Monday, March 28, 2011


This is a very difficult posting. Not because of any particular weirdness in my life,
or anything going wrong, or the old career zooming sideways. No, nothing like that
at all. It shouldn't be hard to do, just spit it out. But I find it so.
I wish that it wasn't. I truly wish this was an utter joy. But it's not.
I started my life in public with a book called "The Puma Blues". Some of you may remember
those days. It was dubbed, A book about "ecological responsibility" and I suppose in many ways
it was. Few if any of you know that I spent the years previous to "Puma" as a rather commercial wildlife
artist of sorts. Fewer still know that I was raised Roman Catholic, and that my Confirmation name is Francis.
What does that mean? Well, "Francis" is the name of a Catholic saint known for his profound connection to the natural world, the "birds and beasts" if you will.
I took it very seriously then. It was supposed to be. This should be starting to add up.
To tip the scales, If you have been following my bullshit for a few years now, you'd know I was until very recently an owner, shower and friends with big name breeders of very fine Bull terriers. Over the decades I have used my talents for free, quite happily and very seriously to Bull terrier rescue, and canine rescue in general. If there is anything on this earth that makes me almost literally burn, it's animal cruelty.
I loath the people who feel they have divine permission to rape abuse and pillage the natural world.
This post is about that. It's also about the possibility of redemption.
And brothers and sisters, we, each and every one of us, myself included, needs redemption and expiation
of our sins against the natural world.
All of us.
So. Even though at the moment I have little or no food for my own table, even though we are a month or so from foreclosure on our home, even though I can barely afford the basic supplies to work with, I am jumping in again with both feet, into the world of rescue and sanctuary. I need to because my heart will not be still. I want to because I hope to one day be able to look at myself in the mirror and like what I see behind my eyes.
While out in Los Angeles I was hosted by the astonishing Cat Mihos, Neil Gaiman "merch Queen" and left coast assistant. She told me a story, and showed me evidence of a sanctuary on southern Wisconsin for animal that have been the brunt of some our,(human.) most devastating cruelty. The place is called "Valley of the Kings". A not for profit 501(c)3 sanctuary and rescue organization run by Jill and Jim Tomasi, dedicated to providing the lifetime housing and humane rehabilitation of everything from Tigers to Pigs.
You can see for yourself at It's utterly and absolutely astonishing what they have done with nothing but massive love and private donations. I have in all my years of rescue, never been more impressed than by the work they do with such love and devotion.
But, and there is always a but, they run by the skin of their teeth. People, I know how that feels. So, to that end I am very shortly going to be doing a massive piece for them to be used strictly for fund raising so that there just might be a bit of breathing room for them now and then. The piece and the best prints possible will be available at as soon as we can bring them to you. I ask you as fellow humans of good faith and understanding to please, please help support this effort. Not for me, not for Cat, but for the magnificent animals that have suffered so terribly at our hands, if not directly then by tacit disregard.
At least just think about it.

Dear god, please.


Sunday, March 27, 2011



There are these times. Times when I have run out of materials, and all to frequent occurrence,
and I have ordered them that I find myself strangely suspended. A day or two is okay, as it simply clears my head, and helps me to otherwise cool down from whatever run of things I have been on. Basically, just a bit of room to breath. If I had a limitless supply of materials, I would probably have to be told to quit by loved ones, a bizarre sort of art intervention.
But, after three or four days, I start to get kind of twitchy. There is this mental itch that I can't reach and it slowly starts to erode my equilibrium in unhappy ways.
I am in the middle of one of those dead air times right now. That's why is post is boring.
I am rested, ready and can't go anywhere.
Fed Ex has me by the balls.
Not pretty.

This is what I am going to be doing in a few more days:

A. A special piece for fund raising. More on that tomorrow. Stay tuned my dear ones, as it is seriously important to me.
B. A portrait of Amanda Palmer. That's going to be a "go deep" kind of thing, and I doubt you'll ever see it, but you might.
C. A portrait of Kyle Cassidy and Trillion Stars. Another exercise in real hard ass seriousness.
D. Three new pieces of personal work I have been longing to do for months and months now.
After all that happens I order paper for the new book. More dead time. And this time I will very likely need it.

Now, go by something from the "Lined in Lead" exhibition from Gallery Nucleus.
I really really need food 'n stuff.
They have payment plans damn it.


