My Art Memes of 2014

Happy 2015 everyone! Over the last year I created a few Art inspired memes for Facebook and Instagram so I thought I'd share them with you to inspire a creative new year.  


Salmagundi West



As many of you know my favorite Shop in Vancouver is Salmagundi in Gastown.  Andrea and I stopped by today to say howdy to the owner Anne.  The store is pleasantly ready for Halloween.


One reason for us to stop by was that Amne had set aside a little goody for me.  


pretty cool


An old lamp perhaps?   I heard one of my student (not naming names Solange) tried to tempt it away from Anne before I got ther to retrieve it.  Fortunately Anne was no so easily swayed. 


Bad Vlad was another reason for our vist .  I dropped of my Dracula marionette for her shop.   He will  be hanging out there until a buyer comes along.  Stop  in and check him out and make sure you have Anne pull the string so you can see his flappy wings. 

Salmagundi West

321 Cordova Street West, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1E5


Things Yet Experienced…but someday

I've decided to put a list of things I'd like to do together.  Sure, some are outrageous and bizarre, others mundane and ordinary…ok…never mind…none of these locations are mundane.

Here we go:

1. Transylvania - I'd love to travel to Transylvania following the route that Jonathan Harker took in the novel, Dracula.  Beware the Borgo Pass!

2. Waitomo Caves in New Zealand - Black water rafting in New Zealand - subterranean rafting…with miners hats and glowworms on the cave ceilings!

Black water rafting in New Zealand - subterranean rafting…with miners hats and glowworms on the cave ceilings!

Black water rafting in New Zealand - subterranean rafting…with miners hats and glowworms on the cave ceilings!

3. Flea Marketing in San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina - artefacts, malbec, steak…and tango!

4. Krampus Nacht in Austria - the annual Xmas festival with lots of devils looking for those who have been naughty.

5. Noche de los Rabanos, Oaxaca Mexico - Night of the Radishes, the Oaxacan harvest celebration where radishes are not just a food but an piece of art.

6. Havana, Cuba - old cars, revolutionary artists, and Santaria. 

7. Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic - I never made it here last time I was in Prague, it's a church whose interior is ornately adorned using human bones.

8.The Haunted Island of Poveglia, Venice, Italy - Venice would be a treat on it's own but Poveglia was is a small island nearby, said to be haunted.  Why you ask?  This is where all the plague victims went.   Eerie.

9. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul - I love places the exhibit the historic and artist clash of cultures…Istanbul…Constantinople…Instanbul.

10. The Alnwick Poison Garden and Whitby, UK- Whitby is a location Dracula buffs might be familiar with…it's the seaside village where Dracula's ship crashes ashore.  Just up the road about twenty km is a strange botanical garden that only features deadly plants!  Don't even sniff them!

So that's my list.  Don't be surprised if someday, I put together a little excursion in any or all of these locations.  I'm ready to travel…how bout you?

acky bluh-a-luh Winner(s)

DeMented Dictionary contest. So we have a winner or actually winners. 
The actual definition of an acky-bluh-a-luh is my sister's pacifier
(Bluh-a-luh) after it lands in the shag carpet and gets covered in hair and becomes acky. 

Terry Fryer on deMented Dictionary Contest:
The sound made when trying to remove pet hair from your tongue in the morning after you have slept with your mouth open.

Runner up:
Carola Whitlow on deMented Dictionary Contest:
What I just said when I cleaned the bathtub drain after two girls with long hair (one of which forgets to put the drain strain in) have been shampooing every day for a week.
acky bluh-a-luh - accumulation of slick, slimy gunk you don't actually want to touch (unlike the gunk sometimes used to make demented dollies)

I decided to do a first and second place and was decided by a coin toss. Both Terry and Carola get a goody. Watch the vid:

deMeng Commercials from Days Gone By

So as I was organizing some of the Online Class pages I came across a number of commercials I did over the years…some of which I completely forgot about.  So for you're viewing pleasure I thought I'd give you a fun video trip.

The First Commercial - what do you do when you're bored and drinking a martini….well this:

Fistful of Brushes- Not so much a commercial…but it's perhaps my favorite

The Cow-manthemum - Not my fav but I did invent a species in this video:

Poor Little Dolly - my first and perhaps only attempt at a music video

Super Freaky - What's not to love about a deMentriloquist doll singing to Rick James?  Nothing!

