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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On The Move

You don't want to see what's below this photo and the rest of the room. Yet, anyway. I'm workin' on it. It's taken the last couple days to get this far, having had to unearth parts of the room not seen since 2005.

See, I tend to layer. That's my organization scheme. It can't be understood at all because it's simply chronologically stacked. I only know where things are because I put them there, not because they belong where they are. Drives my wife nuts.

Now, we're moving towards moving. I need to make my art room functional yet navigable. It has to look like someone might be able to get something accomplished in the space. So the shelves had to be consolidated, organized and nicely displayed. The desk on which my mini painting easel rests is almost bare too, which make me a bit nervous, but I think I'll be ok. The room echoes a bit too.

I also didn't have any of my paintings up on the wall until today. The albums visible on the shelves are all my painted pieces. I had the ones from this show still framed so I hung 12 of them. I've added Buy Now buttons on the previous blog posts featuring those paintings that are still available. PayPal lets me track inventory now so I can create individual buttons that will only let one purchase occur. It'll be easier and faster for people visiting this blog to buy ones they like.

Brian Clark bought 4 that had been in that dead rocker show and just received them today. He picked up Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain. I don't name people who buy my work often, but Brian's just been so cool. His site helped me early on with getting going on this blog and his sarcastic comments on this blog caught my attention. Now on Twitter he's been very supportive and has shown his awesome taste in music. He loves "Fight Club", Mitch Hedburg and a bunch of other bits of human creativity that rock as well.

I directly asked him for his marketing advice recently and his answer will be in the form of a post about me! He wanted to wait until he got his paintings. So I'm looking forward to learning publicly what he would say to a guy like me. Wait, I'm a guy like me! Hehe, cool. I'll link to it, rest assured.

Or don't rest. Keep moving! I gotta go work more on my artroom while maintaining my inner


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Artistic Reinvention

MadonnaNo matter how many times she reinvents herself, she still has those eyes. Her soul comes through every time, beautifully.


SOLD - Madonna 03/26/09

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fragile Depths

Watch, listen, and read the lyrics sung so deeply just months before. Could you tell where his life was heading?

I was flat on my back in bed for hours after hearing, listening to "Nevermind" as loud as possible.


SOLD - Kurt Cobain 03/25/09

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Outside The Bubble From The Inside

Since we've definitely decided to move towards moving towards Austin, I've been a bit distracted by non-art stuff. The important stuff of practical life. Weeding around the pool, feeding/watering the lawn, and discovering the myriad of projects to do in order to sell a house in today's weird market.

I get so focussed on my art and its promotion that I sometimes don't see out of my bubble very well. I want everything to happen and to happen right now. I forget that life takes time. Watering the lawn takes time. Training a puppy takes time. Life is that time. That's the value. That's why I added that blurb at the bottom of this blog today.

Thank you for your time. I know it's the most precious thing you've got. Any attention you are paying me, amazing. If you use your time and thought to come up with a piece to commission and follow through! Holy cow.

Last week I asked my Twitter followers why they follow me. The fact that people do is so cool that I started, instead of #followfriday for sharing people you follow that you like, #followerfriday for sharing people who follow you that you like. It got me to connect backwards, looking at my shadow for those interested in me. Sort of an ego boost, but truly meant to say "Hey, it's awesome that you spend time on me".

So, I got responses to my question. Rebecca Freeman said she followed me because someone had shared me in a previous #followfriday and she's very impressed with my super cool work. Cindy Gravitt said she follows because she loves my quotes and my one of a kind self and art. Noelle Hunt said she follows because she likes what I have to say. Awesome.

Maria Popova just posted this on her blog today, calling my work "brilliantly inspired" and calling me "one of the brightest people we've met on the Interwebs". Wow. She's one the brightest I've met online, so this is a big compliment to me. We've even disagreed intellectually and publicly. I don't often get to disagree with someone outside of my wife and family.

This post may seem to be tooting my own horn, but it's really more of a motivational focussing exercise. Why do I paint these? Well, I really do want to make the world a better place. Corny sounding, I know, but earnest. I don't like that art is typically marketed towards collectors, towards those viewing it as an investment. I don't like capitalism's bent towards money for money's sake. The video above is my favorite song by my guilty pleasure, 10cc. It's a tongue-in-cheek commentary on this importance placed on money as an end. Or is it really tongue-in-cheek?