Friday, March 25, 2011


Hell if I know.
I mean, really, I have no idea. Which, considering my public declaration as an artist,
having no idea what happened at a showing of my work in public seems utterly pathetic.
Not that it was, pathetic I mean. It was by all accounts a fabulous show. It's just that I didn't have any context with witch to measure it by. An art virgin at my age: shocking!, but true.
This should have happened at least thirty years ago. I mean there were artists,( very good ones indeed.) who showed with me younger than that.
It's as if somebody somewhere at sometime long ago put up a sneaky little road sign saying "career this way" with a big red arrow pointing in exactly the opposite direction.
I'm such a sucker for big red arrows.
So, I fret for a week before hand, pack and repack superbly for any contingency, and when the day came to leave, was blasted and basically abused by the airlines for six hours.Then I was whisked away to sanctuary by the formidable and excellent Cat Mihos to stew in my own rancid juices for a day or two.
Just long enough to give my nerves a really good head of steam.
I shouldn't have wasted my time. And nerves. As far as I can tell, I got there, signed a few prints, people came, milled around for several hours and then left. We all went to dinner appallingly late, (for me anyway.) and then I went to sleep.
I keep asking myself, "what actually happened?" I know there were things going on, I could literally feel them as they did, but I'll be damned if I know what they were.
Perhaps I am looking for something that never really existed in any quantifiable form.
Maybe I am so used to subtext I actually need to invent it when there isn't any?
That would be a kick in the head.
Be that as it may, regardless of what I think happened, it did happen and it was very cool. I got to meet old friends, make new ones and dress spiffy for a change. Not a bad deal really.
I do wish I had sold something that night, even though it has as of today, seventeen days to run. Do me a favor, go to Gallery Nucleus and buy a piece for them by me. It would make me happy.
I could by groceries.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Well children, daddy will be in L.A. for a few days.
If you are in the area or are just barking mad with a heap of disposable income,
Be at Gallery Nucleus this Saturday evening from oh, say six to ten pm.
"Lined in Lead" Graphically Graphite.




ps: don't eat mommy.


Sunday, March 13, 2011


For those of you who are not reasonably well versed in gnostic ideas or hermetic philosophy in general, or who haven't read their Milton in the context of it's time, please, what follows is only an idea. Nothing more. No hate mail, no pickets, no nasty rumors that I am somehow a closet satanist or what ever.
I am basically talking to myself anyway so fuck it. I'll write what I want. When I want and for whatever reason I want. This is an idea that has been floating half formed in my head since I was basically three quarters finished with "Boy". By writing it out it may help clarify the thing so I can get a better handle on it.
You don't have to read it.
Besides, I am harmless anyway, I draw funny books "n stuff.


My dear and all wise creator, before you I kneel in all humility
My beloved master and molder, with bowed head and weeping eyes
before your presence I abase myself in love and the pain in which you made me.
I beg of you and plead of you to grant me the continued grace to preform my duties
in all their fullness and hardship.
It is you and you alone to whom I bow my head
It is you and you alone my pride is made whole
It is you and you alone to whom I pray.

I ask you from my heart that burns with duty and horror
that I may be given the grace to be set free and at at long last
Bring to your errant creatures the lash formed of my hate.
That they to whom you bid me bring light be torn asunder by it.
May they wail rivers of tears into boiling empty oceans
May the burning fill the heavens with ashes and the sun turn red.
May they run naked and blistered, into the darkness to find my mercy.
May they twist their children into monsters that devour them.
May the beasts of the forest and fields walk upright and scream murder.
May they be abandoned and and scatter the world like burning leaves.
May your silence deafen them and their mouths be filled with stones.
My dearest beloved creator I beg of you the strength to scar the soul of creation.

In your name I ask this.
By your will I serve.
With your hand I ravage.
If it so please you,
My only master, let me lose.

Don't worry.
I am only thinking out loud, so to speak.
Art does not apologize. And I won't either.
Besides, how much worse can it get. "Saw 6"?


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Oh, why bother.

I just broke my own rule: never look at my blog stats.
Perhaps I should just stop this nonsense and go home.

I am basically talking to myself.

Whoopie shit.



