Michael Garfield Visionary Art & Music

21 January 2016

MG on Lucid Planet Radio, New Woven Art Blankets, New Live Painting & Studio Painting, Printed Leggings & Cases

"Creativity is a consequence of action, not its motivation. Do what needs to be done and then ask whether it was possible. Orthodoxy is the enemy of invention, despair an insult to the imagination."
– Wade Davis

I hope that this first blog update of 2016 finds you well! I just turned 32, and looking back at this newsletter that I started at age 24, I'm rekindled with enthusiasm to make this year's offerings my best yet.  This year feels like the year to dream and create as big as possible – and I'm glad to tell you that two of my most overdue, ambitious projects are now underway!

Specifically: My friend Evan "Skytree" Snyder and I just started recording episodes of our new podcast, Future Fossils (join our Facebook group for some great conversations) and Evan has also volunteered to produce my next studio album (my first legitimate musical release since before I started painting!).  Expect more news on both of those endeavors here soon.

In the meantime, this year's off to a great start.  Enjoy, stay in touch, and have a beautiful day!

MG on Lucid Planet Radio with Dr. Kelly:
"The Psychedelic Imagination and the Future of Humanity"

Nothing like kicking off your birthday week with a live radio appearance.  How we managed to have such a deep and far-ranging conversation while getting interrupted every fifteen minutes for commercials, I will never know – but we did!

Kelly and I talked about anxiety management and the wisdom of insecurity; asked if it's really possible to put a price on art (or happiness); gave our practical suggestions for how to be creative; and discussed my crazy thought that psychedelics might offer us the best metaphor for understanding how the Internet is changing humankind.  Read her show notes and stream/download our chat here.

Yay! I finally received the sample of these new gorgeous jacquard loom visionary art blankets – scientifically designed to trap heat and attract synchronous encounters.

This is the same company that manufactures blankets for some of my favorite artists, including Alex Grey – and they don't mess around.  These are big ol' throws for full-on hiding: 77" long by 51" wide. (Observe the difficulty I endure to hold it fully open!) Super soft 100% cotten grown and woven in the USA (with 60% recycled material, because Nature).

Turnaround is just over a month right now, so the sooner you can put in your order the better!  I want to make sure you've got plenty of cold weather left this year in which to benefit from this.  :)

Painted live with oil & acrylic markers and aerosol paint on masonite (32"x24") at:

• 2016-01-06 – Vulcan Gas Company for Solstice Live Presents: 
CAPYAC, Henry + The Invisibles, Food Group, Blanc, Pyrograph

• 2016-01-09 – Fair Market for Utopiafest & Black Fret Present: 
Holiday Mountain, Shinyribs, The Midnight Stroll, Calliope Musicals, Mobley

Talk about some New Moon manifestation! I finished this painting on a Saturday night, deciding it looks like a space salad and naming it "Share What You Have." None of this was especially intentional. Then on Sunday, the next morning, I went to sing at the Hope Farmer's Market here in Austin, slinking back into my singer-songwriter chops and unwittingly putting the painting's title into practice. I got paid in vegetables from Johnson Backyard Garden: fennel, bok choy, kale, collard greens, cabbage, cilantro, beets, sweet potato, dill, salad greens, and carrots! How is that for painting your own future? I do not believe that time is linear.

New Studio Painting: "Dogfight"
Painted at home with oil and acrylic paint markers (12"x12")

Just a small commission for a friend based on the Norse myth of twin wolves, Skoll and Hati. The sons of monster wolf Fenrir (who it is foretold will kill Odin at the end of time), Skoll is the black wolf who chases the sun, and Hati is the white wolf who chases the moon. At Ragnarok (Norse Judgment Day), they will both succeed, hastening the end of the world. Daaaaaaamn! This piece is irreverently titled "Dogfight" and was made with oil and acrylic paint pens on a 12" square canvas.

Loopers' Night celebrates its first birthday (thirteen straight months!) at Strange Brew Lounge in Austin this February 4th.  Come if you can!  We have an absurd lineup of amazing musical guests, which you can read more about by clicking the banner above.

(And if you'd like to learn more about live looping music, join our Loopers' Night Facebook group!)

My first Gem & Jam Festival was in 2009, and MY how it has grown!  Since Firefly Gathering is taking this year off, this may be my only festival in Arizona for the year.  I'm bringing lots of art on this trip – if you are going to be there and see anything in my gallery of available originals that you would like, please let me know and I'll make sure to bring it.

