Fine Times At Our House

Last Sunday we had dinner with Richard McMahan here at IAM Residency. I am pleased to announce that we hosting Richard in the coming year and sponsoring a Major Exhibit of his Mini Museum at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum. More to follow. If you don’t know Richard or his work, they are both delightful. See the video link below. Thanks to James Hunter for the photo.

Movie Night at IAM Residency-Friday Aug 3rd-8pm

Tired of Trolling the Netflix menu for anything worth watching?
Sick of the whole Marvel Universe franchise? There are some great movies out there that aren’t on the big screen and we want to watch them with you.
This Friday Aug 3rd we will be screening “Samsara” a visual candystore of a film. Free. BYOB. at IAM Residency.
We will be having film screenings every first Friday at IAM Residency. Seating is limited to 15. Lights down at 8pm sharp.
RSVP via

On seeing…

Coloring a fine drawing does not necessarily add value. It’s like the difference between a quartet and a symphony; You can’t tell me that Beethoven’s “5th” is any better than The Rolling Stones “Brown Sugar” just because of a few more fiddles.

Old Time Music Residency with Mark Campbell and Sean Franco

The Devils Box

This is the poster for the Concert

Mark and Sean at the House Concert

Sean and Mark in the Recording studio

Fiddle player Mark Campbell asks for a response from students in the audience at Waterleaf Elementary School as he along with banjo player Sean Franco and guitarist Brett Waller performed for Pre Kindergarten through third grade students in the school auditorium Friday morning. Children at Waterleaf Elementary School were treated to a lesson in old time fiddle, banjo and guitar music Friday morning, February 16, 2018. The performance went beyond simply listening to music, the performers also talked about the origins of the instruments and their place in American history. The program is part of a collaboration between the IAM Residency and Riverside Fine Arts-Project non-profits, and the groups tailor their shows to dovetail with the student’s curriculum. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

I know this sounds like old news but After Mark and Sean led the Inaugural residency at IAM in February 2018, it took me a while to get the webblog up and running. Things happen fast around here but I am built for comfort, not for speed. Here’s a few pics from the Concert poster, the house concert, the recording studio and the outreach program we did for DCPS. Thanks to Bob Self from the Times Union for the photo.

We’ll be releasing the record we recorded here sometime before Christmas 2018 with any luck, So check back with us.

Thanks, Brett

Joe Wack – Simpsons Character Designer, Spoon carver, Old time Musician, Nice guy.

My Old Pal Joe Wack is traveling through Italy after retiring from “The Simpsons” TV Series as Character Designer for 25 years. Nobody has a job on a TV show for 25 years, except Joe. He is enjoying the local culture and trading out napkin drawings of “Bart” with the locals in exchange for vino and prociutto. Joe and his wife Katie are great musicians and I know they are enjoying themselves.

We hope to have Joe come to IAM Residency this fall, if he ever comes home again. 

Zuni Jewelry Stone Inlay – Workshop/Demo July 10-24 2018

IAM Residency will be hosting a workshop and demo on Zuni Jewelry Inlay by the Artist in residence Mary Jo Mahkee – July 2018

These are a few examples of Zuni stone inlay work. The Zuni Indians have a long tradition of jewelry making and are very fine craftsmen. The Bolos on the left of the photo are treasured pieces I own. The one in the lower center is called “channel” inlay, made by the Mahkee family for me on one of my first visits to the rez in 1990. The one on the far left I made with some instruction by Mary Jo Mahkee on one of my visits. I had just come down to Zuni after a trip to an Anasazi site called Chaco Canyon and I was inspired by the unusual architecture of the ruins, particularly the doorways. (See photos).

I’ve known the Mahkee family for many years and used to keep an old Airstream Trailer on their land because I visited so often when I lived in L.A. I was fascinated by the culture and the Mahkee family were always welcoming to me. I still visit when I can from Florida. I went out there for the Shalako ceremony last winter and talked Mary Jo into coming to Florida to teach a workshop this year at IAM Residency.

