The Art & Music of Michael Garfield

05 September 2014

New Studio Tracks | Hyperspace Language | Phone Cases | New Hat | More Futurism & Visionary Culture at Globalish

“Perhaps musicophilia is a form of biophilia, since music itself feels almost like a living thing.”

This week I am proud to present my first studio recordings in six years.  I actually started these two tracks in 2009 as a follow-up to the Double-Edged Sword EP (still the closest I've come to realizing my full vision for integrating grace and grit in electronic folk music)...but life and time had other plans for me, and I went off on a great adventure in avant-garde guitar (highlights here, here, here, and here).

The Cyclist/Throwing Sparks is just an appetizer.  This fall I'm doubling down on my production study, committing myself (finally!) to recording my new compositions, and preparing to create the greatest thing I've made to date.  It's time.

Meanwhile, enjoy this sweet seven-minute token of my love for space and song.  It's a gift, for the time being.  If you like it, I hope you'll share it with someone.


You taught me to own my love 
but I cannot quite pin down that bug. 
Neither of us lives all that we say 
and lovely ideas spill out and vapor away. 
I'll take what I can get, give what you'll accept... 
I no longer fear there will be nothing left. 

Evolving Hyperspatial Language
(A Clip From February's Aya Awakenings Panel)

Another shining moment from my wonderful discussion with directors Rak Razam and Mitch Schultz following the screening of Rak's ayahuasca documentary in Austin.  (You can listen to our whole talk here.)  This bit's on my conviction that there are no sensory experiences fully past our languaging – just over the horizon, maybe, for this time and place:

"Most of what we talk about today was 'trans-linguistic' a hundred years ago...I don't think it's categorically 'beyond words,' I just think that the words grow to fill the space of our consciousness."

I Made A Lot of Cool New Merchandise This Week

Look...I'm not trying to hide my mercantilism, here.  I'm a freakin' artist for a living.  It's not advised.  I need all the help I can get.  Hopefully you just bought a new phone that could use a case, or want to pimp your laptop with some cool adhesive flair.  I get 20% on every sale.  That translates into tacos.  And I need tacos to live.  So let's be symbiotic.  

Custom Painted Hat #175

I have nothing fancy to say about this...but man do I love painting hats.  Hit me up if you'd like one of your own.  (You can see pics of the other 174 hats here.)

New Articles on Globalish

My new appointment on the writing team at Globalish.com gives me a fantastic opportunity to wax poetic about all of my favorite artists and to comment on the most amazing new developments in futuristic tech.  


After years of not writing very much, I'm now on a daily schedule – and have a new vehicle for sharing some incredibly inspiring videos.  Here are my most recent posts:

Visionary Culture



20 August 2014

Toad Painting From Gratifly & Arise Festivals | Aya Awakenings Video | My New Visionary Culture Gig

“Creativity occurs in the moment, and in the moment we are timeless.”

Finally back home from all the traveling. Ready to dig in for a few months and finish some much-loved but long-overdue projects. Very eager to share recordings from this summer – the music, yes, but also my talks on transformational sobriety (wow, THAT one was well-attended!) and art as politics (because we vote with our attention).

Time to huddle and create for a couple months, until Art Outside in October:  new studio music and paintings, and A LOT of writing for my new gig at Globalish, and the necessary sweet moments of stillness that punctuate the creative act.

I'm still available to book for custom work or gigs on a lark.  Until then...  

Żabka

18"x24"
Painted live with Molotow, Montana, Elmer's, Sharpie, & Liquitex paint markers at:

Gratifly Music and Arts Festival (2014-07-26, 27)
during Wildlight, The Polish Ambassador, Zach Deputy, Rising Appalachia Music, William Close And The Earth Harp Collective, Closing Ceremony

ARISE Music Festival (2014-08-08, 09)
during Gaia Experiment, Organix Jam,KatsüK, Celestiowl, Sonic Geometry, Mikey Fisher Breaks, NumiNative, Inti, Buddha Bomb

"Żabka" is Polish for "little frog." Toads are amazing creatures – ancient, metamorphic, sturdy, adaptable. Their habit of consuming the skin they shed has made them an especially potent image for transformation. The most potent animal toxin comes from a frog (batrachotoxin, from Phyllobates terribilis); the most powerful hallucinogen does as well (5-MeO-DMT, from Bufo alvarius). Amazonian tribes use the secretions of another species (Phyllomedusa bicolor) as a ritual purgative to purify themselves for hunting. (This "kambo" ceremony renders people temporarily and inexplicably immune to the shock of electric eels.)

