Wednesday, July 28, 2010

GET OPEN :: it all starts to make sense....

I've been often asked how does my art connect now to what I was up back in my teens. For a long time, I wasn't really ready to show my past life as a young artist going through some dark places while seeking the light. The art that I did when I was 15, I'm definitely not ready to share yet, but I'm fine with sharing the part of the journey that was in the light. I made these sketches and painting below during my high school years when I was spending all my time with doing art and exploring the life of painters, ancient alchemist, kabbalists and seekers. This one below was the first of its kind, a meditational sygil i made for myself, based on alchemical illustrations I was studying carefully back then. I must say that having artist friends who are also seekers give me a lot of inspiration to keep on expressing the quest.
This is my note/sketch book back when I was 16. This was way before the birth of Lichiban, the little symbol on the bottom right corner of the book was my logo I designed for myself using my three initials A T SZ of my actual name. It connected the symbol of fire and air, the Eye, and the knot of life that had special significance for me back then.
The Tree of Sephiroth (most of the notes there in Hungarian, sorry). Sephiroths are the 10 attributes/emanations in Kabbalah, through which God (who is referred to as Ein Sof - The Infinite) reveals him/herself and continuously creates both the physical realm and the chain of higher metaphysical realms.
Cosmic diagrams are a way of mapping the connection between the microcosmos, the human body, and the macrocosmos, our galaxy. When we unlock the maps of galaxies beyond ours, simultaneously we unlock the doors to the hyperdimensions within ourselves and vice versa. "As above, so below" as Thoth through the words of Hermes Trismegistos would say. That is what I believe is the shift that is being heralded with the whole consciousness shift people are talking about these days.
This is the LOVE ∆eon as I've try to translate the experience/vision of it once back then. It reemerged again as LOTUSHEART two years ago. I created it as a collaboration with fellow artist comrade and seeker, Quan Luv, who introduced Lotusheart to Harakiti, his cosmic lover ninja.
While I was going through some self-healing and soul searching, I discovered all these mystical traditions that to my understanding were talking about the same ultimate realization that at the core of our being we are divinity. That divinity is an awareness, or a special kind of vibration that our consciousness harmonizes with, or attunes to. It is the oneness-awareness, a state of non-duality.
You can call it a changing of frequency, as we are made of various combinations of vibration types that corresponds to the degree of our being connected to matter. It is not something humans that are bound to the four elements, i.e. matter, can realize completely, but we can achieve experiences of the state of absolute freedom from limitations, a state of buddhahood or heaven, if we embrace the vibration of that way of awareness, which is a mental state, or form of awareness on a particular frequency. Most traditions say that it is never fully achieved as a permanent state while our lifeseed is in the body. It is a shift that happens to our consciousness, a state of bliss, and it takes a life of spiritual practice to achieve it, if only for periods of time. It takes letting go of notions of the past, memories of pain, and then the ultimate letting go of the idea of the self, the thing that calls itself 'I'. It's the state that many mystical traditions describe as being one with God, or uniting with God, realizing the inner divinity. Sufis, the practitioners of Islamic mysticism describe it through the metaphor of the heart as a mirror, which has to be polished through spiritual practice of cleansing of the self from false notions of identifications with negative energies and orientations (such as greed, hunger for power, envy, hate, etc) in order to reflect the Beloved, God, fully.
The first person who I experienced as someone who you might call an 'enlightened human' was this old Sufi healer in Srinagar, Kashmir. He would sit there for 12 hrs a day and people would come to him for his healing energy all day. Something about him & his presence was different from any other spiritual guides and healers I've encountered before. He is one of those Remarkable Men, Gurdjieff inspired me back then to seek. He changed my life in some unspoken way with very few words. If he were a Buddhist, he would be called a boddhisattva.

I don't have time to introduce these books, but I took a few snapshots of my library of books on spirituality, most of which are books on, or about Sufis, alchemy & magic (though I've been also sharing some of my Tibetan Buddhist references) that I'd recommend to anyone who would want to explore or continue to explore the forgotten part of our makeup. One of most accessible and yet one of the most powerful entry I had to these was Kahlil Gibran's THE PROPHET. I read it when I was 14 and it was the most important inspiration and light bearer I had encountered until then, which changed my life and the way I was seeing the world then in some deep way. In a way, it was through his work that I was first exposed to Sufi teachings, which was a major source of inspiration for Gibran.

