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with original portraits on vinyl.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Full Circle with @riozilla and @amoebamusic

Back in high school, I was friends with Rio Caraeff. He introduced me to some great music, including The The's album "Dusk" which is one of my favorites still.

Today Rio is CEO of VEVO, the company presenting official music videos and live shows through YouTube in the one way acceptable to the major record labels. Recently he commissioned the 4 above pieces: Michael Jackson, Beyonce, 50 Cent and Adele. Almost 20 years later, full circle.

Back in school, too, I took a family trip to San Francisco. It was around the time I was starting to get into my dad's vinyl: Brubeck, Beatles, Khachaturian and Mangione. We went to the Haight and I was introduced to Amoeba Records. Woah.

Seeing that place got me seriously started hanging out in West L.A. record stores like Record Surplus, Moby Disc, Rhino Records and Penny Lane. I spent countless teenage hours crate digging. Some of the records became my first canvases.

Nice day, today.



creating art on the artifacts of creativity

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seeing the Music

"If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes." - Pablo Picasso

The way I conceive it, art only happens when we do what Picasso is talking about. When we flow in the moment without our brain filtering and simply allow whatever is supposed to come out to do so.

When you lose track of time, you've found your art. When you find what enables that loss, you've found your connection to your art.

For me, music is my connection. It's sort of like meditation, not thinking about each dab of the brush, simply seeing the light and dark. Seeing the music.



creating art on the artifacts of creativity

Saturday, October 20, 2012

No Light Without Shadow

I was standing next to my John Coltrane portrait at the Open Studios event at last weekend and a thought struck me. Following that show I sold the above Freddie Mercury, which reminded me of that thought.

Both pieces have black on the label because they're white. It's a challenge to paint pieces like that with just white on the record and black on the label. I have to make sure the light on the record is balanced by the shadows on the label, otherwise the portrait is broken.

I've been sharing Zen and Taoist quotes on Twitter at recently. A lot of them are about recognizing the yin and yang of life, the two sides of things when distinction is made. I don't particularly like adjectives because they require and create categorization and differentiation, but they exist in our lives. So one has to find balance between the two sides, between the light and the dark.

Like I do when I paint shadows on the label and the light on the record.



creating art on the artifacts of creativity

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Underwater Basket Weaving

Underwater basket weaving is an idiom which refers to classes at university generally thought of as filler and not valuable in education. A lot of activity in online marketing feels like that. But it's not. It's a useful skill with cumulative results.

Years ago I connected with Robert Benson through this very blog. A wonderful fellow with a huge heart, he continues to this day to share news about my Vinyl Art.

Back then he wrote and published it in a way that sees it spread even still. Its content, and links, stand up today.

Robert told me marketing on the Internet is like weaving a basket. Since then I've tried to spread awareness of my handpainted portraits on records far and wide to all different audiences, interconnecting and interlacing strands of the web to build a network of support of my art. With the explosion of social media and mobile interaction I've embraced Twitter, Facebook and the like. It is definitely challenging to do this on my own without representation, but it is very rewarding to connect with customers directly, getting to follow the stories of my pieces.

I've got a couple very cool stories coming up to share, but in the meantime I've gotten to weave a couple more strong strands into my basket.

First is on Inhabitat written by Lori Zimmer. I shared a couple double album pieces that hadn't seen much exposure before and Lori pulled great text from written by Alice Yoo.

Second is on the Huffington Post. Kathleen Massara asked some great questions and included the Coltrane that will be one of those cool stories.

I list such posts on my with active links to those still live, pliable strands of soaked willow rods to make my basket. I'm proud of that list and hopefully it's strong and able to support my art. I'll certainly continue to weave it with content on this blog and a myriad of other places online.

Not easy and not worthless.



creating art on the artifacts of creativity

Friday, August 31, 2012

Help Save Music Education, Really!

