Carpe Diem

December 1st was a long fun night of painting for 24 hours straight alongside fellow art folk, talking with those interested in seeing the process, hearing insomnia-induced voices and getting weird till the morning hours. It ended with the trains being shut down due to flooding and sleeping on a comfy West Oakland BART bench.

Struggle to Both Permeate and Preserve Our Collective Consciousness (Fear of Singularity)

When Roman poet Horace penned his famous phrase, "Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero", he meant it as a call to action, a declaration that tomorrow is unforeseen and that it is today which must be celebrated. Two thousand years later, lOAKal takes the phrase literally with our latest exhibition "Carpe Diem," founded on the belief that if you put a varied group of artists in one room for a 24 hour period, you create an environment for transformation.

Artists Zoltron, Eddie Colla, Filth Grime, Nite Owl, DYoungV, Lisa Pisa, Hugh Leeman, Helen Bayly and Daryll Peirce will be given an 8ft x 8ft panel and a 24 hour window to come together and create their works in unison, effectively turning the gallery into an incubator for their inspiration. Creativity feeds off of creativity and at a certain density the whole becomes greater than the sum of it's parts. Without a tremendous amount of time to deliberate, "Carpe Diem" becomes an experiment in gesture, expression and energy.... capturing lighting in a bottle.

Visitors encouraged to tour the gallery all day on December 1st while the works for “Carpe Diem” are being created. Join us Friday, December 7th from 6-10pm (all ages) for the monthly Oakland Art Murmur, when we will be unveiling these spontaneous and inspired works. Loakal is located at 550 2nd Street near Jack London Square, Oakland (510) 842-3474.

Helen Bayly killing it

Brett Amory, one of his two "waiters" and his arm looking like one of his paintings

Zoltron, Eddie Colla and Lisa Pisa

Dave Young V assuring me there was no one else there

1xRUN Release

Hey folks, I have a run of 5 prints dropping Monday, October 8th at 12:00pm EST from the fine folks of 1xRUN for $75. All color has been hand-painted into the reproductions of my original black and white drawing for "Or the Bad News First." Check out the site for the full in-depth interview and snag one at high noon if you feel so inclined.




Original paintings of "Would You Like the Good News" and "Or the Bad News First" also available through 1xRUN.

Again, there's a more in-depth interview on the site, but here's a quick run-down of the piece itself:

I often work in multiple pieces and diptychs to tell a story and emphasize the alternate sides of certain subjects. I had originally created individual pieces, one with a left hand and the other right hand each holding a flowering structure. The right hand holds one colonized flowering micro-environment cluster of living thriving vitality and the other of apathy, negligence, and wilting death. I suppose they're rooted in our inherent connection to our natural and self-made environments and our role as self-aware and bipolar beings with the power to sustain or destroy ourselves consciously. More literally, we are always faced with choices and in one hand you may hold an improved future and in the other our destruction. I've also struggled with personal self-destructive issues as well which is a constant choice we all face to various degrees.

Thanks and cheers!

Live Free PDX

We just finished up our annual week of camping along the Oregon Coast and are now kicking back and catching up with a bunch of amazing folks up here in Portland. It's been a very, very long time since I've enjoyed a true vacation and I'm contemplating moving to the city "where young people move to retire." Coincidentally, this Live Free show is opening up here tomorrow so we'll all be heading out to that and I'm hoping to see some of you northwesterners there.

The show features an impressive array of artists who have appeared on the Live Free Podcast with Mike Maxwell.
Opening reception is September 6th at 6pm. Show closes on September 29. More details on Hellion Gallery's site.

Artists include Ben Grillo, Ben Walker, Brent Sandor, Brett Amory, Carly Ealy, Charles Glaubitz, Daryll Peirce, Dave Persue, Jason Barrr, Jocelyn Duke, Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez, Joshua Clay, Joshua Krause, Kelsey Brookes, Kevin Earl Taylor, Kevin Ledo, Kevin Peterson, Kirsten McCrea, Mark Dean Veca, Mel Kadel, Michael Hsiung, Mike Giant, Pakayla Biehn, Paul Chatem, Peat Wollaeger, PJ Fidler, Rafa Reyes, Robert Hardgrave, Ryan Jacob Smith, Sergio Hernandez, Skinner, Travis Millard, Freddy Lockhart, Michael Page, Ti Kunkit, Blaine Fontana, Niko Burke, Lisa Romero, and Issac Randonzzi.