"But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls."
"I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realized, than lord among those without dreams and desires."
Kahlil Gibran
Yes, I am a book junky, and the cosmos made sure that I got the right openings to support it. I used to spend all my money on books, though I stopped buying new ones a few years ago (art costs a LOT of $$) and rather slowly reopening the ones I have (but they still keep coming through, like last time on the ones I found on the street or from friends). Ultimately all books are just there to lend a language to something we have to seek to realize as an experience ourselves, at which point they become disposable. Beyond them a whole infinite ocean, as one of my favorites, Jalaladdin Mevlana Rumi would say. Rumi is a portal of love energy.
"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."
Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi
(here are some quotes for inspiration)
Some of these might be too technical to be the first read, but we are always attracted to the things that are ready for at all time, so it's all good. Let me know if you have any recommendations.
thank you for reading. please share.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


DOZE GREEN,the revolutionary visionary and unrelenting bad boy of the art world is a messenger of the extradimensional reality bearing witness to the panspermia through uninterrupted lines and color. Doze's mystico-apocalyptic work with its symbolism rooted in esoteric lore, urban, tribal and galactic visual patterns, colors of revelation and forgotten truths have been unfolding a complex prophetic vision of a future at once frightening and enlightening to those who are in tune with the realities of our time. As one of the original members of the infamous Rock Steady Crew (remember them from Style Wars), Doze already made his mark back in the 80s as a graffiti writer and b-boy, and then expanded his playground to various live art shows, eventually founding his way to the gallery world, though never losing his edge. He is off-the-grid these days, planting the seed of a new reality by putting in practice his training in permaculture. A close friend and comrade, Doze continues to inspire to keep the flame alive.
WHERE DO YOU CALL IT HOME? At this moment, in this density frequency, the 3rd octave the planet, EARTH.
WHAT DO YOU DO? Transmit universal energies from the architect and the empiryum into the realm of the so called physical. I serve to be a window into the most ancient, the multidimensional and the possibilities.
BEATS…that are multifacited symbiotically layered and connected to the heart chakra.
TRUE SEXY IS…being mercurial, inquisitive, childlike and wise at the same time. adaptability.
MUSIC IS MY…frequency palette. it sets the general mood and motivation in many aspects of creation.painting,dancing, loving etc.
ART DOES NOT…taketh away.
MY NIGHTS ARE…my days.
THESE 3 TURN ME ON…color,sound,taste.
SELF-KNOWLEDGE …is ever changing.
ENOUGH OF …this antiquated system
MY CREATIVITY IS…my direct line to god

TRUE POWER IS…compassion
LIFE CAN BE THE...the instrument by which you find yourself
TO LOVE IS TO…love thyself, and to help others
I'VE GOT FLOW BECAUSE…I just ate prunes
NEW PROJECTS FOR 2010? creating guilds
WHERE CAN WE REACH YOU? en el campo.
SHOUTOUTS? to my comrade, my brother and sensei THE RAMMELLZEE
see you on the next alignment, master. I love you.
And thank you
beautiful one.

LIMITED EDITION prints (as seen on the left) of "Taino" Serigraph by Doze Green are available at

White on Arches Black 250 gsm paper. 11 x 30 inches (28 x 76 cm)
Edition of 100. Signed and numbered.

Details from some of his latest work recently shown at the Jonathan Levine Gallery.

Have big balls

Monday, July 26, 2010


Come join us at the LOTUS Temple of Visions Gallery (which will house my next solo show next month) for the closing of Taganyahu Swao's exhibition this Friday. We have some special features this time, Miralva, Taag's wife will be making food & Taag's animations will be showing. Don't miss it!