I used to draw frogs for a living. Working as the scientific illustrator for the Department of Herpetology at the KU Natural History Museum, I stippled the description plates for dozens of new species of frogs my boss, Dr. Rafe Brown, discovered in the Philippines.

The trend continued in grad school, when I was hired by my graduate advisor, Dr. Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, to provide a frog-themed cover illustration for his amazing book Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World.

Come to think of it, I've always had a thing for frogs and toads. My first recognition as a writer was for a short story I wrote in the second grade, about talking dart poison frogs. My earliest attempt at an illustrated manuscript was on the life cycle of frogs and toads, the year before. My first detention was for skipping class to hunt for toads in between school buildings, growing up in Florida. (I spent SO much time catching toads and tadpoles as a kid.)

My most enduring shame is the memory of killing a toad by throwing it, before I was old enough to know what death is. That's probably why I defended them so fiercely from bullies in middle school...and why I love that scene in E.T. when Elliott liberates the frogs from his school's bio lab.

My great inspiration Ernst Haeckel, who coined the term "ecology," is also famous for saying that "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" – meaning, the development of individual organisms is a kind of re-enactment of their whole evolutionary history. We all start out as single cells, then grow into worm-like creatures, then fish, and so on...humans do this in the womb but frogs and toads go through their transformation out where everyone can see. Perhaps that is part of their enduring mystery and appeal. Certainly it resonates with my own open-studio process as a live painter, letting everyone observe the work unfold in public.

This piece in particular marks a turning point for me – the moment when I took paint pen technique into a new dimension of blending and transparencies. A little Alfons Much, a little Futurama, with this painting I find myself one turn up the spiral of my lifelong love for these amphibians.

Clip from the Austin Aya: Awakenings Panel Discussion


A short clip from my hour-long panel discussion (free download here) with directors Rak Razam (Aya: Awakenings) and Mitch Schultz (DMT: The Spirit Molecule) on "mnemonic cross training" and how the entheogenic experience can help us learn to maintain our integrity through complex, difficult situations.

Futurism & Visionary Culture Writing with Globalish

I am so, so glad to be back in the saddle as a writer – this time, a futurist and visionary culture correspondent for Globalish, a very cool team tracing the outlines of emerging planetary culture.  Name an aspect of the human experience and they're covering it – emphasis on dazzling visual content, framed by deep commentary.  Here are a few of my first pieces for them:

This Hilarious Old Spice Commercial Is A Window Into Cyberculture

Japanese Artist Arrested For Open-Sourcing Her 3D-Printed Vagina

Lux Moderna: Reviving The Role of Priestess In Sacred Ritual

THC Without Cannabis: Biohacking Yeast For Future Highs

Light & Sculpture Twist Together In This Awesome Brainy Installation

Brainterface Mind Controlled Synthesizer To Hit Markets In September

Vantablack: The Darkest Material Ever Created

Hozier's Powerful Music For The First (And Last) Religion

Coming Soon

04 August 2014

Mantis Shrimp Painting | The Future of Art | Merch to Blow Minds | Last Festivals of Summer

“Above all, I would like to extend the boundaries of what is not regarded as unthinkable, in light of how little we really understand about the world.”

“The only thing that we can be sure of the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic.”

Happy August, everyone!  It's fully summer and I'm fully in it:  Gearing up to record and release my first studio music since the Double-Edged Sword EP – that's six years, far too long.  Shredding a series of animal-themed paintings, satisfying my underfed inner scientific illustrator.  Enjoying this summer's double-feature workshop series on "Entertainment As Social Action" and "Visionary Sobriety," explaining how we are all intoxicated by culture, but can use the instruments of media mind control to liberate rather than oppress.  (On that note, did you see my recent interview with poet-philosopher and legendary badass William Irwin Thompson?)

