piece is for my first baby barterer,

Now I'm looking forward, setting my dreams down on paper, organizing my goals accordingly, and committing to what I really want.

It's empowering to see progress. I'm still seeking balance, as I do tend to go too far sometimes with change, but I like the feeling of accomplishment.

One challenge, a big one, to my Vinyl Art venture is creating a new trail in the world of art. Still unclear even really how to characterize what I do in traditional terms, I'm not sure where the right people are to connect, to share. I hope eventually to bring them to me through various means of exposure, but I have a lot of seeking to do. A lot of unanswered questions. How cool! I love not knowing things.

So, where do you think I could engage people in conversation about music, art, and/or human creativity in general who might also be intrigued by my work?


BARTERED - The Beatles 09/28/09

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Best Of The Most Popular Vinyl Art Posts

I've been meaning to assemble a list of blog posts that have been popular and that I enjoy the most. I know that the prospect of not only keeping up with reading a post a day, but digging into the archive unguided is overwhelming. Your time is precious, and there're some posts that, beyond having a neat painting are, for different reasons, not worth that time and thought.

So I figured that I could at least share the posts that more people have checked out, those I think are worth your time.

The most trafficked posts are the one with JFK's famous line from his inauguration speech and the one with the discussion of my favorite funny people because of the reference to SNL's 101 top moments. These are found by searchers looking for something completely off-topic from my work. So I wouldn't count these, or point you to them.

After those, my introductory post with a painting of The Beatles is the most read. Good! That's the best post to get a handle on what I do, what I'm about and the point of this blog.

Next is one of my more philosophical posts with a painting of Tom Waits. I like this post a lot too, so I'm glad it gets seen. The painting is being used for the poster of this year's Vinyl Killers show, and Waits himself posted a tweet complimenting the piece. What I say in it is worth the read, I think, as well. About value and people.

Following that is my contest post with the painting of David Lynch that he then autographed to auction for his foundation. I received some amazing entries to that contest and this post shares my interest in stories, your stories. Stories persist, facts fade. It's still a good post, and hey, if you send me your story still, I'll send you a sticker.

Skipping a couple more posts popular only because of wayward searchers, my reproduction post with the painting of Santana that, along with John Lennon and Mariah Carey, eventually was reproduced for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel is a good story. The result of my adventure certainly was positive. I do still have to frame the copies I got.

Next is another great story post with my philosophical and practical thoughts about the largest record collection in the world and how to find a buyer for it. It's always a matter of the value. Not monetary. Human.

That is indeed why I paint Vinyl Art, to celebrate and find value in humanity. The creativity that I bring together, from the album cover artist to the photographer of the photo I draw inspiration from to the musician and the production of the album to me is very cool. With a simple portrait, I hope to share the meaning of all that combined contribution to humanity.

Something meaning more than it simply is, by being simply what it is.

Do you have a favorite post of mine?


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beginning With The End In Mind

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock, on my favorite single, "Rock It", will be the 5th piece for this year's Vinyl Killers show at The Goodfoot in Portland, Oregon. Since Jason used my Tom Waits for the poster, I wanted my pieces to be really good this year. The others are the Thom Yorke, Frank Zappa, Jay-Z and Michael Jackson I painted recently. I like the black on the label on these.

I really like how my paintings are turning out these days. Not that I didn't like them before, but they seem to be better. To me anyway.

I do basically start each piece with the end in mind. I mean, I have the image already. In a broad sense I am simply replicating the original photograph. I'm not insecure about that fact anymore, as I've recognized the value I add, I put into the piece, but it is true. All I really try to do is make the painting look like the photo.

It's all dots and dabs of white paint. That's all it is. I look at where the white is in the photograph and put it on the record. I'm not even really thinking about the fact that it's a face while I'm painting. Then, in the end, voila! It's kind of fun to see it develop, which you can do here.

My painting can be a metaphor for Life, if you like that sort of metaphysical philosophical thing. Which I do. In Life, if you have a dream, a goal, a picture in your head of how something will look when you get to where you want, you have a much better chance of getting there. Sounds kind of obvious when you think about it. People don't get what they want usually because they don't know what they want!

This has been on my mind a lot with the course I'm on, so I'll ask the question again, "What do you really want?"

I'm asking you.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Preparation Prevents Perspiration

So yesterday I didn't do a post because I kind of overwhelmed myself. I got so excited the night before about my Bookmans news that I bit off more than I could chew with my to-do list and I ended up discouraging myself. When really I had done a lot.

I have to be careful with myself, because I tend to swing pendulums to extremes. From no change to let's change everything! But being prepared is a good thing. I'm learning that for sure. And I'm learning that shortcuts are long on cost, end up causing more work down the road.

My website is one example. What seems like ages ago, NOTCOT did a post about me. It's one of those 'what's cool' sites. I had a huge traffic spike to my website. But I hadn't really designed it well, procrastinating because I couldn't make it perfect. I was amazed that I had even one sale directly from that post. I got freaked out because I didn't have any kind of inventory control or note about variations in commissions or anything. Sweating bullets that morning. Frenzy.

