21 January 2016

Calyptix - Node in the Genetic Desert Mesh

Hiking through the desert, the dull ring of silence may only be broken by the gravel crunching under your boots. Even if nothing seems to move you will undoubtedly encounter a hummingbird. You'll undoubtedly hear their high-pitched tweets.

In this piece I was thinking of a couple things. One, the bird's constant role as pollinator. Two, the maneuverability and miracle of it's hovering flight. Not to mention the iridescent ruby pink throat of Anna's Hummingbird. Wings flapping at twice the speed of any other bird with 360 degrees of vision  and energy enough to stay in flight for 50 minutes at a time. Imagine the invisible swirls of air currents churned up around it. The tiny squeaky chirp is the actual frame of the piece represented by the graphic sound waves you might find in an audio program.

01 November 2015

Gilax M - The Formidable Desert Dragon

11x17, inked with Crow Quill and digitally colored

The last few inks were landscapes and I wanted to zoom into some more close up subject matter. There isn't any creature more desert classic than the Gila Monster, so, it was decided. There's a lot of ways to abbreviate the round scales of the lizard and the lichen pocked rock beneath but I opted for visual complexity. I'm starting to think that visual complexity adds to the life of a piece. More for the brain to chew on. More for the brain to find and connect with. I've really pumped it up a notch with this one.

I was taken by the plotting of the scales on it's skin which arrange in a hexagonal pattern. Something out of a sci-fi artificial life-form design. So I started thinking about geometries and how it might relate with the landscape patrolling cell by cell through it's hive of rock, thus the hexagon matrix overlay. When you move so close to the ground, there must be some sense of direction more than searching the horizon. I overlaid a futuristic compass at it's side for easy reference. Caution barred warning triangle in the upper right noting the subjects dangerous bite. Truly the dragon of the desert.

17 September 2015

Mysterious Spiral Near Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

I've camped in this place many times. It's a beautiful desert north of Yuma, south of Quartzite, home of indigenous palms, bighorn sheep and antelope. You can pull off the road in the BLM land outside of the refuge and camp anywhere. The desert pavement is old and burnt. Wandering out of camp, everything seems ancient and untouched for hundreds of years. Ironwood trees are few and far between and the firewood you find is bleached white from seasons in the sun. It's a truly beautiful place.

I've been looking for subject matter for some new art pieces and started thinking 'maps', pulled up Google Earth and started poking around the Kofa area. The detail of the photo tiles are outstanding especially when looking at mountainous areas. Then I found this:

Latitude:  33°22'24.24"N     
Longitude: 114°10'25.87"W

It's about 90ft in diameter and 160ft from the road, so it might not be visible from the road. I know the dark desert pavement scrapes away easily to reveal lighter material underneath. It's so defined it's almost as if it's piled up material or even trenched.   The map photo was taken in 2013. Using Google Earth's history slider you can see the spiral wasn't there in 2010. A spirit walk? Land art? A celebration of 2012? I've combed the internet and found nothing. I'm going to go out there this winter to take a look.

Poking around, I also found this 20ft wide thingy not so far away:

Latitude:   33°22'7.53"N
Longitude: 114° 9'14.19"W


The very next day after posting this, friend and Wee Gallery artist Stu Jenks jumped in his truck and took the 4hr ride out to the location. He messenged me for a couple details on how to get there and voom! 4hrs later he was standing in front of a spiral "meant for meditation". It was what I thought, carefully raked desert pavement with a path of lighter colored sand. Mystery solved!!

Photo by Stu Jenks

01 September 2015

Classic Elements

This summer I pretty much used my vacation and weekends by preparing for a show with Mykl Wells, my favorite Tucson painter. I'm honored he considers me a peer. This is the second show that he's 'shared' with me, as he says "I just want to urge you to paint more," as he urges me to drink another beer.

I wanted to incorporate the figure somehow with developing druidic-sorcerer cyber-futurist themes. The elements seemed a nice safe place to start. The hand is my right hand and each piece is a suggestive sigil of power over that element. Then I realized I hadn't painted fire or close-up water before. Each took maybe four hours of experimentation until I hit the right brushes and techniques to make something believable.





