Just met up with a local SF Artist and rad dude named Matthew Badja at Flywheel in the Haight. Much of his practice consists of Photography and some really cool social practice, street installation work. Anywho, I feel inspired myself to post some photos for you gals guys and gender benders. I hope you enjoy. Please contact me if you would like to have prints of any of these.
My whole life I have found deities, specifically Asian Religious deities and gods extremely fascinating. I have always had a spiritual and visionary connection, a feeling of power and universal energy when I see these epic characters in print or in person. The first experience I had in person was hilariously at a "Japanese" Steak House in Durham, NC as child. There were an assortment of buddhist statues, mainly sitting Buddhas and a set of Samurai Armor in the museumesque entrance way walking into the highly americanized corporate take on a Japanese experience. Nonetheless at the age of 6 I was astounded and completely transported to a surreal world of power, dynamism, energy, history, and feeling that I had before then not known.
In Taiwan and Singapore when I was 7, en route with my father's modern dance company Pilobolus at the time, I first time was able to see real larger than life statues of the buddha, of deities, of creatures from Asian folklore, of dragons, of tiger, fish, even the famous lion headed fish in Singapore. My mind swirled and I felt compelled to discover more.
Deities have played a major role in the evolution of my figurative abstraction works over time. Creating creatures larger than life and beyond human comprehension that eventually overtake the world that we live in under the illusion that we human's actually control any of it. Raijin and Fujin are two of my favorites that I continue to investigate in my personal work. My trips to Japan have really continued to compel me to connect with these two major figures of Japanese Mythology and Religious Iconography and I continue on to immerse myself deeper and learn more about this aspect of culture. I have to stop writing at this moment to continue on my day, but let this passage be an intro to an ongoing investigation into seeking the power of these deities and finding my own interpretations of them into my own work, mythology, and practice.
A visual narrative of my trip to Japan... Osaka to Kyoto to Tokyo, May 2016. Thanks to Juso Paint Dojo, Keiko Hakozaki, and the city of Tokyo.
Japan Travels and Art Adventures, 2016 Osaka to Kyoto to Tokyo
I have been in Japan for the last ten days, and it has been a whirlwind! I have learned so much about a city that is somewhat new to me, Osaka, and about painting huge pieces as well. It has been a beautiful, sometimes chaotic and tough learning curve, but now (that also my wifi card on my computer started magically working again) it is just moving forward with an amazing positive force and I am able to look at the whole last two weeks as a real journey of growth and newness and change. Yeahhhhhhh.
So finally I can share some photos of my adventures with you. I have only edited a few so far so the majority will continue to come. Enjoy
The feelings that come with making art, the push and pull, the life experiences spewing forth onto the paper or wood or canvas or being made into sculpture or installation etc can be very mighty. They can be intense overwhelming, sometimes even cause a certain sense of shock that requires a moment of rest after their culmination. I went extremely hard, like I was being a channel for some universal energy for years, hell I still am in the channel and I still go hard. But what I have found since my rather traumatic albeit eye opening experience of going back east and coming to some personal realizations about my place in things, is that the moments of gestation, of mental and spiritual digestion of all these life experiences are very important. To reflect and refocus and reassess and then move forward carefully is a point I have found myself in. As a recovering addict/alcoholic and artist I often want things now now now so to speak, I have found that with age and wisdom comes the necessity of learning how to pace ones self so as not to combust or run ones energy raw. The work I have been making, and my slow moving urges and thoughts about finally embarking into found object assemblage have been evidence of this for me lately. I am so blessed to have a life that I am afforded the time to just be and think and find my center. Just some thoughts for the day. New Painting for Black Book Gallery for my September show. "Rakushisha Vision" 22"x22" Acrylic, Spray Paint, and Oil Pastel on Wood Panel.
Ahhhhhhh Friday. As an artist that does in fact work for a non profit org as well (fighting the good fight for the future of our drinking water no doubt), Friday's still do hold a special place in my heart. I love Friday. Tonight I even have rather wonderful plans after work and I think it is going to be a late night. What can I say, life is good. So as I have been working on pieces for my Fecal Face solo show in the studio, my commission piece for an awesome collector of mine, planning my east coast journey in the winter and much much more, I found myself thinking back to some nostalgic moments in the past few years and wanting to look at some things that I hold dear memories of. I have always thought phrases like "throwback Thursdays" and "Flashback Friday" were corny, but nonetheless I am kind of having a flashback Friday. Here are some photos of some great moments in the past few years. Thanks to everyone out there for all the support, those that have brought negativity which made me grow stronger, and to those who work hard and make the world a better place to be. Thank you all. -JFA III 07/25/2014
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.
