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
Since its opening I have also jusssttt about finished the big commission I have been working for Manley Tantuico, which is now out of my studio and residing in his living room in Millbrae. Taking the idea of a family portrait to a new level...
Now its time to start cleaning out my studio and my apartment and heading back to the Big Apple for the next stage of this life I have been given. But first, this Saturday at FFDG at 2277 Mission St. in SF, we are having a closing for my solo show "No Destination" featuring an artist talk by Joel St. Julien and myself and a live PA by Joel (my sound collaborator) from 6 to 8pm. Should be an awesome time and a great way to begin my exit from life in the Bay. Much Love!!!! Do what you feel and remember to #makeworkson!
It is officially coming down to the wire. The work is finished, the stage is set, the sound is almost ready, and I install on Tuesday at FFDG in the Mission! I cannot even believe that I am about to wrap up 8 years of living in the Bay Area with a solo exhibition at the gallery I have dreamt of working with since I arrived here. Life works out in funny ways when we continually put our best foot forward, work as hard as we humanly possibly can, and appreciate all that is around us, or at least try to as much as possible. D Young V had a show called Make an Effort once, and I have to agree, make a fucking effort! When we do life opens up and gives us more, well, life to live. Deeper, more intense, more thorough experiences, both good and bad, but none the less, life. I am into it, I am here to live it, from West to East. Anyway, I'll close this babble up. I looked through a bunch of old Blog posts that reminded me of how much energy and passion has gone into the last four years and all I can really say is, Fuck Yes, it is only just getting better! Come to my show this Friday, or will you miss some awesome shit!
So it is official, and true, and in stone, and on the timeline and etched into the universe, I am moving back to NYC. It has been something that has been in different stages of reality ever since I moved to California eight years ago. I moved from NYC back to NC then to Oakland in 2006, and now I will be completing this circle by literally doing the same thing in reverse this year of 2014 into 2015. Life is full of cycles and growth, eight years of growing and understanding and learning about myself has finally brought me to realize its time to reinvestigate where I am from with new eyes, intentions, and love. I have one more solo show before I leave, at FFDG in San Francisco's Mission district on October 3rd. Then two more months left in Killa Cali and I am headed back east just in time for the horrible weather of winter, which I honestly so dearly miss. I hope everyone can make it out to "No Destination" at FFDG on October 3rd. And also I am incredibly happy to announce I have a show booked with Joseph Gross and ArtNowNY for October of 2015, the gallery in Chelsea I cofounded and help launch with a killer roster of East and West Coast talent back in 2012! I am excited and nervous and totally invigorated by life right now. It's time for some changes and a new chapter in the mythology of this young artist. See you guys in Chinatown eating Excellent Pork Chop House in a few! -JFA III 09/07/2014
UPDATE TIME!!!! Cool, so life keeps winding on and getting more and more awesome. I would like to thank everyone at Superchief, everyone at BRIC Arts, everyone at Littlefield, everyone at Shooting Gallery/White Walls, everyone at Fecal Face, and everyone at LeQuivive for what will, by the end of it, have been a seriously accomplished year of art making and growing. So first things first, this Thursday, Superchief NYC is having a massive group show, seriously, massive! I can't be there, I wish I could, but if you are in NYC and you can be there then you better be there. Nuff said, here is the flyer and info!
Yeah it opens this Thursday night and is going to be wild.
So in other news, I have begun making new work rather diligently. A lot of the experiences I had in Okonuin Graveyard on Koyasan Mountain in Japan, the meditations I experienced in Kyoto, Nara, here in the Bay, visions I have had, are coming up in my practice and it feels amazing. The premise of the exhibition is that the people in the Pilgrimage from my Shooting Gallery show, the tribe of Unstoppable Tomorrow that is seeking a new positive future, wake up one day on their journey to find they have all shared a collective dream. A dream of universal truths, a dream of visionary colors, textures, nostalgic imagery, future past visions of places and paths, sounds, images of rebirth of cyclical destruction into creation, of signs, guides, the past into the future.
