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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Get Back What You Lost!

By L.Phelps

i log on to my computer, i start my iTunes, i search in the iTunes store for the latest release from my favorite band… and before i know it, i am listening to the new album.

Yet somehow i feel empty. i feel like i have somehow missed out on the part of music that now seems so… forgotten.

Gone are the days that i went to the record store at midnight, waiting in lines to get the latest release. Gone are the days that i anxiously listened to the radio in the hopes that i would hear the newest single. Gone are the days that i cracked open the plastic of a new CD and spent days and days listening to it… over and over and over again.

These days, i search, i download, i shuffle, i sync, i skip. i… i… i…

i somehow end up missing out on the magic of music. i miss having the experience. i miss having something tangible. i can’t be the only one.

Vinyl Art gives us back something that we’ve lost. It gives us back what we lost when music went digital.

The high gloss shine of the tiny grooves in the record make me giddy for the first time in years. I feel connected to the music again. I feel like I have something special. I feel satisfied I feel.

Thank God.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Things are happening! Just now 2 people stopped in front of our house to get flyers at the same time. We're going to sell it. I know it. We've finally decided on the general area we're looking at in southern California as well.

So my art is doing well too, which is good for the transition to supporting my family with it. Yep. And it's happening the way I like it, unexpectedly.

Neil Young for a repeat customer in Italy as a Christmas gift.

Jimi Hendrix for an upcoming super-cool exhibition in a corporate gallery in NYC of 24 of my pieces, replacing the Hendrix that just sold as a birthday gift to the bass player in an extremely big important prog-metal band who's friends with a waiter at the restaurant in Pacific Palisades displaying 20 other of my pieces through the holidays.

Frank Zappa for a surprise gift to my parents neighbor, a guitarist in another seriously cool important band.

I need to be direct because Abbey is about to wake up. And I need to be direct with my art, selling to the customer, to the music people. A unique method for a unique offering.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hello iWorld!

That's what I typed first publicly using my new toy, err tool. I got an iPhone!

So if you've been wondering where I've been, there's your answer. This thing, which I'm using to compose this post, is amazing. Life changing isn't an overstatement. From superfluously fun functions like a level and an Etch-a-Sketch to crazy helpful portability of functions like Twitter and email, the possible uses of this thing are endless and ever increasing. Apps like Y! Music have been updated even since I got mine to work better. Customizable radio anywhere. All your music on the iPod. Books in the Amazon Kindle app. High quality video easily shareable.

That's the most impressive aspect I think. How easy and interconnected the functions can be and then shared. I can take time-lapse photos of a painting and share them with a myriad of options and then converse with people watching and then send PayPay invoices and buy items on eBay. Switching between apps is so easy and they remember where you were last as well. I can read Twitter forwards now chronologically because it holds my position in the stream. It remembers what page you're on in a book and what song was playing on the iPod. Man, I could go on and on. And have in discovering what it can do.

Oh yeah. And it's a phone.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Closet Collector

No, that doesn't mean I collect closets. It means I collect in the dark. In the depths.

Anything. Everything.

It's been thanks to my wife that I live in an organized and navigable home, with a reprioritized life. Seriously. If I showed you a picture of my room as a teenager... archaelogical layers going back through school with a path only to the window and stereo.

What it means also, though, is that I value objects for their own sake, for their place in a group of similar things comprising a set, for their own intrinsic connection to everything and everybody that came together to produce them.

Records, I celebrate with my Vinyl Art.

Books, I'm starting to present with my Liter(art)ure, my drawings in books.

A simple start, with just a phone number and link to the posts on this blog about the pieces I've done. I'm very excited to gradually work through the practical "affordable and portable" matters that will allow me to sell them. We'll see. I know some pretty nutty book people.

I know collectors.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Zen in the Art of

I've been pondering the word 'art' of late. Its scope. It's not just cultural creativity or artifacts. It's way WAY more. It's what happens when you've found internal peace and balance.

Bradbury, one of my literary heroes, the author who signed a copy of a book of his for me that I treasure, and who I haven't done a piece of Liter(art)ure for partly because I hesistate to take a copy of one of his books I love out of circulation, wrote "Zen in the Art of Writing". Zen in the Art...

That's the ticket! I realized that just last week. When you find that moment, that repeated space and time that gives you peace, that puts you in harmony with the Universe, that's what you do, why you are here. You've found the Zen in the Art of it. You're creating art with Life.

Now this is in contrast to creating artifacts, which is more technically what my paintings are. They are pieces of art. Not works. I don't like the word works in this case.

"If it's work, stop it and do something else."

An Evening with Ray Bradbury 2001

They are pieces of art created as an artifact of my creation of art.

This probably sounds froo-froo or overly metaphysical, but I really do think we all can find our art, and with it, our moment of Zen.