Time is what's truly valuable, something not created by humanity. Money is merely a human creation, something not real. Our system makes it real, but we forget its tie to the human Life spent creating that which the money represents. We are removed from our own value, exploited by our economy, isolated by competition, and thus feel less human. Sounds kinda socialist, doesn't it? It is at least somewhat utopian. But that's art's job. The job of the artist is to reveal humanity, to reconnect us with love and Life, to burst our bubbles so that we can be, as the Beatles say, All Together Now.

How do we burst our bubbles? By sharing, by trying as hard as we can to get inside someone else's. Get by giving. It's not selfish, it's the purpose of Life. Connection is why we're human.

Thank you for this connection and for coming into mine.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Vinyl Art Merch And T-Shirt Contest

So, I have my logo trademarked. I've been thinking about merch that I could get out there to increase awareness of what I do farther beyond this world online and so you can support my work.

My Kings Of Leon bottle-opener keychain is awesome. I use it a lot. It's attached to my wallet so I see it every time I buy something or go to give my business card to somebody. Maybe fans of my work would do the same?

I don't know how many people who've received my oval vinyl stickers have stuck them somewhere, but I do like being able to give them away. Now I want to have some things made that people can buy, though, to show their support beyond or instead of buying piece of Vinyl Art.

A company I found does cool custom metal keychains for a very reasonable price. Above is a mockup of what I'm thinking of getting. It'd be around 1" x 2". The back would likely have my phone number and website engraved lengthwise.

What do you think? Would you pay $6 or $7 for one? Would you use it?

Speaking of the Kings Of Leon, I've entered a t-shirt contest the band is running. I got all fancy with Photoshop and created a faded version of my paintings of the Followills on a dark grey shirt. The record label shows up too. I think it's kinda neat. In fact, with my VA logo somewhere, it might make another good merch idea! I could put popular single portraits on the front and my logo, name, and website on the back.

Take a look, and after you vote for me ;), tell me what you think. Would you buy one of your favorite musician or portrait of mine? Would you wear it?


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

33 1/3

George Clinton

I'm 33 1/3 years old today. And this is my 333rd post. Kinda cool. I waited a day so it would coincide. :)

I love vinyl, LPs, 33 1/3 rpm pieces of PVC. Magic. How did NASA decide to send out a "hello" to any other Life out there? On a record. Granted it was metal and 16-something rpm, but it was a record. How cool.

It is awesome that albums like Pearl Jam's "Ten" and Nirvana's "Nevermind" are being reissued. A whole new generation, and the previously disillusioned generation, can once again revel in the pops and ticks and warmth of vinyl. You know, I really don't hear many pops and ticks on my records. Just the warmth.

Hopefully my art will become what I want, inspiration for connection. Connection to other people, to your memory, to your culture, to your heart and soul. Music has that power. Has that warmth of human creativity that can bring people together in time and space.

In my effort to create those connections, I've posted for sale 10 pieces of my Vinyl Art on a site whose goal is harvesting American creativity. Check them out. They're a wee bit more to give a wee bit more in commission to Larry and Sharon. Cool people. Their main business has been as production designers/managers for some big names in American music's history. They too created art in order to bring people together to celebrate culture, to revel in music's power to unite and move.

With a floppy 12" diameter piece of plastic with a groove in it. A groove in it.

"Get up for the down stroke. Everybody get up!"


SOLD - George Clinton 03/18/09

Monday, March 16, 2009

Free Water (And Why I Hate Warranties)

No painting today. Not that I wouldn't've, it's that I am too stressed out. We returned from Austin Saturday. Our water heater is acting up undiagnosably, our salt pool isn't making chlorine and the pool pump is leaking.

That these are all long-term maintenance issues is why this is so blasted annoying. We're pretty much planning on moving.

Factors - family, environment, business, health- coming together are leading us to move to the Austin area. We're thinking Georgetown right now. The plan is to buy rural land and have a home builder that normally builds in subdivisions build a custom home with a mother-in-law quarters for my in-laws. Georgetown is close to Round Rock where Jenn and the girls live, and it's close to Austin where my art is for sale. And there's SXSW. And there're less allergy issues. And it's green.

So, the thought of replacing a water heater that lasts over 5 years and a salt cell that lasts about the same is obnoxious. The pool pump gasket justs adds that last little jab.

I hate warranties. All 3 things, along with a host of others that aren't as immediately vital, would've been covered by their respective warranties had they gone on the fritz years ago. Warranties either seem not to cover what breaks, or do, but just long enough so that the thing breaks right after the warranty expires. Along with my dad, I just flipping hate insurance.

