December 7, 2012

"Birds of No Nation" for the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial (@ QAGOMA)

These are shots of a large mural-sized canvas commissioned for the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial in Australia, which opens this weekend. It is a collaboration with Shamsia Hassani and the Propeller Group. Shamsia Hassani is the first and probably only serious female graffiti writer in Afghanistan, and is also an associate professor in the Fine Arts Department at Kabul University. I painted the central figure in the piece based on photos I took of her, using spraypaint and fatcaps, freehand as usual. Shamsia painted the surrounding designs and poetry with spraypaint and acrylic. It reads:

پرنده های بی وطن ،همه اسیرن مثل من ،صدای خواندن ندارن

Birds of no nation
Are all captive
Like me
With no voice for singing

We painted the piece in Saigon, Viet Nam, where The Propeller Group is based. They coordinated the entire project, and are behind a few previous collaborations together in Viet Nam and Singapore. This project is part of VNTWT, and they created this video documenting and discussing the process.

Many thanks to Tuan, Matt & Phunam of TPG & VNTWT, Shamsia, the good folks at San Art, QAGOMA, APT7 (and airport security in Kabul) for making this possible..this was a really special, inspiring project.
It will be on view from 8 December 2012 - 14 April 2013 at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane.

November 26, 2012

No Doubt print release

No Doubt will be releasing a fancy, high quality print today of the paintings I did for the cover of their new album. The prints are 27x27"..signed by myself as well as the band, printed with a raised glossy metallic black ink over a matte white ink on heavy Stonehenge paper...
More info HERE & order HERE

September 19, 2012

"Old Earth" : New mural in Santa Fe with Kofie

So I've been on the road the last month or so and haven't kept up with blogging so this is a little late by internet standards...
These are pictures of a mural I painted with my good friend Kofie in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the Tesuque Village Market. This mural was painted as part of "The Hour Has Arrived" during the Santa Fe Indian Market. The portrait is based on a photo I took earlier in the week of Rose Fragua, of Jemez Pueblo.
Thanks to Kofie, Jaque Fragua, N8VPA, all the good folks at the Tesuque Village Market, Rose B. Simpson, Henry Chalfant(who took the second photo from the top, and is THE Henry Chalfant of Subway Art), Yatika Fields, Gavin, Zane, Sug, TNR crew..and everyone else that helped in some way.. special thanks to El Ice Plant of Santa Fe which hooked up some shirts and has the most amazing logo of a Zapatista Penguin ever..

August 10, 2012

EL MAC Artwork for new No Doubt album cover

It's been a long time coming, but here's the artwork I finished recently for the new No Doubt album cover....
I'm proud to say that the lead singer, Gwen (& her husband Gavin) are fans of my work and have been collecting my paintings for the last couple years...and Gwen contacted me last year about painting the next No Doubt album cover. This would be the first album they've put out in over ten years, huge opportunity. I remember having a crush on Gwen back when I first heard of No Doubt back in the mid-90' she could've asked for just about anything and I would've said yes. When I first met with her I kind of felt like some humble servant being summoned to the royal palace...but honestly, Gwen and the rest of the band are really, really cool. Down to earth humans. They're the real deal. After a few meetings with Gwen and then the whole band, we worked out a look for the cover, did a photoshoot for reference images (styling by Danilo), and I got to work. I pretty much locked myself in my studio for about six weeks working on these four separate acrylic wood panel portraits. It's a challenge to get these lines to work both up close as abstract shapes that work harmoniously, and from a distance so that they form an accurate realistic image. Hard work but I love it.
This was a super exciting project, looking forward to seeing the album come out at the end of September..
Many thanks to Gwen, Gavin, Tony, Adrian, Tom, Danilo, Kim & Katherine Cone Gallery

July 31, 2012

Today Show feature

Was pleasantly surprised to see this mural I painted in East London last year featured as part of the Today Show's special coverage of the London Olympic games..

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July 25, 2012

Santa Fe N8V Public Art

"The Hour Has Arrived" is a public art project planned for next month in Santa Fe, NM during the city's famous "Indian Market" art show. It will involve painting a few collaborative murals in historic downtown Santa Fe by primarily Native public artists....and Kofie & myself have been invited to participate.
They have a Kickstarter page for funding that ends very if anyone's interested in helping make this very cool project happen... go here