Once you've found that. Well.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Are You Phil Collins?

Carl Morris by Jon PountneyCarl Morris compiles Sleeveface. This is the phenomenon of people photographing themselves or others with a record album cover positioned in front of them to line up somewhat accurately, replacing some body part, usually their head, with the album cover. I caught his attention intially by claiming I was, actually, Phil Collins, answering yes to that question at the bottom of the Sleeveface blog. In fact, philosophically, Sleeveface is exactly about answering that question. No matter what you think of his music.

Sleeveface, at once Magrittian in its corporal obscuration, is constantly subsuming and re-affirming layers - both of the visual and of Saussurean semiotics or, as it were, "meaning". In its active disruption of the visible yet non-visible "non-space" between perceptual lens and reappropriated artefact, participants (once viewers themselves) recontextuate in the role of recontextuatrix: recalling not only Brecht's fourth wall but the material objects which in their recapitulation/recontextualisation sublimate to the role of the wall (Gilmore and Waters, 1979). Thus we plunge into the causa sine qua non. Sleeveface, qua Sleeveface, merely places theaforementioned artefact among - in its most visceral forms - reverential contexts. There is however a high degree of possible further disruption to the Baudrillardian simulacrum in the temporal lag between the impression of the performer and signifying act. Notably, an incidental price sticker bearing the imperative "Save TheChildren" takes on overtones, undertones, new meanings, shades of meaning and non-meanings, irrespective of altruistic intention in relation to the elderly lady who - in the highly expectant yet undeniably quotidian context of the local charity shop - originally placed it. Collins can be said to signify this illusion/allusion, almost pre-emptively, in his works Face Value (1981), No Jacket Required (1984) and Both Sides (1993). In the digital form, Sleeveface images disperse these syncretisms and thereafter take root in the liminal-vernacular space only to be uprooted by the psychogeography teacher. As Husserl made clear in his Logische Untersuchungen (paraphrasing): "I am not Saussure. You don't know Jacques", in clear reference to Derrida, or more succinctly in other treatments absolutely Foucault.


Bottom line? Be the vinyl.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Groovy Portraits: Alternate Track: Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan
"I discovered SRV the day of his death. Damn. Damn. Damn! He could play the guitar behind his back as well as Hendrix, fer cryin' out loud! Fortunately there're bootlegs to preserve his awesome live energy. Just wish I could've been there, just once."

YouTube - VEVO's channel

Amazon - The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble


Stevie Ray Vaughan has a couple very personal connections for me, one past, one future. One of the last times I saw my brother-in-law Jason before his unexpected passing was when he gave me a huge hug for giving him a portrait like this one. And, we are finally really planning a move. To Austin, SRV's town!

I have a couple bootleg CDs of concerts of SRV. Holy smokes. I'd say better than Hendrix live. Amazing solos and just great songs. After you watch a couple music videos, like "Couldn't Stand The Weather" it's worth a look on YouTube for live stuff, especially "Texas Flood" and "Little Wing".

Please watch the YouTube videos and listen to at least the samples on Amazon. I also have more YouTube videos in my Groovy Portraits playlist,

See more, watch more, and sample more of Groovy Portraits at


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Groovy Portraits: Single: Lennon (alt.take) & Dylan


John Lennon - (i)inspired by photo by Astrid Kirchherr
"Perhaps the most simultaneously guarded and unguarded of musicians, Lennon defines beautiful. Popishly exquisite and soulfully bare, the human creativity he put forth astounds."

YouTube - Love

Amazon - John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band


Bob Dylan - (i)inspired by photo by Jerry Schatzberg
"Great road trip music. Especially if you like deciphering scathing social commentary while driving."

YouTube - Tangled Up In Blue

Amazon - Bringing It All Back Home


I put Lennon and Dylan together in my head because they both spoke eloquently yet unintelligbly. Two halves to perhaps one coin. So I'm sharing an alternate take, an alternate portrait of Lennon from the one in Groovy Portraits Vol.1 to go with the Dylan that will be in Vol.2.

Both wrote such beautiful lyrics and sung such haunting melodies that perhaps could have only come from tortured spirits such as theirs. I also love how both played with their public image, played with the media that sought to pin them down. Not a Beatle and not a finger-pointing folk singer. No. Much more.

Please watch the YouTube videos and listen to at least the samples on Amazon. I also have more YouTube videos in my Groovy Portraits playlist,

See more, watch more, and sample more of Groovy Portraits at


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Groovy Portraits Singles and Alternate Tracks

sneak peek of Groovy Portraits Vol.2 - Bob Dylan

Vol.2 is in the works! The "flipside" second volume will include music important in my life since meeting my wife. I think the portraits reflect that fact too. They're some of my best, for sure. I'll be releasing it in early September. If you want to know about it first and get it free, you can subscribe using the form on

In the meantime, I had an idea to share the content from my Groovy Portraits another way, with more info. Blog posts.

