Early in 2012 one of our good friends was diagnosed
with ALS. She was 39 years old and in the prime of her life. An
avid traveler and an amazing photographer Nicole lived LARGE.
We wanted to give something special to her, to help deal with
her inevitable path. Something that I knew would be
a comfort to her in tough times. We organized sort-of a going
away party but didn't call it that. A ton of people came out to
the Legion in downtown Calgary from all corners of the earth.
That night was so special. As loving family and friends
dipped their hands in paint to leave their handprint on the canvas
for NIcole, I could see them putting in their thoughts and love
for her hard journey to come. After the party, I left the handprints
background for a few days to feel the incredible energy it gives
off. You could feel the love for Nicole.
I chose to use my 'Gods Hand' stencil. I chose this
design for Nicole based on a very special person I met while living
in the South Pacific. Madame Carol was from France, and a healer
or therapist of sorts in a practise called ACMOS Therapy. So I
created and dedicated a painting of a healing hand for Madame
Carol. It was my hope that the energy Nicole's friends imbued
into her painting that this image would help guide her, or at
the very least comfort her.
ALS takes away that we take for granted is undeniable
and brutal. In fact for all the great medicine out there this
was clearly something that was going to continue its destruction
no matter what eastern or western medicine thru at it. When you
see it in progress it actually makes you understand that sometimes
all you can do for a friend in this situation is be there.
Anyway this post isn't about ALS its about friends,
life, and the reality. She loved the painting and hung it above
her bed. That made usfeel like no matter how bad things got, her
friends were right above her. Hopefully making her feel like what
she built with her friends in her life was special and worth more
than anyting. Because it was. She was so awesome!
A candle in the wind ...a light in the black.
For Nicole - The Second Painting 2014
Nicole's passing wasn't easy for anyone. It was
something inevitable and in some peoples minds a kind of welcome
freedom from her pain and restriction that was a progressive reality
since the beginning of her diagnosis. After she passed another
party was organized and so many more people came from all sorts
of different places. She was loved and it was palpable. Her dad
Doug reached out to me and asked if I could do another painting
in the same way. As a sort of fitting and final tribute and because
so more people who missed the first party could participate. I
didn't need to think about it because it made sense on a level
that's hard to describe. No pressure just do the same thing as
before. Well it wasn't an easy task for obvious reasons. Shannon
always helps me pick colour and is always real with me if something
is not right. So she went and got the canvas and paints that she
felt would be suitable. I love that she did that and.
Shannon and Nicole were friends already but became
so close as things progressed as other friends faded into the
background (I get it its hard to watch and not everybody has the
same kind of fortitude). Anyway the laying of hands was the easy
part as everyone that participated "got it" with minimal
explanation. It was something I was amazed by. After the funeral
I actually had a problem with putting anything over the background.
4 months passed and as the painting hung in our hallway every
time I passed it I got a combination of the creeps and happiness.
Its like it needed time to mellow out like a fine wine. That and
if I'm truthful I was terrified by the thought of having to choose
an image that was fitting. Flip flopping between a tree of life,
a lantern to guide the way, and this thunderbird I was stuck.
Knowing that this was in some way a symbol of colour the pressure
of finishing it was mounting. One sunny Sunday in the fall I grabbed
it and took it out back where I paint and looked at out all of
my stencils. No pressure just pick something fitting. As I stood
out in my beautiful green space I agonized. a slight wind picked
up filling me with something I have a hard time describing. So
I will just say it...something told me. Only once before did my
ancestors make some thing so clear. "The Thunderbird"
they said plain and clear as a bell ringing in silence. That is
Nicole a fighter and a soul that will fight to reincarnate from
the ashes. To rise and fly again.
March 15 / 2013 - Social Media Creating Tribes
October 23 / 2012 - The Harvest and the Snow
Harvest time is a sacred time for me. Going over
the years efforts and reviewing the yield of experiences, triumphs,
and losses. To see what you manifested in relationships and goals.
