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
I have been cleaning the hell out of my apartment and studio getting ready for my big move coming up on December 2nd back to the home front. Excited is the very least of it, really looking forward to this new phase in my life. Can't wait to see my family and make art as a sober adult in the places that really shaped me early on, well until I was 26, and even then through memories and constant revisiting and having a life still in those places, until today. Finding some awesome images on the internet from the past few years. Enjoy.
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!
Hello hello! First off : "Pilgrimage" is up for ONE MORE WEEK! Until this Saturday June 7th! So if you haven't seen it go check it out. I have been so wrapped up in life since the show opened that I haven't had a chance to sit down and be in touch with you all, my apologies. I went to LA this past weekend to begin connecting and to see some old NYC friends that I work with and have known for some time, that are doing great things. The future is shaping up nicely! I am grateful for this life of mine for sure, and LA and I have some things to look forward to.
So about three weeks ago we saw the opening of my solo show "Pilgrimage" at San Francisco's famous Shooting Gallery on Geary street. The opening was a success, and we have been fortunate enough to get some amazing press from it all! Press including my friend and awesome writer Goldmine Sachs over at Impose Magazine did a really fun interview with me, as did one of my favorite people Tracy Jones at the Microscopic Giant, the awesome and uber talented Lale' Shafaghi at Juxtapoz Magazine gave a great preview piece, Zach Tutor and his widely loved Supersonic Electronic blog gave us some support a Fecal Face round table interview will be coming out this week, and lastly Kimberly Chun from 96 Hours did a really awesome interview with me that came out in print as well as online in 96 Hours.
The response has been unbelievable, the opening was awesome, and I have been getting tons of inquiries and new conversations have blossomed out of it. Really proud of this one! I still have some photos to process and get from Shooting Gallery of some of the work but the majority of it is viewable in the PILGRIMAGE Section of the Portfolio on this site, as well as on the Shooting Gallery SF site (Where you can also find information on sales and purchasing).
So amidst all of the things that life brings, amidst the non stop flow of energy and thoughts and experiences, I am very very happy that this show was realized with Shooting Gallery. The space was simply perfect for it, the people there were a pleasure to work with, and this exhibition truly did embody a "Pilgrimage" for myself. The events that took place in its initial conceptualization, the journey I went through with life, love, pain, joy, progress, and time during its execution, and the final result have all brought me to a new place within myself and my relationship with all things around me.
A true sense of balance, fulfillment, acceptance and the yearning to continue seeking, to strive on and continue moving forward, has really overcome me. I am having really beautiful visions in my meditations, I happened upon a Koyasan temple at random in LA (Buddhist Twilight Zone Sounds haha), and my eyes are very open as is my being. I am excited to embark on everything from here on out. The past four years of making art in the Bay Area have really helped to shape my path and to bring me to center with an open mind and a watchful eye to see where my next guide may be. Fecal Face Gallery solo is in the Fall, and then who knows, who knows where I will go. Maybe LA, maybe back to NC, maybe NYC for a reunion with my home. But the one thing I can take away from this experience is this, I am doing exactly what I was put on this earth and in this universe in this form to do, and I am overwhelmingly grateful for the path I am on. John Felix Arnold III 06/02/2014
I am beside my self. It has been about a years worth of a journey. Hot off of the heels of the "Excorrigia : The Scourge" Solo show at Superchief in NYC I just had with Superchief, I present to you the other side. The opposite side of existence and the journey forward. I present "Pilgrimage" at the uber famous San Francisco staple, Shooting Gallery! I have partnered with Paxton Gate on this amazing show.
They have supplied me with bones, skulls, and really awesome news, they have officially procured a taxidermy warthog that will be part of the central sculptural installation piece of the show! We are already getting all sorts of press for the show, including an awesome interview piece from Sjimon Gompers at Impose Magazine, Tracy Jones at The Microscopic Giant, and the show is in print as part of the hot picks of the week in the SFWeekly as well as on their website.
The opening is going to be killer, there are other openings in the White Walls/Shooting Gallery complex the same night that are all going to be incredible. Here are some images of work to look forward to seeing in person in the show. I am in the home stretch and tomorrow will see the final realization of a lot of hard work and love for what I do.
I am happily getting ready for three major happenings in my life right now. All are art exhibitions. First I will be a part of the BRIC Arts "Art Into Music" Exhibition in Brooklyn, NY opening February 19th. I will scavenging and materials and building a site specific installation in the exhibition space at the new museum complex that will incorporate a stage for performances and listening stations to listen to each of the contributing artists play lists that inspire them. Mega Cool!
Then its back to Oakland for three weeks as I prepare for my cross country trip to NYC and my solo exhibition Excorrigia / The Scourge at Superchief Gallery opening on April 3rd.
Fuujin : Mixed Media on Wood Panel : 18"x24"
And then finally it is back to the Bay once again to finish up the Shooting Gallery solo Pilgrimage which I am happy to now announce will also mark the beginning of a new partnership with the amazing Paxton Gate. A number of pieces will feature bones and items sourced from Paxton Gate to help to realize the vision of Pilgrimage and continue to a partnership will into the future!!! This is going to be an amazing year!