10 August 2015


The Cardón, Mexican Giant Cardon, Elephant Cactus... you get the idea that it's a really big cactus. Similar to the Saguaro but with branching much like a tree. I spent time camping on the edge of a forest of Cardón spending periods of time hanging out in their shade or wandering among them along the shore of the Sea of Cortez in a place called Punto Cirio in Sonora Mexico.

Cardón as big as a house.
Considering it can take 75-100 years for a Saguaro to grow one arm, I marveled at the age and castle-like presence of these giants. When I came across this particular one, I spent a lot of time circling and photographing it. A quarter mile from the shoreline, I imagined what processes shape its' life. Sun, intermittent breezes and stormy gales from the sea, desert/sea birds living among it's branches and every night the Milky Way slowly spinning through the sky. That's what hooked me, this creature's sense of time as it moves through the seasons and it's distant relationship with the ageless cosmos every night. That is why there is a diagram of a section of the Milky Way superimposed on the background in my drawing.

Continuing with this series of cyber-natural-ancient-future landscapes, I may move on to close-up scale of objects. Either way, I love this process of ink and digital colorizations. I also love that I can share these prints at a very inexpensive price.

26 June 2015

Corvux Bigelow

Last year about this time, I was hiking around Mt. Bigelow. I was struck by how sound carries around up there, the radio towers and the primitive feel of the pines. My consciousness was altered in a way that I can't quite put my finger on. I spent most of the day circling around the peak hunting a composition and stopping for periods in the shade to get a feeling of place. There were workmen climbing the towers doing maintenance. You could hear their walkie talkies going off. A band of ravens perched near me and started speaking. Normal low squawks, bumpy chuckles and sometimes almost human noises.

This is an expansion of the therianthropy series of 5 paintings I did last year. The artwork is 16" x 32" in oil. I completed this in March but it took a while for me to go and get it scanned. My next paintings will be smaller, around 11"x17". I have a show in September with Mykl Wells at Michael Contreras Gallery, so I'll be busy this summer.

08 April 2015

Pinacatix Senita

The Pinacate region of Mexico is so unique in the Sonoran Desert I think I'll be doing a number of pieces from the region. Ancient volcanic lava flows created ridges and eddies in the landscape forming little walled gardens. Roaming through them is like being in the backyard of a master gardener.

I was struck by the strength and royal presence of the Senita cactus. It's interesting how the bottom of the stems crawl away from the center, laying on the ground and push up. Weird but it looks like it's very comfortable on the desert floor.

Following this ancient sci-fi aesthetic, I've used slow arcing arrows to mimic the sense of growing up and out, and the circulation of life force all around the cactus. I'm trying to be subtle with this commentary because the true focus is nature itself. This one was pretty fun!

01 March 2015

Subjects of Recent Interest

Extinction Aesthetic - Tom Baumgartner
Extinction Symbol. Dark Extropianism. Apocalyptic Witchcraft. Dark Mountain. Uncivilisation. In The Dust Of This Planet. Health Goth. Accelerationism. After Nature/Dark Ecology/Ecognosis. Early signals: The New Nihilism, Speculative Realism, Neoreaction, Occulture. Cusp: Toxic Internet. Post-Westphalian. Developing (if only in my own low-powered head.  Picking black flowers early in the day).
-Warren Ellis

I just love lists. The following are my discoveries and trails of referential mania sparked by Warren's list.

Extinction Icon

Extinction Aesthetic / Dark Ecology

The human catastrophe has already happened, we're just watching the fallout. World history is a series of overlapping catastrophes and periods of stasis. What kind of culture develops and dresses for the funeral of planet Earth? A gothic one obsessed with death of course. Curl up on the couch with some strong black tea and have some extinction fiction or dim the lights and indulge in some doom porn.

Though I'm optimistic we will squeak by to the next step of evolution, medals given out to charitable tech billionaires and citizen scientists, it won't happen until we finally see ourselves as not separate from nature. This threw me out into some art aesthetic philosophy by Timothy Morton. We set nature high on a pedestal away from ourselves. Ecology is it's replacement, dark ecology, where we face the grim reality of where our meat comes from and the cell phone in your pocket is why there's a giant hole in the ground somewhere - the invisible meshes every living being is involved in. Not in a hippie-dippy energy way, but in a direct, Newtonian engineering sort of way.

