Onward!

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Man, life comes at you fast.  I feel like yesterday I had just gotten back from Japan and I was trying to get back in the swing.  In what feels like no time I have grown a lot as a person and an artist, I have walked through a lot of things with my head still attached and my feet still on the ground (loosely lol), and am still completely charged and stoked about the future and my present being on this planet with all of ya’ll.  I am getting really amped up about the SFMOMA project coming up, largely because I received a studio visit and real deal critique from Renee DeCosio (program director for the SFMOMA Artist Gallery) who came through with the awesome Alfonso Cosio recently.  Man it was the best, most honest, intriguing, to the point, helpful, and explorative, no kid gloves critique I have had in a longgg time (since Pratt actually).  It gave me some new juice to make an incredibly in depth new series for the first installment of the SFMOMA windows in June (also part of the Yerba Buena Alliance art walk) where I am really exploring some foundations, the origin and the architecture of the Astroknots, and by doing so really revisiting and dealing with a lot of things that were going on when I first moved to California in 2006.  I have really dove deeply back into process and am exploring some of my core basics and letting things happen without a presumed outcome again.  I am quite honestly the happiest I have been making art in a long time in creating these new pieces and the series that I see coming from it.

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With amazing art work generally comes a lot more under the surface.  Of course this comes at a time when things in my personal life are pretty intense, yet I do feel my feet are still planted firmly on the earth.  It is amazing to feel such a sense of presence and compassion for things happening that I am involved with that the old me would have reacted to out of serious personal fears and insecurities, but rather now see how I can help and how I can maintain my balance in the face of some heavy stuff.  To everyone in my life right now I say with huge words, I love you all and you are all very dear to me, thank you all for being you and exploring life here with me and not being afraid to get real with those you care about.  And to finish this one off, I am going to Japan for my residency in less than two months.  I will be doing a six day meditation pilgrimage before I get to work in Tokyo for three weeks!  It’s going to be, as Kenichi Minami from Ken South Rock says, a Huge Volcano!

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Work For SF MOMA June 8th…

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I stand before you today to tell all of you how excited it makes me to say this.  If you have been following my sparse internet presence as of late, you have heard hints here and there of the news that I am going to be featured in the SFMOMA in downtown San Francisco.  The SFMOMA Artist Gallery (their more contemporary and larger artist representation wing located at Ft. Mason) is in charge of curating the windows that face Minna St. and Natoma St. on the sides of the Museum itself in Downtown San Francisco.  After making a personal goal years ago to myself of getting my work featured in these windows someday, it is happening.  I have them for a year, and the first installment in a four part saga that runs from June 2013-June 2014 begins this June 8th.   Beyond my wildest dreams this has become a reality.

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This above shot is from my Birthday Performance Art Show at LeQuivive Gallery in Oakland January 16, 2013.

I will be running my programming in the three window bay units on Minna St. and using the Natoma side here and there as a background for performance work and possibly for intimate special engagements and explorations in new installation environments from the world of Unstoppable Tomorrow.  The three pieces for the first installment of the Minna St. windows are complete.  I may add some smaller relics and mixed media pieces to the windows as the date moves closer, but for now, these are the pieces.   Two are brand new, and both as of yet un-named fully, and the third is in fact from July 2011.  It is called Event Elation and has only been shown once here in the Bay Area (it was out of my grasp for a year due to unforeseen issues with a curator but is now happily back in my hands).  So without further adieux here are images of these 8’x4′ Mixed Media on Wood Panel Pieces!!!!

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Duet Crop

Nue Piece

 

And on this Day to Come, January 16th, 2013, I Celebrate Another Year on This Earth! IPD!

IMG_1527So there are these things called “the promises” in this arena of study I am engaged in that are spoken of often and are a guideline that people work toward.