Taganyahu Swao (Taagen) was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised between the Caribbean, New York City, San Francisco and Long Island. His father, a Rastafarian painter and illustrator, inspired him at an early age to draw, paint and create Flip-animation using ink and graphite in the pages of soft-cover books. He studied Visual Arts at SUNY Purchase, with a concentration in Print-Making and Woodcuts. There Taagen also explored Stop-Motion Animation and film, making his first films on a Super-8 camera. In 1999 he built an animation stand with 2’ x 4’s and glass and began to paint on glass producing short animation films. He pioneered the use of animating with unorthodox mediums such as lentils, sand and dried seaweed.

Recurrent themes in Swao’s work include the centrality of the Sacred, the cross-cultural interplay between Jamaican Rastafari, Brazil Capoeira, and American Hip Hop, the resilience and vibrancy of the underclass, and the sometimes insoluble clash between technology, city-life and the natural world.

Check out Taag's profile page on the LOTUS gallery site and also make sure to visit his website for more of his work.

FREE DOWNLOAD :: Nikki NTU vs Brainfeeder 'MEDULLA DINNER' + EPK drop // BILAL interview

Wow I was so blown away by my friends, singer/MC/writer Nikki, photographer Texas and director Thony Remy collaborative project for Nikki NTU's Medulla Dinner EPK. Thony Remy films her photo shoot, radio interview and her own personal insight on how the Medulla Dinner project came together musically and visually. Great job, really captures Nikki's spirit!
I love Nikki's new project, which compared to her first EP, A History of Dreams that I illustrated, has more of an introspective mood, it is a beautiful evolution for Nikki. Her Nikki NTU vs. Brainfeeder "Medulla Dinner" is a seven track EP featuring production from Ras G, Samiyam, Teebs, and Flying Lotus, which was released by Melo-X, Nikki's long-time collaborator's label, Galax. You can download Nikki vs. Brainfeeder: Medulla Dinner here:
Also check out Nikki NTU"s interview with our artist fam, BILAL- an amazingly open and inspiring convo about Bilal's view on spirituality and its role in his life and music, among others. Bilal has been touring in preparation for his highly-anticipated new album, AIRTIGHT REVENGE scheduled to drop on September 16th...It is a huge record that has been already getting a lot of buzz from taste-makers such as BBC radio host Gilles Peteson and others. Click on the image to check it


After discovering Flying Lotus's new video Mmhhmm, I looked into who created the video. I'm in love, these guys are baaad!
Special Problems is Campbell Hooper and Joel Kefali, who draw on their combined backgrounds in graphic design, fine art, film and music to present unique creative concepts, always inspired by the subject.


I came upon this rather interesting find about average Americans' attitude toward artists. It states that 96% Americans value art but only 27% of them think that artist contribute "a lot to the good of society." I'm shocked but then I'm also is the reality of my and most of my friends' world.

Consumers love products ---packaged, marketed, ready to put into fancy coffee-table books and art mausoleums (i.e museums)---but don't really value what goes into making those "products." That is part of the reason why I prefer galleries and don't like most of museums...because something about them makes me feel like I'm in a tomb: art works, like archeological artifacts, are celebrated once their maker are long dead. It is culture with a capital 'C' packaged with a seal of approval for those very people who value products over the whole deal-yes, that includes the artists who put their heart & soul into making those "products." Average people are reluctant to pay artists because they think that our work is "frivolous or recreational pursuit", unless of course it's marketing another product (which is why a lot of visual artist become graphic designers), or the work is worthy of investment and trade. Take a minute to visualize a world without the arts...I mean all form of art, beginning from the patterns on your shirt or the poems you were taught in school....

Thankfully, true artist do art because they cannot not do it, because that what makes them feel alive and true to who they are regardless of whether they are valued by the average consumers. It takes a lot of commitment though, because doing art is anything but frivolous...(unless you're a trustfund baby or come from wealth, though even then you still have to face a lot of the same issues) the ups and downs of the life of an artist take a lot of sacrifice and endurance, and most of all faith in oneself. What kept me going even in the most desperate moments is the love for the creative process. What I get in exchange is a freer life, a freedom to express who I am without being determined how to live, dress, behave, eat, love or think by the common denominator, i.e society. I am not a brick in the wall. At the end of the day, I don't give a shit about what average consumers think about artists. I give thanks to my artist fam out there who keep on inspiring me and keeping the flame alive. one love

Here is the article:

"A country that loves art, not artists
In a survey of attitudes toward artists in the U.S. a vast majority of Americans, 96%, said they were greatly inspired by various kinds of art and highly value art in their lives and communities. But the data suggests a strange paradox.

