Monday, March 5, 2012

A Twelve Year Journey


For a few months in the winter/spring of 2000, I lived in the house my Grandfather built in Milwaukee. There in the basement, kept warm by a wood stove, I painted a portrait of jazz legend Curtis Counce. Fast-forward to 2011 - while living in Argentina, I sold the piece to a patron visiting from L.A. and agreed to deliver it when we moved back to the U.S. Today , in my art studio in L.A., 12 years after it's creation, I am putting a final varnish coat on it in preparation for delivery. When painting "Curtis" over a decade ago I never would have guessed the journey he and I would have to go on before we found his home.

Currently Listening To:
Song: Headlong Into The Abyss
Artist: We Are Augustines (official site)

Headlong Into the Abyss by We Are Augustines on Grooveshark

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Danko Video 13 (HD) | "Funkyland" | Music by K.Flay

(having trouble viewing the above video? go here)
Relax. Breathe. Fast-foward.

Artist: K.Flay
Album: K.Flay EP
Song: No Duh

The song in the video comes from the mad lyrical skills of K.Flay, off her self-titled EP. You can download her latest greatest EP Eyes Shut from her site here. Do it to it!

More K.Flay news and goodness can be found online at the following places:

FunkylandFunkyland (click image to enlarge)
Converse opened a new flagship retail store on the 3rd St Promenade in Santa Monica. Behind the cashstand is an 11ft x 16ft wall where every six months they will feature a new L.A. artist. I was selected to be the featured artist for the grand opening of the store and this is the mural I brought to life.

The Converse Mural | "Funkyland"

The Orange Gorilla, the mohawk, and me, have been quiet the last few months as we transitioned to living back home in the United States after three and half years of meandering around South America. Rest assured though, that during this recent span of radio silence we've been busy here in L.A. setting up the new Gorilla Studio while simultaneously conspiring when and how to UNLEASH the Orange Beast back on the home front.

As it turns out "when" is now and "how" is the 11'x16' mural I did for the grand opening of the new Converse retail store on the 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica. Check it out!

We're back, and it's good to be home...bringing the funk.

(Having trouble viewing the images? They can also be seen on flickr here.)

FunkylandFunkyland (click image to enlarge)

Grand Opening

That DJ Made My Day


Signed with the Chucks I paint inSigned with the Chucks I paint in

5ft Gorilla Head

Adding Five InchesDay 5 - Yeah, so we're gonna need you to come in Saturday to finish those TPS reports and add another 5 inches to the bottom of the mural.

Mixtape Love

Captain of the Scissor LiftCaptain of the Scissor Lift

Day 4

Day 3

Day 3

Day 1

A Blank CanvasA blank canvas

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reacclimating After Three Years Abroad

It's been two weeks and I still catch myself at random moments, like in line at the grocery store, being blown away by the fact that I'm actually living in the States again. Forty months was a long stretch to be away from friends, family and the culture that resonates subconsciously in my bones, and now suddenly it's done. After learning how to numb the distance, it's been invigorating to not have to anymore. I guess maybe that's part of what they call culture shock. It's good f@#%ing awesome to be home.

Right now our actual home is an old warehouse building turned into loft spaces in the Arts District of downtown L.A., near Little Tokyo. I've gotten used to living out of my suitcases, which is a good thing since the cargo ship carrying the rest of our stuff won't arrive here until some time in November. Being forced to live minimally has been a good reminder that there's a lot of crap I don't really need (except for my books and art supplies. Missing that stuff for sure).

Re-immersing back into U.S. culture has been a trip. Little things blow my mind. Giant stores like Ralphs and Target that carry anything and everything. Cars yielding to pedestrians. Everyone speaking English. Then there's the food. After friends and family, food has definitely been one of the highlights since returning from the land of beef, especially since I'm not much of a beef eater. Mexican food. Sushi. Vietnamese. Thai. New York style pizza. Did I say it's good to be home?

One of the biggest adjustments since returning, besides going from spring to fall and losing a summer, has been transportation. Annie and I made the decision to get bikes and Metro passes, and roll car-free. Mass transit in Buenos Aires is cheap and extensive, and we had gotten used to living in the city without a car. In L.A. it's definitely more of a challenge, and I admit being skeptical of it working at first, but not only does it seem totally doable living and working downtown or near the Metro lines, it's been the bomb to be out shredding a city on two wheels again.