Some may call “the promises” simply a better life in whatever way and shape it comes to you.  A better life that one can be thankful for, can appreciate every atom of, and one that is fulfilling and enthralling because the one experiencing it is willing to put forth the work it takes to change things, be willing to accept the world as it comes, and do what it takes to better themselves and seek a future of productivity and appreciation for all things.  At the age of 32 I am beginning to understand, or comprehend some semblance of this search, this journey for these promises.  IMG_1239

2012 was the best year I have ever had, I mean that.  I, for the first time in my life, felt what it meant to see years of hard work reach people, communicate on many platforms with people all over the world, create a better living situation for myself, and in turn afford me opportunities to continue to grow and learn and love the world I am a part of.  Throughout 2012 I felt like a Phoenix finally exploding out of the grime and filth and sludge, the chaos and friction and anxiety and self hate, the self imposed fears and restrictions and bars that I had to evolve out of in order to get the perspective on my place in the world I have now.  Suddenly things made sense, and the knowledge that so many things will never make sense became something I could swallow.  I didn’t have to wake up paralyzed by anxiety and fear of life everyday.  The ability to be okay with the world no matter how one thinks it “should” be reconciled, to have ideas and opinions but be able to love life regardless of “if” those ideas and opinions matter or not and simply let life be what it is no matter the outcome is perhaps the biggest “promise” of all.

IMG_1466It is the difference between breathing or suffocating, loving or hating, being enveloped by fear of the unknown or embracing the unknown because it is what we are born from.  And it took over a quarter of a century to have this way of seeing beaten, massaged, sliced, explained, recommended and finally born into my psyche.  On the Wu-Tang albums I grew up listening to they call this “knowledge of self God”.  Thank you RZA and the rest for setting a young framework for generations to be influenced by.

IMG_1402So this all brings me here.  It isn’t even about me, but for intensive purposes I am the one writing this as I turn to a year further in the development of my spirit in the universe, as my body gets one year closer to its end.  I really feel that the end of the physical will only be the beginning of a higher stage, but I will do the very best I can with this life  as it is all I know and as I work toward a relationship with all things.  I feel my physical being, every inch ounce hair fiber cell tingle.  Getting older has been amazing thus far.

IMG_1254I have work up at the Shooting Gallery in SF right now as part of their Winter Group Show and I am honored to be a part of their movement in the art world as it helps to define, reinterpret, investigate, and communicate with the world we are a part of.  I have work up at LOAKL Gallery in Oakland as well, and I am proud to be a part of the early stages of Ken Harman’s new addition to the Bay Area art world as well as he will continue to thrive and spread amazing things to so many people.  I will be in a group show at Ocean Avenue Tattoo in SF with my good friend SALEM on January 26th.  In March I will be a part of a group show curated by Michael Cuffe who runs Warholian.  Then it is off to Japan for a Month long residency at Spes-Lab in Tokyo.

IMG_1577And then in June the first installment of a year long program I have at the SFMOMA opens with three more series of work in the SFMOMA space going up each three months until June 2014. I will finally be having a huge solo show in the Fall of 2013 that will be my last big exhibition of the year and coincide with the second (fall) program I am installing at the SFMOMA.  All of this is really happening now, and if not for every bit of life I have survived on this planet leading up to now, none of it would be happening.  I am more grateful now for the life my parents created that I have become than I ever knew was possible. Many more updates to come very soon!  -John Felix Arnold III, 01/15/2013  IPD FOR LIFE!

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SF Weekly Article and New Updates.

So first and foremost I would like to thank Kate Conger at SF Weekly for doing an awesome article and interview on yours truly and the world of “Unstoppable Tomorrow”.  It feels really good to open up about some of the finer and darker points of my life that has sculpted my art making to what it is today!  She is a great writer, really made me dig deep and I do thank her for the opportunity to do this piece.  It feels good to spill your guts sometimes in print.  Here is a link, click on the image below…

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Lastly, I have amazing news.  I will be doing a residency at Spes-Lab in Tokyo in April of 2013, and then when I come back it is time to do my first installation of a year long program of the SFMOMA windows in downtown San Francisco.  More on this to come!!! Things are looking good!

Ken South Rock : July 2012 Tour Photos : The Adventure in Japan

Classic Shot at a Train Station between Gifu and Kamisuwa.

Beautiful Lady at the festival in Osaka in traditional clothes doing the damn thing.

To continue on with the amazing trip to Japan I recently had the honor of experiencing, here are more photos of the hard hitting band I was with, Ken South Rock.  They are in Taiwan right now reaching out to a whole new audience, and I heard from drummer Adam Amram that they are loving it!!!  So as stated in my last blog post, we went from Tokyo to Kamisuwa to Gifu to Nagoya to Osaka to Kyoto and then I came back to Tokyo to begin work on a new project for the latter half of my journey.  So here we go, hold on to your hats, Ken South Rocks Hardest!!! We Started off in Tokyo in a rad neighborhood called Shimokitizawa at a place called Club251, from that moment on it was madness.  My jetlag felt like a long lingering acid trip for the first four days, which made the whole thing even weirder.