Some pieces kind of go together, like Lennon and Dylan. At least in my head. Because of the portrait. Because of the music. Singles with A and B sides.

With the number of pieces in each eBook volume limited, I have ones that I had to cut. Good pieces. Good music. Alternate tracks.

So be looking for these in the coming weeks!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

If I Could Turn Back Time


Remember moments in life when you're doing something that makes you insanely happy? Those moments in which you'd feel kinda goofy if someone saw you, but you wouldn't care?

What music was playing?


Monday, June 21, 2010

The Swagger of the Stones

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

Jeff Skonieczny writes a blog called He digs music. Good music, with a tendency towards prog rock. His blogger avatar is a photo of John and Yoko holding their "War is Over" poster.

That says it.

Oh, and he's quite opinionated. Not shy about it either.

One thing I never mind doing is bashing the Rolling Stones. In my opinion, the Stones are one of, if not, the most overrated bands in rock. However, today, I'm feeling a change of heart. Instead of focusing on what the Stones lack, I think for once in my life I'm going to acknowledge what the Stones have.

One thing nobody can deny is the Stones' staying power. Somehow they remain in the same conversation as The Beatles, and their tours still to this day gross enough money to alter multiple third world nations.

The Stones are stellar performers. Much like Kiss, their live performances are the heart and soul of the group. Mick Jagger has a stage presence and swagger that none of The Beatles had. There are very few who put out the same kind of energy that Jagger delivers, even at the ripe age of 66. The Stones have enough great songs to get them through a pretty lengthy set. While I don't think their albums hold up all that well, they have some stellar singles, and it's those singles that get them rocking their shows.

So while my feeling towards the Stones isn't necessarily bright, I can't deny what they have earned. There's a reason why they are held in such high esteem, and in my opinion, it has more to do with the bands swagger rather than their songwriting capabilities. The Stones have the kind of energy and bombast that defy just music, they're an institution which all live acts should hope to aspire to.



Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day from Ryan Barton

Ryan Barton is a stand-up guy. So generous with his time and his seemingly ceaseless energy. I'm so glad I get to share this story of his.

Nearly twenty years later, I can still see him.

If I close my eyes, I can see the man, standing in the middle of my childhood living room. His arms are raised above his head, shaking them to the left and right. His head -- tilted back; and his eyes -- closed shut. And now, he dances. And as he dances... almost prancing and jumping around the room... his three children giggle with glee.

What those children didn't know that day, was twenty years later, their father would continue to put any shame or embarrassment to the side and channel his inner Tevye to do the "If I Were a Rich Man" dance upon request. And this time, his grandchildren are in the audience.

My family isn't of Jewish descent. And my father? He looks and sounds nothing like Chaim Topol's Tevye. In fact, if you told the employees at his office that he was dancing and playing with his kids, they'd probably scoff at you in disbelief. It just wasn't like him. The confident, black-and-white business man wouldn't be caught doing such a thing.

Except he did anything for his family. Anything to make them smile. Anything to make them happy.

Every five years or so, Father's Day and my birthday fall on the same Sunday; 2010 is one of those years. And the older I get, the more I reflect and realize that my dad did things the way he did to prepare me for the future. His decisions may not have been the easiest or most fun, but they had a purpose.

He didn't talk down to me, but that made it easy to converse with adults. He taught me "average" wasn't good enough, and that instilled a sense of pride for all that I do. He taught me to check my work twice, as if I was turning it into Jesus, and I still check twice before I press "send" on my emails. He didn't buy me a car when I was 15 like my friends' dads did, and that kept me grounded. He taught me my mom was his best friend, and now I have one of my own.

My wife and I don't have any children yet, but I'm certain that when we do, I'll take thousands of cues from my dad as we grow our family. And I know I'll make decisions that my kids will hate. I can only hope they'll grow-up to realize I made those decisions because I care about them and their future.

Giving my dad Daniel's beautiful painting of the singular image of Topol, gazing upwards with the coy smile, is itself, more than a unique Father's Day gift. To me, it was a gesture of understanding and gratitude for what, why and how my father did what he did.

Happy Father's Day dads...


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Passion and Purpose

Eddie Vedder and Dave Matthews
Eddie Vedder and Dave Matthews hang on Nate Anderson's wall of music. Nate runs Ear Candy Charity. Passionate guy, his hair flames red as he does his work to provide access to music education for kids.

Tonight is the celebration of the opening of the Cafe at the Bookmans here in Mesa. Its purpose is to celebrate culture, with live music and my art. And commissions available for Vinyl Art with a special price of $175, $50 of which goes to Ear Candy.

You can give and get the same price by mentioning this blog post, as long as my pieces are on display at Bookmans. Find purpose in your passion.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Phoenix Rising

iri5 loves tearing things up.