I think the concept of insurance is what's wrong with capitalism. Free water is what's right. All along the drive to and from Austin, I got the free cup of water from fast food joints. Water. The thing most vital to our physical survival is free. Granted, it's in sometimes tiny quantities, but it's free. It shows humanity and compassion, and desire to help the species survive. Insurance does the opposite.

How disingenuous to offer coverage, offer something supposedly somewhat free, that helps people survive life in capitalism, and have so many policies, so much red tape, so many people employed solely to figure out how to deny you. Deny you. That what it feels like. Like they're denying you are worth it.

So much attention is focussed on wealth and stuff and gains and receiving. Not enough on value and life and supporting and giving. Yes, this could be interpreted if put in practice as socialism, utopian at least. But man, if this current crisis with the poor/lower-middle class struggling with mortgages and those rich/charitable people fucked over by Madoff doesn't reveal the disparities and distrust and disgustingness of capitalism, what would?

Why does getting more stuff matter so damn much to this country, this system? So much that we imagine wealth, fake substance, and borrow against the future to keep going? And everything comes with that damn optional warranty. Worthless. Worth less. Worth is subjective. Wealth is individual.

Value, created value, is what makes humanity amazing. It may be a matter of definition, but you get what I'm saying. People should have to know companies they buy stock in, like Buffett does. You should have to get an actual printed certificate issued in your name for every company and have to keep it for at least 10 years. That's it. No other way to "own" public companies. No options, no trading, no derivatives. Then what the company does will matter, not the bottom line, or the fake bottom line, but what they make, what they provide. Companies still do make goods and provide services, right?

I've talked before about celebrating the individual's contribution to humanity. Everybody who does something has value, creates value, is value. Life is valuable because it's non-transferable, not because it's scarce. From brilliant minds who enlighten souls to factory workers who maintain robots that make birdhouses, we all have value.

Don't deny it.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Weird Independents

David Byrne - (i) inspired by photo by Eric Antoniou
As we're going to Austin next week to visit family, I won't be painting or posting for a week.

Austin prides itself on being weird. Painting David Byrne, listening to Genesis' "Foxtrot", I remembered how I used to pride myself on being weird as well. It was a defense mechanism to hide behind my shyness. It was easy for me to be weird, to be introverted, to be closed off even from myself. Labels do that, make it easy to hide. I decided it was better to be independent, separate even, from people. I did everything myself, didn't ask for help, and would kind of go out of my way to make it really hard to try to help.

Thanks largely to my wife, I've opened up dramatically over the past 8 years, realizing how wonderful it is to be connected to humanity. The decision to promote my Vinyl Art wouldn't have gone the same way before I was ready. Everything happens for a reason when it does.

Another thing that happened way back with a pervasive impact was my mom telling me she'd seen "Stop Making Sense" by the Talking Heads. She loved independent films. It rubbed off on me. I used to watch IFC and Sundance constantly. Here're some movies I remember being seriously impressed with that one might consider weird:

Big Night
Stranger Than Paradise
Johnny Suede
Tank Girl
Bagdad Cafe
Hugo Pool
THX 1138
Wings Of Desire
Monster In A Box
Romeo Is Bleeding
Wilder Napalm
The Straight Story
Slaughterhouse Five

See any you remember? What're the movies that pushed your film-watching aesthetic into new territory? Come on, let's be weird!

But let's be weird together.


David Byrne 03/05/09

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Can You Hear The Music? [EC]

Mick Jagger - (i) inspired by photo by Peter Lindbergh
It's been awhile since I added to this collection. I haven't had any takers yet on my Vinyl Art tied to charity. Maybe this one'll do the trick.

The Stones are one of the bands that I pretty much always listen to when I paint them. Today I was inspired by the first podcast on a new blog. It's about the Stones' "Some Girls". I was led to Basement Vinyl by a tweet from @JohnCleese. They're going to talk about albums they've collected on vinyl over the years, some 300 of them!

Fortunately, they seem to like my art, based on a tweet back to me. So that's good. I never know how people who love listening to vinyl will react. I've never really cared how those collectors who don't care about the actual music react. You know, the ones who don't play them because they're preserving the value of the record. But I do care how people feel who love vinyl because it sounds better than digital.

