Michael Garfield Art & Music

26 June 2015

New Live Tracks & Feature by The Untz | New Jellyfish Painting & Collab with Tourmaline Todd | Podcasts & Interviews Galore! | New Articles for Globalish

Photo by Clay Collins at Firefly Gathering 2015


This summer has already been so powerful and awesome!  Things are really moving, settling into new configurations.  Just when I thought I was done with festivals, two of my old steadies – Firefly and Sonic Bloom – restored my faith in the power and potential of small, intentional celebrations and in my ability to meaningfully contribute to them.

And having a job I really believe in – my work writing for Globalish.com – liberates the art and music from the hustle that have kept them down for years.  All of my work has been transformed by the focused creativity-as-spiritual-practice that Globalish provides, and puts it all within a greater context of serving everybody-all-at-once by pointing past our stories to the peace within which everything exists.

I'll have much, much more to share about them both in the next newsletter.  But while I'm getting photos taken of the latest paintings, rendering my talks and concerts, and catching my breath at home in Austin, here is plenty to enjoy.  Take care and stay in touch!

New Live Tracks & Feature by TheUntz.com

Videos from my Loopers' Night residency at the acclaimed Strange Brew Lounge in Austin, Texas – featuring visuals by the audioreactive Synesthesia software, and a guest performance by my beloved Nicole Taylor on viola.  Download these tracks for free here.

"Haunting, introspective electroacoustic magic...These spacey compositions take on new life as [Michael] rearranges, builds, and deconstructs them on-stage."
– The Untz

New Live Painting:
"Watermelon Tourmaline Medusa"

Oil & Acrylic pens on canvas (18"x24")
Available – email with inquiries
Painted live at Kerrville Folk Festival 2015 during Rj Cowdery, Joe Crookston / Milagrito Records, Ellis Delaney, The Don Juans, & Amy Speace and at Parish Austin for Art Seen Alliance Presents FKJ, BRANX, Diamond Cuts, & Lefty

Read about this painting and view it through a magnifying lens.

New Collab w/ Todd Shepherd (Available)

New Painted Hat (Sold)

New Writing for Globalish

Hip Hop's Latest Psychedelic Turn: Dig A$AP Rocky's Hopeful, Romantic "L$D"
There’s always going to be a niche for guns and hos and other adolescent bluster, but it’s looking more and more ridiculous with every passing day. When we’re confronted with the Mystery of Being and open our lives to make more room for it – as seems to be the case for A$AP Rocky – we’re forced to recognize how little nourishment there is in our old games of separation...

Lampooning The Global Addiction to Self: Open Mike Eagle's "Celebrity Reduction Prayer"
More of us are waking up to how we’re squandering our lives on self-obsession. Learning this does not mean turning victim’s rage upon the few who manage to exploit the many’s pride and avarice, in adolescent bids for power. The market only follows the demand, and all we have to do to slay the dragon at the other end of this perceived conspiracy is stop investing so much energy and money on a “self-and-other” story that is dubious at best...

Time, Space, Ego: Is "Change Gonna Come" Because That's What I Am?
Self and world change together as a matter of necessity, since self and world are only separated as an artifact of our perception, tuned to keep one part of our experience consistent for as long as possible. Wisdom is in knowing this, and seeing past the revelation that the self and world both change to notice what unchanging deeper mystery contains them...

Sex & Psychedelics: Are We Ready To See Through Separation For Good?
What psychedelics teach us – and what we continue to mistranslate in our bid to “bring the world together” – is that nothing’s separate, never was, and all this back-and-forth is sheer creative play: a universe that can, and so it must, explore the sense of being selves and others...
Something’s changed in recent years as scientific understanding of our planet’s systems deepened to the point where we can not pretend that we are, or have ever been, a separate phenomenon from everything that we romanticize as “Nature.” We define an epoch of the planet’s life in which the actions of technology and city-dwelling Homo sapiens are actions of geology...

Soul Mates or Cell Mates?: The Blessing & The Curse of "Other" People
If boundaries are ideas, not absolute realities, then we can take them up when necessary, drop them when appropriate, arbitrate together the complexities of sharing space, and celebrate our unity more frequently than we would ever have been able to when we assumed our separation as the basis for our interactions...

Podcasts & Interviews Galore!

"This week we talk psychedelics, philosophy, and discuss whether or not evolution has a defined trajectory."

