Most asked question this week: “What is Transmigration?”
Guess I jumped the gun a little on getting those flyers posted. I should probably have offered some sort of explanation to go along with them.
So here’s what it is: I’m putting out an album. No, not like the ones you buy at record stores. This is an 8”x8” piece of printed art that opens up and contains twelve prints inside of it along with instructions, an NXOEED Sky Chart, and various other “me-related” trinkets. Things you’ll need if you want to decode the album. I could technically get away with calling this original art, because I’ll be altering each cover by hand once I get them back from the printers. But I don’t feel comfortable calling it that.
I might throw in a blank cassette, just for the novelty of getting an album with no music whatsoever on it into record stores.
I’m only printing up 250 of these to start. “Album release party” is on Friday, December 19. You know me well enough by now to know that it won’t be taking place in a venue or gallery. I’m hiding nine albums somewhere that night. Find them and meet up with me later that evening. I’ll take you outside and show you how they work.
1: Tetradiagon is back, this time in print. It’s a short comic, written and illustrated by me, about random visual artists, musicians, and some of the more interesting characters that I come across when I’m out hiding paintings or exploring random, often neglected structures, fields and underpasses around town. I tend to meet a lot of these folks under bridges. The first issue deals with none of that, however. I needed to put out a call for participants in an upcoming project, and I figured the first issue would be a good place to do that. You’ll read more about it when you pick up your copy. I’m not sure whether it’s a monthly or a weekly yet. I kind of feel like drawing up another one tonight, actually. So maybe it’s a weekly. Or maybe I just won’t apply any restrictions or deadlines on this project. Maybe it surfaces sporadically, just like its previous incarnation.
Tetradiagon cannot be purchased, ordered or requested. It can only be found. So go find it.
2: New Age Renaissance Festival @ The Rogue this Saturday.
I’ll be painting live at this. There’ll be bands, improv groups, tarot readings, and other painters. Maybe there’ll be some folks attending who share my interest in people like Israel Regardie and Wilhelm Reich. The problem I’ve always had with new age bookstores is that there’s too much new age and not enough straight up occult. Love and light are two things I’ve never been terribly fond of. So maybe the fact that this is taking place in a club and not a new age bookstore is a good thing.
3: I’ve been teasing a project over the past few weeks. Still can’t talk about what it is just yet, other than to say that it involves other like-minded visual artists and has nothing to do with a gallery. I’m looking forward to being able to talk more about it.
If this year has taught me anything, it’s that the institution of four white walls and a table of refreshments is utterly unnecessary. I’ve only shown in three actual galleries this year. None of them are what the establishment would consider a gallery. Might be the most productive year I’ve ever had. I used to see wall space as my only hope for some semblance of a future in visual art. Now I see it as a tombstone.
Stay tuned for that announcement.
1: Holy crap, Phoenix.
So, I got off to kind of a late start Friday night. Took me a little longer to hide this stuff than I thought it would. I never factored in the time it would take to match the CDs/cassettes with their paintings. I guess I should have done that in advance.
I said that I’d have the clues at The Firehouse by six, but ended up getting there a little after seven. When I saw the crowd, I figured it was the usual First Friday swarm, but then I realized they were all waiting on me to provide them with little Orbis maps and began having a panic attack. So I handed out the maps, rode to the hospital on 12th street, walked downstairs to the cafeteria, where it’s virtually impossible to get a cell phone signal, and ate a cheeseburger. This hospital cafeteria is my safe place. Nothing touches me there.
In all my years of hiding art, this hunt was the most challenging. Orbis was a rite of passage. Crazy things began happening in my life from the time I conceived of it right up to the last minute. The death of somebody really important to me, a dramatic change in my lifestyle, relationship troubles. Every time I wanted to move to Portland to be with my best friend, curl up in a ball and die, or punch “other men” in the face, I opened up my book and worked on Orbis art instead. Orbis came through for me when I needed it. Art always does. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
Having said that, thank God it’s over.
Thank you so much for participating. I can’t believe you still give a crap about these things. You guys mean the world to me.