Preparing for the long slumber of winter. It snowed heavy today
and the beauty of the fall leaves are covered with cold shimmering
crystals. The snow eater will come to melt and it will snow again
numerous times before full winter sets in. Short days followed
by friends and fire. Here in the northern forests and mountains
we prepare for a season that is brutal in its beauty and tremendously
strong by nature. For those who live for this unrelenting time
there is reward in the mountains. As tribes we travel to the peaks
and valleys to ride the snow, to fill our eyes, to breath the
crisp air and be one with the north.
January 27 / 2012 - Ron Hadley Commission "I
am Walking Away From My Brain"
After Ron purchased his first large painting "Sacred
Lotus" he commissioned me to do a custom painting for him.
His parameters consisted one sentence.. I am walking away from
After all we are just beasts with big brains...
- Juno Party Oct. 7, 2008 -
Gogo and I rocking out a live painting for
Universal Juno Party Oct. 7, 2008. This event
was so much fun. Thanks @ Jason Gogo !
- Ice T -
Jason Gogo and
I giving a painting to the man Ice T.
He said "That shit is cold jack! I have a special crib
that this is going to! "
"Ravens Never Get Cold"
Just sent this painting to Rankin Inlet for a client.
I couldn't be more stoked to be represented in that part of Canada.
I really like this painting so I am releasing a
signed print. This is the first print I have ever offered to the
public. It is 8.5" by 11". Part of his new collection
"Beyond the Liquid Crystal" the 4' by 3' painting was
quickly snapped up by a collector before the paint was dry.
Myself, and Grandmaster Mele Mel. A hero of mine
the Beat Street days. Nice guy.
- Ron Hadly -
Ron Hadly from Beyond Possession fame snapped
up this Sacred Lotus painting from my studio. Great guy! We are
currently working on the commission"I am Walking Away from
- The Firery Land of The Coconut Dudes -
An old friend and collector of my work Chris Dorland
and I standing in
front of the painting he commissioned for his man cave.
It was so fun. There is a clip
of it below.
- Samantha Fox -
@ Samantha Fox and @ Jason Gogo hanging out at the
Rogers 80's Party. Another live painting done to the live music
of 80's pop sensation Sam and hip hop legend Mele Mel. It was
an honor to do this event. It was hosted by @ kardinal Official.
- The Manifestation Journal -
I recently did a cover of a very cool work book written by
Robert Angus. Its a journal designed to help you realize your
goals. It was fantastic to see the proofs come in and I have
had a ton of interest from people to buy it.
I wanted to give a shout out to my jewelry sponsor Bico Australia.
They create amazing things everyday and sell them to dedicated
customers all around the world. We recently collaborated on
their social networking sites to reach more people and
The picture to the left is what awesome looks like!
- Bison B.C. -
One of my favorite metal bands Bison B.C. Here
is a fresh
painting to thank you for the metal!
- Prevail from Swollen
Prevailand I picking his painting out. Its going in the studio.
What a show!
Dog Face and the Cadillac Pimp - April 2010
Interesting neighbors are what life is all about. I have lived beside
them all, trust me. Over the years I have narrowed down a few of
the most spectacular like Dog Face and The Cadillac Pimp. So there
I am, in grade 6, living in Calgary with my Mom and Step-dad and
attending Sacred Heart Elementary School. My new and albeit temporary
last name back then was Mollenhauer, which was pretty much forced
on me during a long and strange custody battle happening at the
time. Twisted Sister, Herbie
Hancock, calculator watches, break-dancing and arcades were
popular culture. Mom worked late almost every night at the flower
shop she was running, and Burt (Mollenhauer my Step-dad), was usually
busy with his home-work or attending pressing social obligations.
So I had an abundance of adult-free hang time, most of which was
spent with my next door buddy Mike Wood (a.k.a. Stroh). He was a
few years younger than I, but he was older than his years. Much
older. Much wiser. AND, he had acquired a very impressive Transformer
collection. We hung out almost every night.