See Through the Sun : Mixed Media on Found Object : 2014
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
It's been a minute since I have put in an update. Life has been moving along at a sometimes grinding, sometimes hyper, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly pace. I have been cranking the work along at really solid pace. I have been making amazing realizations and beautiful mistakes to grow from in my process. And this applies to life making art and life lived outside of making art. At almost 2 and a half years sober I have definitely learned and found so much of myself deep within and feel that I can walk confidently with humility and compassion through life as best I am able to this point. I hope this is being reflected in the work I have been creating and feel a deep connection with the new things I have been creating as well as ideas that been permeating my mind in anticipation of big installations and trips and adventures in art I am going to be taking on over the next six months. exploding innocence : 4'x3' : mixed media on fabricated found object wood panel
For starters, as I begin the mission to forward into my Superchief Show, I will be putting up an Indie A Go Go fundraiser to raise the proper necessities to go on a cross country guerilla artist adventure collecting bones and bullets, clothes and drift wood, rusty car fenders and window panes, to inevitably build a big and beautiful installation and performance piece setting/environment for the show in April. I am toying with names like "There Will Be Blood" and "Carnal Carnivorous Cannibalism". I will be offering prints and drawings and original artwork in my Indie A GoGo campaign so watch out for it! This trip will be epic, and documented thoroughly as I roll across the country kicking up dust.
hot war : 18"x24" : mixed media on wood panel
And the following month it will be time to really get grizzly with the environment I will be creating at Shooting Gallery for my solo exhibition that is thus far named "Pilgrimage". The name may be changing to "Spring Spots and Walkabouts" or "Grow On Up in the Light". Anyway, the work for this show is almost two thirds complete, as far as the paintings and drawings are concerned, which is a huge stress reliever because Shooting Gallery is a massive space and I was a bit nervous about filling it, but my tenacious, obsessive, insane work ethic and need to just #makeworkson has really helped my vision to explode into a journey through process and thinking. In short I am stoked about how the work has come together thus far.
So the end of this update caps off like this! I am incredibly grateful for everyone in my life thus far, everyone, friend and enemy that has helped shape and mold the person I have become. Everyone in the Bay Area, New York, NC, Japan, Everywhere! Seriously, as I walked to work today, in light of all of the recent things in my life that have happened and they are rather intense on every level without having to explain in detail here, I am so incredibly grateful for the shoes I walk in and the people that I get to experience and love daily! Thank you all for helping this man continue forward with integrity and passion. I am doing my damnedest!. MAKE WORK SON!
With two solo shows in back to back months, April and May, between NYC and SF I have my work cut out for me right now. And I happily accept the challenge. The show in New York in April at Superchief will investigate and concern itself more with the actual Astroknots that wreaked havoc amongst our society around the year 2120 and the subsequent show in May at Shooting Gallery, Pilgrimage, will illustrate and engage the tribe in the post reset world I have been following with each show as they move onto to "greener pastures" and forward as survivors in this new chaotic world. I am psyched to say the least. All Around and Inside Out : 4'x2' : Mixed Media on Wood Panel
These two shows mark a massive milestone for me as one of them bookends the beginning of the saga and personifies and explores the actual creatures of destruction and their tumultuos effect on the people, places and things that were in their path as they rolled and throttled their ways across the landscape of earth. These creatures very much mimic much of what I see as the environmental and economic implications of what humanity has done to the world and its effect on the fragile society that has been erected to this point.
And then Pilgrimage suddenly takes the ongoing story of the same group of survivors I have been utilizing since Unstoppable Tomorrow Vol. 1 at Old Crow in 2010, to a new and massively developmental phase of their existence. This can be seen through a lot of new experimentation with my pieces, new color palettes, a lot of simplification in placement and effect, and the rebirth of found object pieces that are meant to feel like actual archaeological remnants from this tribe that will lead into the central interactive prayer installation. The narrative "graphic Novel" element that the audience will be surrounded by will be a mixture of new colors, new ways of signifying different entities, emotions, happenings, and growth. There will be very literal story telling narrative portraiture, found object relics, very abstract and non representational pieces that give off far more feeling and emotion than literal, figurative works can, and more... and a whole new abstract sound epic inside of the installation (which will this time be housed inside of a structure as of now, this may change). Oh, there will also be some "Triangle Magic" within the exhibition...
Oh and New York was awesome you guys. Stay Tuned.
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
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...
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.
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!
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!!!!
So 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.
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.
It 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.
So 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.
I 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.
And 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!
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...
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!
Christopher Burch and I descended on the new Book & Job Gallery on Wednesday, November 7th to begin our install of our Fall 2012 two man show "Found in Darkness". Exploring our own personal mythologies that comprise the focus of our work we embarked on this show in August of this year. Examining respective narrative architectures and linear framework, we began creating installations that reflect real environments within our imaginary worlds, both dealing with different reflections of contemporary issues of social problems, race, the environment, and a proposed future of humanity in our own tales.
We were able to create a conversation through our mixed media forays that not only blended and melded together well in the space but also pushed one another's practice to a new level of intricacy. Chris dealing with his modern day reinterpretation of the Br'er Rabbit Folk Mythos and myself dealing with all the legends and myths of the world of "Unstoppable Tomorrow" that I have created, we embraced the Book & Job Gallery with energy, drive, thought, and a sense of community and challenge. Our drawings and paintings spoke well with one another as our installation works tied the environment together into a dialogue of two strong minded individuals exploring their own tangible realities in this world together through imagination and practice.
Guy Culver also helped organize a wonderful show of musical talent. Chris Danko of Religious Girls performed an awesome piano solo. Then Guy Culver and his drummer Ringo performed their punk influenced, electronic, synth heavy, hard hitting electro fuck fest of beats, noise, and beautiful screamo moments of chaos as Laughters.
Carson Lancaster, the man behind Book & Job Gallery, did a great job of orchestrating the evening and the install and was a pleasure to work with as well!!! I recommend working with him to any other artist that may be interested in contacting Book & Job. All in all it has been a great experience. Thanks again to Chris for inviting me to be a part of Book & Job and creating yet another killer show with me. -Felix