Two New Paintings: "Rainbow Worm" & "Going Home"
Hello, friends!  I've been super lax in sharing paintings on this platform and 2018 is an opportunity to fix that.  Given that free or discounted prints are perks at different levels of support here, you deserve to know what's on the menu!  

Here are my two latest paintings, and a little Patreon-supporters-only backstory on each of them:

Rainbow Worm

2017 • 20"x20" • acrylic and oil paint on canvas

Prints & Original Painting Available Here
($10 subscribers, reply for your 25% off discount code;
$20 subscribers, reply if you'd like this to be one of your free prints.)

Long before I started painting at concerts, I was working as a scientific illustrator for the University of Kansas Natural History Museum and their Department of Invertebrate Paleontology, which gave me the opportunity to draw fossil crustaceans, blind snakes, tree geckos, and other weird shit.  

When I had my first online gallery showing with the now-defunct IntegralNaked.org in 2006, I named the collection "A Field Guide to Living Jewelry" – based on the idea that these weird little abstract drawings I was making at the time, basically no more than classroom doodles, were a kind of hyperspace menagerie.  I referenced Aldous Huxley's opening to his essay Heaven & Hell, in which he advocates for a new generation of psychedelic naturalists to "go in there" to the "antipodes of the mind" and describe all the strange "flora and fauna" occupying these newly-(re-)discovered realms of consciousness...and I saw myself as perfectly prepared for this as both a science artist and a tripper.  

(You can read my defining article about this here.)

So yeah.  That never really went away, and lately I've been getting back to that explicitly with pieces like this, this, and this that play with the idea of alien landscapes and ecosystems.  No doubt there's something like this worm in DMT-land, where (as chaos mathematician Ralph Abraham recognized as early as the 1960s) organisms do not seem to need to be continuous/connected, all their body parts in one place – but instead, can branch and fork and operate as swarms or clouds or sharded motifs...

That said, there is a real-life bio rainbow worm that's basically as weird as this thing.  Can't out-weird evolution!

Going Home

2018 • 24"x36" • acrylic paint on gallery-wrapped canvas

Painted live at Gem & Jam Festival to the music of:
Earthcry (onstage), Emancipator, Big Wild, STS9 (2x)

Prints & Original Painting Available Here
($10 subscribers, reply for your 25% off discount code;  
$20 subscribers, reply if you'd like this to be one of your free prints.)

Where do I start with this confession?  In 2005 I had just graduated college and did not know what I wanted to do with my life.  For 20 years I'd been completely sure I'd be a dinosaur paleontologist and work with my childhood role model and lifelong mentor, Robert Bakker.  But his dig team dissolved just as I finished school, and the political infighting that followed disillusioned me profoundly.  I didn't know where else to turn to do this work, because community and solidarity was as important as the dinosaurs themselves.  And so I drifted for a couple years, unclear about my path.

Around this time my roommates and I noticed that we happened to be in a haunted house.  I'll spare you the full story, but a clear and very scary poltergeist-type situation that went on for months found resolution when I started acting as if this weird presence was actually a part of my own disowned psyche...I'd started reading up on folklore about brownies, faeries, elves, etc. and how these helpful spirits will play pranks and break things if the people living in a home aren't "on the path" they're meant for.  I decided that this ghost was just a part of me complaining that I'd lost my way.

In the 12 years since then, my relationship to that force, presence, or whatever has grown so much deeper.  She began appearing to me as a woman and a little bird around 2008.  I started interacting with her on the regular in 2010 as the voice of my own intuitive intelligence and guidance.
She gave me her name in a dream in 2014 and revealed herself as my anima, the feminine unconscious that connects me as an individual to the collective matrix of creation.  Last year she descended into me and I became her temporarily.  

I know how crazy that may sound but I cannot deny that these experiences happened, or that they are among some of the most powerful and meaningful experiences I have ever had.  But I would be less sure of them if I had not heard from SEVERAL friends over the years that my invisible friend had appeared to THEM in dreams and visions, also.  She would manifest as fierce and terrible and scary to the friends with whom I had unspoken grudges I was not articulating.  She appeared around one of my close and troubled friends to not one but two psychics who did not know her OR me.

Finally I started wondering if this was a past life, or just a parasitic ghost attached to me for selfish reasons and interfering with my story for her benefit.  I started asking pointed questions – and, surprisingly, got very clear answers – about who she was in live, and when and where she lived, and how she died, and why she cared about me and my life.  

So I began to do the work of helping what I understand to be a former incarnation (in the most agnostic and provisional "as if" sense I can manage this) make it to the next stage of her passage.  She was not malevolent, just desperate and stuck; and as I worked on this piece as a prayer for her peace and ongoing evolution, I could feel a movement – as if she had repositioned from just over my right shoulder to a higher "orbit" or location in the hierarchy of nested spheres of Heaven.

I still feel her but it's not as urgent anymore.  I've integrated my past life as a 14th-Century Romani witch in Northern Greece, apparently – accepted that I'm part of a long lineage of Kali/Magdalene/Saint Sarah/Black Madonna worship, and that I will have the rest of this life to investigate this deepening mystery and my place in it...

Have any of you had experiences like this?  I would love to hear about them...

in love and gratitude,

Michael