The Opposite of Moisturizer - I love the silhouetted effect on cop shows.  In hind site I should have used one of those voice change effects.

Two Creepy Dudes Singing - Okay where I heard the Russian version of Lawrence Welk singing the Trololo song…I knew I had to do something with it.

My Worst Commercial - this is so bad I LOVE it!

Pez-anormal Activity - A Blair Witch Project kind of thing and my stepdaughter's film debut

You Spin Me Right Round - get ready to dance

Me in Drag - my first attempt at using the green screen

Me in Drag…Again - this is another multiple character venture.  One funny comment I got was that someone said that they hope my sister doesn't look like that.   She doesn't.

Creepy Dollies! - So your wife is teaching and your in rural Wisconsin…this is what you do.

Punk Fiction Puppet Books - when I first shot this it was soooooo bad.  So to make it work…I had to make it REALLY BAD.  And so it is

A Trip into My Head - My most recent….think of growing a little mustachio just like that.

Method To My Madness. Registration Starts Now!!!!!

Method To My Madness 
Starting April 19th I'm going to take students on a little trip into my studio.  From beginning to end I'm going to let students tag along as I conceive and create a piece of art. We start off with the inspiration and design- I'll show students how I begin a piece and what I do to research and prepare.  I'll then take students into the world of hunting and gathering- flea markets and trash bins for supplies.  Maybe a stop off at an art store or two for other goodies.  Next construction and paint. - watch me build and paint and finish.  I'll be giving commentary during the process. Finally a final critique of what I've done.   Not sure what I'm going to make yet...could be something like thing....but who knows?

Online Workshop Starts 4/19/14 

Registration Starts Now!


More Questions?
• How much does it cost? $99.99
• When does it begin? 4/19/14
• How does it differ from live class?  Online classes allow for a bit more in depth explanations of techniques etc.
• Will there be video?  A: Yes.  I have about 180 of minutes of protected video that only students will be able to access.
• Will it be live?  No.  I will not be doing live video, but I will be setting up a Yahoo Group where I will be available to discuss your questions.  However I each week I will record a video responding to all the questions posed in the Yahoo group.
• Can you tell me more about the Yahoo Group?   Students can access this anytime and discuss issues with other students.  A gallery is also available for students to share current and past works.
 • Is the class segmented or do I get everything at once?  I have designed the class so you will have access to all the information at once and can play with it as you like, at your own speed.  New weekly videos will pop up with additional tidbits and tips.
• What kind of site is being used to host this class?  I'm using a protected TypePad account. • How will I access the TypePad account?  When class begins I will send out passwords and usernames to all the students.
• What else will be on the blog?  Along with the Videos I will be posting the major questions as they come up, and the solutions.  I will also do weekly video addressing these questions.
• Is this for Beginners or Advanced students?  It's for everyone.  I've made it so it is information that can be used by all levels.
• Will it be entertaining?  Geez, I hope so.  I will try and make it very un-dry and fun.
• How will  you accept payment?  PayPal.
• If you don't use PAYPAL...don't worry...we can work something out.  Just send me and email.   • What will happen after I sign up?  I'll send you a confirmation to say "howdy" and then just sit back until I start the Yahoo group.  At that point  you'll get an email inviting you to join prior to class and meet some of the other students.  Then on April 19th,  I will send out the TypePad site, codes, etc.
• How do I sign up?  A: Click the little button and you're off and running. WooHoo!


deMeng de los Muertos 2014

Well it's that time of year when again…time for me to announce the annual deMeng de los Muertos workshop, where we head to Mexico to celebrate the Day of of the Dead.  Here's what's in store:

The Workshop:

Plumed Serpents and Moon Goddesses in the Land of the Dead

Every time I return to Oaxaca something magical happens. In fact I know that more than a few people who have followed me down to this ancient land have experienced something that has touched their soul.  Perhaps it is the richness of artistic tradition, or the kindness of the people or maybe it is the time of year, after all experiencing Dia de los Muertos is certainly a moving experience emotionally as well as visually.   I suspect it is something more.   This is a land with deep layers of history; where cultures meet and collide and a place where old gods linger even after being vanquished by the new ones.   Here, history is alive and where even the very ancient feels ever so present.

