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Monday, August 31, 2009

Broke Artists

Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane

There are two aspects of the iconic tortured starving artist: torture and starvation. Lovely.

Starvation usually applies to artists' common difficulty in making money. While making money is important to survival in today's world, it is but a tool, a means. The goal of becoming both a millionaire and an artist seems built on ego, on comparison, on insecurity.

Torture is more interesting to me. Do artists have to be broken? Do they have to be broken to become an icon in pop culture? The examples in both music and art abound. Cobain, Morrison, Pollack, Warhol, Beethoven and Van Gogh. Why are they seemingly remembered more crisply, more dramatically?

I think the answer is that artists do have to be broken.


See, all people are broken. Some deny it, and we are broke to differing extents. We look to the artist to reveal their own inner torment. Maybe because it makes us feel better about ourselves, or maybe worse. But it makes us feel. That's what art it supposed to do.

Am I broken?


I have deep-seated insecurities that refuse to let go their grip on my gut. I probably don't seem it. Maybe that's a problem. I strive to focus on my art rather than me. My portraits on vinyl and in books come through me, are a part of me, but I hope they connect more with you and your memory than with my stuff. I figure who needs someone else's stuff to worry about when you've got your own?

Does that make me less of an artist? Does that mean that I'm not even an artist by definition? Does my art make you feel? I guess that's for you and pop culture to decide.


SOLD - Monk, Miles, Trane 08/09

P.S. Yes, you see correctly, these are blue. Painted on "Blue Monk", "Kind Of Blue", and "Blue Train", these are one commission, probably my coolest yet. And I will use color again, for a premium.

Friday, August 28, 2009


One thing I've learned while making a go of Vinyl Art as a business is that there are a lot of things starting with pre which are good and important. Preparedness, presentation, preference...

"Affordable and portable" is the catch phrase that Shelley at Wild About Music likes when deciding about work to consign and sell. That applied to me for sure. I had to figure out how to present my pieces. There are options out there for framing records, some fancier than others. I do like the frames with the mats that partly reveal the record coming out of the sleeve. I could use those and have the record on top or coming out if the portrait wouldn't be covered. But they're expensive to buy, to ship and take up more wall space. So I opted for the simpler square frame I can get as a kit.

Now, I'd like to offer fancier frames. I can get them special if desired, but I'd need to charge a premium. There are those who will prefer that though, something special. Premium options are what will bring a price higher than $175, things like framing, color tinting and inscriptions. I've just started playing with both color and inscriptions along the inner groove.

But the main thing I've learned is preparedness is key. So they need tweaking. I offer them if you're interested, but you'll be learning with me. They do look good, all 3 options. As I've gone along, being prepared at different stages has meant being able to say 'yes' much more. That's what all these pre words do, allow me to say 'yes'.

With my new venture, Liter(art)ure, I'm not prepared yet. I don't have options sorted out, much less presentation. Do I freeze the book open to the drawing with glue so it can be hung or propped on a shelf easily? Or do I affix it somehow to something so you can show it or still read it? Do I mount it under a plexiglass box for protection? Lots of questions to be answered, so offering them for sale would be premature. But I'm still learning!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Give Hard

Stevie Ray Vaughan - (i) inspired by photo by John T. Comerford III
Last year I gave to the Alabama Blues Project. Three pieces for their auction.

They asked me again this year. I'm giving them an all new SRV and a similar B.B. King.

I like giving to charity, not straight money, but my work, my time, my self. I feel like I'm connecting more with them, hooking into the humanity of the effort, acknowledging the reality. I don't know if the people who win my pieces at auction feel that way, as most have gone for quite a bit less than what I sell them. But out there somewhere will be on somebody's wall or in someone's closet a piece of me that meant they gave to the cause. They gave hard.


DONATED - 08/25/09

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sell Hard

Page and Plant Am I revealing too much? Am I dealing too much?
Am I revealing my dealings too much?
Three a day I must get paid, if supporting my family
with my art someday. So I sell hard.

Quite awhile back one told me I should
write like I paint, with music that is good
playing behind, driving my mind.
Letting it flow down my spine. So I sell hard.

Trivial pursuits in pursuit of being known,
man if it were that easy, to get shown. Alone
sitting in front of the box, taking hard knocks,
but persisting for little Abbey. So I sell hard.

Yep, the little one on the way, can't wait for
the day. She'll turn my life upside down, more-
over make it whole. But I gotta stay in control
of it to make a go of it. So I sell hard.

But do I hard sell?