I've got plans you see. Thinking ahead.
In essence, looking forward and backwards at the same time.
And, it always starts this way: me scribbling, staring out the window, walking around like the living dear, bumping into things and lost in some sort of fog.
The beginning of a new book.
From the start, I had plans to make three of them, as somehow,( and I wish someone could explain this.) trilogies just seem to work for me. I more often than not will draw,paint, whatever, several times in variations of a theme until I am either satisfied that the idea has been fully covered or I simply run out of steam.
The thing in mind was something I call "The Dream Suite". A kind of vaguely interlocking series of books that complement each other while remaining self contained.
I am as I write this as a kind of public service announcement, getting down to the nuts and bolts of just what it is I want from myself this time. I've been playing with it for months and months right now. I may have stated before,( I really don't go back over what I have done here.)
That I planned to begin this book last september, and though events conspired against me as far as that was concerned, The basic template has been running around my head since late '09.
It's about damn time I got to it.
I put an enormous amount of energy thought into what and how I want to do with the basic idea and tend to malinger over the slightest details until am satisfied that everything is just so before I begin. Then of course it veers off into uncharted territories almost instantly. But I have a sort of over-mind control of the book so that I can pull back from dead ends and other little side trips when it goes to far off track. I like to be surprised as much as you do, but I have a responsibility to maintain control of the material so something like what I wanted to begin with comes out the other end of the pipe line.

So, here goes "OPIUM: variations for quill and vapor."

See you all on the other side of sanity.


Friday, March 11, 2011


I rather like the idea of passing through life as gently as possible, leaving
as little trace behind me as I can. In the past, my book has been billed as a "symbolist
manifesto", which was only a phrase I dropped in casual conversation, never meant as
anything serious. If you know me you would know that the last thing I would ever want is for someone to either follow me or think that I have in any shape or form the answer to anything.
I just do what I do, nothing more.
Yes, sometimes my work can be confrontational, but I try very hard to make absolutely sure it is necessary and has a reasoned excuse to back it up, even if not instantly obvious. I loath being instantly obvious. This goes back to my wishing to move silently through life, doing as little damage to the world as possible. NO, I am not talking about recycling cans and newspapers. I AM talking about a state of being.
Positioning oneself metaphorically in the half light, neither darkness or light but the nexus between when all is possible and nothing is obvious. If that constitutes a "manifesto", I suppose that's mine.


I used to work years ago, in a largely limited pallet, of say four or five colors. I believe though I don't care for labels,( at all.) it was and is called "tonalism." Whatever. One reason for this was the influence of a very old and dear friend and my discovery at an impressionable age of J.A.M. Whistler.
Since my work in comics began, it seemed almost natural to up the wattage and I found myself slowly using more and more color until things I was doing became saturated with it. I found it a valuable learning curve to be sure, but at heart, and I mean deep down, I love the less is more aesthetic. These days I find myself looking with fresh eyes upon my youthful artistic urges with far more sympathetic eyes than has been true over the last fifteen years or so.
The saying goes "and unexamined life is not worth living." I think this very, very true.
Even if it hurts, and it very often does.

Burnt Umber.

Isn't that a lovely couple of words? Think about it and visualize it in your minds eye.

Burnt Umber
Paynes Grey
Yellow Ocher
Venetian Red
Titanium White.

That's it. All that is truly necessary to express almost anything. Lovely in it's simplicity and graceful by definition. This cycles back to a previous post about the slow evolution of subject matter and my dawning need to express myself along fresh lines, while not rejecting the past but building upon it carefully.
Because of the attention of Eidolon Fine Arts and the wonderful outpouring of support by people that are total strangers at Kickstarter, ( how utterly amazing!) there is lately a longstanding psychic knot in my mind that is slowly but surely coming undone that I am extremely grateful for.
For the first time in a very long time I feel free. That is the greatest gift anyone can give to another. I will not waste it. Ever. For any reason.



ps: hello barbara. hello world. smile.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011


It has taken me roughly fifty years to discover this.
I was born with the ability to slip into a hypnagogic state seemingly without effort even while fully awake. Where did the last hour go? What was that I just saw? Oh, shit, I did it again.
I used to think I just wasn't quite real in the sense that other people mean it.
It worried me a lot back when I was a kid.
Now I see it as a tool for what I truly seem to have been born to do. It's a bit like being an ocean current that dips and ascends from warm to cold water the end result being a change in emotional weather. Usually I spend at least an hour after awakening with one foot in two different worlds. A fair amount of creative energy seems to be manifesting itself at times like these. I don't have classic insomnia, but rather a strange urge to experience this state of mental freedom, that has become as I grow older a sort of addiction. Right now, as I write having been awake for well over two hours I am still imagining absolutely unrelated sensations and scenarios that have nothing what so ever to do with what I am actually doing.
I should have put quotation marks around the word: actually. Truth be told I wonder if I am actually doing anything.