A totally beautiful homegrown event in Central Texas, dedicated to the beauty of this planet and its natural elements.  I will be playing two sets and live painting and enjoying gorgeous open skies and worldclass rock art talent at this free event.  So fun!  More details if you click the banner.

...And A Last Word From Your Under-Ornamented Life

Until I have my Patreon campaign online, there are a precious few ways you can show the world that you believe in what I'm doing (or that you just like to decorate yourself intelligently).  Here are some options from my Hall of Magical Things over at Society6:

"The most important things that we know fifty years from now will be things we have no idea about right now.”
– Lawrence Krauss

25 December 2015

New Leggings & Cases // Three New Paintings // New Unplugged Music Video // Custom Violins & Flatbills // Essays on the Microbiome, Necromancy // Another Guest Spot on the Midwest Real Podcast

"Sharing, not secrecy, is the means by which we create infinite wealth. The wealth of networks, the wealth of knowledge, revolutionary wealth - all can create a nonzero win-win Earth that works for one hundred percent of humanity."
– Robert David Steele (former CIA agent)

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
– Anatole France (Nobel Prize-winning poet)

Merry Christmas, everyone!  After six months of experimentation, I've decided to make this a weekly (shorter, easier, more digestible) newsletter starting in 2016.  That way you won't be overwhelmed with an absurd abundance of new music, art, and writing (like you'll see below).  Here's to a smarter generosity, a less demanding way to stay in touch.  

That said, I hope you reap the full rewards of this last monster update.  Thank you so much for letting me give of myself to you in this way – some of you for eight years, now!  We'll keep learning and growing together.

For those of you with less time, here're highlights:  I finally have a complete on-demand merchandise store setup at Society6; I just quietly made all 71 of my musical recordings at Bandcamp entirely free (including several previously unreleased live albums); my sweetest and most poignant song so far is up on Youtube; and three new paintings showing off a more refined technique are now live at my online print store.  All of that and more, below.

I hope you have the greatest Christmas ever, and that you get laid by angels right as everyone is cheering and the clock rolls over to a New Year.  Much love and many blessings!

New Words (Writing Archive)

My second appearance on the Midwest Real Podcast, in which host Michael Phillip and I discuss the shifting nature of "reality" in the Internet Age, and I outline for the first time ever my belief that the 21st Century is best understood as a species-wide collective psychedelic experience.

My second article for the Body Hacking Conference Blog, in which I playfully undermine the idea that our bodies are computers with a visionary jaunt into the future of "hacking" the microbiological ecosystems in our guts.

My latest short blog for Reality Sandwich, in which I introduce you to the awesome artistry of my friend Void Denizen, whose work brilliantly confuses comedy, rap, and necromancy.

New Song (Music Archive)

A ballad for my friend, fellow songwriter Luke Redfield, in his style, about the silver lining to be found in getting stuck, in losing something beautiful, in having to sit still and wait for life to change:

Heard that you were unwound
know you have found your inspiration
closer to the ground
than you prefer to glide.
But all your pretty sounds
come from a place of desperation
the space between the howl
and the Moon inside...

All that open road is only a reflection
of the freedom that you know is in your mind.
Hard to go there when you know it's a projection.
So much easier to play it out...

I'm sorry about your car.
Sorry about your sweet Australian.
Glad to know that you can play guitar again.

It seems to all come down
at once, confounding explanation.
Feet and wings both bound
right when you need to fly.
But when you're not allowed
to get around, the revelations
come through clear and loud
and the soul grows wide.

All that time out turns you inward for reflection
and confinement makes a diamond in your eye.
You won't find it chasing highway for the legend
so I'm glad you had to sit one out.

I'm sorry about your car.
Sorry about your sweet Australian.
Glad to know that you can play guitar again.

The story of all your scars
deserve the songs you've earned by failing.
Glad to know that you can play guitar again.

24"x32" - oil and acrylic pens on masonite
original painting available – email me with inquiries
Buy 11"x17" signed poster prints for $20 each

Painted at:
2015-12-19 at The Gatsby (Austin, TX) to

The Lagoons, Kindaheart, Muddy Flowers, Caterwaulrus, 365colours

I used to paint one piece a night, back when I started making art at concerts. I enjoyed the looseness, dynamism, energy, and flow of pieces that I knew I had to finish then and there. But somewhere in the last few years, I started hanging out with "real" visionary painters, folks who painted all day every day and logged 150 hours in their average works. How am I supposed to look legit next to these people if I don't start putting way more work into each new live painting? So, I left the "start-and-finish-in-one-evening" pieces on the ground behind me (metaphorically).