Monday, August 24, 2009

Hard To Sell

I knew if I hung these up I'd have a hard time taking them back off the wall and shipping them off. I knew it.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Human Being Human

Mick Jagger - (i) inspired by photo by Peter Lindbergh

There's a difference between a noun and a verb. The problem is that "being" is both.

All people are good. Not all people ACT good, er well.


SOLD - Mick Jagger 08/21/09

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Three For Thursday, Three Times!

Syd BarrettSyd Barrett of early Pink Floyd is for our friend Doug's son's birthday. I'm giving it to him in exchange for an awesome collection of '60s and '70s albums. Doug, like my wife and I, is nuts about music. In fact, he and my wife met at a concert when she was following the Black Crowes during their early days. I'm not sure what I'll do with the albums he gives me, but it'll be special.

Mike LoveMike Love of the Beach Boys is another one for the David Lynch Foundation! The Beach Boys are doing a benefit concert early next month for DLF and they decided to have me do another one to auction. So cool. Mike is going to not only see this, he's going to sign it! Hopefully I'll get a picture of him doing so, but at the very least I'll get the painting back signed to frame, so I can take a shot then. I'll keep you updated about the David Lynch and this piece as far as the actual auction.

Jimi Hendrix - (i) inspired by photo by Donald SilversteinThis Hendrix is for the guy with stellar taste who also commissioned the Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters, and Jim Morrison I painted recently. They look so cool together, it's going to be hard to part with them. But I'll take a shot of them framed all together before boxing and shipping them.

Speaking of commissions, I also just got a commission this morning from another guy with awesome taste. He wants Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk on albums with 'blue' in the title, IN BLUE! So cool. I've already bought the albums on eBay and am really looking forward to painting them. Another set of three.

Things are really getting exciting right now for whatever reason. A friend online noted that it seems I have something new going on every day. I hope it stays that way as I roll with more commissions, more exposure and more charity connections. My goal is to, sooner than later, be able to support our family with my art. And, since we're about to have a baby in January, I need to be working on probably at least 2 pieces a day. We'll see. I'm hopeful the Universe's plan heads in this direction. I'm trying to do what I can.

Along those lines, I've got over 50 fans on Facebook now! Pretty sweet. A bunch of people I don't even know yet. Even better. I really hope that page can be a gathering place for people who like what I do, and human creativity in general, getting some good discussions going. Make it about music trivia or deep philosophy, whatever, I'm game. I'll jump in when I have something to say and I'll post updates of relevant exciting stuff. So, if you're on Facebook and haven't yet, check it out!

Also, I'm still doing my monthly email newsletter with continuing stories of my life and art, presented in a little bit more organized fashion than this blog. If you'd like to subscribe, please email me and let me know!

And on a 3rd front, following the 3 paintings and commission of 3 pieces, for those out there reading regularly, please share this blog. At the bottom of every post, there's a button to share the individual post on pretty much every social site out there. The same button is in the sidebar if you want to share the whole blog. The more people who know, the more people who know! :)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vinyl Art Goes To London!

pieces in Noise Of Art 2009 - Hendrix (i)inspired by Donald Silverstein, Joe Strummer, Jimmy Page (i)inspired by Dick Barnatt, and Lennon (i)inspired by Astrid Kirchherr
This is a better picture of the 4 pieces I sent to the Noise Of Art 2009. I've shared why I'm so excited about this show, at least my art getting to visit London. Apparently they've gotten a lot more participants, necessitating a flyer redo:

Noise Of Art 2009 So now I'm on there! Sweet.

If you happen to live near the show's location or will be visiting then, try to make it. The show should be cool. If you do go, take some pics. If you get a shot of my pieces and send it to me, I'll send you something fun!


Keyboards: Rhythm AND Melody

Jim Morrison - (i) inspired by photo by Joel BrodskyThe keyboard solo in "Riders On The Storm" is what hooked me on The Doors. I'd played piano from the time my parents put me in Yamaha school, sight-reading mostly. Since then, keyboards have been usually my favorite instrument in a band. Manzarek blew me away, especially when I learned from a documentary that he sometimes sang for Jim in concerts too.

Who's your favorite keyboardist?


SOLD - Jim Morrison 08/18/09

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cyclical Vs. Growth

Oasis No, this isn't about stock market investing, although the differentiation of companies based upon the same terms is in the back of my head. I used to pay attention to the market. Now our equity is in our house.

