I made all abstract works in 2021, mostly something I’m calling Icon Montages, where I take a few simple icons and arrange them into an artwork. I’ve been making art on my phone or tablet because it’s convenient and relaxing. For the Icon Montages, I used vectors only or vectors combined with photos. Since they are mostly vector they can be blown up and printed at any size. The app I’ve been using is not a vector editor but more of a vector and photo arranger, it’s a very simple app with limited features. For the most part I’m using the most basic of icon shapes and then arranging them and playing with the colors.
Late in the year I started working in the app Procreate. It’s a painting app so the pieces made with it are more painterly than the Icon Montages. The last piece of 2021 is influencing my early 2022 work. I discovered I enjoy doing a type of scribbly lines that are reminiscent of Celtic knots but are more spontaneous and much less perfect. The scribbly pieces are heavily influenced by Miro and Celtic knots but some also have a modern graffiti feel to them.
I’ve been uploading most of them to social sites that use a lot of image compression which is especially damaging to reds and pinks. I’m starting to avoid certain colors and am favoring black and white, but I don’t like that instagram and twitter are having an influence over my art.
In 1980 I joined a band in Santa Barbara called FX (later ƒX then A ƒew Circles). I played piano from a young age, but I had never been in a band or played with other people before. I had recently purchased an electric keyboard and was planning on joining a band eventually, but I ran into Dave Fontana in a bar and he said his band FX was looking for a keyboard player. I had seen FX play at George’s and liked them so I agreed when they asked me to join the band. At that time the band was Dave Fontana on guitar, Joe Dean on bass, Tracy Hall on drums and me on keyboards and synthesizer. Dave and Joe wrote the songs and sang lead vocals, I mostly just sang backup at first. We rehearsed for a few months, then on March 28th, 1981, I played my first live performance with them at the Process Theater in Santa Barbara. Later we added a few songs for me to sing. The first song I sang lead on by myself was a cover of “Venus” by Shocking Blue (that was before Bananarama did it) but then I started cutting my teeth on writing songs and eventually had a few songs that I wrote with the band. read more…
In December 1995 I played bass with The Gun Club for what would be the band’s very last show. Jeffrey Lee Pierce passed away three months later due to a health condition. It’s hard to put into words what it felt like to play with someone who I admired but also knew that he may be terminally ill. I had gotten to know Jeffrey earlier in the year before he went back to Japan. read more…
In this post I’m going to be adding the animal activist artwork that I’m making and hoping to do more of. Animal activism about endangered animals, animals rights, veganism, speciesism, animal abuse prevention, spay and neuter to prevent pet over-population etc… those are the causes nearest and dearest to my heart.
These are some of the paintings and art images I’ve created so far in 2019. I do have some more paintings I was working on until I got tired of breathing the fumes. I’ll finish them when I finally have a room separate from my main living area where I can paint and let the paintings dry and let them finish emitting toxic fumes before I bring them into the living and breathing area. Until then I’ll probably just continue doing digital work.
I’ve recently passed my first year anniversary of eating a strictly vegan diet.
I was vegetarian on and off many times in my life, starting at age 16 while traveling in Africa and seeing so many amazing animals there. Unfortunately I was never able to be completely vegetarian for long and gave up trying for most of my life. I think I’ve been able to eat vegan for this long due to my increased knowledge on the subject, the increased number of vegan food options and supplements options available and the fact that being vegan as opposed to vegetarian eliminates the use and potential over use of dairy on a vegetarian diet. I feel the supplements I take now have been critical for me remaining vegan for the last 14+ months.
Most of these images were created on my phone, even the drawings were done on my phone, drawing with my finger. I loved how the limitations of drawing with my finger influenced the style of the drawings. I also loved being able to lay down and be comfortable while I was drawing on my phone after sitting at my computer working on graphic design all day. I do need a newer, better, faster phone to be able to work on any files large enough to print a decent size though.
Several of these images are spontaneous accidental artworks that were created by digital corruption. I love the spontaneously glitched images but I also want to improve my own databending skills someday.