Chicken Karage on a stick from 7/11, early in the morning before we embarked to Kamisuwa.

Chiaki “Cheese” Minami!

The Green Room at Club 251Ken and the owner of Doors live house holding up my Wolf Power painting from our performance in Kamisuwa.

Temple near Shinjuku Tokyo the morning we left Tokyo.

Adam Amram Passed out at Doors Live House in Kamisuwa.

Detail from the Wolf Power live painting at Doors Live House in Kamisuwa.

This is one of the best photos from the whole trip.  This girl was totally enthralled and confused by Adam trying to untangle a pair of sun glasses from his major Jew Fro.  It was one of the funniest and most precious things we had all ever seen. Adam and Chiaki cracked up when they saw the photos.  We are leaving Kamisuwa here on the way to Gifu.

Got off the train in Gifu  and there stood a giant Golden Oda Nobunaga statue!  It was my first major geek out orgasm moment of the trip! So sick to to see this, it set the tone for me for the rest of the trip!  So after rounding the bend of this very well planned station in Gifu (where Nobunaga actually began to unify Japan from in the 16th century) we descended into Gifu, and into one of the most awesome shows of the whole trip!  the people in Gifu are fun loving, loud, hard working, hard partying, amazing folks who love music and love to embrace others and have a great time.  It felt like a good hard working blue collar city that works hard plays hard and treats its people and visitors with respect and good humor!  We had a fucking blast.  Satomi from Casper Live House is a fucking fox for sure, tattooed up and had the best “I don’t give a fuck” attitude I experienced on the trip.  Her boyfriend ended up being the bass player to one of the best bands (a screamo black metal band) we saw all tour, and they took us to an awesome Izakaya after the show! And we finally stayed in comfy as hotel rooms that were crazy cheap!  Success!

Ken Minami looking sexy in front of an awesome, classic, well kept ride in the parking lot of Casper Live House.

Reminds me of Durham, NC.

This was one of the best places we ate on the entire trip.  It was $3.50, I had a pork katsu bento box that was delicious and filled me up. Here we are with Suichu Blanco and Walter Wlordarcyck.

The lovely Satomi and her dude at an awesome Izakaya post show!

The amazing Chiaki Cheese with Adam Amram at Izakaya.

End of the night in Gifu

One more shot of the Nobunaga Monument.

Ken, worn the fuck out at Izakaya after the show in Gifu!

So the next day we traveled to Nagoya, we stopped for Gyoza first, and then were on are way.  I was exhausted by the time we got to Nagoya, but we still faired well.  Nagoya was cool, but I was definitely missing Gifu and looking forward to Osaka big time!

Walter, the official tour photographer, on a train headed for Osaka.  Getting for photographed for a change.

The schoogirl fans were pretty awesome!

Adam Amram catching some zzzzzs on the train to Nagoya.

Strange Nagoya Pudding at the Tokyu Hands Department store.

This was a CRAZZYYYYYY sculpture inside of an underground shopping mall in Nagoya.

Styled Out in Nagoya.

This was the set up that I painted with at each venue on tour. We would set this up on a table with a drop cloth on stage, and I would set up all of my supplies so that when I was called on stage by Adam in the second song I would jump around, yell and scream and then go in super hard on the painting.  It broke down really easily and folded up and was super easy to transport on the trains from city to city.  There’s walter right next to it on the couch backstage at the Live House we performed at in Nagoya!

I love this shot of Adam and Ken Rocking out in Nagoya.

And then it was time to embark to Osaka!  Now Osaka is one of my favorite places in the entire world, seriously, it rocks.  We bid farewell to Chiaki, and went on our way to the region of Kansai, ready to rockkkk out, and eat Takoyaki!

We even ran into my good friend Frankie G at random on the way to Osaka, good Omen!

Adam at sound Check at Fan J in Osaka.