Mike and I had the same interests and shared an obsession
with Ninja movies (although it was hard to find new releases since
we went the shitty Beta max route). We went so far as to actually
roam the Scarborough streets at night in full costume. Yes, we had
ninja costumes. We named ourselves the "Eagle Clan". We
bought our stuff from a karate store over in Chinatown. I faithfully
wore mine almost every day with my wooden Katana as my trusty companion.
Mike's Mom wasn't around much either, its tough being a single Mom
holding down multiple jobs. We had the dubious freedom of Huckleberry
Fin-ing our evenings away. You know, just a couple of elementary
school kids sneaking around a downtown neighborhood in masks and
hiding in trees. Of course we didn't even think about legal implications.
We were kid ninjas, and our only code was act as true Ninja and
become invisible. That actually worked for us, we were too young
to know better and as invincible ninjas we felt primed for any danger
we might face.
Mike had been doing impressive Ninja recon work on
his own, sometimes even before school. He had taken to the trees
since we could sit in them spying on the neighbourhood goings on.
I welcomed the lifestyle immediately and together, Mike and I turned
our extra-curricular activities into an art form. We were competitive
too. Chad, another wise-beyond-his-years friend of ours, would come
down from Olds and fit right in as the third Ninja. He secured his
position by showing up with very creative gear such as homemade
climbing claws, grappling hooks, and shirkins. But Mike and I had
the daily birds-eye view of our local and varied micro-culture.
Bangers, business people, church goers, dealers, pimps, gangs, hookers,
motorheads, and of course some nice, normal, everyday people all
fell under our observant gaze.
Let's get to our discovery of "Dog Face"
and his crew. This crazy character lived across the street from
our condo building in a bungalow. It was a bit run down and, at
first glance, seemed unassuming to the naked eye. But to a trained
Ninja, we realized the patches Dog Face proudly wore were congruent
with a prominent motor cycle gang. A big gang, and the unassuming
bungalow was really a club house run by Dog Face himself. Directly
across the street from us! We passed by it every day as we walked
to school, and spied on it every night we could. We'd spy on the
front of the house from a tree, and we'd also spy from the back
alley, we were very thorough. Now Dog Face wasn't this biker's real
name. You see, Mike had a fantastic imagination and the nick name
was born because the view from our tree into Dog Face's clubhouse
clearly displayed a familiar art piece, popular in the day. You
know it- the velvet "Dogs Playing Poker" painting. Might
have been an original.
You can understand how Dog Face and his crew became
somewhat of an obsession for ninjas like us. I liked to see him
handling his business. Surprisingly, their going's on seemed very
corporate and efficient. Life imitated art when Dog Face and his
crew would sit at their table, looking just like the Dogs in the
painting. Sometimes friends (or "business associates")
from out of town would be featured. Being in that tree on a Friday
or Saturday night, witnessing the inner world of a private biker
club and their privileges was very... educational. I will leave
it to your capable imagination, but rest assured I learned very
interesting things about the local economy in the early 80's. It
was truly something to behold. Old Dog Face almost caught us, just
once, but I think he might have sensed us occasionally, which made
our observations that much more exciting, let me tell you. Eventually
we moved on, but Dog Face has a special place in our history and
can never be forgotten.
Another fascinating (and equally questionable both
legally and ethically) neighbour had a real impact on my young
life a the time. Pimping apparently ain't easy... but the "Cadillac
Pimp" that lived 2 doors down from us had a gleaming, green
caddy that lit up the whole parkade. This was no normal car. It
was a testament to big pimpin', all customed-out. It was that
magnificent vehicle that brought me and Cadillac Pimp together,
we started talking about his car. And we became unlikely friends
Since I was on my own a lot, I was super stoked
to have another friend in the condo, especially one with so much
steeze. It's important to explain that I didn't really understand
the concept of pimpin' yet. I mean I was in elementary school!