The first major meditation I had in Kyoto last year was proof to me that collective spiritual resonance exists and that anyone who had meditated and crossed the dimensional threshold in the temple of Tenryu-ji has seen a universal sort of vision or imagery there. An intense materialization in the mind and spirit and body of forms and movement, of the essence and basics of the flow of energy and its way of weaving our human forms from this physical "reality" through levels and landscapes encompassing pure energy and beyond. So what more fitting way to explore Unstoppable Tomorrow further than through a state that is beyond logic and this physical world. The saga has been concerned with actions and lives in the here and now, not with the ethereal or specifically illustrating the spiritual, the visionary, the guided world of the unconscious and the visualizations that collectively lead it.
The work has an air of nostalgic tranquility, explosive aurally representational flow, entering a calm and almost magically blanketed future past. It will feature rough drawings on paper, diamond like found wood deconstructionist abstractions, paintings focusing on the figurative and organic abstraction, another round of even more explorative strangely shaped pieces, on bringing color back into the equation, on the erotic (blatant and subtle), on creation, on reuse and respect, on lovemaking, evoking guidance through minimalism and pure color and the way in which it carries tracers and trajectories through life, and much much more. I spent hours in the studio yesterday working with found pieces that I have had for a while, creating this gateway back to my experience in Japan, back to the dream like memories of my childhood in Durham and New York City, back to a place that wraps me in almost hallucinatory vision of spirits, and points in time, and shape and color, and moving textures and patterns. While exploring these nostalgic moments in the present through my process I found myself realizing that this is also carrying me into the future, as if to say "you will go back to Okonuin, you will see Southeast Asia, you will find places in New York and LA where these environments that you are reliving will embrace you like a cool moss blanket and give you love and inspiration." The show will be at Fecal Face this coming October. It will narrate this collective dream in a lot of different media and will at the same time give insight to the journey which my inner workings have developed through over time, specifically in the last year and a half. Not all of it will be explainable even for me, but it will all make sense as an experience. This comes at a time that I am really reaching inward to know my path as begin to transition back to the East Coast for a while.
This show is as much a step in Unstoppable Tomorrow as it is in a continued exploration of process and just letting go of my idea of a "willed plan" and letting the magic happen in the studio as I go about fleshing out the original ideas. It is a celebration of my unconscious guiding my conscious hand and feeling, intuitively coming to solutions that once cause chaos in my mind, and explorations of these images, sounds, visions, dreamscapes that I have locked in my psyche. It is as much therapeutic in practice as it is thoughtful. Street Conversations, talking with my surroundings, letting the effect of my being in its natural state, knowing that I am a part of all things and not simply one thing apart from it all. It's about me with the world not against it, always and forever. Knowing that each action and each movement needs to be felt and needs to be streamlined with my path, and if it isn't that is okay, as long as I can stop and pay attention to my guides my gut and the way which the universe needs me to move. The tribe of the Pilgrimage wakes up from this dream, this conversation with the streets and paths and plants and trees and sounds and breeze and rain and everything and knows that they are on their path, that the path is the way and the way is life. That it is not the outcome but the process that makes each next step in the evolution, in the present and in hindsight, so amazing. I will be having street conversations until the day I die.
We are embarking on our journey today! Carolyn and I are getting ready to pack up the car, get the supplies, get the stickers, get the zines, and head to the FFDG "Salt the Skies" group show that I am in, and then we are offffffffff to the great unknown and wide open that is the reverse frontier. Well its known, but it is definitely wide open!
So first off we will be going as far as possible toward Arizona before we pass out. Then we will be gunning it to Austin, Texas to see Terry Addison from Old Crow, one of my bestest homies and favorite people I have ever worked with. We apparently going to hit WhattaBurger and eat some ribs at Salt Lick... or maybe not... we will have to see. Anyway, its time to pack it up... New York City here we come!
Click on the link below to see the video trailer for Excorrigia I The Scourge @ Superchief.