While Americans value art, the end product, they do not value what artists do. Only 27% of respondents believe that artists contribute "a lot" to the good of society. Further interview data from the study reflects a strong sentiment in the cultural community that society does not value art making as legitimate work worthy of compensation. Many perceive the making of art as a frivolous or recreational pursuit.

USA hopes to help close the gap between the love of art and the ambivalence toward artists in society. [...] As author Daniel Pink posits in his book A Whole New Mind—Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future, we have moved beyond the Information Age and into the Conceptual Age. "In short, we've progressed from a society of farmers to a society of knowledge workers. And now to a society of creators and empathizers, of pattern recognizers and meaning makers. . . . We've moved from an economy based on people's backs to an economy built on people's left brains to what is emerging today: an economy and society built more and more on people's right brains. . . . aptitudes so often disdained and dismissed—artistry, empathy, taking the long view, pursuing the transcendent—will increasingly determine who soars and who stumbles. It's a dizzying—but ultimately inspiring—change." [source:

CAPTURE BROOKLYN: New York Photo Festival Call For Artists

Capture Brooklyn, a new initiative of The New York Photo Festival is a juried exhibition of contemporary photography that seeks to capture the spirit of Brooklyn, and to showcase the vitality of photography happening in the hottest part of New york right now.

Photographers can submit their work for a chance to show at The powerHouse Arena in Dumbo, Brooklyn during the Dumbo Arts Festival 24-26 September 2010. The event attracts 150,000 over the three days, but the images will stay up until 15 October 2010. The goal is to aggregate images that capture Brooklyn as the new place for literature, music, art and photography in New York.

You can submit up to three images for $25 or up to six for $50. Winners will be asked to bring in their work in early September.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

COLORIZE: MAYA HAYUK mural in the Bahamas

Just came upon this amazing piece by one of my favorite artist, Maya Hayuk. I'm working on a big mural project initiated by my artist comrades of The Love Movement for a high school in Canarsie, Brooklyn and I saw that Maya is going to be one of the contributing artists. N eedless to say, I'm super psyched.


Few people know (myself included until I was referred to this by my good friend, Doze) that Henry Miller, the famous author of Tropic of Cancer was an accomplished and respected painter who completed over 3000 watercolors in his lifetime. Sometimes the whole artist lifestyle with its ups and downs gets one question oneself...I'm sure it's familiar to all the working artists out there. These reflections are truly inspirational

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

i'm feeling...FLYING LOTUS MmmHmm feat. Thundercat

FLYING LOTUS :: Mmmhmm feat. Thundercat
This is one of the best music videos I've seen in a long time. Warp has always been at the forefront with visual branding of its artists, and this video just proves it. Warp Films commissioned Special Problems for the project.I'm really inspired by the FlyLo's new album and the artwork for it created by Leigh J McCloske... beautifully surreal & massive undertaking. Thanks for the homie, Fabian Tejada for putting me on!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

