Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A little souvenir of a terrible year

I know, it’s a cheerless title from a dismal song , but its been churning around in my muddy head for the past few days like a mantra.
Here we are at the denouement then, 2017 as a summary in paint, and I have to ask, was it a year well spent I wonder?
Don’t answer that.
Looking at it now, it could be an existential map of this annus horribillis, a veritable schizoid hell-spawn of conflict, angst, disembowellings, and death. It was certainly instilled with the spirit of these times we live in. I mean, one of the last pieces I did was a fetal man, digging his way out of the dark using a horn, growing from where his third eye would be. Talk about no shit Sherlock.
On the bleeding face of it, not my most prolific year perhaps, although it doesn’t account for the months of preparatory study and the two huge paintings I’m currently working on for the next show.
I’d almost pronounce 2017 -‘the calm before the storm’, if I hadn’t already been sodden by the reign.


Monday, December 18, 2017

End of days arts sale

Tough times call for tough measures, so I’m wielding a cutthroat razor and slashing hundreds and thousands of dollars in prices on originals.
Go check out my store and pick up something blacker than coal for your Xmas stocking.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A little light egg and skull brunch

” I have of late—wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth”
Hamlet-Will Shakespeare

Oil on canvas study
9″x 12″
And so, here we are then, at the turgid fag end of my 50th year. A lamentable passage of twelve months that has seemed overshadowed by the burden of financial hardship, bereavement and personal sleights of effrontery.
So more of 2016 then.
Birth, Death and taxing.
One could be forgiven for thinking this small study-painted during a week that began with sweeping fires in California, several days without power and concluded with my cars transmission taking an unruly shit- all seems to hit a little close to home. Rag and bone, man.
Lest we forget the ongoing Trumpster fire that was 2017.  I mean, go on-try! The ass you cannot wipe.
I know, I know, its all doom and gloom from here on in, but looking down the barrel of a Christmas, that promises to give Bob Cratchets measly stipend a run for his shilling, one can’t help but wonder as an artist what is the fucking point? Why continue adding to the mire of seeming indifference when the rewards seem so diminutive. More wood for the fire dear?
And given that, how does one look ahead with a vestige of hope?
Is there no more haste to the passage of years end than the hope that next year promises some respite from that? I mean, what moronic vainglory and delusion. “And the next day, and another day….”
I  don’t have one iota of an answer to be honest. Year in year out, the only constant remains. The continuing blind foolish compulsion to bring some semblance of meaning to the burgeoning chaos. Some way to fill the banality of black mediocre existence, though never the coffers, by elevating it all with moments of creative eloquence and epiphany. How better should one fill their time? Actually, don’t answer that.
Art, the folly of dunces- I know. A clod that continues to reach into the fire with charred fingers, but as a stoic and no doubt cigar chomping Churchill once growled, without art, what the fuck are we fighting for?
To that end, there is preparation for a solo show in the offing which I will be announcing shortly. Likely my penultimate one before the one which will be my very last.
Perhaps by then I’ll have learned my lesson after all.
Until such time, don’t darken my door again 2017, you bastard.

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.

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.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Back to the past

“History that repeats itself turns to farce. Farce that repeats itself turns to history.” ― Jean Baudrillard

So what am I listening to? It varies depending on the tool for the job; something high octane when painting from the waist, or a slow ambient morsel for the steadier hand.
Here I think I might have been listening to EMC 2 by Big Audio Dynamite, from back when I was a randy, spirited teen in the 80's.
Thrusty then.
I find music can evoke almost immediately a memory or emotion. Its like discovering a wrinkled old snapshot found between the pages of a favorite dusty old book.
So as you can tell, I've been thinking a lot about the past recently. Not just as fuel for the new series, but because I believe its the kind of yardstick we all measure the present by.
As Byron once mooted, "All times when old-are good" and it made me think of why this country finds itself teetering on the abyss now, the consequence of longing for a period when things were purportedly 'great', an embittered society caught in a nostalgia loop craving simpler times-although arguably-simplism is the reason for the season.

The cultural zeitgeist saw this coming a mile off. Or market forces, forced the market-I don't know. Remake after remake of seminal 80's classics-Total Recall, Fright Night, Robocop. Or shows that depict a marked nod and a wink like 'Stranger Things' or 'Halt and catch a fire'.
Except, like this sad sack poster version from 2011, all those remakes are utter garbage, a shoddy facsimile of something once unique-a piss poor pastiche. Or like a certain would be Biff Tannen-a con in a bad wig if you like.
I don't much.
As with my painting- '80's Hit', we've elevated a period of our historical past to myth, when the truth is the hardship and turmoil of those times are what made those things culturally resonate to begin with.

No doubt Jean Baudrillard was right when he cited the infantilization of society through media in his book America, is used to nullify and desensitize our senses from the true modern day horrors, making us ever more pliable, ever more detached.
All the same, the world is likely going to hell in a deplorable handbasket, and I have a full dance card between now and years end, so onward even as we go backward.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Paradise Lost and Found

Yes-yes, it’s been over a month I know.
So where have I  been?
Hitting the books and burning them. Misfiring in every direction. Having an existential crisis every five minutes.
The usual then.
Maybe its the albatross of turning fifty, the inevitable dulling of the flame, time waiting in the wing, impending nuclear war, this humidity, or maybe I just suck-I don’t fucking know-but for two months, scrawl as frantically as I might, page after page-nothing jibed for the new series.
So it’s true to say something felt amiss in Paradiso-like discovering an angry wasp nest in the garden. No really, I’m not being metaphorical when I say that. It hangs beneath the awning outside the bedroom window, growing bloated and more angry like a festering boil daily. It’s mere presence a blight in my peripheral minds eye, to the point that every few hours I  relieve myself from what I am doing to check it’s progress.
It’s been like the buzzing in my head, an insectoid creepy crawl beneath the skin. Every corpuscle telling me to its time stir up the hornets nest, regardless if I get stung.
Also, did I mention this fucking humidity?
Abandon all hope then. Or at least the last two months.
Time to shed moleskine, sharpen pencils, start afresh.
If only because one should be naked and unadorned when being reborn in Eden.
So what you are seeing is the first seeding, a gollum emerging from the mud-or at least the burnt umber.
Now if we could just do something about this humidity.