In honor of the mystical, magical quality of Oaxaca, I thought it would be interesting to explore some of the myths and legends from Mexican culture.  The gods are wondrous strange and the tales are even stranger.  So for this class we will create assemblage constructions that represent a specific deity or myth from the region.   It will be a bit of free for all…you can create whatever you like but with a theme in mind.  To help you out I will start sending out stories about the various gods and heroes for a bit of inspiration.  Quetzacoatl (the rain god), Mictlantecuhtli (the god of the underworld), and Coyolxauhqui (the moon goddess) are awaiting your arrival.

A message from the organizer Colleen Darling:
Join Michael for a workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico.  Dia de los Muertos is one of the most beautiful celebrations in all of Mexico and Oaxaca is one of the best places to experience it firsthand.  Oaxaca is a delightful, welcoming, historical, and culturally rich city in southern Mexico.  The city is home to some of the finest folk artists in the world and abounds with ceramics, textiles, tin, woodcarvings, jewelry, and more.  There is also an exciting contemporary art and photography community based here.   The restaurants, luscious food, and friendly people make Oaxaca an amazing place to visit.

Throughout our 9-day stay, people around the city will be getting ready for Dia de los Muertos with every home and business setting up ofrendas and preparing for the feast. The city is buzzing with excitement that spills into the streets.   The photo opportunities are endless.  Each time you head out the door for the Zocalo or just a walk around the neighborhood something new will catch your attention.  Flowers on the street corners, students competing in school ofrenda competitions, comparsas (parades) winding through the streets with traditional dancers, village bands and so much more!

We hope you can join us this year!


October 25th (Saturday) - Arrival day in Oaxaca.  It takes all day for the various flights to arrive so we don’t have any big plans.  Just get there and start enjoying the city after a long journey.  Take a walk to the Zocalo (main square) for dinner and sight seeing in the evening.

October 26th (Sunday) - Breakfast.  Tour to the archeological site of Monte Alban, the sacred place of the Zapotec and Mixtec people. Get acquainted with the city, walk around the Zocalo (main square) enjoy lunch and take the afternoon free to explore.  Lots of museums open on Sunday.  Welcome dinner

October 27th (Monday) - Breakfast.  Class begins at 10:00 A.M.  Break for lunch, back to the workshop.  Late afternoon and evening free

October 28th (Tuesday) - Breakfast.  Class begins at 10:00 A.M Break for lunch, back to the workshop.  Late afternoon and evening free 

October 29th (Wednesday) - Breakfast.  Tour day departing at 9:00 A.M.  We will visit Studio Xaquixe a glass recycling center known for it beautiful mezcal bottles and other works of art in glass.  Next stop will be the Etla market and then on to San Agustin Etla where we will tour the handmade paper mill at Vista Hermosa (a former textile mill, now an arts center). Lunch in the countryside.  Evening free.

October 30th (Thursday) - Breakfast.  Workshop.  Lunch.  Class resumes.   Evening free.

October 31st (Friday) - Breakfast.  Class begins at 10:00 A.M.  Break for lunch, back to the workshop.  This is the first night of the Dia de los Muertos celebration.  We will visit the San Miguel city cemetery.  Throughout the city an amazing party is taking place.

November 1st (Saturday) - Breakfast.   Final day of class.  Get ready for the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Lunch.  Afternoon is free.  We will visit the Santa Maria Atzompa cemetery to in the evening.  

November 2nd (Sunday) - Breakfast.   Optional tour to Mitla archeological site, Teotitlan del Valle and the Tule tree, or spend your last day in the city enjoying beautiful Oaxaca.  In the evening we will visit San Felipe, a gorgeous small cemetery with a farewell dinner to follow.        

November 3rd (Monday) - Breakfast   Fly away home
 Airfare is not included.  When searching for airfares the Oaxaca code is OAX.

 Included: Workshop, hotel, 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 2 dinners, and tours with an English speaking guide.

Shared Double    $1950
Single                   $2300

Deposit:  $250 to secure your spot.   Please pay by check

To reserve your spot contact:

Colleen Darling

Krampus Time

Been having some fun doing a bit of sketching over the last month.  Tis the season for Krampus.  What?   You don't know who he is.  He's St Nick's sidekick.  He does the dirty work.  He's like the Oscar Madison to Felix Walter Sobchak to the Dude (Big Lebowski)...buddies I suppose ... But Krampus does the dirty work.  Coal in the stockings for the naughty tikes...that sort of thing.  So I've been doings some versions of this Northern European curmudgeon.  
Better not pout...better not cry.
Or your have to mess w Krampus.  
If your interested I've got a few of these and some other drawings on my Etsy store.