Now, my site's in better shape, partially because I was preparing for this. So now I'm ready. Not sweating. Excitement.

I've gotta get painting!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Topsy Turvy, Icky Thump

The White Stripes - (i) inspired by photo by Ewen Spencer
Well. What a day! Talk about a rollercoaster. It started out pretty crappy. Inefficient, frustrating, anxious-making. To boot, I left my phone in another room and didn't hear my wife calling repeatedly for about an hour. No emergency, but it left her worried and me pissed at myself. She did get a Slurpee out of it. Orange Cream.

And I did get this painted. Been wanting to paint The White Stripes for a long time. They are, after all, one of our favorite bands. Jack White's new band, The Dead Weather, rocks as well.

Then about 15 minutes ago I got an email. A VERY cool email. I'll be able to share the details in my newsletter. I've got to keep it slightly under my hat. If you want to subscribe, please just email me. I'm currently giggling kind of uncontrollably.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Focus On Course

Jay-Z That line. That line from "Swimming With Sharks". "What do you really want?"

It's a vital question. Your life won't go anywhere without the answer. Well, it will, but just not anywhere you want. We need dreams. We need to write those dreams down. We need to tell people about them.

It serves our need to be connected, to grow, to contribute. To be human.

I've got some big dreams, ones that will really just be goals for my whole life. I want to read all the books I want to read and go all the places I want to go. I want to feel physically fit. I want to be a good father.

I've got some other big ones that are more, well, directed. With end points.

I want Paul McCartney to be aware of my work. Yes, that Paul McCartney. He played at the first David Lynch Foundation benefit concert, but I just missed out being able to send a portrait of him to sign. Wasn't time, according to the Universe. Who am I to argue? But I want him to know about what I do, and if I can get one of him in his hands someday? I'll melt.

I want to put out a book of my Vinyl Art. It's going to be called "Groovy Portraits". I've bought the .com domain. I've started working on the text. First I'm going to put out an Ebook version to spread it around. You'll know about it. Then, I don't know how, but it'll be published someday. And I'll get to sign one for you.

I want to make something of the 33 abstract sculptures I did in my last years in art classes. I've shared a couple sculptures, figurative, with you before. These I haven't. And I won't until I'm happy with how they're being presented. They are the most personal art I've done, ever. They are me. Well, they are me then. Becomings. That's what my old art teacher called them. Me. Becoming me. I'm still doing it. So sharing those the way I want is a lifetime goal. The biggie.

We'll see. But it all requires focus. I'm learning. I'm on a course.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

In Memory Of Michael

Michael Jackson

"Thriller" was one of the first cassettes I had, from my uncle I think. I remember the dancing, the video, the glove. An entertainer like no other, that chin jutting out, those hips popped. Remember the time?


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I've Been Doing This 3 Years?

Frank Zappa - (i) inspired by photo by Emerson-Loew

This Zappa is one I'm going to send to Vinyl Killers this year. It'll be my 3rd year participating in the show. It feels like so long ago that I started marketing and selling my Vinyl Art. It's gone by so fast.

It's interesting to look back at something you've done for quite awhile, day in, day out, and see how things have changed, progressed. When I started out, I had vague goals, vague ideas of what I wanted to happen. Beginning with the end in mind, as Covey says, but broadly. My main goal was exposure. And it's happening! Kinda cool.

Sure, day to day sometimes it seems like nothing is happening in a broader scale. But looking at a chart of RSS subscribers that looks like the best stock chart ever is encouraging. My goal is for that to continue, for more people to hook into my blog and hopefully read a good number of posts. I know there're a lot. I'll be highlighting my favorites.

Let me know which you've dug!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Unsticking Myself In Time

This was my desk this morning. This has been my desk, in general, my whole life. My floor of my room in my parents' house was a maze of stacks, the beautiful Chinese silk rug completely covered except for a narrow path to my stereo. Mentally, I'm a hoarder. It's fear-based. I have in another room ALL of my school work from pre-school through college organized in folders by grade and class in banker boxes.

I fear losing my past.

It's difficult to say, to write. My fingers tremble a bit at the realization.

It's never been so much that I'm worried about getting done what I need to get done. That takes care of itself, honestly. I get to it. It's that I hold on to the physicality of the chronology of my Life. I attach so much meaning to objects as placeholders in time.

It's time to change that. I'm currently working on some life lessons provided to me by my dad. The task I picked to focus on today relates to the well known lesson that if your desk is cluttered, so are you. So to set a new behavior, I needed to clean my desk. But not just clean it, meaning opening the drawers and sliding all the stacks into them. I needed to organize it, setting up new habits that don't rely on chronological order.

I needed to organize myself. So I did.

All has been filed appropriately and notes of info and to-do's have been consolidated in the notebook on the scanner to the left. And I even took previously hid stacks out of drawers and organized them too.

It's really just a matter of committing to the change, writing it down, telling somebody else about it. It works!


Monday, September 14, 2009

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Alice CooperWarped.