And a huge thanks to all the bands who participated. I know you probably saw pictures of your band’s art, posted either by me or by the person who found the piece, but I’ve also got 300 dpi, print-ready art for you. That’s why it took me longer than expected to get them hidden. I waited until the last minute to scan them all in. If you gave me a CD, cassette, or USB drive with your music on it, you’ve got some art coming. You are free to use it in any way you see fit, whether it’s an album cover, flyer, sticker, or whatever. If you decide that I did not properly represent your band with the image I made, let me know. Maybe I’ll make you another one.
Give me a couple weeks to sort them out, manipulate them, get them ready for print. I want to put a little distance between myself and Orbis for now. I need a break.
2: A couple folks asked me why my art wasn’t hanging up at The Lost Leaf Friday night. Funny story about that:
So, around this time last year, when Margarete from The Firehouse approached me about doing the Creatures show, I guess I misheard what she was saying. I came away thinking the theme was monsters, and decided to run with it. Rather than take it literally, I began making portraits of some of the 20th Century’s most reprehensible human beings. Stalin, Mussolini, Ed Gein, Charles Manson, and yes, Adolf Hitler, to name a few.
Then I heard that the theme of the show was creatures, not monsters, and thought, “well, so much for that”. So I’ve had this stack of psychopaths, malevolent dictators, and paranoid schizophrenics, just waiting for some love. Eventually I began showing them to people, and much to my surprise, they wanted them. So the stack began to shrink, and I’m down to one last monster…
Yup, you guessed it. The Hitler.
I told The Lost Leaf about this, and they said “There’s no freakin’ way we’re hanging Hitler up on our walls.” (paraphrasing).
I don’t blame them one bit. I completely understand. They invited me to show another piece. They told me it could be blasphemous, controversial, disturbing. Whatever I want. Just not Hitler. But everything I had went into Orbis. Hitler’s the only piece I’ve got right now.
So that’s that. I’m not in the show. We’re still friends. I support the shit out of it. My friend curated it. I’ve got other friends who are in it. I completely love The Lost Leaf and support every artist showing. Except for the guy who hit my friend in the face for no reason. That guy sounds like kind of a jerk.
1: So, here’s a run-down of what Friday night is gonna look like: I’ll be hiding a painting for each album that has been submitted. This’ll happen between the hours of 4:00 and 6:00 pm. If you want clues, head to The Firehouse Gallery for the final night of the Creatures show, because that’s where you’ll find them. I’ll post the general location (three-mile radius) on the Facebook event page, but the clues themselves will only be found at The Firehouse.
I’m hoping that nobody goes home empty-handed. I’m taking special precautionary measures to ensure that I’m not followed this time.
Once the whole thing’s over, join us at Rips for the after-party. This is where we go for ResurreKQtion Night, featuring music that aired on the original KUKQ between 1989 and 1994. The event is hosted by Jim Ballard, whose band ‘The Corrugation’ is participating in the Orbis hunt, and former KQ DJ Leah Miller. This is my favorite monthly event in all of Phoenix. I also like that it’s about as far away from First Friday as you can get, because I really, really don’t like First Friday. And they don’t seem to mind me sitting in a corner and drawing pictures in my sketchbook while only drinking glasses of ice water. Most bars really hate that about me.
2: I ended up being one of the judges for a high school art exhibition at The Arizona State Fair yesterday. It was a surreal experience, but I really enjoyed it. There was an earnestness to the art that I found refreshing. These young artists have not yet been tainted by the bearded, bespectacled yupsters of their local watering holes and their militant indifference to all things in life with the exception of fine meals and locally-brewed beers.
What you call hipsters and locavores, I call the micro-nationalist gentry.
There was no State Fair equivalent to the Fifth Street patio bench teeming with frowning know-it-alls in designer peasant rags, trying to out-sad each other with their clinical nonchalance. Hungry? Deep fried cheeseburger, probably made with ingredients purchased in bulk at Costco. I like this. I’m a conscience-free eater. I’d eat a human hand if it was deep fried (and legal).
As for the art, it was sweet, passionately-made, promising. All heart, not yet corrupted by the damning, judging, eye-in-the-triangle of the taste-making, pseudo socially-conscious. I tried to award with as much honesty as I saw in their work. I hope I did them justice
3: We’re working on a secret project. I can’t tell you what it is just yet, but it’s going to be fun. I’m really excited. More on that in the weeks to come.