Anyway, our economy values growth, always looking for charts of earnings that go upward steadily seemingly to infinity. We also value growth as we try to achieve in our lives, always looking for charts of scores and measurements that go upward steadily seemingly to infinity. Doing better is the goal, making more, finishing faster, whatever. Comparison is the name of the game, comparison to the past, our past and the pasts of others. Judgement.

Then, there're cyclical things, like farming. Like the seasons. Like, well, life and death. There're no comparisons. Charts go up and down rhythmically, predictably within reason, with no better or worse. Certainly one can compare from one cycle to the next, looking at statistics that turn into theoretical scary situations like global warming or flu pandemics. Now this isn't to dispute those theories and their supporting data. But cyclical things are best lived in the moment. It's very Zen-like when allowed to be what it is. You plant, you feed, you water, you tend, you harvest. You eat. Trees don't seem to care about previous Falls. You don't hear trees complaining about how beautiful their colors were last year. Cyclical things are peaceful because they recognize existence is perfect simply because it exists.

My mind's a bit mushy today, with oil changes and cooking and art shows and especially baby on the brain, but I do know in my gut that I like cyclical things. They are Life, and if lived, they make the moments thereof full. This isn't to say I don't like growth, but charts can't ever really keep going on to infinity, can they?


SOLD - Oasis 08/17/09

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ultra Sound

the face

It's a girl!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

In Appreciation Of Powerful Exposure

I love "Animals" and "The Final Cut" personally. Besides the albums with Syd Barrett, I think they might be my favorite Pink Floyd Albums. This isn't anything against "Wish You Were Here", "The Wall" or "Dark Side Of The Moon" as I tend to LOVE full concept albums. And Floyd is the king, as far as I'm concerned. There's just something about those 2 albums, maybe because most people tout the others so much.

I'm not much for trivia. I honestly don't make it a point to learn in depth about bands I like, their histories. I just love the music. It's kind of like my art. I don't want you to have to know my major in college or that I'm an only child to appreciate what I do. That's one reason why I do what I do, because it is basically pop art. It celebrates our common popular culture. I'm not focussing on mass consumables like soup cans, but I am paying tribute to people who've changed our world en masse as individuals. Roger Waters was powerful.

That's why when the powerful expose the personal, it's that much more raw and impressive -


SOLD - Roger Waters 08/13/09

P.S. On the subject of exposure, I just got REALLY great news about my show upcoming at Bookmans. If you want to know the story, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter. To do so, just email me at Thanks!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Majesty Of Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel - (i) inspired by photo by Trevor KeySo a fellow commissioned 4 pieces today! He even knew which albums he wanted me to use. Check this out: Jim Morrison on "The Doors", Roger Waters on "The Final Cut", Jimi Hendrix on "Are You Experienced?" and Peter Gabriel on "So".


Even better Gabriel is his, as well as my, favorite artist. Of course "Sledgehammer" and "Big Time" on MTV introduced me to him, and I know I've talked about him before. But here's why he's my favorite:

Shock The Monkey
Dancing With The Moonlit Night (Genesis live)
Digging In The Dirt (live)
The Rhythm Of The Heat


SOLD - Peter Gabriel 08/12/09

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Facebook Fans And Google Maps

Thanks to Barb at I now have a fan page on Facebook. She made me an admin so I can edit and post, as well. I've got 35 fans there already! Pretty cool. I've uploaded my interview video to compliment the examples Barb uploaded. I also linked this blog, providing another way to keep up with my posts, and to comment.

That's the important part, the commenting. The coolest potential I see for the Facebook fan page is as a forum. Sure I'll post updates and news, but I'm not going to stream my tweets or push blog posts. I want it to be a place where you who like Facebook and feel more comfortable sharing there, share! I unmoderated comments on this blog hoping more people would comment and maybe get discussions going, but like Twitter, most posts remain me sharing with you. That's ok, but I want there to be somewhere you share too, and with each other.

I also created a Google Map at showing the states where people have bought my Vinyl Art, 20 so far! If you have a Google account, you can comment there as well. Hopefully some people who own pieces will say howdy and maybe share stories about the piece and update us on anything they want.

As I've said before, I want one use of my art to be as a way to gather again, to share our passion for music and celebrate our culture. In today's online world, more and more, music is only an MP3 on an iPod, infinitely shareable yes, but with no artifact, nothing to hold onto. A fancy word people use is "totem", something to grab and to share, providing a sense of community, of shared experience. My wife's collection of concert tickets are her totems.

So I hope you'll join in. Don't be shy. Talk about anything that fits in with music, art, culture, memory, and Life. It's all good. Let my work be your totem. See you on Facebook?