So here I sit, back at SFO. 9 months ago I was literally sitting in the same part fo the same terminal getting ready to embark on my amazing trip to Japan.The photo above is from "Bright on Time" with my buddy Kyok Chan. It is now 8:24 PST and I will be flying into JFK at 7:50 EST should everything go according to plan. I just ate some sushi, forwent the fries and burger, no soda but instead green tea, and here I sit not wasting my time staring off into space nor blankly looking at instagram. And to think all of this was in no way possible less than three years ago. Why?
Three years ago I couldn't even get to the airport without being loaded on any number of alcoholic beverages and an array drugs. I couldn't sit in the airport, nor on the plane without ingesting a continuos flow of booze to numb the inherent fear that I lived in and keep the detox in all of its demonic glory far far away. I never honestly knew that there was a different "way to fly" back then, and more importantly didn't understand that this was not a way to live but rather a way to die.
This is from Twist's Mid Career Survey at BAM.
So now here I sit, typing to you the reader, thinking about my first steps when I arrive in the city that raised me. Mike's Coffee Shop or John's Donut? How will I react to the cold? Where will I stay tomorrow night, Pete's house or Mikey's? The issues needing solutions that arise today are in no way even close to ones I once faced, and amazingly enough every single decision I make now brings me further along in a life that I could have never imagined. The life I live today is truly beyond my wildest dreams and I sometimes have to stop and breath it in to make sure I am not dreaming.
That's my dog Sammie Doodle in North Carolina at the homestead
Tonight D Young V, Hugh Leeman, and Eddie Colla have a spectacular group show at 111 Minna. A triumph in its own right because 111 Minna does not play when it comes to their art shows. They are fortunate to be there and 111 Minna is fortunate to have them. Chris Burch just had his show in St. Louis open a couple weeks ago and big ups to him and all of the Screwed Arts Crew. Also Mike Giant is having a spectacular opening tonight at Fecal Face Gallery, and I wish I could be there to meet him and hang with John and Rachel and everyone there. Lots of amazing things happening, but I am so blessed and so grateful to go home and show Brooklyn that I am ready and willing to give back something great to its history of art and culture. BRIC here I come, Eric Araujo and I are going to make a truly memorable installation piece. This year is really off with a bang and I hope to see everyone I know doing like a Raekwon and "Striving for Perfection".
Over and Out! -John Felix Arnold III 02/07/2014
It's insane that this picture is from REAL LIFE!!!! This is the in the 2KM long Okuno-in graveyard on Koyasan Mountain in Japan. These are statues that pray for the sould of dead children. This place is magic. Life is amazing.
New Astroknot drawing 2013, for Shooting Gallery solo show in 2014 Life is a trip you guys and gals. Three years ago pretty much to date I was sitting exactly where I am right now working on my website, getting ready for a couple big shows coming up in the spring exactly as I am right now. I was sober at the time, but a couple relapses away from real sobriety as some would say. I was digging my heels in and grinding my teeth and typing furiously at press emails and blog posts and copying and pasting show descriptions in art site calendars like FecalFace.com and Impose magazine.
I was still a virgin to Hi-Fructose and Juxtapoz and was with my girlfriend (now ex-girl) at the time who lived a block from the cafe on Mason & Washington that I am typing from. I had opened Unstoppable Tomorrow Vol.1 at Old Crow with Chris Burch and D Young V not 20 days before, and was freaking out as my show Past From the Blast was coming up at Queens Nails in just two months. Life felt electric and on fire, and as I sit here typing this for you to read it still feels electric and on fire, a bit more so now to be honest. The intensity is different, the short term gratification has given way to long term hustle and a much bigger vision and state of mind, which coincidentally demands a much deeper, and fully sustaining sort of internal electric source and fuel for a much hotter and longer lasting fire.
The world and the gods have been good to me as I have continued to dig in my heels, hoist up my sleeves, make, write, draw, copulate, glue, talk, laugh, cry, hunker down, take little breaks, get excited and continue to explore this epic world we live in together. It really blows me away at how funny this moment is and how special it is as French lounge music plays in the background and the cable car dings and roars by with its San Francisco history soundtrack following it everywhere it moves.
