While Seated [018]

Michael David Murphy
While Seated
Published in
6 min readSep 5, 2016


20160831_IMG_8803.PNG — “FROM ‘TROPIC THUNDER’” [Screenshot of Bloomberg Politics livestream with close-captioning bug]
20160903_DZQK5037.jpg — Find a photo from a news story, then read the most perfect caption for it, in a tweet.

Then Mark Alexander Dalio hits me back with the reverse angle, which makes the whole thing seem staged. Either that, or Kaepernick is unknowingly blocking the first photographer from seeing the front-facing photographer below, in a moment of unchoreographed, synchronistic brilliance.

20160903_IMG_8844.jpg — When you’re facetime’d into beer shopping for thirsty people.
20160902_IMG_8830.jpg — Enjoyed the opening reception for the Chip Simone-curated survey of Georgia photography at MOCAGA.
20160901_IMG_8814.jpg — Today’s sign of peak craft beer; a Basquiat / Haring collab beer? From LIC Beer Project. What would the Keith Haring foundation think? [Photo of my screen during this glowing review.]

Keith Haring’s original, from which LIC Beer Project has also taken/borrowed/copied/appropriated their IPA’s name, “Pile of Crowns” was called, in full: “A Pile of Crowns, for Jean-Michel Basquiat”.

There’s always a thin-line between admiration, appropriation, and then trying to make money off someone else’s iconic but idiosyncratic style. Advertising and branding agencies are full of the latter, contemporary art’s full of the middle, and we’re all full of the first.

“Transformation” of the original piece helps, as does the kind of fusion we see here in the label’s artwork, which is using Haring’s original as a jumping-off point to incorporating Basquiat’s signature rushed and scratchy style.

When is homage no longer homage? Or, how thin is the plank off the back of the homage boat? What does it take to stay teetering on its edge; what pushes you off into the chop?

The irony, for me, is that the LIC label artists chose to “organize” the crown-pile into neat rows, and (while we’re at it, let’s) not re-purpose Haring’s ubiquitous copyright symbol.

[Screenshot of Haring’s copyright symbol on “Pile of Crowns”]

Or maybe Haring’s copyright symbol (which wasn’t needed, legally, but reappeared in paintings to the degree that there was a very specific reason Haring included it) wasn’t ubiquitous at all — I just feel like it was because when I was in high school I ran around with a t-shirt with this on the front:

[Screenshot of a Haring piece that ended-up on a t-shirt I used to wear.]

Either way, it feels like the Stillwater kerfuffle, where the brewers created this label for a brett-based porter that supposedly tastes like Dr. Pepper.


Modeled “after” the Life of Pablo album cover which may have looked like this in one of its many iterations:

[Screenshot of album art]

And while Stillwater’s brew was “an homage”, the beer’s name was taken straight from Kanye’s lyrics, the label art looked exactly like Kanye’s album, and sure enough:

“Stillwater’s recent release is being recalled amid a legal imbroglio with a firm that claims to represent the merchandising rights to Kanye West.”

Does the old Kanye miss my old ticket stub? I found myself looking at it a few extra times this weekend, upon hearing Paris Hilton was in attendance, and vandals ripped-up some billionaire son’s pay-to-play pleasure pad.

20160903_IMG_8848.jpg — Remembering Burning Man 1997 is like remembering someone else’s life.
20160902_IMG_8824.jpg — My 2nd favorite sign in ATL — it might be an art installation, but it’s above the sock discount store, or it may be a sign where all the info faded and left behind an incredible starburst of blue. I don’t know, but it’s great.

The picture above reminded me of the sequence from “Crumb” when he’s explaining how he went and photographed Sacramento so he’d have source material for drawing all the power lines and bib-bobs of modern industrial nowheresville. Now, we call that The Built Environment, but in the 90s it was called crap.


“In the real world this stuff isn’t created to be visually pleasing, it’s just accumulation of the modern industrial world that people don’t even notice, they block it out.”

20160903 — Sweet background of old tech in new video. Wonder what this guy was like in High School. Maybe he had a Keith Haring t-shirt, too.
20160903 — Instead of getting all parental and talking about the wisdom of your kid appearing in a WebMD explainer for how to take the temperature of a baby, I’ll just paste it here, and add my favorite seqence, below.
20160901 —The unheralded art of the cinematic jump-cut makes funny, at our son’s expense.

I’m redo-ing a site (michaeldavidmurphy.com) and I thought I’d rebuild it “in public”, slowly, over time, in a way that breathes a bit of life into how site creation is so plug-and-play and free of surprise these days.

My goal is to make something that works for me (rather than looking good to everyone else) and hopefully gets away from professionally-presented grids of thumbnails, and social badges. It’s going to be a not-so-professional site that aggregates all my everything.

I thought it would be fun to put it on github, not because I’m a coder, but I want to explore how github tracks changes, and I want to be able to quickly pull diffs on files and sharpen my familiarity with contempo-version control, because no one uses CVS anymore.

Current site is here: http://michaeldavidmurphy.com/

New site in process here: http://michaeldavidmurphy.com/index.html

Medium will play a role too, as it offers some unique ways to present photo-based work that will supplement my little list of text links. And I applaud and appreciate Medium’s ability to export your own work — an essentiality that others ignore or needlessly complicate.

I’m also looking for a clone. Of me.

My wife needs one, too. Can you rubber stamp us, please?

20160831 — When your Congressman crowdsurfs, you gotta make a GIF.
20160831 — Baldessari [Screenshot]
20160829_IMG_8742.jpg — The woods where the clowns where reportedly spotted. [Screenshot]
20160320_IMG_0650.PNG — We all know that.
20160830 — Thanks, Princes. [screenshot]
Apparently I was taking screenshots of crossfades in 2013, too. Old tricks, same dog.
20080828-IMG_2665.jpg — Eight years ago tonight, I took this photograph in Denver.
Resurrecting very-old video work from 2009, because I’d doing that kind of thing right now.
20160827 —Like you, I keep an ongoing list of artists who are new to me, whose work I admire, and I’m always happy to add another to the list — especially this week, when I found Adrien Segal’s data-based sculptures. So fantastic.
20160827 — Letting another salmon swim back upstream to spawn. Have at it, and make my old domain great again.
20160827 — [Screenshot]

20160825 — That feeling when your kid is crying and you open the door to take the garbage out and you hear a siren from a fire truck in the distance that’s in complete sync with the rising sobs of your child, and as the cop car gets closer, you get closer to dumping the trash (which acts as an aural apex) and as you turn to walk back inside and the police car passes, the siren fades and is replaced by the cries of your kid, who’s been trying to calm herself but just can’t find that pure pause of relief.

And then you remember you wrote about the very same effect, while watching a movie, a few months ago.

20160904 — This is a screenshot of my own piece from a few months ago because Medium does not offer the ability to create anchor links. I could link to the exact point in the piece, but Medium can’t allow that, for some reason, even though it’s dumb functionality from internet 1.0
20160825 — When your locally-made bro-brew has an anti-Clinton message on their trucks in an election year, and of course there’s a typo. I knew I’d seen the phrase before, and sure enough, it appeared in a survey (without the typo!) they sent out a few months ago. Is it a typo if Bill Clinton literally smothered you with apologies?
20160825 — [Screenshot]
20160823_IMG_8487.jpg — The guy’s cornered.
20160128_IMG_0648_1300w.jpg — Gagosian Gallery YouTube video of Gagosian artist Gregory Crewdson blocked by CondeNast. #bluechipped [screenshot]