How I met them is a long story, but what the hell, it’s my blog.

I had been in L.A. working on films for about 2 years and doing some wacky performance art with The Holyland (but that’s a story for another time). I had established a little studio out in Joshua Tree just to get away from L.A. It was on the land of a sculptor named Louis Gonzales who was a Mescalero Apache. I didn’t know much about indians except from John Wayne movies and Louis encouraged me to explore the desert and go to a real reservation to see what it’s about. I think I didn’t even know they had indian reservations anymore. My Hollywood world view was a bit skewed toward make-believe.

My girlfriend Kim was an artist and had an old Dodge Tradesman van. She was hot on jewelry making at the time and was ready for an adventure. The van was her father’s and a non-descript rust brown paint job, but was fitted out on the interior with a sort of conquistador themed design with faux wood paneling and a bed, which was perfect. We set off from Joshua Tree on a perfect California day in May to seek out indian reservations and jewelry to sell with the pale faces back in L.A. I didn’t have any idea what we were doing and we started driving east into Arizona. We stayed off the interstate and kept to the side roads and some where along the way at an old gas station on the 66 trail I picked up a fine set of longhorn steer horns and wired them to the front of the van. Around Winslow we passed a prison of some sort and not much else for many miles. I needed to take a leak so I pulled off after a bridge over an Arroyo river bed. I was taking care of business and looked down into the Arroyo to discover what looked like someone had dumped a load of power tools down the bank. Possibly from a construction site heist, stashed to retrieve later. There were Skillsaws and Sawsalls and hand tools of all types just dumped down the revene which I picked up and loaded into the van while Kim kept a lookout. Now we had stuff to trade with the indians.

We hauled ass for a while to avoid being caught up in the construction heist caper.

When we crossed into New Mexico we started looking for the nearest rez to do some trading and make camp for the night.

To Be Continued…

IAM Residency-Wireform Sculpting Workshop – Spring 2018

The image above is an example of one of my wireform sculptures. It is 3/16″ welded steel wire at full scale of aprox 17′ in length and weighs aprox 150lbs. I learned this technique years ago and helped develop it as a form/armature combined for the Tournament of Roses parade floats in Pasadena, CA. It lends itself very well to that application because you can build extremely large forms with relatively small mass. It reminds me of “wireform” computer generated 3-D modeling today. Extremely easy to read the details of the form in this state. It’s very strong as an armature because once the wire is welded at all the intersections, it has the physics of eggshell, which is a very strong, lightweight form as long as the points of contact are connected. Structural integrity begins to fail only when the continuity is broken at any point. Of course, the structure can always be augmented easily with steel tube/channel or even thicker steel rod in truss formation. I am currently building a new piece to be installed at an undisclosed location in Jax, FL. Students with an interest in the design build process of this technique are welcome to join me as part of the Masterclass/Workshop series at IAM RESIDENCY during the weeks of April 16 – 20 and 23 -27 / for the design. May 7-11 and 14-18 for the build out and install. Please inquire through the the residency mail server

The design of the new piece in process. The final version will be a 17′ in length model of an M4A2 military carbine rifle or commonly known as an AR15 on the civilian market. The form lends itself very well to this wireform technique.

The first step was to acquire a scale model to dissect. I used a japanese airsoft model which, lucky for me was 34″ in length overall. This makes the scaling up in size fairly straight forward in that the model is equal in scale to a ratio of 1/2″=1′-0″. I won’t discuss scale ratio here but you can ask me yourself or look it up. It’s a system for proportional enlargement.

I disassemble the model into roughly 3 units, which is how I will build it. The barrel and foregrip (1), the upper and lower receiver (2) and the butt stock (3). Then I bisect each unit into 2 halves. The haves are generally symmetrical so I will choose one half from each unit to cut into 1″ wide sections to obtain a profile of each section and draw them onto a 1″ graph paper. (see photos).