Monday, December 4, 2017

Aldous Huxley

“…most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Another painted sketch, flexing the painted portrait muscles, while I busy myself for the next series. In this picture,Huxley reminds me of a cross between Jarvis Cocker and myself in my early 20’s .  I think that’s around the time I first read Brave New World. Then of course, it was still a work of fiction, or at least a cautionary tale. Like Orwell’s 1984, I suppose its become a sort of manifesto for the contemporary morass we live in. The Deltas intellectual malaise that is now the modern idocracy. The cultist anathema of the solidarity circle, now the evangelical right wing and the indignant Trump supporter.  Somas sleepwalkers….well, name your poison.
Dark days indeed.
The book had enough of a seminal impact on me to title one of my pieces after it, back in 2014 for my series Purgatorium. I’ll be making an announcement about its follow up series in the new year.

In the meantime, I’ll bung up the portrait in my store if nobody bites.
You can take a gander at whats currently available here:

Monday, November 20, 2017

The death of Manson

You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody’s crazy.
Charles Manson
“Something Witchy” (2012) Oil on canvas, 11″ x 14″
So Charlie-the self proclaimed “God of Fuck”-has finally left this mortal coil. I’ve already said everything I thought I had to say in that regard, but I guess I ought to share my thoughts since so many comments were curious what those where now he has passed.
Whether one wants to believe that Manson was a mind-controlled, puppet messiah, programmed to terminate the hippie dream, or a patsy prophet, he certainly shouldn’t be lionized or vindicated, regardless of how ultimately complicit he was in snuffing the lives of Stephen Parent, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Sharon Tate, Paul Polanski, Leno LaBianca and Rosemary LaBianca.
One thing is certain, Manson was an able and charismatic grifter with the gift of the gibber gab. A pontificate who stoked a climate of paranoia, hatred and apocalyptic level fear to a group of gullible and disenfranchised cult disciples, who would go on to do something truly diabolical in his name.
For myself, it is a welcome reminder to be mindful of parallels, of false prophets who profiteer, because it seems no less apropos, that Manson dies in the era that he does.
You can see the entire series I produced for the 2012 solo exhibit at Hyaena Gallery from the following:
Or watch my interview expounding my research on the Manson case, in John Borowski’s Serial Killer Culture streaming on Amazon Prime.
Or read the art book I compiled from my research:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Aleister (Prima) Crowley & the artists indomitable spirit

8″ x 11″
oil on canvas
So the great beast himself, knocked out so to speak- Alla Prima- in a few hours . Not that I’m an acolyte you understand. Even Bowie stated something along the lines that one better know their Latin inside out, if one wants to be a Crowleyite.
No, what I liked about the photo it was taken from, was that indomitable spirit, defiant in the wake of decrepitude and darkness, the last embers of a pipe hanging limply over that jutting chin. It was also a nice way to whet my whistle and make a bloody mess before getting down to the meaty stuff-something I’ve missed quite honestly since the days when I was doing author portraits before gritting my teeth through the Man/son series.
It loosens the arm you see, making you less inclined to over finicking.
At any rate, if the main course has seemed slower to get off the ground this year, it’s only because of  group exhibits and the ever prevailing need to hustle. Except to say, I shall be making an announcement shortly in regards of my next solo show- Paradiso’s Fall. So that drip is about to become a flood.
Speaking of indomitable spirits, someone I was honored to be introduced to by my artist friend Evgeniya Golik this past weekend was the artist, sculptor, architect and philanthropist James Hubbell. Nestled sedately in the hills of Santa Ysabel and a short ride from my own studio, his property is like a secret enclave that I can only describe as a kind of collusion of Hobbiton, with Art Nouveau, and Gaudian flourishes.

Actually, that doesn’t even begin to do it justice, its organic, metaphysical, psychedelic, just really odd, but what it is, is an awe inspiring embodiment of a lifetimes work, from an artist who has clearly lived, breathed and made a gallery of his entire existence since laying roots there in 1958.
Being escorted through building after building, each idiosyncratic in their singularity, illuminated with dappled stained glass and intricate allegorical mosaics, with studios filled to the brim with sculptures, paintings and drawings was utterly staggering in its prolific accomplishment. One could barely fathom it being the product of ten lifetimes, let alone one. That he had to rebuild four of the buildings following a brush fire in 2004 makes it all the more astonishing.
Now in his 80’s, he shows no sign of slowing down, and on a personal note, it was a welcome and humbling reminder that age need not dull the blade. That the life of the artist is at his or her best, when the very will, the mere act to create, supplants any other constraint. Material, imagined or otherwise.
You can learn more about this incredible man or about his foundation (and perhaps donate) from the following links:
On a not insignificant and final note, I have my dear friend and fellow artist Evgeniya Golik to thank for the invitation to meet James.
“Broken Glass Melody” – 10″ x 10″ – Acrylic, metallic ink pen on wood panel – $400

As you can see, she is a tremendous artist who having lived through Perestroika, manifests the indomitable spirit of the artist in her own right-and I’ll write more about Evgeniya in another post, but for the time being you can see (or purchase) her beautiful exquisite art from the following:

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.