So, to my young delight, I started seeing these "pretty ladies"
waiting around in our second floor lobby. Always they waited,
in that lobby chair, overlooking the street until a cab would
arrive for them. Every night of the damn week this went on, with
a lot of different ladies always coming and going from his crib.
My Ninja skills also had me coming and going from our 'crib' most
evenings, you know to top up on Ninja supplies (juice boxes and
pizza slices from the fridge). Being the gentleman my Mom raised
me to be, I would stop and talk to the friendly ones. I had no
idea what was really going on, but it seemed pretty awesome to
me and I was eager to hang out with C.P.
Finally the Saturday came when I was to go over
to Cadillac Pimp's crib to listen to his records! I was so excited
and ready to impress. I banged on the door and not surprisingly,
a lady answered. She had just gotten out of the shower and was
wearing a towel on her head and had a short kimono on (very short).
My nerdy little face must have turned 8 shades of red. She kindly
greeted me and escorted me into the living room. The Cadillac
Pimp was on the phone. He smiled and motioned for me to sit down
Now I need to set the scene a little here because
this was no regular crib. It was so 80's fresh it blew my little
elementary school mind. There were large sculptures of a gloss
black panthers, carved ivory tusks, African masks, and, of course,
naked lady art. His couches were top of the line black leather
and I sank into them as we chilled and chatted in front of his
giant hi-fidelity entertainment center. The kimono-lady brought
us drinks and snacks and we talked about Dog Face. They new each
other and seemed to have some sort of business dealings. He liked
that I was a business minded kid and we talked about cool ideas.
The place was filled with expensive stuff and other women kept
milling around. It was a big condo with lots of rooms and a kind-of
"party atmosphere". And a sweet smell always hung in
the air, a combination of perfume, cologne, and incense. The kind
of incense they burn at rock concerts, I thought. My eyes couldn't
be more full and my mind was racing. What made this guy so popular
and so rich? And what was that incense coming out from under his
door every day? I assumed he bought that shit in bulk, little
did I know.
Finally, we plowed through his wall of records and
he introduced me to some Fat
Star, and some UTFO/Full
Force - Roxanne Shante. He was impressed that I liked Herbi
Hancock because that was jazz music, and he didn't think kids
liked that. He even hooked me up with a special price discount
that he had at this record store on 1st Street. The owner always
gave me that deal, no questions asked. Not only did we chill together
to listen to records, but he gave me a few to take home which
I would soak up fully in all my spare time. And he told me when
I returned them he would loan me some more. All right, score!
An invitation to go back and hang-out again! The entire time we
chilled he took phone calls and handled his business. All in stride
and with ease. No problem man. He made it look easy and he obviously
enjoyed his work. But I just knew to never ask him about it. Never.
We stayed friends until we moved and he let me keep
all of that vinyl as a gift. Mom kind of clued me in on what kind
of "home business" he was running and asked me not to
go over there any more. I did any way. His business seemed to
have a nice corporate culture, nice benefits, and no visible violence.
It was almost as if it was a good set up for the employees. A
place to live and work from, protection, money management services,
and party perks. I think it was one of those rare business models
that benefited every one in the organization, in my young mind's
The Cadillac Pimp's business skills were mightier
than his pimp hand. I am older now and looking back I have to
laugh. Things are much clearer now with regards to Dog Face and
CP and what they did for a living. But I still think fondly of
those times. I didn't know exactly what they were doing, but I
admired them because they were real life pirates living by their
own code. Outside the norm, no suits, no ties. Renegades. Rogues.
- Future Shock - 2010
Because in our fantastic, gigantic universe,
human life-lessons seem insignificant and trivial by comparison.
Yet in our inner personal world these things are as huge as a quasar.