BROOKLYN DIARIES :: triple blessed

I've been working on several parallel projects behind the scenes, so blogging has been lagging. I have a new solo show coming up in August at the new LOTUS Temple of Visions Gallery in Brooklyn featuring some new (and some old) collaborations with Livingroom Johnston, Ibrahim Yaqut, WEZN, House of Nassat, Quan Luv & Mega (A.L.I.E.N fam), Marylin, G4 and some surprise guests. This one is one of the many new pieces I'm working on. It's a piece for little goddess, Kimaya (her name means 'divine' in Sanskrit). She is going to be an avatar of LAKSHMI, the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity and courage; and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm. I love working on this, her beautiful energy is definitely coming through the grains.
I am a self-confessed ginger-head. Ginger tea, candy, shandy, dark & stormy, you name it (I do love the health benefits of ginger as well)... I was shocked last time when I saw that the ginger beer I was drinking has 57 gr of carbs from high fructose corn syrup. YUK! But I finally found the perfect alternative which combines two of my favorite things, ginger & jasmine tea, and has none of the disgusting corn syrup. I'd love a little more bite from the ginger, but it's the best option out there I know of.
The same day I discovered the ginger ale, I was on my way to do some photocopies on my bike. The address was totally wrong, I found no KINKO's but clearly there was another purpose for me being there>>>I came upon a huge number of art books thrown out on the sidewalk and they couldn't have been more relevant to what I'm working on!! give thanks for the blessings for the cosmic ways.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010


Can't wait to see this!
p.s. : New Yorkers, it's showing at the Film Forum.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

LUV2FUNK :: DÂM-FUNK "Hood Pass Intact" feat. MC Eiht

[photo was taken at Dâm's debut on the Stonesthrow tour in early 2009, NYC]
New version of Dâm-Funk's "Hood Pass Intact," a track that originally appeared as an instrumental on his highly-acclaimed 5LP collection, Toeachizown. The track appears on Dâm's new Hood Pass Intact" 12-inch, which also includes a much-anticipated collaboration with former Slave frontman Steve Arrington
Dam-Funk: Hood Pass Intact feat. MC Eiht

From Stonesthrow's press release: "We've got a 12-inch maxi single & video for Dam-Funk's “Hood Pass Intact” coming up late in the summer. DF will be joined on the vocal mix of the standout track from his Toeachizown 5-LP set by West Coast legend MC Eiht, marking their first collaboration in nearly a decade. Most people remember MC Eiht as the lead member of the group Comptons Most Wanted, or for his infamous MC battle with DJ Quik, or for his unforgettable role in the film ‘Menace 2 Society’ … but only the left coasters know and respect him as the originator of the phrase “Gyeah”, which has been bitten and jacked by every MC and rapper on the planet, including Jay Z.
Hood Pass Intact 12" also features the vocals of Steve Arrington on the track “4 My Homies”. Arrington is best known as the lead singer of the group SLAVE during the Dayton funk outfit’s most popular period, lending his voice to classics such as “Watching You” and “Just a Touch of Love.” “4 My Homies” is the initial project from the team of Arrington and DaM-FunK, and a precursor to their forthcoming full-length on Stones Throw.

Rounding out the four-track Hood Pass Intact are contributions from Devonwho on the instrumental re-edit of Toeachizown’s “Come On Outside” and JT Donaldson and TK co-producing the non-album single “How It Be Between U & Me?” All music produced, written, and performed by Dam-Funk.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: time travel

Monk at Buddhist temple, Kunming by Michael Seewald

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

LIFE AS A CAT :: inspiration

07-feel up grace jones by rogerbellair


Here is some ear candy from Paris-based producers, ONRA whose new album have been on heavy rotation on my player this summer. ONRA's new album Long Distance is the ultimate feel-good summer jam that makes you nostalgic about an era of spandex, roller-skate disco parks and space travel...which seems to have its revival these days (minus the roller-skate parks, unfortunately). I recently interviewed him here, and heard from him that he's working behind the scenes to set up a US tour...NYC should definitely tune in. Don't sleep on it!