Flash forward to this year, and I'm nostalgic for the rapid failure and success that comes with cranking out new pieces fast-as-possible. Plus, I happen to be reading some far-future, totally insane posthuman sci-fi by the great John C. Wright at the moment, and his books have a way of focusing on loooooong-term visionary space migration projects, building spherical space stations around stars, "sophotransmogrifying" all rocks and ice in a solar system into thinking matter...that kind of thing. It really tickles me in the part obsessed with what comes after our imaginary line between machines and living things has been erased once and for all: a minded, living, and responsive world where weapons have opinions, people are technology, the ships that carry us between the stars are ecosystems, more like gods than rockets, and each new invention glorifies what we call "nature" now, instead of being held against it.

Linked thematically to many earlier pieces, this one is another love song to the emptiness of space, which life would fill (indeed, it probably already has) if given any chance to do so. Think of the lusty yearning to explore the vast frontier...now lay that feeling over images of coral spawning under the Full Moon...

"Carnotaurus Wakes Up In A Very Unfamiliar Place"
36"x24" - oil and acrylic pens on canvas
original painting available – email me with inquiries
Buy 11"x17" signed poster prints for $20 each

Painted at:
2015-11-04 Empire Control Room (Austin, TX) to Hullabaloo, Detox Unit, Gaddy, and Fractālà
2015-11-07 Calavera Corazon, 2 GypsyZ Art (Kerrville, TX)
2015-11-11 Home Studio (Austin, TX)
2015-12-02 Empire Control Room to Digital Rust, Somatoast, InertG, Twips
2015-12-11 Empire Control Room to Blockhead, Botany, Bonus Junk, Lefty

The premise: is there is a "bardo" realm between lives for human beings, why not for dinosaurs? The Tibetan Book of the Dead talks about how when your body fades away at the moment of death, you are plunged into a bizarre and turbulent world of mental reactions. I can only imagine the surprise our protagonist must be feeling to discover herself in the whirling kaleidoscopic hyperspace of the after-and-before-life...

"Cosmic Giggle"
24"x24" - oil and acrylic paint pens on four canvases
original painting available – email me with inquiries

A studio painting of what I imagine God's crystalline internal organs must jiggle like when humans do our ordinary silly human things like fall in love and kill each other...

In addition to this month's live paintings, I also painted violins #003 & #004, and hats #180 and #181:

Apparently it is my lot in life to craft or reimagine magic sigils people use to shield and ornament their withered-but-recuperating pineal glands.  If you would like my help re-framing this time-honored gangsta tradition as the PC alternative to wearing indigenous head-dresses to music festivals (or the politically incorrect alternative for anyone attending a funeral), just let me know what's crying to express itself through you...

New Designs (Full Collection)

You asked, I answered: here are seven spankin' new leggings for all of your cyborg Shakti cosplay shenanigans!  Make a memorable exit in these lovely all-over printed, six panel polyester leggings, which will let you move and keep you warm and wick the sweat and turn heads.  If you order a pair, tag me in a Facebook or Instagram post about them and I'll share your picture!

But that's only one facet of the many-sided jewel that is my new Society6 design collection.  You'll also find phone cases, clocks, travel mugs, fleece blankets, t-shirts, and innumerable other made-on-demand items upon which you can blow your lottery winnings, legal settlements, and 401K.  I get 10% of what you spend.  Yay!

Upcoming Events (Full Calendar)

A few of my first major dates in 2016, with plenty more in store!  I hope to see you out there...

16 November 2015

Keeping The Portal Open // New Legendary Babe Live Painting // My Talk From Firefly 2015 // Four New T-Shirt Designs // Stuff You May Have Missed

Aloha, everyone! I hope that you're enjoying autumn – and that you don't mind me starting out this latest update with a lengthy but amazing quote. It's worth it.

“Inhabiting your body – reuniting with its intelligence – is one of the most potent political statements you can make. Disembodiment is tacitly modeled and promoted by every institutional hierarchy in our society – whether corporate, political or religious. Each of them is shaped around a top-down ‘command and control’ power structure run by the head of the organization, with executive power consolidated at headquarters – which might lie with the CEO (‘chief’ derives from the Latin word for ‘head’) in head office, or with the head of a political party in the nation’s capital (‘capital comes from a Latin word for ‘head’), or with the head of the church. The implicit message embedded in these hierarchies is that the head should rule. That message remains acceptable to us only because it expresses, even as it further consolidates, our relationship with ourselves."
– Philip Shepherd, "The Embodiment Manifesto"

“Oh, would that my mind could let fall its dead ideas, as the tree does its withered leaves!”
– Andre Gide

Wouldn't that be something. ;) And now...