Monday, August 10, 2009

Someday We'll Move There, You'll See

David Gilmour

2 paintings, clear-coating 4, wrapping and shipping all in one day! Whew. Well, I want to make the deadline!

See, I just found out about an invitation only, art on vinyl show in London next month. London! I was tagged recently on Facebook to do a list of concerts I've seen. Turned out most were British bands, Peter Gabriel, Arctic Monkeys, Verve, Oasis, Kasabian, Gomez, Stereophonics... Heck we even WENT to London to see the Verve. Best show my wife and I have seen, and she's seen over 50 bands!

I WISH I could've seen Pink Floyd. One of the few bands I've sought out live bootlegs on vinyl, to be engulfed by their show would've been incredible. Like Jeff, who entered my contest with his story about "Wish You Were Here", Floyd was the first prog rock band I got into.

So I've been waiting for a show in London. These are the pieces I sent today, having painted Page and Lennon this morning. Strummer I'd painted before, as well as Hendrix. It should be a cool show, with some artists I've met on Flickr. We'll see how it goes and I'll share any pictures I get of the event.


David Gilmour 08/08/09

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Wind

Cat Stevens - (i) inspired by photo by Michael PutlandI listen to the wind
to the wind of my soul
Where I'll end up well I think,
only God really knows
I've sat upon the setting sun
But never, never never never
I never wanted water once
No, never, never, never
I listen to my words
but they fall far below
I let my music take me
where my heart wants to go
I swam upon the devil's lake
But never, never never never
I'll never make the same mistake
No, never, never, never

Copyright 1971 Cat Music Ltd.

Can't say more than that.


Cat Stevens 08/07/09

Thursday, August 6, 2009

We Need Music To Keep Us Sane

Neil Young Yeah. Well said by Ann who commissioned this Neil Young. Here's how she explained why she wanted the piece:

"I would like Neil Young on the Rust Never Sleeps album. Also, if possible, I would like Neil's picture to be of him at about that time... so, younger than the one I saw of Neil on your website.

My brother died when he was 23 - very unexpectedly. He was a great fan of Neil (as am I). He had been learning to play "The Thrasher" on his acoustic guitar. About 2 months before his death, my brother and I went to see the Movie - Rust Never Sleeps.

Neil is my hero - but it would also be my own private reminder of a special memory of my brother, Mike."

That's why I create these.

Shortly after Jason died I wrote It's long-winded and philosophical, as I was trying to get a handle on an unhandleable event.

Still trying.


SOLD - Neil Young 08/04/09

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Free Sticker FUN

David Gilmour and Bob Marley

Yesterday I realized I needed to have more fun. Not that I haven't been enjoying what I've been doing, I just haven't been having FUN. You know, the kind of fun that deserves all caps. So now in addition to taking my time, I'm going to have FUN.

Quite awhile ago, I'd started doing stickers. On the sly. Underground. Layered spray paint and then a small face with a VA logo. I gave them away free, occasionally in trade for other stickers.

My plan was to do more and surprise buyers of Vinyl Art with them, people who'd stuck by me (ah jeez, sorry for the pun) and not only kept up with my work, but shared it as well. Kind of a special thank you. Still on the sly. Still given for free.

I'm doin' it. For FUN.


(Hehe, this is my 420th post and I painted Gilmour and Marley. 420. You know.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ah, Might As Well...

David Lee RothIt's hard to stay in a bad mood when you listen to Jump. Especially if you grew up in the '80s!

What's your feel good, get pumped, rockin' out music?

David Lee Roth 08/04/09

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Glue

Led Zeppelin - (i) inspired by photos by Dick Barnatt

My wife's brother, Dustin was in town last week to visit. Such fun. He and my wife have a very similar sense of humor, the same as their dad. I love having family over. Makes our home feel even homey-er. Family is what makes us all stick.

Those of you who get my email newsletter knew we were possibly thinking of moving to Indiana pretty much just to be closer to her brother living there. We won't be doing that, at least until our baby's born early next January. So I get to paint the John Lennon animals in the nursery.

As with my wife and I, music has meant a heck of lot to Dustin too. A guitar player, he's an obvious huge fan of Zeppelin. I was working on the above piece, which I glued together with Super Glue this morning, so he loved getting to watch me paint a couple that ended up in this:

He had on his iPod the Great White covers of Zeppelin. Holy smokes! Couldn't tell the difference right off. Watch this with your eyes closed:

By the way, if you don't get my newsletter, I just sent one out this morning. If you'd like me to add you to my mailing list, email at the address at the top of this page and let me know! I'll send you the new one.