June 8, 2012

"El Corazón de un Sueño..": New mural in Cuba for the Havana Biennial

I came to Havana tired from having just painted a ten story high mural in Mexico City the week before, but was so excited to be there that I overcame the exhaustion and spent my first few days in the country going around with my camera and absorbing inspiration. I walked around the city taking photos, meeting people and doing little impromptu photo-shoots with a few intrigued Cuban models. As a U.S. citizen, I'm not really supposed to go to Cuba, much less paint a mural there, so this was a huge opportunity. This project was a collaboration for the 11th Havana Biennial between Primary Flight out of Miami, the Cisneros-Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), and the UNEAC, (National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba). CIFO is a highly respected and influential institution, whose main participation in the Biennial was a huge exhibition of works from the Cisneros-Fontanals collection at the National Museum of Fine Arts, and this mural was their only other project for the Biennial. UNEAC, on the other hand, is essentially a cultural branch of the Cuban government, and for them to support a U.S. artist in painting a mural in Cuba is groundbreaking. There aren't many non-political murals at all in Cuba, and there's not that much graffiti either. Being a US citizen, and considering the ongoing history of strained relations between the two countries, and the fact that nobody had any idea what I would paint, and considering this was a highly visible wall facing Havana's "Avenue of the Presidents", I felt a lot of pressure. I almost always feel a sense of obligation when painting public murals to do something that can inspire people, maybe something that can uplift in some small way, but I felt that more than ever with this project. I ended up painting a figure based on photos I took of a local lady named Adis Naranjo, who works in the kitchen at the UNEAC offices. I wanted to paint someone that could personify the average Cuban, and Adis seemed perfect for this with her mix of African, Native and European ancestry. She is represented as powerful and hopeful, and the colors around her hands can suggest energy or creativity. The title of the mural is "El Corazón de un Sueño Palpita Entre Mis Manos", which is from a poem by the great Cuban poet Jose Ángel Buesa.
Throughout the week I was questioned many times by police who I was painting and why- what was I trying to say with this? I'm used to being asked that- I've been asked those same questions for almost every mural I've painted since the 90's- but there was more of an urgency behind the questions there. Everyone seemed curious, since this sort of thing isn't exactly common there. It was explained to me many times how difficult it is to get decent art materials in Cuba. As an example, because spraypaint and even latex paint are so limited and expensive, many local writers mix printer ink and gasoline to get a fluid black paint. I had a lot of interaction with locals, because the park facing this mural is notorious as one of the most popular places in Havana for young people to hang out. So many different kinds of people, of all ages came by at all hours. There was a large Capoeira group that practiced across from the wall a few evenings, while a few other nights brought roaming packs of excited young punk-rockers by the wall. Many of the people I got to talk to at length had never left the island, and internet access is still extremely limited for many Cubans. One younger guy was very moved by the piece, and told me very clearly that, even though he had never seen any of my previous work, because of the context of the mural he felt this was the best thing I had ever painted. I was honored to have such an amazing opportunity to create a public mural like this in Havana, and I'm optimistic that more artists, especially more artists from Cuba, will have similar opportunities there in the years to come.
Many thanks to Primary Flight, CIFO and UNEAC for all making this possible, Kim, Books, Cristina & Dan for ground support, Adis for modeling and juice, and last but not least Marcos, Gabriel, Javier and all the other locals who helped out so much every day.

May 24, 2012

María de la Reforma: New mural in Mexico City

The last few weeks have been hectic, but here are finally some shots of "María de la Reforma", the mural I painted this month for the All City Canvas public art project in Mexico City.
The culture of Mexico and muralism go hand in hand so this was just a natural continuation of a long tradition there. The mural is over ten stories high, located by the Paseo de la Reforma, which is one of the city's largest, most famous thoroughfares. It was an honor for me to paint this there because not too far away on this same street in the IMSS building is one of my favorite murals ever, by the famous Mexican artist Jorge González Camarena.
Painting the mural involved a daily battle with the sun, lift problems, breathing constant exhaust smoke, and most especially- painting the entire thing from a little swinging basket that hung from a crane. I could have used a little more time to finish the mural but I'm still proud of how it came out. It was also humbling and overwhelming to see how supportive local people were.
The image I painted is based on photos I took of a social activist & poet named María Guardado, who was tortured and left for dead in 1980 by government forces during the civil war in El Salvador. She was one of thousands of civilian victims of that war, during which the US-backed Salvadoran government employed death squads to kill & terrorize everyone from poor farmers to nuns to students. Maria survived and fled the country for Los Angeles, where today she is still a passionate fighter for social justice.
Along with other economic and political problems, Mexico has been enduring a bloody six-year drug war which has left at least 50-60,000 people dead so far. In this election year in Mexico, I think many people are hopeful that things will get better. I'd like this mural to be seen as a symbol of hope and strength.
Many thanks to Maria Guardado, la familia Celaya y ARTO, Claudia, Andrea, Martin y el resto del equipo ACC, Roberto Shimizu of the incredible MUJAM, Gonzalo de MAMUTT, Arturo & Fifty24MX gallery, John Carr & Eyerie, Kim & Djentrification of well as everyone else that came by to show support

May 12, 2012


Just a quick update from the road.. I painted a big mural in Mexico City last week, and am now painting a mural in Havana, Cuba for the Bienal here...and have no easy internet access...but I will post up new images and check emails probably in another week or so... Super excited.. I should have a new print released from Moon Editions any day now too... Updates on the way...

April 15, 2012

EL MAC Juxtapoz cover

Just got a copy of the May 2012 issue of's a special public art issue that features this and three other alternate covers by Swoon, Espo & JR. Lots of great artwork and discussions inside...
The mural on the cover was painted on a really old building in Tudela, Spain as part of the Avant Garde Urbano event. Great to see it reach an even bigger audience with this...

Been somewhat off the grid lately, catching up...more updates and new work on the way..

March 10, 2012

R.I.P. Moebius

Moebius/Jean Giraud, one of the greatest artists of our time just passed away this weekend. He was an artistic legend, who had incredible talent, style and originality. He was Hendrix with a pen. He was a huge inspiration for me ever since I was introduced to his work as a kid in the '80s by my mom. There have been a few times over the years when I've had my work compared to his, and I would always take it as a huge compliment. Though he was more contemporary, I placed him in my pantheon of great classic artists right up there with Vermeer, Mucha, Caravaggio, Camarena, Holbein, Klimt, Gerome, Rivera, etc. He helped create the futuristic look of films like Alien, Blade Runner, The Abyss and Tron, while his drawing ability and style was consistently amazing and influenced generations of artists. I'm thankful for the inspiration.