Ear Candy Music Charity Our goal of $25,000 will help launch our newest program, Online Instrument Drives, which is an easy to use donation platform that helps thousands of youth receive the instruments they need to participate in music education!  Music teachers request the instruments their students need, instrument donors choose the requests they want to fulfill, financial donors contribute to the cost of shipping and repair, and students get instruments!

Nate Anderson and his Ear Candy Charity are brilliant. They're creating an adoption agency for musical instruments, for kids. It's a 'win' on so many levels it's crazy. The campaign is half over, but isn't halfway to its goal yet. So please check out the link below, give if you can and spread the word far and wide!


creating art on the artifacts of 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Calling (Collect)ors

Once a month I send out an email newsletter with Vinyl Art updates that you can sign up for on this blog or at for free. has some old excerpts.

Some people automatically send such info to previous customers, potential collectors. I don't. I figure that if someone is interested in following me after buying a piece that they'll get to it somehow. I just publicly share when I'm sending it out.

I mean, when you call collect, who pays? Who really pays?


Monday, July 16, 2012

How To Get Your Share

It's tough, this art marketing thing. My ultimate goal is to get to paint, to get to contribute what I can, to get to be of value to you and my family. To do that, I have to serve my art, like I talked about in my last post.

A major part of serving my art has become sharing it online in a myriad of ways. To make it a win-win, like the late Stephen Covey proposed, so I'm happy, the gallery site is happy and you're happy, I've discovered that I have to know what the sites and you want.

I think I understand what the sites want: my content. Perfect! I want them to have it. But along with that content comes the same responsibility to serve. Sites work best when I work them best, by sharing what I've shared through them, sending you to them so you see what you want there. Their hope is that you'll share what you want by sharing what they want.

Basically, I think Scott Belsky of Behance wants you to share my Vinyl Art by sharing because it shares my content in the best and easiest way it can. My job then is to use the site as best as I can, making the comment that the CEO left on my project most gratifying.

It is a wonderful site, on the whole and in detail. I'd encourage you to start with my project, the content of which should be somewhat familiar, and then see what else grabs you there.

To get your share.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Serve Your Art

There's an episode of The Cosby Show in which one of the daughters, I think Vanessa, has brought home a guy to dinner and sprung their plans for marriage on the family at dinner. Cos gives this brilliant analogy of a cook preparing an amazing dinner and plating it on the underside of a garbage can lid. For some reason, that analogy has stuck with me.

Also rattling around my head is the idea that one's art is distinct from one's self. The artist is not his art, the artist DOES his art, creating artifacts. In the best moments of painting, I feel like my art is flowing through me as a vessel. I just watch. You know, that zen-like-type moment when you're in harmony with the universe. I'm just the storyteller.

Both of these inform the phrase "serve your art". Different definitions of "serve". Both vital, to me, for the artist to keep in mind.

1) Presentation of one's art is pretty dang important to the success of the communication between artifact and audience. In and of themselves, a frame or a promotional flyer or a CD label or a website aren't important for their own sakes. They serve to serve. The concierge, the ambience, the tablecloth, the plate, the garnish all create the context and focus attention on the actual value in a restaurant, the food. When those are somehow out of sync, the moment is broken and what might be a masterful meal gets fed to the dogs behind the joint.

While this is probably obvious to state, it's difficult to do. Well, I should say it's been difficult for me to do, anyway. It goes beyond the concerted marketing effort. It requires a psychological understanding of one's art and the way its artifacts connect with others. I've been pretty good at understanding my relationship with my art, so there's that. But allowing the artifacts of that art to reach out into the world is hard. I probably get in its way and don't even really know it. Letting the artifact speak for itself is the challenge while at the same time providing that context for the world to consume it.

This isn't to say the presentation should disappear, but, as an errant brush stroke can break the illusion of the portrait, that context, that packaging can help or hinder the delivery of your art's message. Serve your art. Serve it well.

2) The best artists allow their art to happen, I think. So as the art is presented, it is also performed. Here it is the artist who becomes part of the context for the act of the art. I don't mean the artist serves their art as a master, but if the artist wants the artifacts of their art to be serveable, presentable, the act of the art itself must be served. By this I mean to point out the importance of understanding your relationship with your art, how the art acts through you. And how to best facilitate that process.