I am really lucky and really grateful to have made it past that moment three years ago. It proved to be very much a major hurtle, a major proving ground for where my life would go. I had fought and surrendered my way to a new type of life so different than the one I had become accustomed to for so many years, and it really was those events in 2010 and 2011 and the people who remained in my life and the new ones who became a part of it that shaped the path for where I am going now.
I have never had disdain for the holidays, and I am lucky for that. So as I sit here and sun is going down and I can here the kids outside and the parents in the Chinatown meets Jackson Heights area of San Francisco, I can only imagine how many stories I am surrounded by. All those stories give me energy. All those stories to build the fabric of what so many of us create from. Bus drivers, business women, art school kids, swaggy street kids, skateboarders, old chinese ladies with 20 plastic produce and dim sum filled bags, the crazy man on the block with the cart of hoarded newspapers, yuppies, tourists, wanna be thugs, real gangsters sitting in their blacked out Mercedes' with the windows down dragon tattoos wrapping around their arms with cigarettes in their mouths, new parents pushing strollers, old parents of every race with their grown up kids in town for the Holidays, they all pass through leaving freeze frames of motion and character in my mind.
This post goes out to the ether. To the powers at work outside of our tangible vision that make the movements of the universe ebb and flow. To all the artists in the Bay and New York and Japan, to the South, Europe and beyond. The world is happening all over all the time. I am glad this moment in the massive fabric of time has happened for me where I can suddenly have a sort of deja vu memory trip. A moment where I can sit in the same place I was three years ago fighting for my life in a very different pair of shoes, and where I gathered my energy for a great Hadouken and went for it.
Makenzi James from a modeling shoot for painting reference images 2013
It feels good to sit here right now and look back on all that has happened in the last three years and be thankful as Christmas is approaching that I have the capacity to work hard and stay creative and dig deep within myself to contribute what I can to this world of ours. Much love to everyone! IPD, 57, RTS, The Basement, Screwed Arts, Doppel, and every one that is busting that ass and making it happen. #makeworkson
The work has really begun for Pilgrimage, a new green and orange color fusion that feels really amazing and new for me. Out of the darkness we see the light. Speaking of light, I recently got some shine of the Juxtapoz website for the Triangle Magic show at Littlefield (which is actually part of the Gowanus Open Studios art walk this weekend). It is a couple weeks belated to be posting on my blog but better late than never. Also soon I will be updating a press section to my website, and finally getting my online store together so there will be all sorts of goodies and things to be had from the world of Unstoppable Tomorrow. Here is a link from the Juxtapoz piece, just click on the image...
And while we are on the press hunt...here is a link to a Fecal Face post from this summer about the final chapter of the "Bright on Time" Japan adventure...
And for now Angie and I bid you farewell...
So I haven't written a blog post of rambling ferocity in a while. Maybe this one won't be furiously written because I do not find myself furious about anything today. Let's suffice to say that life is good right now. While there are always ups and downs, the world we live in is constantly in a realm of serene chaos and force fully calm bedlam, I find myself right now knowing that I am just where I should be as an artist and a person in this world we all share. Recent events in travel, meditation, love, art making, work, and self work have led me to a place of growth and understanding that I have never really known before.
This year has been absolutely unbelievable as I find myself in process and in the present so much more than I have ever been. I have awakened over the past few years to the understanding that today really is not the end of the world, that decisions made today are not going to the be the end all be all of life, but that being said they do all matter, and all create the whole sum of working parts that have allowed me, day by day, to be given the life I now have. To make work that I love to make, to get excited every day about the possibilities that the future holds and believe that the sky is the limit as long as I am rooted in creating and not ego.
When I arrived home from Japan, the most amazing experience I have had in my life to date to say the least, I quickly enjoyed the opening of the largest accomplishment of my art career to date. The SFMOMA exhibition, "In Memory Of..." opened June 8th, 3 weeks after I returned from my month residency. The roller coaster of life shot up pretty high, and then afterward it was on to Minneapolis for a month of work for the non-profit that is my day job and helps to support my art career in an effort to not exhaust my presence and my ideas too quickly and keep me financially intact (burnout syndrome is the worst syndrome).
Upon this trip in the middle of America I experienced the drop of the roller coaster so to speak. The pit of my stomach stuck in the Mall of America felt like it was eating itself from the inside out. And it was beautiful in all of its anxious, low, depressive glory, for I knew that this is the balance that is life. The scales will always weigh themselves out even in the long run if we just keep our ear to the street and smell the air with each step. While inside it was painful to have gone up so high and then down so low, it was amazing to experience all of these things without any substances, without anything to change the way I was feeling. The gifts of sobriety I must say are the most beautiful and true gifts I have received in my life. Listening to Yeezus on the light rail wishing I was back in Japan watching the toxic, dripping heart of America go by on my way to the church of consumerism made me really understand that I am fit for this lifetime. I am right sized and in my place.