Although I took many many photographs during this time, I consider most of them in a different category such as simply photography, landscapes, future artwork resource material or documentation rather than being my art. I have included a small selection of my favorite unaltered photos here. You can find more of my photography on my instagram account.
Toward the end of 2018, I completed 2 traditional paintings on paper and started a third, that was finished in 2019 and will be added to my 2019 portfolio as soon as I create one. I’m planning on doing a series of small paintings on wood in 2019.
A collaborative musical performance
WOMEN IN THE ROUND: VOICES at BELL ARTS FACTORY in Ventura, CA – July 15th, 2017 featured performances by Amber Bassett (multi-media), Donna Lynn Caskey (banjo), Shelby Figueroa (keyboard), Andrea Landin (cello), & Michelle Rosenblum aka Melody Bird (guitar). Selections range from classical music, classic rock and pop songs, to original music and poetry performed on cello, keyboard, guitar, banjo, and VOICES.
My unfinished instrumental project tentatively named Spaghetti Infinity. “Spaghetti” because some of the music sounds like weird Spaghetti Western style music… and I’ve always loved spaghetti. “Infinity” because it can be something hopeful to believe in but also because some of this music is pretty repetitive.
After posting the dreams from my old blog last night, I decided to gather up the dreams I’ve written since then and am disappointed to find that on my current computer I only have 3 dreams that I’ve typed up. I’ve been using this computer for a few years and don’t have access to my previous computer at the moment so it’s possible that there are more dreams somewhere else, I’ll have to look into it….
I’m still adding bits and pieces from my old blog. Back then one of my favorite things to write about was my dreams and still is I guess. I keep a small diary of my dreams. I have to write them down as soon as I wake up or else I forget them forever. It’s strange how my mind does that. They seem so real when I first wake up but I don’t remember them as long as I would a real event. Unfortunately I don’t even remember my dreams in the morning all that often, but when I do I’m always amazed at how realistic but weird and kinda creative they are. This post will be a collection of dreams from the old blog.
I started building a video to go along with this interview of me by DJ Dominic Trix from Wednesday 6/3/09 2-5pm on KFJC 89.7 FM but I never quite finished the video so I’m finally putting the interview up by itself in the meantime. Here’s the story of how the interview came about and a follow-up meeting between the DJ and myself in Santa Monica. I wrote the below paragraphs back in 2009.
I wrote the following introduction in 2008. I’m re-posting here, now with some minor edits. I can’t believe how much time has passed and that I never finished the new music that I was working on at the time… oh well at least I put some of the old music online…. maybe someday I’ll get back to working on that “new” stuff again or I may just post the pieces that now seem “good enough”, they are kinda cool as is, just very sparse and kinda childishly experimental. I’m not sure I will ever want to finish the others at this point, it might be better to just start from scratch if I ever record again. In the meantime I’m re-posting some stuff from my old blog and adding some new things here and there.
When I was a child, my family took lots of road trips. We would all pile into the Winnebago or the Lincoln Continental and drive to Mammoth Mountain, Sun Valley (Idaho), the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, New Orleans, California Ghost Towns, New Mexico Indian Reservations etc…etc…
On one of at least a couple of trips that we made to Palm Springs, the family went out shopping at Alan Ladd Hardware and Gifts, which was owned by the actor Alan Ladd. An interesting thing about Alan Ladd that I just learned is that his mother committed suicide and then later Alan Ladd himself tried to commit suicide at the age of 48 by shooting himself in the heart, but he survived and then two years later he overdosed on sedatives and alcohol. Anyway that’s another story. This story is about Elvis and how I sometimes wonder how much of an effect seeing him up close had on my young 10-ish year old brain.
This is a combination of blog posts from 2010 and at the end I sum up what happened:
Even though it’s been quite a while since I’ve written any new songs, I still keep a folder on my computer for inspiration, little bits of text, ideas, news stories, memories, things I hear people say etc…. Several years ago I had put this news story from Jan 29, 2010 into my song folder because I thought it could become at least a part of a song… if not the main focus.
