Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

89 1/2" x 65" each

oil on canvas

February 2007

I've made forty paintings so far this month, thirty-six small paintings and four large. The creative process takes place in the small work then is edited into the large format. Each painting informs the next as the compositions evolve with new ways to access space within the fourteen stripe, vertical composition. Horizontal boxes and bands are filtering through the recent compositions. Repetitive vs. random patterns are distinguishing the new work from last year's paintings. Specific areas of warm and cool colors get closer in temperature giving a painting an overall warm or cool atmosphere.
The large scale paintings are intended to absorb the viewer into the color and composition. The series will be presented as an installation. The room will change with the temperature of the painting. There are fourteen finished paintings in the large series and more to come. I am showing the first installation of this work at my studio in Los Alamos the last weekend of April. I will eventually need a larger space to show the full installation.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stone City Stragglers

Stone City Stragglers is a group of young musicians who still have their health but choose to play country music. Sad, slow, sometimes not so sad but mature. The new album is catchy rock with a bit of old-timey flavor and it involves a high level of musicianship. Bret Figura is the best drummer I have heard in a long time. The guitarist Phil Lazarri a sensitive, tasteful player mixes many string textures with singer/ guitarist Brent James laid back style. The new album, "It's Never Too late To Mend" includes fourteen strong songs but my favorite is an instrumental song called "the Uprising" a spaghetti-western style song with an intense string arrangement at the end contributed by Jeff Bella. This six piece group is from the Joliet, Illinois area. You can catch them regularly playing shows at the Chicago Street Pub in Joliet and in other venues in Chicago.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

These are my current studies, click on this image to see closer. The colors are actually much brighter in person.

Waiting on some blue. I plan to finish these four by the end of the month.

Human Eye (click to listen here)

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit flew me in for this show. I played the drums and woodblock for Human Eye and ODU Afrobeat Orchestra. The New York Times people were there taking pictures, I'm still waiting to see that feature.
Ben Blackwell wrote a review of our show at the MOCAD on his blog, Tremble Under Boom Lights. Ben's record label, Cass Records is releasing our next seven inch in a week or so.
There was also this Human Eye interview in the South End.

February 02, 2007
Tonight at MOCAD: Human Eye Awes Another Curious Crowd

Johnny Garcia

Contributing Writer

At MOCAD tonight, the opening reception for the “Shrinking Cities” project should start with a nice raucous jolt, as Detroit’s own Human Eye is slated to perform. This four-piece outfit of crazed punk rockers has been screeching, screaming and throwing octopuses in and outside of Detroit since October 2003 and there seems to be no end to the madness.

The band’s penchant for weird stage props and costumes coupled with their loud, raw sound gives their live show all the excitement and electricity reminiscent of the days of our forefathers of punk rock. And although their music could definitely be considered punk, they certainly have a sound all their own.

The band formed after the break-up of the infamous Clone Defects, a more straightforward punk group fronted by Tim Vulgar, the Human Eye’s singer and guitar player. Whatever the reason for the break-up, the band seems to expand from where the Clone Defects left off.

They keep the rawness but spread out more to let the drums sprawl and circulate, while the guitar squeals, the keyboards buzz and pulsate and the bass keeps everything in place. Human Eye manages all of this while being potent enough to make your brain scream.

The band recently released a seven-inch on Ypsilanti Records and already has one full length out on San Francisco’s In the Red label with more to come.

With the recent addition of Brad Hales on bass, the band plans to continue playing shows and freaking audiences out. On a particularly cold Wednesday night I sat down with Human Eye to ask them a couple of questions.

The South End: How did you guys meet?

Vulgar: Me and Johnny met at a party and then I saw him at some Clone Defects shows, and when the Clone Defects broke up and I heard he made weird noise pedals, we hooked up and started jamming. I met Brad at a record store, Desirable Disks, that we worked at 7 years ago. I met Billy at the Magic Stick and I said, “You look like a drummer,” and he said, “I am a drummer,” and after we tried him out I was like, ‘holy shit! That’s the dude!’

TSE: You guys have a pretty musically varied background, everything from straight-up punk, to rock, to Motown and afro-funk stuff. Did you guys set out to sound a certain way or did it just happen?

Vulgar: I wanted to do straight ahead two-chord punk with noises and shit and we just kind of evolved…got rid of the first drummer and it just happened that way.

TSE: What about influences?

Vulgar: Anything that sounds crazy and awesome.

Hafer: Anything exotic or bizarre or ethnic or unusual, anything attention getting

Hales: For me, Motown and Detroit’s history of music, I spend so much time studying that and it definitely seeps in melodically. But I always go back to Duke Ellington’s quote that there are only two kinds of music, good and bad. It could be a country song that moves you or a classical piece, either it moves you or it doesn’t. So I’m just looking for the stuff that does.

Johnny Lazar: I’m into a lot of space stuff, I go to school for astrophysics…

Hafer: And I’m a painter and I live in the desert in the middle of nowhere.

Vulgar: And I lick toads [laughs]. I like biology, I like toads.

TSE: What about touring, you guys got anything planed?

Vulgar: We’re going to play some shows somewhere in 2007 [laughs].

Hafer: We toured in the fall and right now we’re developing a lot of new songs.

TSE: Cool. What about your past live shows? One of the coolest things about seeing you guys live is the performance aspect of the show; what you’re going to wear or do on stage. You guys have been known to do some wild things. Is there any one time that stands out?

Hales: We had a cow’s head; in Portland there was a fish head

Vulgar: Yeah, we went to this fucking Asian market and bought this knife that’s like 4 dollars, this big huge cooking knife and some duct tape and we went to the fish part of the market and they had these eels and weird creatures that are still alive. And Johnny says, “Look at that thing,” and it was some big-ass fish head and we bought that thing and put it on a bayonet. So we played this show and I duct-taped the knife on to the end of the guitar and stuck the fish head on the knife. And when I was playing the guitar I could feel the fish head weighing it down and it kept going out of tune so I flung it out into the audience and that was pretty cool. [Laughs]

TSE: How did people respond to that?

Vulgar: They didn’t put us on the Goner Fest video.

TSE: How do they usually respond?

Hafer: Usually people don’t like it and they leave.

Lazar: Some people like it, though.

TSE: Do you think people respond better to that sort of thing in Detroit?

Hafer: In Detroit they understand us better because they’re used to us.

Vulgar: They know what do at home with fish heads.

Lazar: I think there are a lot of good new bands in Detroit, but not a lot of people going to the shows anymore. Like the Frustrations and bands like that.

Hales: The Human Eye was the band I was always excited about in Detroit. If you would have asked me this question six months ago, before I was in the band, I would have answered the same.

TSE: You guys have anything else you want to say?

Vulgar: Yes. I do believe in music; yes I like to drink a lot, yes the next day my kidney hurts; yes I can drink with my eyeball [pours beer on eyeball].

Hafer: We’re not just a Detroit band now, we’re a band of America [whole room laughs].

Friday, February 09, 2007

It's February

That means that this month I am the featured painter at the Galeria Espacio Kubiko Madrid. They have twenty of my "Fourteen Series" paintings on display. Check it out!