A new found love and affection has recently come into my life, and has made me really grateful for everything that I have ever been through. Whether it was being locked up and in central bookings reflecting on how to not live life, being so twisted on drugs and alcohol that I would end up in the E.R. with tubes and fluids going in me while I was somewhere in a pain so deep it almost consumed me, or going bowling with friends, or drawing a figure that every mark made me feel a sort of explosive, orgasmic love of life, or on a mountain top in Japan in a Buddhist Temple making love to a beautiful woman on the tatami floor and then going in a hot spring, or driving to Pt. Reyes with my partner engrossing ourselves in one another's lives and stories. Like I said on stage right before Japanther performed at my "Past From the Blast" show in 2011 at Kitsch, "We All Do This Together!"
It is a beautiful thing when one can reconcile and be allowed to understand their purpose in this lifetime, in this phase of the energy that we are part of while on this earth. When one can lean back and close their eyes and smile because they know what the universe has asked of them and they seek with their entire life until the end to fulfill that mission. I rest happy every night knowing that I am meant to make art, to create things for humanity to experience, to share my world and my perspective on the world, and to be a conduit of creation for a power and an energy so much larger than myself, that I still am a part of, that we are all a part of.
It's awesome to know that my purpose is to bring people together, to open eyes, to challenge sight and thought, to excite and entertain, to love and be loved. It feels amazing every time I create something new, or get a flood of ideas and plans into my psyche about where my work, where the work that the universe wants to flood through me, is going and what possibilities I am going to share with those dear to me as we all march on and trudge the road to happy destiny! It is true, "We All Do This Together!" And I would have it now other way. Love life, live this life, because its the only you get in this lifetime... Thanks for reading! -John Felix Arnold III P.S. Horiyoshi III in the image below definitely shares my thoughts on this, we kicked it hard in his studio, his energy is infectious, dude is the fucking man!!!!!
So the picture of C-Rayz Walz is one of the first published Illustration gigs I ever did for Def Jux Records back in 2004. Where is that guy? It is the album art for his Black Samurai E.P.
The Dave Chappelle Block Party Movie was filmed in, and the Block Party itself, my old neighborhood on the edge of Bed Stuy and Clinton Hill in Brooklyn. This is one of the choice shots of Wycleff and Lauren Hill battling it out, getting reallllll emotional during the Fugees reunion bit. HISTORY was made! 2003 was a big and crazy year for a lot of things.
This is a drawing I did for the Babylon Falling Closing show "The End is Near" in 2009. It was called "KaliMonTen"... I really want to go back in this direction with some of the newer work, but as with all things it's about finding that opportune moment of balance where it is good to feel that initial discomfort to re-enter and idea from whence it becomes new and big and fun again and a totally fresh way.
Yes it is still true, at least to us, Japan is home to some of the most ridiculous English translations on clothing, but when you are there, they don't really give a shit what we think, which is awesome. They have literally taken our words and made them their own, so we get something out of it. The one that says curation really fucking cracks me up, I wonder what they were really getting at, it has to be a feeling or like a type of action they were trying to pinpoint but there probably just isn't an English word for it. HatLip is just, well HatLip. Like "Hey man what's that hat all about?" "You know homie, that's just that HatLip!!!!!!"
Something we do not have in the States, 5 century old castles with giant moats to repel all sorts of attackers from Samurai, to Ninja, to Ashigaru, to just crazy ass locals that are pissed at the government and tired of getting taxed. I think today's moats are called the Banking System, Credit Default Swaps, and Debt. I would kind of rather be a Ninja and swim across the water and scale the wall and kill the Lord and get the Princess to be honest, way more bad ass.
This woman came out of her house to talk to me, I don't think she had been outside for a long time. She was super cool.
I wish I had had a giant Kendo sword fighting cru when I was like ten years old.
And finally this is an awesome studio shot of the work I made for the SFMOMA taken by Megan Wolfe. I am going to miss Megan, she has been a bright light in the Bay Area art scene for a long time now! Thanks for all the years of hard work and being a bad ass! You will be missed. In other news I am going to New York for fourth of July weekend, expect a lot fo Graffiti pictures a lot of images of friends acting out in public....see you soon!-Felix
Bright On Time
"Bright on Time" is a collaborative Residency Project from John Felix Arnold III (USA) and Koutaro Ooyama aka Mon (Japan). The opening of the exhibition is the culmination of three weeks of intense thinking, work and collaboration between the two artists. Transcending language and cultural barriers the two artists have created a beautiful, fully interactive, and multi disciplinary environmental installation.