Bob Marley in progress
Oscar Wilde
Also film reels, photographs and even baseballs.

Here's why.

I love finding new uses for old things - especially when you can resurrect the dead- like when you find something broken, something that's lain forgotten, covered in dust at the bottom of a junk drawer or in the corner of a damp basement - and make it a brand-new thing again. It's this process of renewal that I find most fascinating. That "ah-ha."

I never wanted to be an artist until I realized how powerfully art could affect people. I think its power lies in its ability to hijack your mood and enter your mind, at-a-glance, and make you think new things or at least feel something. And it's exciting when these breakthroughs happen, and they can happen anywhere, when you least expect it.

When an idea strikes you like lightning, you never forget the feeling. After that, creating the art becomes an act of autonomy. My proudest moments are when I can relate that "ah-ha" as clearly as possible.

And it's amazing to consider how something, broken into pieces, can somehow take on an additional meaning. I always strive to find unity in the division, hoping that the act of destruction is vindicated by the transcendent outcome.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Artist Envy

Ken Robert

Ken Robert over at Mildly Creative is a warm-hearted fellow. He shares of his truth, his journey. It's quite inspirational, quietly. My kinda guy.

by Ken Robert

When it comes to musicians, I’ve always had a case of artist envy. The good ones make my jaw drop, and sometimes make my heart stop, and always leave me wondering how they do the things they do.

Having never learned an instrument or to even read music, I see them as strange magicians performing sleight of hand.

Where did they pull that riff from? Where were they hiding that note? How did they reach inside my chest while standing so far away?

I used to pretend I understood, standing in my room on a shag carpet stage, singing along with some new record, and playing my air guitar.

Over and over, I’d lift the arm of the record player and reset the needle on the smooth, black rim that surrounded the glorious grooves. Those were the days of vinyl, when every song was first introduced by the sound of a white-noise hiss.

Then the drums would kick in, or some strings would cry out, and I’d struggle to capture the words. The words meant a lot and they often still do, because, if I can’t grasp the sound, I can at least get a hold on the lyrics.

But some time last year, the words no longer seemed to be enough, so I’ve spent some time trying to learn how a guitar works, and how to work a guitar. I’m really quite terrible, but I hope to be decent someday.

Until then, I’m still that kid, alone in his room with his eyes shut and his door closed and his teenage heart wide open.



Monday, June 7, 2010

On Sharing Freely

Groovy Portraits screenshot - Kurt Cobain

Since I started this blog back whenever it was, I've shared a lot. A lot of my art. A lot of my thoughts. A lot of what's going on.

A lot of me.

I'm not stopping.

I'm proud to announce the release of my new coffee-table eBook called Groovy Portraits. So proud that I've added a link above to a new page for it on my main website.

Groovy Portraits, put together by Ryan Barton, the cat who made my introduction video, shares some favorite paintings of mine along with my thoughts about each musician and links to YouTube videos and Amazon listings for my favorite albums. You can watch and sample what inspired me to create this art, in roughly the chronological order it did so.

It's my musical autobiography.

And it's free.


Friday, May 28, 2010

The Remix That Is Kat Stacks

Long ago, Prince Campbell had a blog. Then he didn't. Then he did again. He's like that. He shocks, and makes you think. Unpredictable.

Just like his punchlines.


I want to first thank Daniel for the chance to write something for his cool and diverse audience.

So what could I write about that would be interesting and informative?

I know.

Kat Stacks

Now you probably never heard of Kat Stacks.

No matter.

Everyone hates her.

Which is kind of a shame seeing that she is following a long tradition of a certain type of female music fan. I mean, not a fan like you who just loves music, but more of the type of fan that loves the musician enough to suck his dick.

Pamela Des Barres was the first groupie to actually become famous without actually putting out any music.

She wrote a book about her sexual exploits with famous musicians. A very popular book that HBO (years after its publication) is trying to make into a television series.

Kat Stacks' website

The difference between Pamela and Kat Stacks is that Kat has a blog, a bunch of YouTube videos, and a twitterfeed.

I'm sure her book deal is coming.

Now I could use the space from Daniel (and the time you've given me) to tell you how offensive Kat Stacks is.

Join the chorus of people who spend time putting her down, talking about her dangerous lifestyle, and how she's such a bad example to her son.

But I won't.

Cuz one day I might start a band.




Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Imagination Monster

Michael Stipe - (i) inspired by photo by Mark SeligerAnother terrific post from Zane Ewton. I love the creativity I'm getting to share with these guest posts! Reading the music. Hearing the art.

I did it all wrong. REM is the quintessential college band. You are supposed to discover "Document" in some dorm room during your sophomore year. Then you get to complain that no record that came after that was as good.

I did it wrong. I found "Monster" when I was in junior high school. The stamp is on my forehead. It reads: Not Cool.