New Live Painting: "Navel Gazer"

24"x36" - oil & acrylic paint pens on canvas
Painted live at the following spacetime coordinates:
2015-10-17 Austin String Band Festival
2015-10-23 Art Outside Festival*
2015-10-28, 11-02 Studio
* to the music of Liberation Movement, GAUDI, DJ Happy Happy James World, Bonus Junk, Nightmares On Wax, Invisible Allies, & KiloWatts

My first portrait – sort of. Based originally on the legendary beauty of Renee Somerfield (@reneesomerfield), but – just like they always do – it took on a life of its own. In accordance with my tireless and inane quest for personal firsts, this is also the first black and white painting I've ever done. There's a lot of subtle detail and transparency that even I can scarcely believe was accomplished with paint markers...but hey, it's in the limitations of the medium that both adventure and discovery reveal themselves.

Check it out in more depth and detail on my art site.

Four New T-Shirt Designs
Just in Time for the Holidays

Yay, finally, I got some new art on all-over printed tees!  (Still sorting out where to get more leggings, yoga pants, etc. printed after learning that my last manufacturers weren't delivering up to my standards.  But hold on tight!  I care about helping you ornament your lower half, as well.)

Clockwise from the upper left, we have: "Pura Vida," "New Age Cleopatra," "Purple Haze," and "21st Century Romance."  Three of these are based on sketchbook pen and ink work that I took into new dimensions digitally, blending human and machine, you know, like I like to do.

Speaking of which:

My Talk from Firefly Gathering 2015,
"Human Meta-Organisms: Endosymbiosis 
& Emergent Planetary Culture"

Recorded in the Light Lab Creations Dome at Firefly Gathering 2015, here is my deepest and most complete rap yet – mashing up nondual eastern mysticism with western psychology with evolutionary biology with psychedelic transhumanism with your standard MG standup goofery.  And thanks again to David Titterington for his amazing cover art!  Some juicy nuggets from the talk:

Love does not require a relationship between separate selves in order to exist.

The self is something that the world is doing. And the self is an adaptation to a specific set of ecological circumstances. It’s not a fixed point.

To talk about this time in the life of the Earth as the human age is not anthropocentric. It’s not arrogant. It’s an act of our growing humility in recognition that we are a phenomenon of the planet’s automatic processes. That a city is something that the planet is doing.

Listen to it and let me know if it stirs up any big ideas!

Keeping The Portal Open:
MG interviews Erik Davis on the
Blurring of "Real" & "Virtual"

Erik Davis is the author of TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, & Mysticism in the Age of Information (recently reissued by North Atlantic Books with a new afterword). An investigation into how our transcendental urges play out in the realm of high technology, it is a rare treat – both an exemplary work of scholarship and also a delightful read – a florid, fun, and virtuosic play of language. Even more impressive is that in our metamorphic times, this book has aged considerably well. TechGnosis is in ways more relevant today than it was in the rosy dawn of 1998, before The Matrix and the iPhone, Facebook, and Edward Snowden. We’re living in the future. Read this book and learn the territory.

Over a glitchy Google Hangout (you can watch both parts on YouTube), Erik and I discussed our culture’s highest hopes and darkest dreams for our collective future, and how they’ve both become more complicated since the turn of the Millennium.

If you imagine browser windows as a kind of portal in between dimensions – if you wonder when the apes and whales will open social media accounts – if you believe that we can find a way to surf the turbulence of our connected century with grace and humor – then read on

Stuff You Might Have Missed

Free download of my definitive "cyberacoustic guitar" live PA set from Firefly Gathering 2015.  Improvised to a yoga class and thus well-suited for movement, but I hear the music's also good for straight-up chillout sessions, painting, writing, driving – anything where you would like to set a deep and atmospheric mood.  Download it here.

I found this cleaning out my hard drive and found it interesting and worthwhile, reflecting on how little and how much my life has changed in two short years. I’ve released more virtuosic and accomplished music since the EP we discuss here, City of Jewels – but it remains one of my favorites, and is still as free as ever on my Bandcamp page. Enjoy...

para bien de todos,