Lately I have spent a number of mornings castigating myself about the utterly odd and un-Michael things that seem to be manifesting themselves in this state. Believe me when I say it gets a tad unnerving to almost actually see and experience things that are fabulously alien to the things one normally imagines. I am beginning to believe that this is signaling a very profound change in my creativity. Just what and why has yet to make itself known but I find myself growing increasingly impatient for it to do so.
My long standing obsessions seem to to giving way to new and unexpected things as yet hazy and veiled. I can only hope this signals an advance in perception that will usher in a new and more interesting set of paradigms. I have been in my "comfort zone" as an artist for to long and very much look forward to any new surprises my inner currents may bring.

I have to wonder if in the process of making "Boy", I've simply outgrown the Michael I once was, and for the last year and a half since I finished it, I have been treading water.
No wonder I have been edgy and basically unsatisfied with my work of late. Of course I can't imagine that I will simply toss what I know in the waste basket, but rather it will mutate in a direction that is as yet unknown to me. What A fabulous idea! For a very long time since starting out in the business of doing comics and peripheral subject matter I have been,( the the necessities of the market place and the culture that surrounds it.) to hoe a furrow in the ground marked, "Zulli". That is almost gone now. Re-invention on a scale that used to scare the shit out of me to be frank. I find I like the idea of no boundaries or restrictions.
The only rules of art are technical and once mastered can be bent and sculpted into any form.
What strange and wonderful fun, if I really have the nerve to go there. I suspect there will be tears, soul searching and a lot of shit thrown away in disgust, but emerging from a cocoon is always a struggle. What a life.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Slouching towards Jerusalem.

I'm done with art.

Just kidding. I am done with the drawie stuff for a while.
It struck me this morning,( one of those three am my head won't stop mornings.)
that i have been extremely remiss in writing down a veritable avalanche of ideas,
notions, concepts and my usual tonal abstract word play that many of my otherwise
three dimensional artwork springs from.
The problem that's more than likely holding all this shit from finding it's way out of
my head is the fact that I have a very old power book with emotional issues. It's just damn
difficult to actually write anything down and properly save it for later, and I really hate writing longhand. Blame that if you will on my catholic school upbringing. After I got away from the gentle ministrations of Sister Mary De Sade I promised myself to promptly forget the rules and regulations of perfect fifties and sixties longhand. The result being my hand writing looks remarkably similar to a spider on speed. Hence: I hate it. Hoisted on my own petard. Yea. That's me all right.
Anyway, my tortured childhood aside, I may in the next week or so post a lot of indecipherable bullshit here. Basically just doing things I have a need to remember in some kind of retrievable form. Please, no hate mail, or bomb threats. I have a propensity for thinking very odd and somewhat arabesque thoughts, which to someone on the outside would find either nearly blasphemous or possibly ridiculous. But it means something to me. I honestly don't mean to upset or outrage anyone. Comment if you like though there is no guarantee that I will post them. For all I know my inner nonsense might be quite mundane to any one else. But, I never let that stop me before, so why start worrying about it at this late date?
I suppose this just my way of posting a public service announcement. Fair warning?
Whatever. Okay?

I might be back later. Just don't mind me. I'm harmless. Really.



Wednesday, March 2, 2011


This is the deal. Things have changed, and to my way of thinking, much for the better.
I am now represented by Eidolon Fine Arts, run by the wonderful and talented Ryan Graff.
In other words I have somebody at my back, somebody that I can both trust to have my best interests at heart and more importantly, act on them.
I simply could not be happier.
But, and listen closely, this is a big "but". Anyone who wants anything from me in the way of artwork, MUST go through Ryan first. Thats the way it works. Please do not write me for commissions. When I announce that I have time for a few, you should write Ryan at Eidolon and he will pass it on to me. If I accept he will handle the whole thing. If on the other hand you just want to talk a bit or say something to me please don't hesitate to write through the website.
It may take time for me to get back to you but I WILL try to. I find myself very, very busy these days making art, which I gather you and I both want me to do. So everybody wins.
And please my friends, don't break Ryan, he's a really nice man and works very hard on my behalf. I'd hate have to look for another twenty years to find another one.

Peace and much love to you to the mythical garrett.


ps: we have anew business model in place beginning over at kickstarter, we have something like eighteen days to go, please consider helping us bring the work directly to you. i am intensely gratified and very pleased by the response so far: your help will enable us to get more, and most importantly, finer quality work to you for months and months to come with your assistance.