2009 was a year jammed with lessons like the ones I have suggested
above. Like a constant accumulation of heavy, fresh powder, they
happened over the course of a year. I am writing this story on December
21, 2009 and it’s the longest night of the year. Talking with
Shanni on the cell from Fernie, we remembered all of the stuff from
this year. Some were awesome, some were cool, and some were …not
so much. But we have a sort-of tradition of going over our past
year every December. We landmark things, take stock of experiences
and marvel at how much was learned, whether we liked it or not.
This year’s list was fantastically diverse and
pivotal. As I clinked glasses with Gaston, Leeroy, and the Cyclone,
a smile crossed my face. One more year on this planet checked off
the list. 2010 is already exciting and in-the-works. Like the Satori
Movement, currently calculating their fall 2010 line with some
of my designs. Its important to look ahead, further down the path.
Think big, roll the dice, and make that shit happen.
Humans have been constantly
rubbing Aladdin’s lamp and smoke is finally emerging. 2012
is where humanity realizes their full potential and hopefully the
world’s old ways and bad habits will die like a cosmic new
Worm holes over Norway, magneto
plasma propulsion, stem cell research, warping time and space
with the hadron
collider! Cmon its bananas but still no flying cars? Like it
or not we are heading into an amazing time for human civilization.
Our exponential technological advancements and possibilities in
medicine and technology are rocketing into fruition. Its Future
Shock, just like Alvin Toffler predicted in his book written
in the fifties. Its almost like we don’t believe what’s
happening right in front of our eyes, or perhaps its that we just
can't personally fix it all on our own. Sustainability is our only
fiduciary obligation to our earth and we are getting there. Dreams
do come true and positivity is in the air. I think of my buddy Hans
and his inspirational attitude in the face of crazy diversity, he
still remains positive and won't lose heart. His philosophy is that
if you stay ready for a few laughs, you're golden. Keep chasing
your dreams, no matter what, you don't know how long you have. Approach
the present wholeheartedly, just like Hans. Trial by fire is the
way of the universe. If the right set of factors line up, there
is a cause and effect. Action and reaction. Take action more, and
worry less about reaction
is my 2009 in a random stream of consciousness
Ma-Ma-O Beach dealing with karma and politicians
leading to inappropriate words from a Mayor (slave girl!?). Bico
tribe sponsor and a movement named Satori, more skateboarding and
less injuries, reconnecting with my step dad after 20 years, Reverand
Kill commissioning me to create a CD cover for "War and
Conflict", an amazing 10 year anniversary in Palm Springs with
Shanni my favorite person in the world, Snow Paw came into our life
while Sully is aging & dealing with a new furry face, cool Art
Spot people helping me expand my art, realizing depreciating assets
can unfortunately be friends, defamed by a Hater with snow job accusations,
Luke and Mackenzie bright the new recruits, sales with niches, Russell
losing Survivor, hard work, all important life lessons leading down
an aging well worn path to enlightenment.
I dedicate this entry to my friends Hans and Tammy. Get well soon!
Also thanks to Satori
Movement and Bico
Tribe for digging my art in 2010. I truly look forward to doing
business with you.
- Where We Live - MAY 26 2009
Because sometimes it's good to shake
things up. Move to a new cool pad, take a random chance, and flip
your script. Get a cool tattoo. Move and work in a tropical
paradise, Take a business risk. Tell your art teachers they
are douche bags. Downsize or upgrade according to each situation,
and get behind a decision that some of your people may question.
They will question it mostly because they love you and don't want
to see you go, or fail, or worse- turn into an asshole. But it
all stems from love, or no one would care what you do.
Mostly all love anyway, I like to think.
Love with a few human competitive tendencies, jealousies, and
strings attached. I say let your people surprise you and support
them in their choices. Looking at it that way feels better. Getting
judged sucks, but I catch myself doing it. Then I stop! Because
I believe that people, especially the people I love, can do anything
they want. Anything.