The piece utilizes the entire gallery space, in which you are invited to sit, lounge, stretch out, and relax on the sculptural structure, floor, anywhere. Enjoy the collaborative painting that wraps around the whole room, and zone out to the atmospheric sound work that will fill the space. Viewers are invited and encouraged to enjoy the Moss (Koke') pillows that have been hand crafted, and enjoy a state of introspective calm and creative relaxation inside of a world that is inspired by Japan's Koyasan Mountain and the idea of the ancient meeting the future to create a multi layered present.
The project provides the viewer a world in which you can have a moment away from the hyper activity of Tokyo to reflect and enjoy peace of mind and interaction with the artwork and one another. We encourage interaction, conversation, comfort, and any activities that one may feel inspired to enjoy in the space, so that you the viewer will become part of the artistic statement and larger piece rather than simply a "viewer". Please come and become part of our world. The artists will be at the event to entertain any dialogue and questions you may have and the night will be aurally graced by sound work made by "Felix" and "Mon". Drinks and snacks are also available and we anticipate a strong reception and party.
Reception and Party Begins at 7pm and goes until ?
Spes-Lab is located @ Mita 2-3-20 2F, Meguro-Ku, Tokyo, Japan 153-0062
Any press inquiries are welcome. This event is free.
I have been so busy with the organization of this trip and residency, and the traveling, and now the actual project work that I have not had a chance to get to my blog...So my apologies to everyone out there in blog land....I will be returning in the morning with a more in depth post about the travels, visions, and work going on with "Bright on Time" at Spes-Lab!!! Good to be back in touch with you...
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.
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!!!!
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!
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.
The amazing Chiaki Cheese with Adam Amram at Izakaya.
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!
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!
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!
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.
The Hostel in Osaka was reallllly awesome. Ten Hostel it was called. I highly recommend!
Yes, the best, the Osaka Style Okonamiyaki. This edible delight concluded one of my food journeys on the trip.
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.
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.
I was on tour with the amazingly talented, hard working, and inspiring duo of Ken Minami and Adam Amram, known as Ken South Rock recently. In one of the most surprising events I have ever experienced, I was asked to go on tour with them in the end of 2011, that tour being in July 2012. They proposed that I come on the road with them armed with pain, markers, and my enthusiasm and energy, and make a live painting on stage while they performed at every show I was there for. They asked me to be a hype mane, dance, sing back ups some times, and make awesome art onstage while being crazy.
Adam Amram, John Felix Arnold III, and Ken Minami, in Kyoto @ Dewey Live House. 07/24/2012
These are all things that come very naturally to me, so I happily obliged. Aside from the three of us, Ken's awesome wife Chiaki (who was like out translator and our therapist lol) came along and an amazing photographer named Walter Wlordrzyck to document the adventure. We traveled from Tokyo to Kamisuwa to Gifu to Nagoya to Osaka to Kyoto and then I embarked back to Tokyo to work on a different project in Shibuya as they continued on further south. I believe they are in Taiwan at the time of this blog post, and all I can say is that these guys go hard as fuck and that it was truly an honor to be a part of such an amazing happening.
Temple Detail near Ken and Chiaki's Apartment, near Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Every single city was awesome, each having a speciality food they are known for. As I peered out of the windows of many trains we took along the journey, I was ceaselessly bombarded with sublime, and serene countryside, mountain scape, village to town to city views, and a non stop show of visual amazement. The lushness and glow of the green in the mountain side views is no where close to being replicated in these images.
Out of the train window on our way to Gifu from Kamisuwa.
We ate amazing food that, to my surprise, came from convenience stores, mini marts, hole in the wall train station cookeries, 7/11s and more. We laughed a lot, we tried to sleep, we even were enswathed by scores of school girls in the train cars that had no idea of where we had come and what we were doing, but were none the less totally blown away by the whole thing. I have so much more to tell you guys, and so many photos I have to go through, but here is a good lead in blog post to begin to get the whole memory of this truly surreal experience into your eyes, and a good chance for me to begin regrouping and figuring out whats next after such an amazing experience.
School Girl Mob on the Train traveling from Gifu to Nagoya.
The Beautiful Yui from Suichu Blanco, the awesome band we went on Tour with.