And more...as usual, too much to share at once.

As soon as I am back from this weekend's Arise Festival, I'll get to work on readying it all to share with you.  But for now, enjoy this relatively lightweight update – and feel free to write if you have anything to share!  I love hearing from you, and with most of y'all it's been too long.

love and blessings 
"King Prawn" (Mantis Shrimp)
20"x20" – paint pens on canvas
Original painting available – Email me with inquiries

Painted live at:
2014.07.01, 04, 07, 14, 20 Studio

"Imagine a color you can't imagine. Now do that nine more times. This is how the mantis shrimp do."

"The mantis shrimp is my new favorite animal, because in the presence of such extraordinary light and beauty it embraces DARKNESS.  It extols DEATH with the luminescent brilliance of a dying star."

I can't say anything about this amazing animal that isn't said at the two links in those quotes above...both of which I highly recommend to you.  This is one of the strangest, most wonderful creatures in the ocean, which is saying a lot, obviously, I mean the ocean is pretty huge.  And this thing is so awesome it got its own section on one of the best episodes of NPR's Radiolab.

Part of a series of charismatic critters, with previous entries including the Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Meadowlark, Barton Springs Salamander, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, and Common Kingfisher...this is the first invertebrate, though.  And how.

Which animals (or plants) should I paint next?

Interview with Sara Huntley for SolPurpose.com


“No holds barred, I’d describe myself as a pattern hunter in nature – a synesthesia artist seeking to see things normally unwitnessed, translating waveforms of data into different spectrums of perception.”

Oakland-based Sara “Seraphinianus” Huntley is a shining example of a generation of multimedia artists eagerly taking to emerging media – a wave of renaissance people fluidly adapting to the shifting technocultural landscape by anchoring their expressions in a broader and more comprehensive understanding of nature, consciousness, and the human experience. Where art meets science, tribal meets future, and movement meets music, you’ll find Sara, leading her explosively creative intermedia life-as-art existence. I was delighted to catch up with her about what inspires her and the new forms of trans-verbal communication appearing on our cultural horizons…

Various Rent-Paying Items of Note

I'm not a starving artist.  But I do give most of my creative work away in the form of free music, writing, and rhetorical performances.  So I deeply appreciate it when people (such as yourself) step up to show their support (or yours) by purchasing prints of my artwork, or by acquiring some wearable token of cosmic bling like these fine souvenirs below:


Last year I designed my final embroidered hat with Grassroots California for Herbivore Designs – a piece I consider one of my crowning achievements.  The first two less intricate designs sold out almost instantly, but somehow there are still plenty of these left for sale, so if you've ever felt the urge to decorate your head beyond compare, here is your opportunity!


RaveNectar is retiring the men's and women's tees of my painting "Every Day Is A New Year" this Friday, August 8th. Until then, they're 20% off – get yours for $40 while supplies last!

I'm a fan of pushing the envelope – designing stuff that tests the resolution limits of production equipment and the sanity of random passersby.  These pins definitely qualify; the original vectors actually had to be simplified because we aren't living in the future, apparently.  So these are, literally, the most complicated pins possible for their size at this moment in history.  Pretty cheap, considering.

My Natural Habitat Includes These Festivals

This event has something for everyone: jam bands, bluegrass, electronica, spoken word, yoga, reggae, meditation, tribal funk, you name it.  I'm co-headlining the Starwater Bar, an impressive maté bar and festival-within-a-festival that will also feature performances by such luminaries as Anne Waldman (beat poet who founded the Naropa University Creative Writing program), Future Simple Project (the superb DJ tag team whose music inspired many of my early live paintings), and Beth Preston (songstress of wide renown, whose work deserves your listening)...among many others.


Hands down, the best festival in Texas – assuming you like epic art installations, huge teams of live painters, unbeatable eclectic music lineups, strange and beautiful cross-media collaborations, on-site organic kitchens, and gorgeous Texas pecan groves.  For their tenth year and my fifth, I'm cooking up an unprecedented and totally awesome production with special guest appearances by some of my favorite humans.  But there are more reasons to go than I can enumerate here.