This might be less obvious to state, as well as difficult to do. Art is often taught as a process to be controlled, not communicated. Students are encouraged to bring out what they have to say, not to let out what they see. For a long time, I've struggled with my feeling that I'm a glorified copier because when I was little I WAS taught how to allow myself to see and communicate that, but later I ran into the more common thinking that an artist must HAVE a vision, something inside. Artists end up getting in the way of the art as well as the artifacts, in this sense.

Fortunate is the artist whose art has happened upon them, a vision from the universe that is expressed through the artist, if allowed. I was lucky that my art found me adequately taught to use tools and at a point in life without imposed boundaries. Rediscovering it years later as a so-called niche allows me to retain its initial form and idea with a well-defined concept for me to serve. Serve your art. Serve it well.

Hopefully I've served this play on words well, providing some glimmer of an internal idea you might have been trying to bring out and understand for yourself. I know I'm still trying to understand it, myself.

If you have any response, please don't hesitate to leave it here publicly or to privately tell me at



creating art on the artifacts of creativity

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


In a flash. He's gone.

A blur, a teary-eyed blur of years follows. Ashes remain on the mantle. Paintings remain on the wall.

Clarity slowly returns. In fits, the blur lifts. Life goes on, death fades. The ashes no longer sit on the mantle. The paintings are rehung with others.

But every once in awhile. That flash returns. That moment when life turned to death hits again. Focus is lost as tears flood. The full memory replays.
But life goes on.



creating art on the artifacts of creativity

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I'm trying to wrap my head around the event of Yauch's death.


When Cobain went, I was in school and his music connected with my life. I spent the rest of that day flat on my back in the dark with Nevermind blasting. Since, I think about that day whenever I hear their music.

I don't talk much about what I play while I paint. It happens to be largely the Beastie Boys. I hadn't gotten into their music back in the day, as I didn't appreciate rap as a teen. But after hearing Check Your Head and Ill Communication and then Paul's Boutique. Crap man, that is good music. It's really perfect music for me, for my art. The rhythm, the groove. And a lot of that was MCA. And now he's gone. And now I'll think about that whenever I play their music.

Even while I paint.


Rest In Peace, Yauch.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Moving. Again. Back.

So after a year in CA we're heading back to AZ. Yep.

This'll be my new little room.

In the meantime, in Pacific Palisades I'm having a swan song solo show at the restaurant I sold a bunch at a year and a half ago.

It'll be nice to have the 30 pieces safe while we move. During our move to CA they were on display at VH1 in NYNY.

Speaking of NYNY, my first commission after we move back will be for a really cool corporate client headquartered there. I can't share details yet but it'll be a great set of 4 pieces. Hopefully I'll get a shot of them hanging!

Until then, here's to a smooth move!


Wednesday, February 29, 2012


So I've tried a couple traditional gallery group shows. Next, art fairs! Hadn't planned on doing this, but this March I'll be showing work in person in Laguna Beach for First Thursdays at the Blue Laguna and then in Las Vegas at Zappos First Fridays.

I painted a bunch of new pieces to fill out my collection so hopefully there'd be something for any music fan. A few are posted at if you want to see them bigger than the photo above.

It'll be a couple late nights but should be worth it. I figured it was worth a shot to find that right audience in the right context.

It'd be a first.


Saturday, January 21, 2012


On Feb.4 a music-inspired group art show called Pink Noise will open at Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park, New Jersey. These pieces of mine will be included! They contacted me late last year about participating so it's the first show for me of 2012. Woohoo! You can see work from other participating artists at

Also coming up early this year, I'll hopefully be participating in First Fridays in Las Vegas! Close to the strip, a few blocks north of The Stratosphere they apparently have a growing monthly nighttime shindig. I'm planning on getting a booth in March. I'll certainly share details when everything's set.

Now I just need to paint more paintings!