This is one of those weeks where so much stuff happened in the middle of it that my obligatory Monday post didn’t suffice.
1: My bandmate and long time partner in crime Shannon Dillon has an installation in ARTEL PHX 2014 @ The Clarendon Hotel. He and multimedia artist/writer Troy Farah collaborated on the piece. I got a chance to see it last night, and personally I thought it was the best one there. It’s noisey, confrontational, and a little unsettling. Everything I like about art. Congratulations Troy Farah and Shannon Dillon. You did good.
It’s open to the public tonight, and It’s totally free. You should go check it out.
2: I already blew up social media with this, but I didn’t tell the blog yet, so forgive me if you’re sick of hearing about it.
New Times gave me a 2014 Best of Phoenix award for hiding my art around town like an idiot. This was such a surprise, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I needed a morale boost after the hell month that September turned out to be. This was a total shock (the good kind).
Some years ago, I was told that there are a few galleries who go out of their way to avoid inviting me to hang my work because they’ve decided to take these art hunts as a slap in the face to the time-honored tradition of hanging rectangles on a white wall. I find that totally baffling and a little hilarious, but whatever. It may have cost me a few shows in some of the more sterile galleries around town, but it hasn’t affected me. I manage.
But I never thought newspapers would be telling me that I’m the best at something, especially since the institution of high art in Phoenix, Arizona considers what I’m doing to be totally illegitimate. So thank you, New Times. You made me really happy this week.
You can read what they said about me here: http://goo.gl/8K3XRu
3: I need CDs for Orbis. If you haven’t gotten yours to me yet, please get it to me by Tuesday. That’s the last day that we’ll be taking submissions. You can arrange a meeting with me, or you can get it to Evan Liggins while he’s working the door at that place where he works. Either way is cool.
1: Thank you for coming to The Share Fire Festival. The place was packed, people seemed happy, and The Firehouse exceeded its $2300.00 fundraising goal. This is the painting I worked on throughout the night. Finally got it finished and sent away to its rightful owner.
Thanks also for your continued support of me and all my dumb ideas. I really don’t know what I’d do without you guys.
2: Orbis happens a week from Friday. I still need physical copies of albums from a lot of bands. I’ll be at Casa in Downtown Tempe tomorrow night (Tuesday) at around 10 PM. That would be a great time and place to meet up and get your CDs and cassettes to me. Look for the guy who looks like a gothic sea captain, or a limo driver, or a punk rock line-cook. I’ve been accused of looking like all of those things.
3: I had a conversation with a young artist last night who was feeling a little discouraged by her peers, particularly with the way they boast about their endeavors. Example: “I was asked to participate in (_supposedly important thing_) next month.” The implication: “And you weren’t.” She was wondering if it was all in her head.
It’s not. I get these too, especially around this time of year. People like to message me out of the blue to let me know that they’re gonna be involved with some project that somebody somewhere considers a big deal, and the implication is always that I’m not invited. Some have actually gone out of their way to say, “You’re not invited”. I used to let these things get to me when I was younger. I don’t anymore, and here’s why:
A person’s need to boast to you about their accomplishments says a lot more about the space that you occupy in their head than it does about their successes. “You intimidate me, and I need you to remember that we’re equals” is essentially what they’re saying. It’s a compliment, really. Take it as such. Be happy that your friend is having some success. It’s important to them. Feel sorry that they felt the need to contact you out of the blue to let you know that they’re a part of something that doesn’t involve you, because clearly they’re hurting on some level, and they thought that maybe sharing that information would relieve some of the pain. And then gleefully go about doing your own thing, because what they’re doing has nothing to do with what you’re doing. One is no more or less important than the other.
That’s it for now. More later in the week.
Here’s some news, most of which is Firehouse-related.
1: Creatures show happened Friday night. I was really pleased with the turn-out. I saw a lot of old friends and made a few new ones. Special thanks to everybody who came by, to Margarete Beeson for putting the show together, to all the artists, and especially to The Firehouse, for continuing to let me do things like hang all my art on clothespins because I’m too cheap to buy frames. That’s one more huge reason I support The Firehouse Gallery. They didn’t even blink.