So Osaka is the shit, I took a lot of pictures of the city as I went out alone exploring before the show and the next day.  I also got some great images of Suichu Blanco at this show.  The promoter unfortunately was a bunch of talk and didn’t get nearly enough people there, but none the less we went super hard.  The show was really crazy and the after party in the club was mad fun.  A tiny super cute girl actually rode me around the club like a giant animal. It was nuts.

Walter and I embarked onward into Osaka during sound check.

Yes, this dog has on infrared goggles, yes you are actually seeing this, it is real.

This is one of my favorite Osaka Street Shots.

Serious Old World to Modern World Juxtaposition.

Style Points in Osaka.

Takoyaki Time!!!

First band at Fan J in Osaka.

Yui from Suichu Blanco.

Yuta from Suichu Blanco.

The Hostel in Osaka was reallllly awesome.  Ten Hostel it was called. I highly recommend!

The cops were trying to get it together.

I hopped into a really cool parade at the beginning of a very long festival to honor the dead, this guy gave me the best mug of all time.

Sick Hair Designs.

This festival procession was really cool.  i met an amazing young lady named Aki that told me all about Osaka while we chatted.  And then I picked up some Okonamiyaki!

Yes, the best, the Osaka Style Okonamiyaki.  This edible delight concluded one of my food journeys on the trip.

They were throwing water on people, trying to make them fall off a giant super heavy temple platform in the middle of an intersection! Osaka is Crazy and super Awesome!

Ken Minami as we are about to leave the hostel.  From here we went to my final tour destination, Kyoto.  Kyoto was so amazing.  It is a beautiful and historical city, and the bands at this show were some of the best I have ever heard or seen, ever. No joke, they threw down in Kyoto, it was crazy!  Here is a super cutie for you and a whole bunch of photos of my last day of being on tour.

Yes, she was dope, and turned out to be one of the best drummers around.

Yet another procession in the middle of the street in the middle of the day. So Cool.

Crazy Dinosaur Pachinko Game at a five story fun zone.

Ken and Adam Going In!

Then I came up dancing to the stage…

What’s Up Kyoto!!! Yabeiiiiiii!!!!!!!…

Tekkamaki Reigned Supreme…

Hugs on stage were definitely in order as we finished our last performance as a trio.  Then it was time to kick it for my last night of touring…

I hit the floor, super exhausted, and recharged with a Pepsi Nex, hahahahaha.  It’s actually pretty good!

We gave this piece to Suichu Blanco for being such an awesome band to tour with.

These two were the first casualties of the night.

Then we poured into the street for a round of goodbyes, I headed to an internet cafe, and in the morning…

In the morning after the Kyoto show, Ken put me on a Bullet Train back to Tokyo.  We said a round of goodbyes and I embarked solo back to the point which I had launched forward with these amazing spirits.  This experience changed my life, no lie!

And thus ended the tour for me.  I arrived in Tokyo, went to Chiaki and Ken’s house in Shinjuku and delivered the best painting that was done live on stage on the whole tour! (Coincidentally it was done on the last night in Kyoto).  Chiaki was stoked, I was exhausted, exhilirated, ready for more, yet needed some rest.  I thanked the gods for this amazing experience, Chiaki and I kicked it, I took a nap, then it was off to my friends Frankie and Emi’s house to begin the next chapter in my Japan Art Tour.  Next to come was a commission for a friend and DJ in Shibuya, and some serious insanity lurking around Tokyo!!! Thanks to Ken South Rock, Chiaki, all the Live Houses, Walter Wlodarcyck, Suichu Blanco and everyone along the way.

Production and Opening Photo’s of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” @ Old Crow : Oakland : CA

I ended up taking a great reel of great production and progress shots of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” at Old Crow Tattoo & Gallery, and some good photos of the openings.  Him Downstairs performed Saturday night and then Sunday was Unstoppable Death Machines and the Laughters.  Count Z-Bop was even hanging out.  It was spectacular!  I hope you all enjoy seeing the install process and the final product. -Felix

Tools, Wood, things to make the magic with.

Motocycle piece “The Great Debate” just finished moments ago.

The organ was a good find, thank you urban ore.

Viking Ben lending a hand.

Arial view compliments of Terry Addison.

“In Memory of…” series.

Star Wars Stormtrooper Helmet Relic Remix.

Belly drinking a 40 of that Ole English Eightball 800!

D Young V looking wild!