I mean the record.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Baby Barter

Thank you John Lennon! His beautiful drawings for his son, Sean, are the inspiration for our entire nursery, which I finished painting yesterday. My wife, the planner, found the Carter's collection a few years ago and knew she wanted it for our nursery, when we would make one. We stored away crib sheets, bibs, a playard, a bouncer, blankets, sleepers... you name it. It was really smart actually, because not only do we now have a super cute nursery, but we have a bunch of the stuff we need.

But not all. Not by a long shot.

So that's why we decided to do a sort of a barter deal. We've registered at Babies "R" Us. Here is the registry. What I'm offering is a framed piece of your choice, custom painted and shipped, if you buy $150 worth of items from the registry. Pieces are usually $175 plus shipping.

Besides the discount, you'll get to tell people you helped out the artist's family by providing really helpful and adorable things for their new baby, Abbey Grace. How cool is that? Get an awesome personal piece of art for yourself or as a gift for the holidays and make a very real difference in our lives.

Please share this offer with whomever you think would be interested, as well.

Thank you so much!


P.S. My wife had 2 great ideas. 1st, if you do buy items from the registry for us, please forward your confirmation email to me so we can remember what people bought when we send thank you cards. 2nd, though not as fun, you could also do gift cards the same way.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What's The Sense?

Mike Love of the Beach Boys - autographed by Love for the David Lynch Foundation

How do you think? Is it in words? Images? Sounds? Smells or tastes? Feelings?

I've got words, images and sounds up in my brain. But words usually trump. It's sometimes annoying, no? I know I just want to turn off the stream of conversation my brain seems to have with itself. It gets in the way of what I want to do. That's why I paint. With music on.


It really does sort of turn into meditation. I don't think in words about each dab of the brush. I don't think in words about each moment of music. It's very peaceful. I think that means, while words are dear to me, my passion lies with music and art.

Funny how what I ended up doing every day combines both. Makes me feel really lucky I sometimes get paid to do it. Those moments fly by, leaving me wishing for more daylight.

Do you do what makes time fly for you? If you do, it's cool isn't it? If you don't, why not? What's the sense?


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Centering On Action

Thom Yorke of Radiohead

So I noticed my website wasn't centered on our laptop. So I centered it.

I'm in the process of revamping my site, as always, doing it myself on my built-from-scratch site. Mostly I'm modifying the layout and navigation, but some content too, like yesterday with the "About Me" page. Today, I realized that my site is informative. That's great. But it doesn't have what they term a "call to action".

Apparently sales sites are supposed to lead the visitor to action. Who knew? Like, I'm supposed to show people where to go and what to do to buy my work? Sheesh.

So I'm working on it. I've got an idea for the homepage that'll hopefully be more clear but not too pushy/hard-sell-y/commercially. My friends at the Brentwood Art Center made bumper stickers that said "Buy Art Now!" I don't want to be that transparently blunt, but I want that to be the main option. Secondarily the focus'll be on my email newsletter and this blog, to keep people interested if they aren't going to buy a piece right away.

I think that's the strategy, right?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

About Me

Jeff Buckley

Well I did it. I painted Jeff Buckley. This is the 1st time I apologized to a record before painting on it. Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy with the piece and will gladly hang it on our wall. But this was a rare record, "Grace". I'd never seen it for less than $50 before.

This means I'm getting somewhere. This means I'm pushing the boundaries, getting out of my comfort zone with different aspects of my business. I've also reworked my "About" page into a Q&A bio. That certainly made me uncomfortable. Before, I figured I'd talked enough about myself here in my blog. But I realized it can be overwhelming and people expect a bio page.

If there are any questions that I didn't answer there that you'd be curious about, please don't hesistate to ask. I really don't know what'd interest people about myself.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Plans For Vinyl Art

Above the couch next to a guitar, perfect! These are the blues trio that Ryan commissioned. I've posted a few other pieces as they hang. I love seeing them on other people's walls. From the beginning it's interested me to know how people decide where to put them. I even started a discussion on my Facebook fan page so people can chime in.

Ryan got excited about my work on Twitter and since he'd already gotten his print from Hugh MacLeod he decided to put more art in his new office. This makes sense, buying my art during a move or remodel, so the space can be planned or laid out with the art in mind.

I've just gotten a very exciting opportunity that hopefully will lead to a whole bunch more additions of my work to offices and media rooms. I'll be letting you know about it as soon as I get confirmation.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Represent! Recognize!

Sammy Davis Jr. - (i) inspired by photo by Fiona Adams

I'm trying to figure out which one piece of mine best represents what I do quickly. I mean which one would the most people look at and go, hey yeah! that's... and then think it's the coolest thing they've ever seen, the fastest.

I've learned from people's responses, people's questions, that my work has a bunch of stages to get past in people's perception and assumptions before they get to "I want one". It's tough when what you're doing is different from what people're used to, but also not completely unknown at the same time. Most people seeing my work know what a record is, they know what a painting is, and they often know iconic musicians on sight. But put that all together and recognizing what they're looking at can get confusing. They have to see who it is, that it's a record, that it's handpainted, that it's handpainted ON the record, that it's handpainted on the record by who it is, and then they ask the question "Can you do...?"

Yes. Yes I can, as long as vinyl pressings of their recordings exist.