Friday, November 10, 2017

The Grieving

18″ x 24″
Oil on canvas
I suppose one could say that this is something of a throwback piece to my Theothanatos series, oh blimey… seven years ago now. As a showcase dealing with questions of mortality and loss, it could fit quite comfortably in there I think. I mean there’s even a skull. Actually, theres always a skull somewhere, its the common thread throughout my work, throughout my life even, and so It could be argued, my entire artistic quest has dealt in some way with that ever present shadow of the reaper. As Dali once posited, ” I have been living with death, since I became aware”.
What new to say with ”The Grieving” that I haven’t said before then?  To start (or end with) It’s death as the great democratizer, that singular force that is indiscriminate in its insatiable wake. A shared, cold and brutal reality that unites every living entity, regardless.  And so our progenitor, hairless and naked crouches, fetal like once more in a dark chasm. One is reminded of the dehumanized wretches at Concentration camps, or those former shadows of loved ones, diminished to an ailing carcass by toxic doses and chemotherapy treatments.  He could be anyone, or anyone of us. He will be.
We see him momentarily illuminated by fading light, which could be an extinguishing candle or the last ray of twilight as the coffin lid slides into place, but he is already, desperately lost to the beckoning depths of darkness. From his forehead sprouts a large horn, which he strains to scrape against the walls of the cavern, or even out of the picture itself, perhaps fruitlessly trying to excavate his way out, except he can’t there’s no escape. He could also be sharpening his final vestige of potency, transfixed by the dying sparks that spring as ivory scratches stone. It’s the grieving for an extinguishing life then, the final pronouncements of vitality in a concluding epilogue, done fast and lose in places before time expires.
Its a timely reminder in these dark days to fight against the dying of the light, and will be on show for the Requiem exhibit at The Dark Art Emporium from 11/11/17 throughout the month of November.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Cave Painting

This one arrived via some caves in Oregon, on a recent road trip which weaved from San Diego to Seattle. Ten days of head trip as white plain Desert became craggy coastline,became lush towering redwood, became urban sprawl, with lots of small town stops and roadside curiosity along the way.
If the year has felt like a gradual spiritual and physical estrangement from this my adoptive country, it’s true to say that the beautiful diversity of its landscape reminded me of why I fell in love with it in the first place.
That and spending time with my wife Lani.
There’s an essence of some of the aforementioned spiritual retreat in this new piece-going by the working title “The Grieving”. Still very much at the stage where I am undecided if I actually like it, or if I want to crack it over my knee, but that’s pretty normal for me, and I’ll persevere regardless.
I mean I have to-it’s going to be on show at the Dark Art Emporium next month.
All Hallows in between, except the season of the witch has still to cast her spell over me. I fear perhaps the fear of the horror on capitol hill has eclipsed the haunted house on the hill for many this year , and I am waiting for tricks to turn over their treats. Still, my demons need homes kids-Art Prints and Books 30% off.  Remember the incantation BOOO17 on checkout

Monday, October 2, 2017

The La Bodega years

Just added a new gallery, comprising the period between fall 2014 and early this year HERE.
To be honest, I hadn’t really envisioned those years as a cohesive and self encompassing body of work. Because of the nature of group shows, it’s niggled me that since producing Purgatorium , I’d been unable to invest my vision in quite the same way-that the work had felt somehow scattershot or constantly compromised and manicured to fit within the restrictions of an exhibitions chosen theme.
It only occurred to me very recently however, that looking at most of the paintings produced during my time at La Bodega gallery, seemed in retrospect as consistently composed as any of my former series.
This may have something to do with the environment I worked in. In fact I know it was, driving every day as I did beneath the Coronado bridge, emblazoning huge colorful murals, both in scale and historical reverence. One cannot be affected by the social injustice and cause of the Chicano community, especially when they embrace you as one of their own so readily. Lest we forget that this happened within the context of the soon to be leader of the free world, casting the entire population as rapists, drug dealers and murderers, or the doomsaying editorials within the self appointed SD ‘art media’, constantly warning of white gentrification.

Would this monster make a man (2014) 36″ x 48″-Oil on canvas
My own conceit had me promulgate the piece La Noche Triste, with its towering Coyolxauhqu over the murderous Hernan Cortez, as fitting tribute for a proposed mural, before the council and trustees of Chicano park.
Naturally, I was turned down.
Oh, how my own Anglo Irish truculence shrivels now in light of my audacity.
La Noche Triste -9″ x 12″ | Ink on card

Its within that framework then, that I now recognize that my world view had widened, gazing further as I was than the fluff in my naval. And that along with a stance that was more socially conscious, was an approach that contrived to marry my love of Otto Dix,Van Der Weyden and the brilliant primary colors of the Chicano murals themselves, and set them within alt historic and esoteric allusion. As close a relative as I will ever get to being Pop surreal, it was enough to finally gather the attentions of one of its former champions, Greg Escalante. (See Post Here)

The Devil-36″ x 48″| Oil on canvas (2015)

And though I shall always be grateful for my time there, the two hour commute to the studio no longer being feasible or a welcome prospect, the work represents an evolution in my art that not only stands alone, but in solidarity with the spirit of those years.