Nadia and I flossin!

D Young V and I representing.

We all love to see ZeeZee!

The most amazing couple alive.

Joel Tarman back from Palesien with Rhea St. Julien.

Jessica from Old Crow looking pretty other worldly in her Jedi Hood!

Fuckin New Yorkers!

Brendan Cox.

“The Great Debate”

Joel and Rhea St. Julien aka Him Downstairs.

Ara Christina Jo being awesome as usual.

How did everyone at Old Crow become so damn cool?  Dana James looking tough on the bike piece!

Dana James fully suited up for the world of Unstoppable Tomorrow.

The lovely Chloe Crossman with the coolest hair dew of all time.

The Laughters
 Count Z Bop

Unstoppable Death Machines
Mike from Unstoppable Death Machines at Mama’s Royal Cafe, bout to get some breakfast Monday morning.  I am about to go to Japan right after this meal!  See you all from my Japanese tour with Ken South Rock! -John Felix Arnold III

I am back in Japan right now…

The past few months have been fucking crazy.  We opened ArtNowNY, it was awesome, I just opened my solo show at Old Crow in Oakland, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”  It was epic!!! Now I am in Japan, sitting in a rad little apartment in Tokyo about to go on tour with Ken South Rock!  This train just doesn’t seem to stop.  I am too exhausted right now to really go into anything deep, or summarize anything as of late, or get into any long explanations of work process, art reviews, or even more personal shit.  Let me just suffice to say that tonight I am on the other side of the world, I am going to eat really well, be surrounded by awesome people, and start a live performance tour tomorrow that is going to change my life!!!

Here are some images of my opening at Old Crow and more…. I’ll be back soon this time to update you guys!

ArtNow NY Video Short Series Filmed and Produced by John Felix Arnold III

We have been working our tails off on the new ArtNowNY gallery opening at 548 West 28th Street in New York City’s Chelsea Arts District this coming Thursday June 7th.  Working around the clock on a list of tasks and deadlines and things that would make any persons head spin.  Being in this new role as Creative Director of the gallery and the Co-curatorial Chair of our programming has been an honor, a pleasure, and one of the most amazing learning experiences of my life.  Not to mention I get to bring people I love and respect into the New York City art scene, in Chelsea no doubt, and work with people that I have admired and looked up to for a very long time.  Shit , I reconnected with Swoon today at the Bushwick Open Studios in Brooklyn, and just that simple interaction alone really made me see that I truly am in the channel of a higher power and living a life that I never dreamed of.  Anyway, all the spiritual mushiness aside, I have really been working just as hard as creative director as I do on my own work, and the balance is creating some amazing programming and collaborative presence in New York.  It feels good to be home.  I created a video series that we will continue throughout the life of ArtNowNY that captures sections of New York life, culture and people.  I filmed Unstoppable Death Machines in Bushwick at a raging show where my homie Ben Robey wild out harder than I have seen in ages (dude fell through the drum set off the bar and kept singing and screaming on the mic!!!!).

I filmed the amazing Alyssa Kazew in the Village dancing at New York’s famous Grays Papaya.  I captured Jose Santiago giving a cool patron a straight razor shave design in her hair at Well Connected in the Lower East Side, and I even was shot via Coby Kennedy at Fort Tilden doing what I do best, walking through the middle of nowhere collecting debris and wood to make art with.  I am very, very happy with the videos, and I am truly blessed to be in a position to be able to create them right now and be paid for my work.  Also I connected with old friend and amazing director Lenny Tso who edited the pieces, and I even got to put my own music as the soundtrack to three of the pieces under my music alias Tekkamaki.  Boom, for real!!! Here they are, check them out, more to come, holla.  ArtNowNY launches June 7th in Chelsea.  The its back to Oakland to get ready for OLD CROW YOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

In NYC, Going to Shows, Rockin Out!

New York has been good to me thus far.  We have been really getting a lot of work done having a blast and making some serious moves for the future.  I got to see my homies from Unstoppable Death Machines the other night, and it was a pretty unforgettable performance.  It was at a small bar in Buswhick, Brooklyn, it was packed, and Ben Robey aka Jah Jah Brown made a very memorable performance.  Jah was truly off his rocker and the Death Machines went super hard!  It was fucking awesome.  More updates coming.