Shane Mauss is a rare bird and a blessing to the world of stand-up comedy: his jokes are informed by an abiding interest in evolutionary psychology and psychedelic philosophy. He teaches you things while you're laughing, all the while pulling off this "I had a funny thought" vibe reminiscent of late-night dorm room conversations. His podcast, Here We Are, is an awesome series of interviews with scientists and philosophers which he claims helps him research new material for his comedy routine, but also just happens to be a fantastic journey through knowledge and the open horizons of the human experience.

After some mutual friends introduced me as someone who could hold an engaging chat with him about DMT (facepalm) we met up, hit it off, and had a damn-near-three-hour conversation that takes his podcast in some pretty strange directions.

Listen to our conversation here.

I also revisited the lovely folks at Project Bring Me To Life for an hour-long video podcast, and had an accidentally super-intense interviews with Electronic Colorado and Sparkleberry Lane about my participation in this year's Sonic Bloom Festival.  All three of those were fun and offered some interesting space for surprising depth, if you find time enough to venture into them...

Some Upcoming Shows

"In the late 20th century, the formative issues in digital media art were about connectivity and interaction. In this century, our post-digital objectives will increasingly be technoetic and syncretic. Formerly, there was much ado about e pluribus unum (out of many, one) – a unified culture, unified self, unified mind, unity of time and space. Now the reverse applies: ex uno plures (out of one, many) – many selves, many presences, many locations, many levels of consciousness."
Roy Ascott, "Syncretic Art and The Technology of Consciousness"

26 May 2015

I'm Done Hustling Paintings – Live Art from Levitation Festival – New Full Band & Duet Recordings – More Articles from Globalish – New Painted Hats – Summer Festival Schedule

“To the poet, to the philosopher, to the saint, all things are friendly and sacred, 
all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Some things in life are so serious all you can do is laugh."
– Mark Twain

After Today, I'm Done Hustling Paintings

I'm done trying to sell my original paintings.  I've never felt any conflict between creativity and commerce, but for whatever reason I have sold hardly any of my pieces in the last two years, and trying to hustle them just cheapens what I do and distracts me from the work.  I'm grateful to have found another satisfying way to make a living, as a writer, and that I can go on making work of personal significance, and sharing it with you, without the burden of the hustle.

That said, I put a lot of work into a new art gallery and store last month, where you can surf my art by year, read up on them, use magnifying view to scrutinize them in excruciating detail, and order prints with greater ease than ever possible before.  Here's the whole new full-featured gallery where you can order prints – and here's a list of all of the original paintings I still have available.

Views are always free.  I hope this work improves your day a little.

Psych Rock Thistle

Levitation Festival (formerly Austin Psych Fest) is – if you can believe this – the first real rock & roll festival I've ever attended.  I had no idea!  People had come from all over the world and were genuinely there for the music – really committed, excited fans.  I'm so used to this "transformational festival" rhetoric about breaking down the boundaries between artist and audience, producer and consumer, but the honest truth is that when everybody feels like they're contributing then nobody is listening, and the people who have actually honed their craft to a professional level are often lost in the noise of everybody trying to show off.

In the sense that an amateur is someone who does it for love (amor), I'll always be one.  And I'm glad to have inspired so many other people to get out there and paint at shows, and play guitar, and study science...but wow, it was such a refreshing thing to be at a festival where the bands were playing and the audience was listening and when I set up to paint there weren't fifty other live painters.

I played my musical set at Levitation from the deck of a converted Airstream trailer that opened up like a transformer into an awesome stage, joined by my beloved Nicole Taylor on viola and my homie Randall Warren on cello, and there was a whole campground of people vibing to us when we brought a morning rainstorm down on them.  Afterward I met a bunch of great people who had traveled from all over the country to be there – and even a few inveterate psych rockers who'd come from London and stuck around for fifteen minutes while we broke our gear down to let us know they'd never heard anything like the music we were playing.

What a beautiful festival.  And so clarifying to my sense of who I am and what it is that I'm doing, musically.  Folks, if you like psychedelic electro-acoustic post-rock, you'll like these new recordings:

New Full Band & Duet Recordings

On the first Thursday of each month, an ever-evolving lineup of daring instrumentalists gather at Strange Brew Lounge in Austin, Texas. Exploring new music technologies and spontaneous collaborations in a boutique listening room environment – often in tandem with pioneering dancers and live visual projectionists – Loopers' Night is a truly one-of-a-kind event.  These recordings are of the completely improvised all-hands-on-deck jams we have at the end of every show. In many cases, these people have never played together before.