2: It’s not over yet. Next Saturday is the Share Fire Festival. I’ll be painting live along with my friends Travis Vallance, Kryas Hester, and Peter Eightysix. There’ll be so much live music that you’ll want to vomit (if you don’t like live music, that is. If you do, you’ll be fine). Bands include Wolvves, Field Tripp, Serene Domenic and The Gemseekers, Andy Warpigs, and a ton more. B-Sides Magazine will be there tabling and handling my prints as always. Raffle prizes include packages from Rubber Brother Records, Related Records, 56th Street Records, and gift certificates from Welcome Diner, Lawn Gnome and Jobot. Admission is a 15 dollar donation. Please come out and support The Firehouse. Here’s the event page:
3: Share Fire IndieGoGo page. You can also support The Firehouse by donating at their IndieGoGo page. A ten dollar donation will get you a limited edition poster illustrated by me. There are also many other incentives that have nothing to do with me, for those of you who dislike me intently and would rather die than own something I made. There’s something for everybody. Go and check it out.
4: So, Thaddeus from Anticonformity Prints got a little annoyed with me for telling you all to go and demand NXOEED shirts from him. Apparently you took me up on that, and while I appreciate your support, I guess I kind of jumped the gun. He’s not ready to take orders just yet, so please disregard last week’s post. We’ll figure something out in the meantime. Stay tuned.
THE DAY THE SHIRTS SOLD OUT.
So, the shirts sold out in a day. My apologies for that. I didn’t know that more than seven people would want them. A lot more, in fact. So much so that we’re gonna do another round.
Here’s how you get your shirt:
1: Go to http://anticonformityusa.com
2: Find the contact info and tell Thaddeus you demand an NXOEED shirt.
3: Once he gets a dozen of those requests, he’s gonna take your money and print up a new batch of shirts.
We’re gonna do these twelve at a time. We’ll just keep doing it until nobody wants them anymore. I’m sure that day will come. The world can only take so much grinning bear with human teeth.
1: I have new T-shirts. These were made by my buddy Thaddeus at Anticonformity Prints. He does amazing work. They are high-quality something something blah blah boring details that I didn’t bother paying attention to blah blah facts something something (I’m an idiot). I’m selling them for twenty-three bucks each. There are only six of them. I’ve got two smalls, two mediums, and two larges. Judging by the demand, I’m beginning to realize that I should have just asked for six mediums. I didn’t know there were so many mediums out there. I don’t really understand how T-shirts work. Get in touch with me if you want one.
You can visit Anticonformity prints @ https://www.facebook.com/AnticonformityPrints
So, The City of Phoenix is demanding that The Firehouse Gallery do $7,000 worth of electrical work if it wishes to remain open. So naturally, they’re throwing a festival to raise the money. There’ll be lots of bands and entertainment. Wolvves, Field Tripp, and Enemies of Promise, to name a few. I’ll be painting live with some of my friends. Please come out and support this. The Firehouse means a lot to me. Their former incarnation, Thought Crime Gallery, was one of the only places in town willing to give me my own show back in the day, when nobody else would touch me (you know, because of that whole “your work is too dark for the sensitive, yuppified prudes who frequent our establishment” thing). Thought Crime and The Firehouse have always supported me, and I support them.
Here’s the event page:
1: Friday, September 12. Creatures. It’s a group show @ Firehouse Gallery in Downtown Phoenix. I guess we’re calling me the featured artist for this event, although I don’t know that I’m gonna stand out all that much. We’ve got 18 artists participating so far, and I’ll surrender my wall space to make room for as many as possible, so maybe I should just stop calling myself the featured artist. I feel like such a creep saying it like that anyway. My paintings could end up being the worst ones in the show. Who knows.
I’ll be showing a few of the pieces that I intend to hide for the Orbis hunt. Here’s the event page:
2: It’s been an emotionally-draining couple of months, with the worst of it hitting me within just the past several days. I’m not gonna lie, my morale is not terribly high right now. Maybe it’s the long, painful goodbye to a dying loved one. Maybe it’s the shock of the realization that I’ve got a little over a month to finish 116 paintings. Maybe I snapped last week and said or did some insensitive, possibly mean-spirited things that have caused me to fall out of favor with a few of the people I love the most. Maybe I deserve everything I get. Maybe I’ve got some thinking to do.