The Vulnerability Evoked in Failing to Capture the Mind's Ceaselessly Combusting Ephemera

Recently I finished this painting, "The Vulnerability Evoked in Failing to Capture the Mind's Ceaselessly Combusting Ephemera" and damn it felt good. My focus had been steadily worsening over the past few months and I just couldn't seem to keep a single thought in my head, or stay on task for more than a couple minutes at a time. Quieting the mind was impossible and thoughts were entering and flying out of my head at a rate comparable to a hallucinogenic journey. I was feeling, defeated, tired, weak and desperate to grasp a hold of my sanity above the surface while weight steadily tugged me under. I'd honestly thought I was beginning to lose my mind and started seeking help.

Shifting from a self destructive workaholic night owl into a parent and provider was a hell of a transition this past year and a half. Since becoming a father, my love, dedication, fear and "scatterbrain-ness" have intensified tenfold. Our daughter is incredible, but unfortunately not a sleeper. It'd been 1.5 years and my little gal still had yet to sleep through the night. I'm not complaining, just saying it's been really nice these past couple weeks now that she's learned to self-sooth and finally sleep through to the early morning. Since then, much of my clarity has returned and I can focus on tasks again such as typing this. So looking back, lack of sleep was definitely the biggest culprit. Also, multiple injuries kept me from exercising and my ever-amassing workload kept me from leaving the house/studio very often. No bueno.

I started this particular piece some time ago and put it on the back burner. In hindsight, I suppose I had a hard time getting back to it because it reminded me of all the frustrating roadblocks I was going through that would lead to this end result. Also, more and more time was lapsing since my last series while I conceptualized, sketched and accumulated materials for upcoming large scale and longer-term projects. I'm excited about the upcoming work, but it doesn't provide the satisfaction achieved by a timely completion.

Something weird happens if I don't paint for a month or so. As each day passes it get's harder and harder to get back into it. Fears start to creep in and the self introspection and questioning arises that, unfortunately for me, tends to lean on the darker side. Compound that with the frustration of the business side of art and other hindrances that cloud inspiration and fuel procrastination and I soon begin to over-analyze everything to the point of exhausting apathy. It gets easier to ignore your fears and handle life's boring, sometimes mindless tasks instead of delving back inside your own head to confront everything that's been bottling up and still waiting for you there.

Although I do often enjoy art-making, for the most part it's extremely stressful. The sketching and conceptual side and the gratification of finishing are really the only parts that don't make my stomach seize up and riddle my mind with anxiety. It's not relaxing in any way to constantly confront your fears and analyze, evaluate and dissect yourself and what you put into this world. No happy little trees over here (RIP Bob Ross). That said, I know that being hard on yourself and forcing unrealistic pressures into your daily life is stupid, pointless, and nothing but a self-induced sword over your head, but it's all I know and in the end is the reason my ideas actually come to fruition.

So, I've learned a few things in writing out these thoughts. It's best to never stop producing, try your best not to be hard on yourself, and sleeping is really fucking important.

We Own the Night: The Art of the Underbelly Project

Just got my copy of We Own the Night: The Art of the Underbelly Project and finally got the chance to look through this 240 page beast in detail. So, I thought I'd share the time lapse from my contribution and a few photos.

Photo by Luna Park

The books are now available in bookstores and online. Additionally and just released this morning are the few remaining collector's editions from their Miami debut. They are available exclusively through the fine folks at Vandalog and include the hardcover book and 9 prints inside an etched oak box displaying all the artists and dates.

About the book

From early 2009 to mid-2010, the Underbelly Project was the world’s best-kept urban art secret. This is the only book documenting the project, during which the world’s leading urban artists, such as Swoon, Revok, Logan Hicks and Ron English, made late-night trips to an abandoned New York City subway station, painting night after night to transform the space into the largest underground art gallery in the world.

When curators Workhorse and PAC declared the project finished, there was no opening to show the work. In fact, the space’s location remains a secret kept by the MTA, which boarded up the space, making it, like the cave of Lascaux, a time capsule for future generations to discover.

The book includes three hundred photographs documenting the project and the participating artists’ stories of secret expeditions, ranging from the hilarious to the suspenseful. With texts from artists such as Dan Witz, Elbow Toe, Jeff Soto, and Miya Ando, and a forward by Eric Haze the result is an extraordinary contribution to urban history and the annals of street art. 

About the Author

Workhorse is a New York–based urban artist who has shown his work around the world. He considers the Underbelly Project the ultimate forum to spotlight urban subculture. PAC is a native New Yorker, artist, and activist. His artwork revolves around the intersection of public and private media in our shared environments. Eric Haze aka HAZE is a well-known New York graffiti artist and designer. Some of his works include the now iconic early hip-hop logos for Public Enemy, EPMD, LL Cool J, and others.

Steal this Art

Steal This Art will drop this "Regurgitating Progress" print on Monday, February 13th for 24 hours only. Starting at 8am (PST) they will be offering a limited edition of 50 prints priced at only $40!

Check out Steal This Art to learn more about why they do what they do and to nab one of these before they're gone.