You can actually see people shine when they
are winning. When people you love are shining, you see that core
light bursting from their seams. You see it when people are doing
well, moving forward, and making their daydreams really happen.
It might take 5 years, or 10 years, or an entire lifetime making
it happen. But making it happen is what I think life is all about.
I hate it when people assume someone just can't do something.
But accomplishments speak for themselves. No talk needed. Just
blow people away with your accomplishments, and they might realize
that they are really proud of what you have done. Even if they
didn't think it was going to work, that it was too risky. Everyone
evaluates risk differently. But seeing people succeed; that is
how you store the essence of that person in your brain. At their
most brilliant time. Inevitably friends move to new locations
- hey a cool new spot you can go visit. And they'll know the freshest
local spots.... and maybe then you'll totally understand why they
And when you're looking around thinking "holy
crap, check out where I am right now", you can sit back and
smile. You change where you live and where you live changes you.
No matter what kind of crappy experiences will come along with
big life changing decisions, you always learn some good lessons
and at the very least, have a crazy story to tell. I feel that
we need to keep going forward, increasing our personal wisdom
always striving onwards and upwards. Sacrifice and commitment.
To leave a legacy, a great story. One that YOU wrote, and looking
back creates an interesting, unique and twisting path. With risks.
Your "future ancestors" might just sip sacred water
and tell your story around a fire in a post-petroleum earth. So
with that in mind, for fucks sake, make it an individual and interesting
story! Tell your friends and family when they are contemplating
a big decision that you know they can do it if they just commit
to doing it 100%, think ahead to avoid risks as best as you can,
but go for it. Everyone needs someone in their corner no matter
how things turn out.
I dedicate this entry to my beautiful muse Shannon,
who told me I should write a blog because I have interesting stuff
to say. Also for my Mom who never stops seeking her dreams out
and surprising her people with her life's colorful path.
I painted this sign for Marie: Marie was a local Ni-Vanuatu who
was one of our amazing Ni-Vanuatu
employees. She helped us so much so we paid for her to go to USP
upgrade her business skills. I painted her a surfboard sign for
her village store that her family ran. A great business person
So we sold our bungalow to raise money for
our business venture. We ended up kind of impulse buying this neat
condo built on one of Alberta's biggest foothills. So we downsized
tremendously and shed a bunch of junk we were just storing in our
house. It turns out that this area was a big Blackfoot campground
for a bunch of different reasons. To scout bison herds, get water
from the Bow River, and live in a beautiful location. If your explore
around there is a giant medicine wheel, and Tipi circles all over
the place. I love it here!
April 27, 2003 - An Introduction to the
Art Of Jason O'Connor and Urban Tribalism
I guess when you are super close to your work it's kind of hard
to decide on a style that most accurately represents it. My aesthetic
essence is Urban Tribalism and it most accurately depicts the
type of art I create. My biography
and experience are kind of different from others. It is almost
cliche at the same time what with me being a former graffiti writer
and what not. The truth is I haven't created anything street for
a while now. Canvas, wood, doors, chests, and things that we can
use in our homes are more what I do now and people
are digging it. I really want to paint on the streets again because
its just so amazing to see that perfectly placed stencil or wheat
paste. Even the messages like the one on the right and below are
artistic. People have such a desire to spread their voice that
they write it wherever they can. The bullet holed walls in the
CNN background with the political graffiti....that is what people
should be paying attention to. It is the word of the streets.
its the faint radio signal of the
artistic populace. Even the ones who have no "can control"...
I love art and will never stop.
This is a personal guarantee to everyone who owns my work.
So welcome to my new web site, my next level of artistic expression,
but most of all welcome to the tribe. That's why I chose the .org....
because I am passing it down to new artists. Others will come and
a movement will be created. From the pigment in the reed to the hand
on the cave wall, it's the impression left for us to find. This is
how Urban Tribalism will be discovered in two thousand years from
now. A simple "cave painting" from a distant civilization.