Aztec Ghost Groove -Oil on vinyl |12″ x 12″ (2016)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Prints of Darkness

Samhain is upon us again, the witching hour, the feast of the great beast, hobgoblins and hubble bubble, or something like that.
There was a time not so very long ago when I bristled with resentment at being lumped in with all that. It felt so tacky, I mean every superstore in every mall has an aisle band wagoning rubber scare fare, plastic tombstone and inflatable gargoyle creature feature, and for thirty one days of the year I could look forward to being part of the self same novelty act.  De rigueur by proxy of my penchant for painting skulls and all manner of hellish progeny.
A side note, after complimenting my technique, I was once asked at a film festival by a woman of advancing years, if I painted anything less dark. The film festival in question was for horror movies.  On a similar train, I’ve lost count over the years, how often my work has been sought by a gallery, only to be featured as part of some Halloween showcase.
How I’ve laughed and died a little inside. I am a serious arteest after all.
The thing of it all is, I need not have recoiled at feeling so nailed down. After all, a cursory look at my bookshelf and film collection will reveal more than a passing interest in the macabre, weird and hellion. I am the fully formed product of the 70’s hauntology that my upbringing afforded me. And no one is more delighted to revel in the schmaltz on display at Michaels and the like this time of year.
All of this, is a roundabout way of me telling you that if the executioners black cap fits, then so be it, to which end, there’s a 30% off on signed prints and books in my online shop for the month of October, with the carrion call BOOO17 as the coupon code. Click the following link.
If you must bring demons home for All Hallows, then its generally better if they aren’t made in China.
Support living artists painting the dead.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Vault plug

Altar Ergo, 16" x 12" mixed media on aquarelle paper-$250

At varying degrees throughout the five decades of my life, I've kept a sketchbook in some form or other. And although the well leafed contents have varied from scratchy and barely legible scrawl, to what are now almost anthropological, meticulously rendered explorations of my process, it only struck me very recently, that what I had considered mere morsels before getting down to the meat and potatoes of the main event, consisted of some fairly interesting nuggets of head toffee. 

Pudding as an appetizer then.

Trying on a different skin. 9" x 12"-ink and wash on aquarelle paper-$65

To that end, and needs must as they are, I figured I would open the vault and make some of the archive available to purchase. 

What doesn't kill you. 10"x13"-Biro on paper-$150

Affordable for the bargain hunter and in some cases unique from my usual cannon of works, here then is a small collection of what is a growing vault of renderings.

Poe loses his head. 9"x 12" Ink and wash on aquarelle paper-$65

More to follow, so don't miss out.In the meantime see more HERE

Abraxas whipping up and omelett. 9"x12"-Biro on paper-$65

Friday, September 22, 2017


10″ x 10″
Oil on panel

Done for the upcoming annual Perfect 10 group show at La Bodega gallery, here’s an appetizer between the main course, but still something to chew on.
No, its not pheasant, it’s a symbolic manifestation of the Canannite owl god Moloch- that towering monument at the Bohemian Grove, where world elites convene each year to watch a man in robes perform a ritualized “mock”child sacrifice, while chanting an invocation called the cremation of care.
Everyone needs a hobby I suppose.
Opening tomorrow, September 23rd, from 5 to 10pm, the show runs until the end of the month.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Greg Escalante

I suppose that its the natural order of things, that the older one gets, the more depleted the inner circle becomes. As Flaubert once remarked “A friend who dies, is something of you that dies”
Still it sucks.
In the case of Greg Escalante, it really fucking sucks. And whilst I can sadly never claim to have been ‘tight’ in the chumminess league, for the short breadth of time that I did know him, I got the sense of someone who was genuinely altruistic, someone who was as cool as a latter day beau Brummel, but didn’t brandish any of the icy heirs and graces, one might expect within the art scene.
A few of the short stories of immediate reminiscence I have then.
Though we’d been introduced once in passing many years ago, like a lot of aspiring artists I’d hoped to get on his radar, but for whatever reason, nothing had really stuck.  Hopes dashed then, and just as I’d all but called ‘time gentleman please’ on any  future aspiration in that regard, fuck me if the man himself didn’t wander into La Bodega gallery one day, and spying my art through the window, make a beeline for my studio.
Looking around at the art lining the walls, with that rare kind of awe you can only hope to imagine a doting parent might exact, he stopped short to see me sitting gobsmacked in the corner, before extending a hand with the humble and self-effacing introduction -‘Hi, I’m Greg, and I’d love to put you in my next show’.
Later, after he’d left to go next door to the Mexican restaurant ISalud,  he returned to rave about the tacos, and show me a video he’d taken on a recent trip to Galway, because he remembered I’d said I was homesick.
In the weeks that followed he sent me a video message, turning the pages of the promotional spread in Juxtapoz for the show, Dark realism/dark surrealism. I was thrilled and honored, and in the background, he made a whistling sound like a firework ascending. Which is kind of apt when one thinks about it, because he certainly put a rocket through the post Rothko/Pollock dribble that dominated the white box, until low brow shone a beacon like a neon diner on a midnight highway.
And now he’s left the diner, before pudding some will say, but still he paid the bill and even left a generous tip.
He’s on the road to the next destination.
His fedora and his many other hats will be sorely missed. I certainly doff my cap to him.