I watched the 1944 version of Jane Eyre a few years ago and wrote about it on a blog I was keeping at the time, I’m reposting some of that blog here. I think it was the first time that I’d seen Jane Eyre since I was a child. It really brought back memories of how I felt when I saw it back then. I think I must have learned a lot from that movie.
I just made these 4 free protest signs to take to local version of the Women’s March. I know it’s a bit late since the march is tomorrow morning, but I thought I would share the printable pdf of the 4 signs, if you don’t use them for the Jan. 21st Women’s March, maybe they will come in handy for some other use. The 2 topics that I’m most involved with at the moment is 1. Encouraging the repeal of the Electoral College, so we can stop this type of election fiasco from ever happening again, and 2. Stopping the repeal of The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).
I’ve been watching this video over and over again. I’m in love with this video. I plan to do my own version of this song someday. This is an amazing song interpreted and performed by Stevie Ray Vaughan, written by Doyle Bramhall.
I’m currently living in Ojai, CA again, Mira Monte to be exact. I lived in Ojai near downtown last month though.
I stumbled upon this graffiti near the bike path this morning while walking my dog.
For those of you who may be having a hard time reading the writing….
The first line reads:
THiNgS I HAtP (sic)
But then after that there are dots that lead to the words:
My interpretation of that is the author was angry that he/she misspelled the word HAtE.
The complete statement without the misspelling or expletive is:
THiNgS I HAtE
My mother was born Marilyn Marie Alff in Texas in 1923 to Rudolph E.G. Alff (a sergeant in the Army during World War I) when he was a professor at the Medical College of Baylor University, Dallas, Texas and to Meta Lisette Radtke Alff, a former music teacher. By 1926 her family had moved to Northampton County, Pennsylvania and my grandfather opened a pharmacy where he was a pharmacist for 50 years. As a young girl and prior to the discovery of penicillin, my mother had a bone infection in her leg. She spent a long time in the hospital and recovered using a wheelchair at home. She used to talk about the painful scraping of the infection from her bone and she wore a large scar on her leg for the rest of her life. I remember children looking at the scar on my mom’s leg when we were in public places. It didn’t stop her from wearing bathing suits, shorts and dresses, she didn’t seem to ever try to hide the scar. She always said she felt lucky that she didn’t lose her leg.read more…
I’m not feeling very eloquent at the moment and I certainly have had no idea what the right things were to say to my mother as she suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease for the last approximately 15 years.
I started feeling a little nauseous after picking up some things from the nursing home the day my mother passed away after her body had been taken to the funeral home for cremation. I’ve tried to celebrate my mother’s freedom from her sick body and I am very grateful that she is no longer suffering, but since then I haven’t been feeling or sleeping very well, so I’m going to hold off on writing much until I start thinking a little more clearly.
My mother passed away December 7th, 2015 after a very long illness.
I love you, Mom. See you later.
I was in the bands Laughing Academy and Tin Brood in the early and mid 1980s with Joe Dean. Prior to Laughing Academy and Tin Brood, Joe and I had been in 2 recording and performing bands together in Santa Barbara from 1980-1982: A ƒew Circles (AKA FX AKA ƒX) and Victor the Florist (I may be posting music from those bands at some point). After playing in those bands together in Santa Barbara, Joe and I moved to Los Angeles at the end of 1982 and formed Laughing Academy which morphed later into Tin Brood.
In 1984 my band Laughing Academy was one of the opening bands for Tones on Tail when they played at The Music Machine in Santa Monica, CA. I guess I was too shy at the time to introduce myself to the band, I was stupid that way. Fast forward to 2008 and the age of the internet, I became friends with Glenn Campling, the bass player for Tones on Tail. We were both just starting to use multi-track recording software on our computers, having started both of our musical careers in the analog age, though both being very computer literate using computers as graphic designers. For recording and mixing, Glenn was using Logic Pro and I was using Pro Tools. Somehow in 2009, on different continents, we managed to record this song together.