In the meantime, I have learned that I can ease the pain via time travel. So I am here to tell you that I have built a time machine.
The meaning of life came to me around twenty-six years ago in the form of an AM radio station with the call letters “KUKQ”. I was sixteen years old in 1989, and life was terrible. I don’t remember actually having any friends. I was the frequent subject of ridicule, a whipping boy for school bullies. I flunked out of every class for drawing pictures compulsively. I shaved my eyebrows off in an attempt to look like the guy in Midnight Oil. I listened to music nobody liked or understood. I had an unhealthy obsession with Batman to the point that I began to dress like him.
I was a lonely kid.
Life changed for the better when I boarded my school bus one day and heard a Buzzcocks song on the radio. This may not seem like a big deal now, but there were no Buzzcocks songs on the radio back then. They were not considered legitimate music by whatever idiots in charge determined such things.
My bus driver was a kindred spirit. He was the only guy in the entire Tempe Union High School District that I didn’t utterly despise. He often complimented my concert t-shirts and recommended new artists. I used to buy albums based on his recommendations, and liked most of them. I also knew the bus didn’t have a tape deck. This was a radio station for sure. The songs kept coming. Robyn Hitchcock, Skinny Puppy, The Bolshoi, Xymox. I was stunned. When I got to my stop, I asked the driver what we were listening to. “It’s great, isn’t it? It’s on AM 1060. They changed their format just a couple days ago.”
I spent the years that followed obsessing over the station. I had their stickers on everything I owned. I called frequently just to chat with their deejays about nothing in particular. I won CDs and show tickets literally every week (it was not hard to be the tenth caller). KUKQ was my gateway drug into everything I am today. It’s what got me reading MRR, which is what got me responding to their pen-pal ads and making some friends in the industry that I still have to this day. It got me into punk rock and early industrial music. It got me into zine-making and flyer-illustrating. It got me going to shows and supporting local art and music. It’s the reason I can’t fall asleep unless I tune my AM radio between stations and take in the coagulation of noise that spills out. It even got me into amateur radio, sort of.
I had a love affair with KUKQ, and was heartbroken when it ended.
I’m still the same idiot I was back then. I still listen to all that music, still ride around on my bicycle pinning flyers on any surface that’ll take ‘em. Still have the old KUKQ stickers on everything I own (Thanks to Jim Ballard’s ResurreKQtion Night at Rips every month). Still have a hard time interacting with other human beings, though I’m grateful to be able to call many of them my friends. Still ruining my life by drawing and painting compulsively on any surface I can find. The only difference between now and then is that I’m a 42 year-old man now, and it’s creepy. But that’s alright. I’m okay with being creepy.
So, about that time machine….
I removed the vast majority of the MP3s I had on my Ipod and replaced them with songs that showed up frequently on KUKQ playlists between 1989 and 1994. Most of them are songs I don’t particularly care for. Songs like ‘Valerie Loves Me’ by Material Issue, ‘Return to Yesterday’ by The Lilac Time, and ‘Sunshine Smile’ by Adorable. They’re alright, but nothing I really care to hear more than a few times in rotation. Some of these songs I down right hate. Doesn’t matter. Time travel is the objective here. I’ve got interstitial bumper music and station identification that I’ve cut from the few airchecks I could find. I’ve got the original deejays breaking in between songs and announcing “Alternative Dance Nights at Anderson’s Fifth Estate”. I’ve got old commercials for The Graffiti Shop, Hot Topic, and more than a few monster truck rallies. I’m rebuilding the old KUKQ brick by brick. Insane, maybe. But I don’t care. It’s working. When I’m riding around town, hiding paintings or pinning flyers up in my old spots and listening to this playlist, I feel like I’m connecting with the dozen or so ghosts of my former self and letting them all know that everything’s going to be alright, that I’ll grow up and not change. That I’ll be the same idiot at sixty that I was at sixteen, that I am at forty-two. People will enter my life. People will leave. I will love, I will lose, and I will not change.
Needless to say, if you’ve got old Airchecks from 1060 between 1989 and 1994, please send me copies. You’d be making a great contribution to the science of time travel.