"Monster" was my first REM record and it remains my favorite. There is someone in Georgia with long gray hair and an old copy of "Murmur" who wants to stab me right now.

Those classic REM records are timeless. Given their career, the quality control is exceptional in that band. It would be tough to put "Monster" in the list of top five REM albums.

It doesn’t matter to me. I love it when Peter Buck turns his jangly guitars all the way up for the riff on “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” I love the weird, murky, muddled mess of the whole record.

But that’s just me. I like it when emotional, articulate bands leave their subtlety at home. I like it when they sound like a rock band banging away in a basement. I am sure instead of KISS posters; REM has William S. Burroughs posters on their basement walls. Then Michael Stipe roller skates while Mike Mills plays “Let Me In” on the Farfisa organ and a lurking Peter Buck smokes a cigarette. Bill Berry grows beets.

It must have happened something like that. At least in my imagination.

And "Monster" is my favorite too.


The Doors

Jim Morrison - (i) inspired by photo by Joel Brodsky

Douglas McDunna is a long-time friend of my wife's, and now mine. Along with my wife, he's one of the few who have a hard time really talking about music because it means so much to them. To get him to write this about one of his favorite bands, his favorite gods of music, is pretty cool.

When I first started listening to the Doors 22 years ago, I was amazed at their ability to transport you to a foreign land or a scene from celtic mythology or maybe a murder. No other band has the power to give me such feelings of inescapable sorrow, unhinged debauchery or the fundamentals of love. The Doors make me want to sit in a car with strangers and drink. They make me want to go to Portugal or sit outside a strange woman's house and wait to watch her. To break free of the bonds we place on ourselves or more importantly the ones other people put on us. To forget everything we've been taught up to now and to start anew for yourself. The Doors have given me ideas to question family, friends and lovers. They are a real american experience, based on a true american invention, the blues. Something so true that there's no question as to what it means to you. WAKE UP ! you can't remember where it was had this dream stopped ?


Friday, May 14, 2010

Isn't It About Ti(me)?


I'm just glad that my pieces finally are up in the Mesa Bookmans and can hopefully bring in more for Ear Candy Charity.

Yes it took a long time for them to finish the cafe and to plan a grand opening that would include my work. Yes I hope it increases my exposure locally.

But, my main joy is sharing my passion for music. What better place to do it? What better time?

Our state is gutting education funding, practically broke. Music education for kids? Not likely. So Nate Anderson and Ear Candy are doing their best to keep music alive, right here right now.

So, on June 15th there will be a media night at Bookmans in Mesa, AZ to share both the new cafe and my art. Thus, as of right now, if you're interested in a commission and mention this post, I'll paint the piece for you at the old $175 price with $50 going to Ear Candy.

It isn't about me.

P.S. I've created a new Twitter account, @dedlen. It'll be private and focus on good stuff, not just me broadcasting about my art. So, like with the guest posts here on this blog, I'm trying again to share my love for our culture. Join me if you'd like.

Again, it isn't about me.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Bob Dylan - (i) inspired by photo by Daniel KramerHere's another beautiful post from Zane Ewton. Having just watched "I'm Not There", this captures Dylan perfectly. Better than the movie I think.


In a famous 1965 press conference, a young man asked Bob Dylan about the significance of a t-shirt he wore on an album cover. The young man was visibly dismayed to learn the t-shirt was just a t-shirt.

This is the same press conference where Dylan joked about using a song to sell ladies undergarments – about 40 years before his starring role in a Victoria’s Secret commercial.

As remarkable as Bob Dylan’s music is, it has never been enough for his most ardent fans. Every inch of his being must be embroiled in some deeper significance – even his t-shirt.

The folkies described him as a prophet. At least until he went electric. His early monumental works gave him free rein to do whatever he wanted for the next 30 years – whether it was good or not.

Dylan lives outside the realm of popular music culture. Due in part to his musical output as well as his iconoclastic image. It would be unfair to lump him in with rock stars. He isn’t a rock star; he is an artist. More in tune with the creative impulses of Picasso than top 40 radio. Yet he is ingrained into music at a level few people can claim. It’s impossible to pin down Bob Dylan.

Everything about Bob Dylan means something. Nothing about Bob Dylan means anything. It’s all in how you, the listener, take it.



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sonic Youth

Hazel Dooney

Hazel Dooney is a remarkable person. It's hard to say more other than send you over to her blog, where she shares of her life and art with reckless abandon yet with precise passion. But before you go there, read here her story.


When I was a child, I played the violin. My teacher was a young prodigy, just a few years older than me. She gave lessons in the living room of her parent's house. I remember only fragments now: dark wood floors with eastern rugs, an exquisite piano, an array of wind instruments. I loved hearing the richness of each note as my playing improved. I played duets with my teacher. My part was simple: long, sustained, tremulous notes beneath her fast, fluid melodies. I loved it.