Please share this music if you like it! Loopers' Night is a community project and we appreciate your help spreading the word.  (Here are links to more info about our next shows on 4 June & 2 July.)

Easter w/ Nicole Taylor on Violin

One this rainy morning in Central Texas, at a lovely small flow arts conference on a permaculture farm, my partner of ten years and I performed together for the first time in entirely too long.  I looped her fiddle work and mixed it together with my own acoustic guitar improvisation while fifty or so world-class flow artists jammed along on hoops, poi, staff, sticks, and other toys.  It was a beautiful moment and the resulting recording conveys the spirit of that loving and relaxed environment.

New Articles for Globalish

My latest writing for the excellent web magazine Globalish.com, where we explore the lived experience and meaning of awakening in the digital age.  Every article frames a totally fascinating (provocative or downright gorgeous) video – even if you're not interested in my writing, you'll almost certainly be as moved as I was by what I'm writing about.

Given that “the world’s a stage and all the men and women, merely players,” can we come together as a single play, one great phenomenon, acknowledging a unity that doesn’t just transcend, but maybe even needs, the drama, so it has a plot?

We really do not know which futures are in store for us…and ultimately, we won’t get to live the better ones without the shift from selfish personhood to serving Whole-as-Self, beyond whatever stories we inhabit and inhabit us. Paradoxically, to build a better future we must jettison our big ideas and be response-able to what emerges here and now.

It is the brain-bound ego, after all, that wants to free itself from its materiality. Desires are phenomena of flesh – including the desire to rid one’s self of its desires.

Graffiti is the reclamation of the commons – a digestive act that challenges the boundaries of private property, recognizing life as art and everything in reach as media with which to ornament the world.

Somehow the dreaming mind is unattached to categories in the way and to the same degree our everyday cognition is so fervently devoted to them. Letting something be two totally disparate things – letting our identity be local and diffuse at once – is all so hard for half our lives, so easy for the other half.

Death, as a punctuation mark between one life and many (saplings growing in the light revealed by fallen trees), is not so much “end” as “amplification” of the terrible and beautiful intensity of being – what Rudolf Otto called the “numinous,” a mysterium tremendum et fascinans, ecstatic, rapturous, and inescapable.

What we declare to be a cause entirely depends on how we frame the question. Causing what, within what span of time, within what volume, and to what degree? …To whom? There’s always going to be more room to add more complicated answers to this question, as we push the sphere of our investigations outward to include more differentiated parts within the unity of universe-as-one-phenomenon.

Projection Napping offers us a chance to see ourselves and our environments anew – and maybe even ask about the boundaries we have placed by habit in between the landscape and the body, mind and the environment. What separates us waking sleepers from our city dream?

So many of us hide our stigma, and in darkness marks are all the darker. Rather than exposing them to air and light to heal, we bury them, which makes the mystery and shame much deeper. Hidden, trees don’t grow; they die, decay. If we can’t talk about our problems (as we see them), nothing good can ever come of having them.

Can we authentically maintain the sense of separation necessary to identify as modern individuals when we’re confronted with the striking similarity of every human’s inner life? When every last frontier of mind and body’s named and quantified, when we can’t hide from one another, who is left?

The Mystical Allure of Taboo: Trespassing the Sexual Imagination (NSFW)
Each generation, bound by new taboos, must find its own way there – we only have the opportunity, no guarantees, and many of us lose the way by seeking temporary fixes – but on arriving, every person’s idiosyncratic history no longer matters. All that matters is the sweet release, which lives forever only now and now and now.

New Painted Hats

I'm not accepting custom orders at this time, but Heady HQ in Oregon and I have been talking for a while about getting some of my hats in their shop, so I finally made good on it and sent them a couple brand new pieces.  Hit them up if either of these speaks to you...

Summer Tour Highlights

So many cool new festivals this year!  I'm excited to be back in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado this June and to get involved in some of New England's emerging boutique festivals in July.  And then Missouri and more Colorado in August!

Check out my full concert calendar for more details about these and several other awesome small events where we can meet up in person this summer...

That's all for now.  Thank you so much for reading and feel free to write me any time!