I can't lie, I am kind of depressed on the daily that I am not there anymore, that I am surrounded by insane amounts of American over consumption, Escalades and Hummers driving by with one person inside, by a culture that revels in "fucking shit it up" just for the sake of doing so, and an overwhelming sense of people trying to get over on one another where, "its not my problem" is the motto.
The amazing Chiaki "Cheese" Minami and Walter Wlodarcyck on a train headed for Osaka.
Gyoza in Nagoya.
I love my country and I love my group of people that I am in the struggle with, but there are a lot of things I now realize that I am not okay with since I have gained some perspective. The food thing is also killing me. I ate so much healthy food, even literally from convenience stores, that tasted so good, with no growth horomones or anything, and now it is hard to get used to that food coma feeling I get here in the states after eating even small things. I have a lot of material to get back in the studio with now! I am very grateful for that!
It has been a minute since my last post. Coming back from the most amazing, life changing trip to Japan, literally having traveled back in time and being mega jet lagged for days, going back to work immediately, moving into my new studio in Oakland, suddenly getting new freelance work and having my calendar fill up with shows for the year in a week left me a little claustrophobic for minute. But alas things are rollin'! So yes Japan was amazing! I have already started planning next years trip out there and now it is a matter of writing proposals and finding sponsors. The next one will be bigger and better, and have a larger more thunderous community voice of artists behind it. I haveta say I truly miss waking up and having my ritual 7/11 Chicken Karage Yakitori (Fried Chicken on a stick) and my little Boss coffee drink to get me going, but not weigh me down, haha. So yes many amazing connections were made, many friendships were established and strengthened, and we really have a new family out in Nihon that I look forward to building with till the end of days. We raised about $800 for Ashinaga which is awesome. It feels good to help the next generation of young artists, engineers, teachers, etc. Here are a few photos of our experience! Also an article about this will be coming out in Dig In Magazine soon so look out for it. Tracy Jones from Microscopic Giant who lives in Tokyo now and was kind of the catalyst for the decision to make this trip and art show series happen put together the article. Big Ups to Tracy Jones and Natsumi for holding it down in Tokyo through natural disasters, weddings, and me coming out there to visit. Here are some photos as promised, for more photos of Japan and a more personal photolog of my travels and exploits throughout my life please check out my new sister site http://felixthethirdrock.tumblr.com . Most of the photos below are of the Live Performance I did with Ken Minami from Ken South Rock on Sept. 20th, with some added extra classic shots from the trip. Look out for another, bigger collaborative series next year with Ken South Rock!
Isaac Schulz giving me a touch up!
First night in Tokyo we went to a 200 year old restaurant and this elderly couple next to us on the tatami floor were really, really into my tattoos. They were incredible and I don't think I could have asked for a better first night and experience in Japan. They apparently had spent the whole day at museums looking at Edo period Japanese prints and were super stoked to suddenly see one of the artists' work (Kuniyoshi) all over my arms.
This is called the Daibutsu, it is one of the largest Bronze sitting Buddha statues int he world. It is in Kamakura which is a very very important part of Japanese History on spiritual, developing, and military levels. It was absolutely beautiful!
This was our last dinner in Japan! Look at this crew, an international conglomeration of insane artists that should probably be committed yet are out making international voices. This was probably the thickest cut bacon I have ever eaten, so awesome! Did I mention the food was worth moving to Japan for? It is!
This is the exterior guard tower at the wet moat of Osaka Castle at Sunset. I don't have much more to say other than I miss Nihon.
Okay so enough of Japan. Check my Tumblr as stated before for more photos and nostalgia.
The end of the Year is coming up fast and 2012 is already off with a bang. Nov. 11th at D-Structure I will be int he Someshine Art Show the Greg Moreno, the mastermind behind Someshine Clothing has organized. Myself and other Someshine artists will be rocking the Lower Haight with this show. I will be back and forth between New York through November and December working on a new Gallery (more to come on this) and collaborating with some really awesome artists out there. February has something big sooking but I can't really get into it quite yet. March I will be having an art show in Brooklyn at an awesome space called Littlefield NYC and we plan to have Ninjasonik and Kid Codec performing live at the opening. Then it is serious grind time because in July I officially have a solo show at Old Crow that I am extremely excited about! I have been working with them for a long time and am honored to rock a solo show there. It's going to be a monster year, I am sure there will be many unexpected ups and downs, additions, and surprises so I will be sure to keep you in tune. Till next time...Love-Felix