Saturday, May 28, 2011

MELT January 2011

Ok, so the first thing that I always do upon arriving in Flagstaff Arizona on the day of MELT is head to the Black Bean restaurant to see my brother at his place of work and have lunch there. So here is my brother. In the future, I'm not going to be able to do this since he is currently on tour with his Gypsy folk punk band Grog. (More on Grog later.)

Outside of the Black Bean is where I spied the first Danger Monkey. Since then, on later trips to Flagstaff, I've been trying to get photos of all the Danger Monkey's I find. It's like collecting Pokemon for me (only not annoyingly stupid.) (More on Danger Monkey later.)

Here is the note I posted to my facebook as soon as I got back from this MELT:

1. One of the best perks about Melt for me is that a lot of the "MELT Alumni" is people I have known since grade school or high school. It makes me so happy that we all come together and reunite, that I have known these people over half my life at least, and that we continue to know each other into adult hood. I feel really lucky, I think not many people can say that they are making something like this happen with their childhood friends. I don't know how else to express this, we just have something I call "old friend magic." If you have this in your life, you know what I mean.

2. I love the new friendships I am making through this as well and I'm just glad to be a part of this and have the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. There's some people I only see when I come to Flagstaff for Melt. I love the music and the atmosphere and the idea of making art side by side with other talented artists, but really I am making the drive up to Flagstaff for the individuals I get to share this with, so thank you all for including me :D

3. This was one of my best weekend trips to Flagstaff ever. For January, the weather was warm and sunny and the snow on the ground was pretty and it made me see why people love Flagstaff so much. I actually got to enjoy walking around downtown without freezing. I visited my brother at The Black Bean and went shopping with friends at Incahoots. I bought a Mad Hatter's Hat at Incahoots. The next day I went to Bookman's to see AJ. I had a blast and we all had a good time shopping and enjoying the atmosphere of Flagstaff on a beautiful day.

4. This was one of the best Melt's ever. Every Melt I have been to is a little bit different. The music was a little bit different this time, as there is different artists each time. So it's fun to be a part of this and see how it keeps evolving as each time brings on new talent. Each time I have been to Melt, there are local artists and musicians and there are also artists and musicians who travel from other places to be there that night. So it really is an impressive collaboration. This time around, the opening sets were a little bit more down tempo acoustic, which made for a certain type of relaxed mood when you are painting. Then Baths and DJ Fatty amped things up and blew the roof off the place. It was amazing.

5. The place was packed, but I did not feel like they only came to see Baths or the other musicians. Everyone was really appreciating the artists as well. It was the first time I've been to Melt that I really felt like a lot people were watching. Not just glancing at the art and walking away. But every time me, Jake, or Lexi looked over our shoulders we saw about 50 pairs of eyes watching us paint and hoped people were liking what they saw. You can probably imagine how that feels, it makes you a little bit nervous when all eyes are on you. But I don't think I'm out of line to say on everyone's behalf that we really humbly appreciated everyone who showed so much respect and appreciation for the art that we make. Everyone who makes a conscious choice to respect us as human beings, and not bump our tables or easels or hover in our personal space bubbles while we are working. Everyone who politely taps us on the shoulder just to say that they really like a certain piece. That's not really an expectation we have for a night club atmosphere serving alcohol, but it means a lot to us.

6. Every single person I know who is a part of this is so talented and committed. Melt just wouldn't exist with that last part, the commitment. That's something important I wanted to bring up. If everybody just said "Meh, I don't feel like driving to Flagstaff" then this just wouldn't be. But everyone who comes to Melt makes that choice to be there, to travel, to make preparations ahead of time for their contribution. From where I'm standing, I look around the room and see what all the people I know are doing. And it makes me really impressed with just how all the people I know are committed to bringing something to contribute to this event and make it what it is. They are dancing, painting, DJing, or just simply sharing their excitement and happiness. No one I know is "just there" as if they only came along for the ride because they had nothing better to do or would rather be somewhere else. So I just wanted to make a note of that. It's not just your talent and creativity, but that you make a conscious choice to be there, to bring something positive to the table. We should all share a little sense of pride in this, because we put on a hell of good show together.

Ummmm.... that's not all the thoughts I have on Melt, but it will do for now. I am really looking forward to next month, I have so much refreshed energy and inspiration so I hope to have new stuff completed and ready to display next month. See you all in February!

And now on to some MELT photos!

Lexi Stine's work hanging on display.

Isaac Nicholas Caruso

Micheil Salmon's work.

Micheil Salmon.


Sonny's painting that reminds everyone of the Morton Salt Umbrella girl

Lexi and my friend Paddy Rooney. For this MELT Paddy came with me as he was interested in doing a bit of freelance journalism and wrote an article about MELT which can be found here.
You can also find his blog here:

The piece I did for the evening is a Chesire Cat playing card. I have been working on an Alice in Wonderland collective project for.... ever. I'm still involved with it. And this is the piece that Jake finished that evening, Ronald Reagan.

Me and Paddy.

Me and Matt the next day.

Me and A.J.




Jake's paints.

Wilson Nash. He is in charge of our visuals on the projector behind the DJ's almost every MELT. He does an amazing job, you have to see it.

Me (what am I doing with my face?)


Artist's area. This was to be our last MELT held at the 111 in Flagstaff. In February MELT had to be cancelled due to a heavy snow storm. The sound equipment was snowed in at another location and the roof was leaking water badly onto the stage at the 111. So there was no February MELT (officially anyway) and when March rolled in it was announced that we had changed to a new permanent venue, The Orpheum.

Me and Jake.

Thanks for reading,

Photo credits: Lantern City Media, Padraic Rooney, and myself.

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