What a Year what a year what a year! This was probably my most focused year to date! When I established the production calendar for 2014 I was a bit nervous to be honest, anxious in a healthy way though. I found myself saying "Holy shit can I really do this? Can I really handle this entire chain of events and stay sane with a job and my AA program and all in between?" But it was a healthy thought, a positive forward looking sort of nervousness, an affirmation that I was meant to take this challenge and push forward! And sure enough, it all happened, and more that came down the pipe out of the blue, and honestly I have to say I fucking rocked it (Hahaha)! I definitely hit my limit, and it is good to know ones limits for sure. Needless to say, I will be in NYC in 2015, and Coby Kennedy and I are coming for you (hahaha)! Blade Runner Steez!
As I grow and change and move and progress and love and live, coming to understand ones self and ones strengths, ones weaknesses, ones limitations and once fierce powerful drive, to find those things that keep us going, to find those things we need to let go of, to find those relationships that hurt and those that help and nurture us is really at this point in my development what life is all about. It is this process of seeking that is LIFE to me. It is not how many shows I can do, it is not how many instagram followers one has, it is not how many things one can pile on and accomplish, it is not praise, it is not critique, it is not money, it is not recognition, it is not affirmations of love and working through loss; it is all of those things, it is every piece of the cosmic puzzle, it is the SEEKING that all of those elements are a part of, that creates the road map and the experiences and signs and guides and milestones and failures and successes and insights that one can truly manifest and become knowing of their own energy so as to continue seeking as a part of all things. We are all a part of all things in the universe, we are all connected constantly whether we realize it our not. It is how when I seek, when I concentrate inward my spiritual center can be found amidst and working through all of these things. It is simply to be aware, to be positive, to be seeking, and simply BE.
I have to say, the spiritual practice that I have come to find as the cornerstone of my life has really expanded and been investigated, and really is what saw me through this year and made me come to find what true happiness is. I can honestly say, this year I found what happiness truly is to me at this point. I had an awesome partner in this journey, my friend Jen, that I was fortunate enough to have come along for what we ended up calling TTT or Transcendental Taco Tuesday, where we explored some new heights and complexities and simplicities in exploring the world within our selves that is a gateway to the universe and all of its different dimensions and planes of existence. Needless to say, I say some visions, saw intricacies and portals, guides and animal friends, pure energy and the elements of creation and destruction and all that is everything and nothing. We also ate some incredible tacos and talked about life and the universe and contemplated our places in it all to an extent I have never really experienced with another person.
I experienced pure love like I have never felt before as I grew and learned and felt and loved with Julie Moon (the illest Piano player ever btw) and saw another person in recovery climb up out of the ego and the fear that is addiction and alcoholism, through trauma and pain, to find herself and help me find myself, and in the process find ourselves together. We experienced new heights in understanding, compassion, exploration of ourselves and each other. We found what acceptance, patience, intimacy, chemistry, attraction, arousal, sexual exploration and openness, respect, willingness, compassion and an utter devotion to one another's creative evolution and freedom, to understanding that we have to be happy with ourselves in order to love one another, to what respecting and truly loving another human being for who they are on all levels truly means. She is in Korea right now living out her own dream of seeking, and playing music, and re-investigating her homeland and confronting so many things that she needs closure and clarity and growth from. She is a force of nature and continues to be a magnetic energy everywhere she goes.
I drove across the country with an amazingly talented young tattooer and artist name Carolyn. We shared an intimate two weeks that people do not often get to experience. Intimate in the fact that neither of us had ever driven cross country and we established some incredible memories and a real friendship in the process. We got to see some family in Austin Texas as we hung with Terry Addison, saw Bob MaCready in Houston, Nathaniel and his amazing restaurant Boucherie in NOLA, hung with my mom and ate BBQ in NC and more. We ate our way across the nation and brought an incredible happening to New York City, building with Superchief and making life long bonds! And a huge thanks to John and Lizz for their hospitality and friendship! We will never forget that damn trip, or South of the Border! I further got to know Joel and Rhea St. Julien and there amazing daughter Olive as Joel and I made soundscapes and connected our creative minds on multiple projects. I appreciate that I have such an amazing family everywhere I go now!
Eric Araujo, one of my best buds that I met in SF, connected me with the amazing people at BRIC arts in Brooklyn for the opportunity of a life time to work with some incredible people during the winter vortex! Julie Kim and the Littlefield crew flew me out yet again to paint on of the best large scale paintings I have ever done. There were the great people at the Shooting Gallery that helped me realize the biggest show I have ever done with "Pilgrimage". "Champagne Tigers" at LeQuivive, hanging out at Old Crow with Sean and Evan and Victor, talking about the world with Dre and Bleu Cheese with Chris Burch. I went on a couple trips to LA where I got hang out with Stephanie Inagaki, meet Andrew Kline from CMHHTD and Strife, and finally explore the city with an open mind and heart which made me finally love that place! Spent some killer times with Salem OFA! I reconnected with Joseph Gross, and was so incredibly happy to see him thriving and doing great things with his gallery. We have continued to build and I am super happy to announce that I have a solo show with Joseph Gross Gallery in October of 2015! Joey is a intensely positive force in this world and will continue to do amazing things!
I experienced the most amazing send off I could have ever had with Rachel Ralph and John Trippe at Fecal Face as I closed out 8 years of living in the Bay Area with my solo show at FFDG, "No Destination". Lale Shafaghi helped spread the word and vision of my artwork to the big world we are a part of as we built a friendship. As things wrapped up, I came to an end of over 4 years of working with the best people on earth at Clean Water Action, a place that showed me that people do care about others and have a desire to work hard for a cause that aims to help others and the world as a whole. We had a lot of fun, and that job helped me grow up into sobriety and work hard with a sense of purpose. It also goes without saying that every moment I spent with my AA peoples in Oakland and SF and my rad Sponsor Bucky were great and vital to my development as a human being. Timmy the Optimist kept popping up with a lot energy and a great vision of things to come. Manley Tantuico and his amazing family facilitated the biggest commission I have ever done. They showed me a lot of compassion, friendship, and treated me like family every step of the way (and we have some designs for some things to come in the next couple years!). Birthdays, break ups, hook ups, sign up sheets, late night calls, early morning flights, babies being born, people getting married, Fed EX, memories worked through, new pain, new pleasure, new love, old habits broken, new habits made, great food eaten, its all life, and it's all important and amazing!
I sit here in Durham, NC, in the house I grew up in writing this, seeking, living, and loving the fact that I have been given this time in this world on this planet with all of you to keep moving forward and to be grateful for all of it. The good the bad the ugly and amazing... Everything is everything. My friend Jen and I will be living in the same place again soon and will continue our TTT vision quest. May Julie Moon continue to make the world feel deeply with her music and build amazing new heights as a person and my partner. May Chris Burch keep climbing the way he is meant to, opening the eyes of all that come into contact with him. May Alfonso Cosio Monique Delauney keep tying the Bay Area art world together and supporting the arts passionately and with all the energy they put out there in the world. May Dana James keep moving up to the sky tattooing amazing work and being the prophetic voice and compassionate person he is. May Rachel Ralph keep bringing intricate and beautiful conversations that involve all of us with FFDG. And may I continue moving to NYC, one of the places that raised me up to the man I am today, and where I shall call home again and continue seeking. To all those I didn't mention, you know that you are as important as anyone else in this world! May everyone have a full 2015 and continue to grow and evolve and change!!! We All Do This Together! Thanks to everyone for making the Unstoppable Tomorrow one that I am incredibly happy to be a part of. -JFA III 12/31/2014