My lessons ended abruptly when my teacher's mother died. I didn't see her, or play my violin, again. Later, after my parent's divorce, the instrument was sold.

I lived with my father after the divorce. We didn't have much money. He bought me a tin whistle and a book of traditional Irish jigs. I taught myself to sight-read them by reading the instructions in the front of the music book. I practiced the more complex melodies. Each was faster and prettier than the last. The whistle and the book were lost in one of our many house moves.

When I was 15, I moved in with my mother. I began learning the piano. I didn't like the teachers much, or their choice of music, but I practised and any time I felt low or angry or bored, I played. I started with scales, to see how fast and precise I could be, or if I could express emotion through the way I played them. The sheet music I was given sounded like versions of scales. It didn't really touch my heart. I ended up experimenting with sounds and figuring out how to play songs I knew from the radio. I taught myself to sing in tune by singing the notes as I played. I don't remember why I stopped. Maybe I felt it was going nowhere.

At university, where I majored in art, I played around with a lot of different media. I became interested in sound as an art experience. I was going to a lot of D.I.Y. trance, tribal, Goa-influenced, industrial raves. I listened to '80s hip hop – melodic rappers like Slick Rick and Dougie Fresh, and raw, percussive beats, like L.L. Cool J.'s Rock The Bells.

I was fascinated by how sounds could elicit responses and emotions in ways different to images and words. If I closed my eyes, sound inspired patterns and colour in my mind. I convinced the head of the music department to let me take the electronic music elective. The classroom was full of basic computers, each with a keyboard. Finished pieces were recorded onto VHS videotape, for better quality sound. My compositions were percussive and industrial, centred around a rhythm abstracted from a heartbeat. I also used these compositions as part of my Visual Arts course.

In a group exhibition at the university, I built a make-shift box that was black inside and out. The listener had to step within it to reach a pair of headphones. They experienced the music in darkness, their senses isolated so that they weren't distracted by sight, touch, movement or changing smell.

Now that my interest in using different media has revived, I want to explore all the disparate strands of those early experiments. I thought of doing music before I committed to art but it required equipment and money I didn't have. My boyfriend is coming around tomorrow to show me how to use the Apple's GarageBand application on my laptop. I can't help but be excited that I might be able to return to some of the concepts I laid aside. As I become more adept with media beyond the surface of paper, canvas, and board, I am more and more inspired.



Monday, May 3, 2010

Do Not Create Anything

It will never change.

So said Bob Dylan. This line, which I just heard watching "I'm Not There", reminded me of why I care about music so much. And why I love vinyl.

Music always is new. Every time a record is played, it is the only time it will sound that way.

The Dead Weather highlighted this by premiering their new album live online, playing it on vinyl repeatedly for 24 hours, showing the record playing. It would click as it reached the inner groove, and they would have to place the needle somewhat near the beginning of each side, each time.

Music is brought to life when it is played, each time. A concert performance, a music video, a cover version, a movie soundtrack, on through to a tween listening to an iTunes download on her iPod.

And vinyl is alive as well as an artefact of that music. The grooves of a record change ever so slightly with each passing through of a needle, and playback is always unique.

Such is every moment in life.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Second Guest, Not Second Guessed

Joel D. Canfield

I do love word play still, sorry. So today I have a guest post from online friend Joel D. Canfield, another who loves to play with words. And who does so splendidly. I met him through Seth Godin's Triiibes. Here's his story.

Hi, I'm Joel, and I'll be your server today.

On March 12, 2002 I started blogging about music; music I loved, music I wrote, music and how it affected my life. When I launched my musiblog, I wrote this pseudo-bio which is still probably the best short explanation of my relationship with music. (We're, y'know, [insert visual image of crossed fingers here] like that.) is a by-product of a lifetime of musical ingestion. As a child in Wisconsin, entertainment was primarily homemade music. Even though it was the 60s, we didn't have a television (well, not one that worked.) My father played every instrument I ever saw him touch, and his brothers and sister were (and are) quite talented as well. I thought everyone played a musical instrument, and that they all wanted to be Woody Guthrie or Jimmie Rodgers when they grew up. No astronaut or cowboy dreams for me; my lifelong ambition has been to finally record the music that's built up inside my head.

When we finally got a phonograph (for you kids, that's kind of like a turntable and amp all in one, except back then, it only had one speaker, because the music wasn't in stereo) the first four record albums my parents bought were 'Marty Robbins Gunfighter Ballads' and three albums by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem (as I recall, they were 'Recorded Live in Ireland', 'Hearty and Hellish', and 'Live at Carnegie Hall.') As a result, I grew up thinking that 'music' meant country and western or Irish folk songs. The Beatles had a pretty good cartoon, but I distinctly remember the first time I heard 'rock and roll'—someone called 'The Rolling Stones.' I didn't like it.

