Michael Garfield | Interview
Michael Garfield is an artist- regardless of medium, he is able to express himself uniquely and passionately, and inspire others in the process. Through 9 EPs of delicate “cyberacoustic” guitar and +250 geometry-heavy visionary paintings (all generated live), he cultivates a fascinating image intended to immerse viewers and listeners in a world of beautiful minutia. Michael will be performing at Sonic Bloom on the Hummingbird stage. His artwork will also be on display. Be sure to check out his excellent work on his website.
But I have this philosophy to “Do only what only you can do,” by which I mean that if there are already a thousand people dedicated to that specific thing, why try to shout over them? It’s better to change course and express yourself in a way that’s unique to your own specific history and experience. This isn’t about trying to be original or different, but acknowledging that you already are, and celebrating it.
I still write music and cherish the craft of songwriting, but for the last three years or so, I’ve dedicated myself almost entirely to honoring what it is that only I can bring to the musical banquet – which are performances informed and inspired by my background in evolutionary science, and how our culture is currently evolving to emphasize tranparency, process, feedback loops, the empowerment of the individual, improvisation in a chaotic and unpredictable environment…
Sometimes I feel like the songs are islands in an ocean of improv – structure dotting an infinite expanse of aqueous mystery. In this metaphor, I suppose, this guitar and these pedals are my ship, and the longer I keep at it the less likely I am to sink it in front of an audience.
I was going to festivals for four years before I ever participated in one. I think my first festival gig was at Wakarusa in 2007.
I spoke about that in my talk at AURA Festival this year, “Taking A Cosmic Perspective.” Have a listen and tell me if that stuff doesn’t inspire you, too.
Zooming out a little to include my life in general, I’m now the Editor-in-Chief of SolPurpose.com, a website dedicated to visionary culture and “transformational” festivals (as distinguished from the more hedonistic, escapist variety). It’s an honor to be appointed as a representative voice for this corner of a profound, inspiring worldwide community, and I’m lining up months worth of great conversations – recorded video chats – with visionary artists, scientists, philosophers, musicians, and other exemplary individuals whose perspectives deserve a wider audience.
That apprenticeship never formally happened and like everyone I’ve had to follow my own star, but I still look up to Jamie (in a more mature, grounded, realistic, human way), and after my four-year stint living in Boulder, I have a lot of powerful heart connections to the people and the land of Colorado’s Front Range. So in many ways this festival is a homecoming for me every year, and it’s a delight to see it grow and change, and to grow and change along with it.
But also, this year, it’s more about what I DON’T have to strive to accomplish. For 2009 – 2012, I was also in charge of the Sonic Bloom Gallery, which was a tremendous amount of work, and this year I’m handing that responsibility over to Jennifer Ingram and her world-renowned Tribe 13 Gallery. So I’m excited to get more time to play while the presentation of our work reaches a whole new level of awesome.
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