So yeah, after two weeks, I'm still definitely dealing with some culture shock, but the only really byproducts of it have been giant grins and an occasional dance when no one's looking, so I'm not really sweating it too much right now.

The Last Stop
Above: One of my favorite moments since being back was Day 10. Battled city buses across L.A. just so I could touch the Pacific and tell her I made it home.

Currently Listening To:

Song: Home
Artist: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (official site)

Currently Reading:
Rant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey
by Chuck Palahniuk

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Homeward Bound

After three and a half years my time in Argentina is drawing to a close. In less than 48 hours I'll hop on a plane bound for the States. Bound for home.

It's been a wild crazy ride down here, full of ups and downs, like any good adventure should be. I would attempt to put what this all means into context for you now, but the truth is I still haven't been able to get my own mind wrapped around it. What I can say is that while one adventure is ending, a new one is about to begin. The Orange Gorilla, the mohawk, and I are bound for Los Angeles, where we'll continue our unending quest for world domination, and making cool stuff (not necessarily in that order).

Until then, I leave you with the last 4 things I made while living in Buenos Aires.

To Be Continued painting
20" x 34" (52cm x 86cm) | oil & acrylic on wood panel

Subway Pass #22
pen & pencil on subway pass

One Day. 12 Trains.
PHOTO: "One Day. 12 Trains"
I spent a day riding every line in the Argentine subway system. Check out the entire blog post here.

The Last Stop
sketchbook | pen & pencil

Currently Listening To:
Song: The Last Goodbye (listen)
Artist: The Kills (official site)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Buenos Aires Subway

Beginning & End Stations
Above: The entrances to the beginning and end of each line.

On a quiet Sunday morning, a day when the subway stations are relatively empty, I rode underneath the city for nearly 7 hours traversing the six lines of the oldest subway in the southern hemisphere from start to finish.

It is possible to do this on one ticket, which costs only one peso (U$S 25 cents), however I wanted to document the experience, so I exited each station at the beginning and end of each line and photographed the above ground entrance. Even after having to re-enter the system twelve times the whole trip still cost less than 20 pesos (U$S 5 dollars).

If you asked me why I did it I don't know that I could give you a definitive answer. Early in the experience, after realizing it would take much longer than expected, I wondered myself wtf I was doing. However once I stopped trying to rationalize the experience through the lens of a typical subway rider my time spent wandering subterraneously in the city that's been my home for the past three and half years started to make more sense. I wasn't aimlessly riding the train to "nowhere". I was taking it "everywhere".

Subway Doors
Above: The doors of the 12 trains I road traversing the 6 lines start to finish.

A Train
Above: The "A" Line train.

Wooden Subway Doors
Above: The wooden doors of the "A" Line train.

Subway Map Click on map to enlarge.

Currently Listening To:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Remember Studio Alamo

It's my last day renting a room above a bar in Buenos Aires as my art studio. The room sits empty today, void of easels and brushes, looking more like its previous incarnation of a dry-humped old hostel room.

Last Day In Studio Alamo

I suppose the art I created here will be my biggest takeaway from my 14 months in the space, although being above one of the city's popular (excessive) drinking holes definitely added a twist of lime and spritz of seltzer to my time here that I won't soon forget. Like the mornings when I'd cut through the bottom floors and was able to tell how crazy the previous night's clientele were by the degree to which my shoes stuck to the floor. Of course I won't miss the other days when a smell of barf hung in the air just a little too long, but thankfully that phenomenon was infrequent enough that other aspects of the experience like a presumably strengthened immune system or ability to sit at a bar "where everybody knows your name" easily canceled it out.

Left On the Windowsill
Above: Left behind on the windowsill

In the end the irony of it all makes me grin. The Gorilla and I made our final stand in Buenos Aires at an American owned bar called The Alamo. Thankfully though, unlike Davy Crockett and his comrades, in this demented version of the tale Jimmy and his Ape Army are able to survive the battle and have their deranged adventures continue on as they head back north across the equator pillaging and plundering towns and villages and leaving the Orange Gorilla in their wake. Or at least something like that. The ending is still a work in progress.

Gorilla Sticker Sighting #158 - Pillaging & Plundering
Above: Gorilla Sticker Sighting #158 - "Pillaging & Plundering"

Currently Listening To:
Song: The Great Escape (listen)
Artist: Patrick Watson (official site)