My musical taste has broadened a bit since then. On any given day I may listen to Chopin, The Squirrel Nut Zippers, Led Zeppelin, Gordon Lightfoot, David Gray, and Moby. Oh yes; the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem are still favorites, and I definitely lean toward Celtic music.

After 20 years trying to teach me a few chords on the guitar, my father almost despaired of me. I learned about a decade ago that I can play a few chords on the piano, and around the same time picked up a friend's Washburn A10 bass and discovered that as long as I kept it simple, it came pretty easy. (I traded some web work for the Washburn.) Since then I've gotten a Fender Precision Bass, which sees much more use than the old Washburn.

When I am working on my writing, if I'm near an instrument, it's the piano. Still have trouble with chords on the guitar despite having a gorgeous Seagull six-string. I gave my Gibson acoustic to my oldest daughter. She practiced every single day for over a year, playing it Hendrix style since she's a lefty. I finally restrung it upside down for her, and she's been better than me for a long time now.

While my musical taste is broad, my musical influences have been few.

My father instilled a deep-seated emotional response to music early in my life by making it a part of my childhood, and later in life, by allowing it to be a bridge between us when other bridges failed.

Stan Black, the greatest guitar player I've ever met, and one of the best I've ever heard, professional or amateur, taught me that passion for music can sometimes be enough. I don't know many people less ambitious than Stan, but when we used to play together, he'd reach a point where he was inside himself; eyes closed, head back and swaying, firing off slashing licks that only a Clapton or Vaughan could hope to best. When we played together, the music was enough.

And finally, my middle daughter, who, besides having a marvelous voice and being my favorite poet, writes powerfully moving and fun music, and often lets me be a part of it.

I'm always interested in talking about music. Drop me a line at; I love hearing from any music lover.

Joel D Canfield is a singer/songwriter, a business author and mentor in business heresy.


What are your musical influences?


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Be My Guest

As I'm nearing my 500th post to this blog, it is going to change. For the better I hope.

I don't have the time or oomph to blather on about what I'm thinking anymore. No more philosophical ramblings. Hopefully. I really shouldn't be on about that.

What I should be on about is the music, the art.

I will continue to update you all about what's going on when major things happen, but continuing plot lines in the story of Vinyl Art will mostly be found in my email newsletter, which is free to subscribe to on And you can find discussions and likable links at And when minor things happen, I share them at

So then, what's left for this blog is the art. New pieces. New exhibitions. New commissions. That kind of thing. Better, no?

And, what I'm REALLY excited about is making this blog more communal, more focussed on what I'm here for - the music. I've met and built relationships with some pretty cool people online. Some of them really good writers. Some of them really passionate about music. Some of them interested in what I do. Some of them willing to write guest posts for this blog.


The post prior to this was the 1st in what I hope becomes a series of writings from Zane Ewton, the ever-so-nice fellow who won my contest last year and has since become a close friend. Also, a bunch of others have signed on to do a post for me. I'll introduce them before their posts so don't worry about not knowing why you're reading what you're reading here.

Then, hopefully, comments will abound. The art, the music, will take centerstage. If you'd like to be my guest, please stay with me, and share your story.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Starting With The Best

Jimi Hendrix - (i) inspired by photo by David Montgomery
This is the first of what I hope to be many guest posts from my friend, Zane Ewton. You'll see why.

by Zane Ewton

Deep into the swinging 1960s, an alien descended from some far off, R&B soul rock planet. He landed on London’s Carnaby Street and outfit himself in the latest fashions. He didn’t say, “Take me to your leader.” He assumed leadership.

Vinyl Art is an exceptional marriage of music and image. It is all about the music, of course. Why else are you here? But do not lie to yourself. These musicians, artists and performers that Daniel immortalizes within the grooves of their own creation are all iconic images in popular culture. Few are more iconic than Jimi Hendrix.

Jimi Hendrix is one of the elite rock and roll artists that everybody knows and loves. Children are born with an innate knowledge of Hendrix. Anyone more than 40 years old was in the field as he played “The Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock. The rest of us carry him around like the Abe Lincoln penny in our pocket. Hendrix exists outside of time and space.

A simple image of his face conjures the revolution of his musicianship and showmanship. Guitars and afros blazing; the Experience in full flight. The grooves in the record deepen his soulful songwriting. Hendrix was the sizzle and the steak. Soul and bombast. The electric church.



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On The Wing

So I'm shooting for at least one blog post a week, instead of once a day. Clearly my priorities and time have shifted. Which is a challenge in the sense that I can't promote my business as I did. I'm having to figure out what will be more efficient and effective, and before doing it.