From Red Bull Music Academy: "It ain't hard to tell - when it comes to samples, Onra can chop like Zorro and flip like Daley Thomson. Ever since his Tribute LP with fellow french producer Quetzal caught the ears of DJs like Benji B and Gilles Peterson, Onra has been on a roll, working with labels like Favourite and All City. Along the way his 'Chinoiseries' LP, made from a crate digging expedition to Vietnam, was released to the delight of fans of offbeat hip-hop while his All City Release 'Long Distance' stepped up the pace, offering an exciting piece of boogie drenched post-Dilla MPC magic. With a pace of more than an album a year he's keeping himself incredibly busy, so we're happy there was a chance to record his record release party for 'Long Distance' at La Bellevilloise. Apart from his trusty MPCs he was joined by Buddy Sativa on keys and Weirdata's Walter Mecca."
TRACKLIST: Onra - The Anthem - Favorite Recordings Onra - Intro - All City // Onra - My Comet - All City // Onra - High Hopes - All City // Onra - Girl - All City // Onra - Send Me Your Love - All City // Onra - My Mind Is Gone - All City // Onra - Rock On - All City // Onra - Long Distance - All City // Onra - Sitting Back - All City // Onra - The One - All City // Onra - Jeeps - All City // Onra - Tape This - All City // Onra - To The Beat - All City // Onra - Oper8tor - All City // Onra - Moving - All City // Onra - Cosmup -Unreleased

FREE DOWNLOAD :: RAYE 6 'Universal Lover' x 2 DIRTAYYY Remix


Genre bending singer-songwriter Raye 6's has released the steamy remix video to her debut single Universal Lover premiering July 14, 2010 at Madame X in Manhattan, New York. The artist who's been compared to "Prince" and "Betty Davis" gives us a preview of what Universe 6 has in store. With heavy pounding drums and deep bass lines accompanied by screams and snaps of what sound like fingers of gold, UL x2 does exactly what the chorus says "once I get in, you can't get out". And you won't want to after seeing this visual. The sexual overtone alone is bound to keep you glued to the screen.

Raye 6 says she's strictly for adults and she means it. "The woman with the hurricane vocals" as CMJ described her, has the voice to back up what she represents. With hair as tall as a 12'" ruler, Raye 6 is nonetheless captivating. Pulling you into her world of Bubble Girls, confetti, and roses. First introduced to the masses through her collaborations w/ Ghost Face Killah, Joe Budden and M1 of Dead Prez, Raye 6 has been making a huge stir across the globe. China Daily asked "Who's the singer with the hair?" after seeing Raye 6's redcarpet appearance at the MTV Movie Awards. With interviews in Clam Magazine, Life Lounge, Fader and Houston Press, we all want to know "Who's the singer with the hair?" *World video premiere of Universal Lover x2 the Dirtayyy remix directed by Lex Lewter, July 14, 2010 8:00pm Madame X 94 W. Houston Manhattan, New York.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I skipped last year's BKHHF, but this year I had a chance to rep my art collective,YOUNITY at the Family Day tent of the BROOKLYN HIP-HOP Festival 2010. Younity's co-founder, my girl Alice Mizrahi invited me to paint along with her this year, and I gladly said yes, since we've tried to collabo for a while. Well, although we prepared our joint piece, once we saw the separate boards, we just decided to take over one each. She hooked me up with some of her stencils, thanks Alice!

She is so beautiful, she really looked like she came for a photoshoot with the piece. The magic power of the Cat Oracle:)
Alice rocked her piece
Free 5 was doing it old school...we owe a big one to him for his generosity sharing some of his crazy colors
The ladies from White Train also came through to show some love. Thank you, Maxine!
Assata of & friend came became a spontaneous photo shoot
The kids got really into the whole process and were giving me a lot of good advice about the piece. Btw, I was repping my new IHMDJ tee. Thanks Antoine!
Thanks to Alice and Alison from F.O.K.U.S who gave us this opportunity, as well as all the young folks getting involved and taking the time to watch the process. Check out more photos (I stole some from hers:) on Alice's blog.
Centric TV represent! I ran into my good friend, Protius who was on assignment from Centric to cover the event. Good to see other old friends on the screen, like thee mover-and-shaker of Brooklyn, Mary Pryor as the host and one of the best drummers I know, Daru Jones.


Last month, I finally had a chance to meet Jacqueline from one of my favorite music/art/culture blogs, THE MINT COLLECTIVE. She was as dope in person as I expected. I loved her interview questions, they were not the usual, "where are you from, what's your inspiration" type of standard joints. Here is the link for our interview. Thank you, Jacqueline!

If you don't know her site, definitely check it out, she is a real tastemaker; there are lots of great stuff, free music downloads & interviews. You can follow The Mint Collective on twitter.