I know I care what they feel because I know how I feel about vinyl. My 1000 or so records mean a lot to me. The music in them, in those grooves, has been vital in my life. I start to tear up, feeling moved, just thinking about how much, in fact. I wake up with music in my head, music that if I keep "listening" to will put me back to sleep in a minute. Music drives my creativity, fills my soul. I don't paint on my records. I listen to them when I get a chance, even the really rare ones. There's just something in the fact that each record is an actual physical reproduction of the music. I just love'em.

So, in honor of the start of Annie and Pat's sharing of their collection, I'll donate the $100 to the charity they have on their site, Community FoodBank of New Jersey, in the name of the buyer. Also, again if there happens to be a bunch of interest, we can do an informal auction or something. Let's help them start their blog off with a bang!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What's Your Musical DNA?

Steve Miller

I just heard Steve Miller's "Abracadabra" on the radio today. Man, hadn't heard that in ages! I actually didn't even realize that it was a Steve Miller Band song. The album came out in '82 when I was 7-ish. Like Boy George's "Karma Cameleon" which came out around the same time, "Abracadabra"'s constant airplay got into my musical subconscious. Something about the electronic chorus vocals. I think it helped prepare me for the more electronic music that I've gotten into over the years, including Steve Miller's "Fly Like An Eagle", one of my favorite songs for its electronic sounds. Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" is another classic.

Another album that helped me along during the synth-driven '80s was Ray Lynch's "Deep Breakfast", which I listened to on my cassette Walkman with headphones over and over. I just rediscovered Brian Eno's soundtrack to "For All Mankind", a beautiful documentary of actual NASA Apollo mission footage. Electronica has certainly played a large role in my appreciation of music. I've discussed it's emotional impact and my intellectual take on it.

So, besides telling me something that inspires you online, what is the music, the genre, the dialect that is the most prominent in your musical DNA?


Steve Miller 03/03/09

Mind Expansion (Or What Turns You On?)

Steve Winwood - (i) inspired by photo by David Gahr

Steve Winwood and Traffic participated in that magical time of the late '60s/early '70s, that explosion of human creativity and cultural upheaval.

I've talked before about expanding my horizons and motivating myself as an artist. Beyond that, I'm feeling the need to broaden my horizons in general, not just with regards to art. I'm talking about inspiration from humanity.

My wife, my in-laws, our new puppy and I are driving to Austin this weekend to visit Jenn and the girls for a week. We're going to see the Menil Collection/Rothko Chapel down in Houston again and other fun stuff, so that'll be inspiring in a lot of ways. We're also going to be there during the first week of SXSW. I don't know if we're going to attend any events, but the city will be teeming with creativity and culture. So that'll be cool too.

Also, I'm in contact with a local guy who is connected with cool people in worlds very different from mine, but who're also interested in human creativity and culture. We'll see what comes of it fairly quickly, I'm thinking. Should be fun, breaking out of my comfort zone.

Beyond that, I'd like to ask something of you. Will you tell me one online source of inspiration for you? Like your favorite blog or a cool set of photos on Flickr or whatever. Really? You will? Thank you so much!


Steve Winwood 03/03/09

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Bit Of Vinyl Art History

I just hung the 3 doubles today. I've posted about all of them before. We saw The Verve in London and Las Vegas. We saw Oasis here in Phoenix with Kasabian. We saw the Kings Of Leon in New Orleans and here in Tempe. All AWESOME concerts.

The other piece, in the upper right, is Lou Reed inspired by the "Transformer" cover photo by Mick Rock on a promotional copy of the "Disco Mystic" single. I love Lou Reed, wish I could've seen him live in his heyday, and loved him in Wim Wenders' "Faraway, So Close!". His distinctive voice, style, life, and persona make him integral to modern music history.

This piece is special to the history of my Vinyl Art as well. Before painting this one, I had mixed grey to paint the portraits. The photo of Lou Reed was so bright, though, I just used straight white. After painting it, my wife suggested I paint all of them with white. So that's how I started painting them the way I do now.

The other thing about this piece is that because the label is a white promotional label, I used black to paint the eye that's on top of the label. I've done that a few times since, on the Sid Vicious and Biggie pieces to name a couple.

I really enjoy painting this image of Lou Reed, and I've got a copy of "Transformer" to use, so let me know if you're interested in a commission!

Also, we just did our taxes over the weekend and discovered that I more than doubled my sales year over year and made a profit! How cool. Thank you so much to those of you who've supported my work by giving it as a gift or buying it for yourself.