The way I promoted my art before was rather haphazard. I've got fun stories about specific commissions and projects, like the one about these 5 pieces going to a guy in New Jersey for his new place who emailed me not only knowing who he wanted, but sending me the images he wanted as well. Yet selling pieces was hardly predictable or consistent. I'm hoping it can be. It feels like new territory for art though. Artists typically don't look at their work as a business in the typical sense, I don't think. Maybe I'm wrong. So I don't quite know what I'm doing, basically. It's a little scary.

I mean I want to be able to support a wife, a daughter, and 4 dogs with Vinyl Art. But I don't want to go the traditional gallery representation route. Nor is my art traditional in the first place. I've felt that way a lot in my life, in no man's land a bit. Not as grandiose as charting new territory or anything. Just not normal. But then what's normal?

I can't just wing it anymore though. Fumbling is unacceptable now.

I need to fly. I'm learning how, on the wing.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Taking Stock

Over the years, I've built an inventory of records, and some painted pieces. This past month or so has shown me how valuable preparation is in life.

My brother-in-law wanted all of the Eagles. I already had 4 copies of their greatest hits album. They're going to look so cool all together. I've painted Don Henley and Joe Walsh already.

My friend, Ryan Barton, wanted Topol from "Fiddler On The Roof" to give to his dad for Father's Day as his piece he won in the auction I talked about awhile back. I already had the soundtrack album. I've painted it and shipped it off.

A fellow in Norway wanted Tom Waits to give to his music teacher. I already had painted this piece. I've framed it and shipped it off.

I've said before, preparation prevents perspiration. Now that I'm a stay-at-home dad, efficiency is really important in all that I do, especially work. Having the stock of records and paintings that I do is helping me take care of what is most important in life. Family. Speaking of, she's waking up.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Promotion, By The Way

Promotion seems to be the order of the moment. Makes sense since I've just raised my prices.

So, besides the upcoming Bookmans show, TBA, I have 2 other events to share.

My work was in the Santa Monica Airport Artwalk! It went really well. Even sold a couple pieces! They looked great on the hallway wall right near the entrance:

This photo is courtesy of my friend Ryan Barton, who, by the way, won that auction I talked about in my last post. Such a cool guy.

So the great thing about this show in Santa Monica is that the pieces will stay up for another month! They'll stay in the same place and can be viewed any time the gallery is open. If you'll be in the area and want to check out my work up close and personal, send me an email and I'll put you in contact with my west coast rep, my mom, who can make sure you get a chance to see them!

The paintings got a great response from the tons of guests and hopefully a lot of them will visit my website and commission a piece of the musician they wanted, that one that popped in their head the second they saw my work and got what it is about.

Helping people to get what my work is about is my first radio phone interview! I was a bit nervous, but Jane and Norm Geddis of Counter Clock Radio asked really good questions. Hopefully they editted my rambles into coherent responses. It airs this evening live and then will be in their podcast archives. The link above gives details and I'll share the links to the archived version when I get it! Check it out if you can. It, along with my video, by Ryan Barton by the way, will provide a really good sense of what I do and why.

I am painting little by little and will start posting pieces again soon!


Monday, March 15, 2010

On The Rise

Things are getting exciting for my art. Well, not that they weren't before, but it feels like things are rolling nicely now. Those of you who've subscribed to my email newsletter found out this weekend about a couple cool things and Facebook fans learned about another. Today I'm getting around to doing a post too.

First, I have my work in an auction online:

The auction is being run by my friend Zane and his wife. Zane won my contest last year and we've since begun to collaborate on and offline. His wife had gone to Africa awhile back and has since been trying to figure out how to help the charity she worked with as much as their family can. So generous, these people. Even their 4 year old is awesome and good-hearted.

So when Zane asked if I'd participate in their auction to raise money for the charity, I said yes before he finished asking. The offer is for a custom piece of Vinyl Art, painted specifically for you of the musician of your choice, framed and delivered. Right now, the bid is at $95. The auction goes until the 17th, so act fast!

Only $95! You could get a piece for like $100! This is cool because...

Second, I'm raising my prices. My first significant increase since I've promoted my work online in earnest, the base price will go from $175 to $250. I hope to make it a yearly thing, both to keep up with health insurance costs, and to show potential buyers that indeed my work will go up in financial value. I've avoided thinking about my work as an investment, but people who collect art do like to know that at least there is a market for the work. So the price increase percentage will mirror my sales volume increase percentage. Cool, huh? So I did well last year, I'm saying.

Hopefully this year will have good growth too, partially because...

Third, my work is in a show in southern California:

My first big art event participation, 30 of my pieces will be on display for sale at the annual Santa Monica Airport ArtWalk. The opportunity came to me through my mom who does her art-ing at the same gallery space. She'll be there on the 20th this month, the day I'll raise my prices.

So, Vinyl Art is on the rise! Next I'll get to share my first podcast interview!