Tag Archives: Joe Forkan

New Album by Alpha Mule

ALPHA MULE ALBUM_FINAL04Okay, while clearly not about painting, this is a project I’ve been working on for some time, which is now finished! So, I thought I’d mention it here. More info can be found at alphamulemusic.com

In January, Eric Stoner and I recorded an album of original songs at WaveLab Studio in Tucson, AZ under the band name Alpha Mule.

Eric and I have been playing music together since 2013, and we’ve each been playing music for decades.

We were fortunate enough to record with some amazing musicians, including Calexico’s Joey Burns and Jacob Valenzuela, who played upright bass and trumpet, respectively.

Chris Schultz recorded the sessions, and WaveLab owner Craig Schumacher mixed the record and played on many tracks, as well.

The music might best be called Americana or alt-country, and is primarily played on acoustic instruments – guitars, banjo, upright bass, drums, trumpet, harmonica, along with some electric guitar, pedal steel, Hammond organ, and Mellotron.

There’s more info at alphamulemusic.com, and the CD, titled Peripheral Vision, is finished, and now available there to stream, purchase or download. It’s also on itunes, amazon, and bandcamp (download), cd baby (CDs & download), and spotify (streaming).

The record will also be available on Vinyl in December (a slower production process, especially given the welcome resurgence of vinyl).

The player below contains the 10 tracks on the Vinyl record, but not the bonus tracks on the CD. It works on all platforms but iPhone, apparently, but the whole album streams here.


Joe Forkan – guitar and vocals

Eric Stoner – banjo and guitar


Joey Burns – upright bass and electric bass

Fen Ikner – drums

Craig Schumacher – hammond B3 , harmonicas, mellotron, phono harp

Connor Gallaher – pedal steel guitar

Jacob Valenzuela – trumpet

Steff Koeppen – backing vocals



©2016 Giant Meteor Records. All Rights Reserved. 

All songs published by Alpha Mule Music (ASCAP).

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

The Lebowski Cycle – Process: The Death of Marat

The Death of Marat (After David) • Joe Forkan 2008, oil on linen, 96" x 58"

I tried to come at this painting from many different directions. I had been thinking about the tension between figuration and abstraction in painting method and painting movements, particularly the many different directions in painting since the Neoclassical period, when David was working.

Sketch for Death of Marat • Joe Forkan 2008 oil on paper

Sketch for Death of Marat • Joe Forkan 2008 oil on paper

Death of Marat David 250

Death of Marat Jacques-Louis David 1793 Oil on canvas 162 cm × 128 cm (64 in × 50 in) Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels

David used his paintings to extol the virtue’s of the state. The Death of Marat was essentially a political document from the French revolution. “David was active in numerous agencies of the reign of terror, and historians have identified more than 300 victims for whom David signed execution orders” (source). The idea of a contemporary artist signing execution orders for the state fortunately seems quite odd and extremely unlikely.

Abstract and minimalist works are a departure from the depiction of reality by way of representational imagery and are often considered apolitical.

I was thinking very much about the collision of those styles and ideologies as I painted this, and was drawn to de Kooning’s Excavation and the work of Brice Marden.

A recurring joke in The Big Lebowski is that Uli (the man floating in the pool) is a nihilist. -”He doesn’t care about anything”.

“That must be exhausting,” Lebowski replies.

Excavation • Willem De Kooning 1950 Oil on canvas 80 in x 100 in Art Institute of Chicago

Excavation • Willem De Kooning 1950 Oil on canvas 80 in x 100 in Art Institute of Chicago

Vine • Brice Marden 1991-93. Oil on linen, 96 x 102 1/2" Museum of Modern Art, New York

Vine • Brice Marden 1991-93 Oil on linen, 96 x 102 1/2" Museum of Modern Art, New York

Detail - The Death of Marat (After David) • Joe Forkan 2008