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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.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Voices You Love Or Hate

BeckI am extremely picky about voice. Back as a teen, the singer was always a deal breaker for me. That's why I listened more to groups that harmonized, like CSNY or The Beatles or Jefferson Airplane. There were those like Peter Gabriel or Midnight Oil or The The who were decidedly unique that I loved. Then there were those that I hated. I never could get into Rush simply because of Geddy's voice.

So here are a few that I've found people either go crazy over or can't stand, starting with Beck. For me, it works. His voice compliments his musical style, lo fi. His voice is lo fi. I love it as an additional instrument in his wacky arsenal.

Thom YorkeNext is Thom Yorke of Radiohead. I've never been a huge fan. And, yes, you could say I hate his voice. Sorry. I've grown to respect it, and the band's music is innovative and intellectually intriguing, but I usually pass on listening.

Dave Mustaine

Dave Mustaine of Megadeth has a far more captivating voice than Hetfield from Metallica, I think. When he gets all weird and metallic sounding, I love it. It works so well with their music. Kind of like Axl when Guns 'n' Roses first hit it big.

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan Davis of Korn. God awful, to be honest. His voice works because their music is god awful. But it works. So again, I hate his voice but do respect it.

Iggy PopIggy Pop has one of those weird voices, like Lou Reed. Just weird. I love Reed's because his music is so powerful, raw. Iggy's I frankly have never gotten into, and as of now at least, I have to say I can't stand his voice.

Kate Bush

I am extremely grateful to Gilmour and Gabriel for both supporting Kate Bush early on. I love their voices for sure, though you can be luke-warm about them. With Bush, you can't. Again it's how it works into her music that makes me love her voice, soft and grating at the same moment somehow.

These are just a few. Ones I've done paintings of I love. My paintings can be like voices, some I either love or never want to see again, but some are just so-so.

What singers would you add to my short list and do you love them or hate them?