Health Goth

I love birthing creative movements like this. Living on the space station, or maybe being on part of the colonization team, what do you wear? The most comfortable clothes with the most hi-tech materials and design are in the world of sports. Is there such a thing as formal, dark sportswear? Yes there is. I love the inventiveness of asymmetrical zippers, one-legged compression pants, sleeves with thumb holes, silky synthetics, adjustable shock running shoes without laces and faux corsets. It always makes sense to have your clothing work for you. With my Brandoesque physique, I'm not jumping on this trend-subculture any time soon, but my inner futurian wants it bad.

Though is there more than just limiting your fashion to black and white? There is a tech savvy, weaponized intelligence about it. A youth culture digerati expressing elite skills through their functional fashion. Part ninja, part hacker, part cyborg, part athlete. Transhumanism fetish.

Apocalyptic Witchcraft

Peter Grey walks you through an exhaustive history of magick and witchcraft building a case for an edge society who are ultimately the defenders of the earth. Feared by societies that found nature to be the source of all evil, they were unjustly scapegoated and marginalized for their clear vision. Presently, Grey throws artists, musicians, and writers into this edge group. Grey calls for a revolutionary defense of Mother Nature, Earth-First style. Although my personal exploration of magick revealed the multiple crossovers it has with art, I'm not convinced that grass-roots sit-ins and terrorist-like acts in the name of conservation do any good. Legal action, although not the most creative tool in the tool box, is the one that usually gets things done.

This got me thinking about counter culture and it's influence on the culture at large. Look at the alt culture obsession with the "Authentic," a reaction to mass marketing and lack of quality. Now we have in-house brewed beer and in-house roasted coffee beans served to you on rough solid wood tables in bare brick rooms. A restaurant cheese platter served on something other than a raw slab of wood or stone is highly suspect as to it's quality. I haven't cracked any new idea here but I am suggesting you might have more influence on the society as a whole by effecting society in your community. Even if you aren't political, your choices in life are, and being a creative person is a pretty big statement.

Object Oriented Ontology

Another book by Timothy Morton, Realist Magic, introduces some ideas that have a flavor of an almost alien intelligence, or at least a digital one. Object Oriented programming/scripting has a naming convention like: "TucsonMap.MapRenderer.MapPage" : "Inside the map page is the map renderer and we are focusing on the Tucson map in relation to those"; a way of dealing with hierarchies that lets you get as granular as you want. Now think of "GraniteShard.Cliff.CrystalMesa" and you can see the concept of how every object is defined by its' relation to other objects, but this is when things start to go down the rabbit hole.

Objects are elusive with self contained archeologies that will never be known. A 'pebble' was once a 'cliff' was once a 'volcano' was once a 'sea floor'. A bird might have picked up the pebble and dropped it from miles away. Eventually the pebble will become sand. If you exposed the pebble to radiation, to acids, intense cold, ate it and ran it through your digestive track, would you know it any better? This is the magickal aspect of reality, we know much less about it than it is. And yeah, ideas and concepts are objects too.

This is less about "How much of a table can I cut away until it isn't a table anymore?" than "Everything you can think of is completely unique and completely unknowable at the same time." Processes are more permanent than objects. Knowing the nature of nature lives more in the mystic realm.


Automatic writing is nothing new and many artists practice it today. Working with my own set of symbols in my artwork, I'm still playing with what they mean. I'm beginning to think they are in relation to natural forces and am slowly teasing out how that works.

Diane Slattery documents her journey into automatic writing, communicating with aliens and art while under the influence of hallucinogens. I love reading about other peoples' trips, and her story is pretty far out, but I'm more interested in the ideas that came out of her exploration. Life, with it's massive alphabet of DNA, is made up of language. Diane started seeing a set of symbols she named "Glide." When they are grouped together they become larger symbols of things. Sounds like a sentence or a paragraph? Her symbols (or one symbol that changes) are animated and change through time. They are not only covering everything she sees in her visions, they are everything. Anyway, I'm not done with this book but it's some nice mysterious candy to chew on.