Artemis Sere’s Twenty Best Albums of 2017

Artemis Sere's Twenty Best Albums of 2017

Welcome to my annual list of my favorite albums from the year. I listen to a lot of music, and these albums are the ones that held my attention, captured my imagination, and/or inspired my creativity during the year.

The list features new artists that I discovered through various channels, and old stand-bys that continue to crank out great music.  If you've visited my annual lists at all, you know that I don't listen to the Radio. I don't agree with the concept of DJs telling us what they think is important to listen to anymore. I care more about online reviews, YouTube reviewers, "Reaction" trends, and Word of Mouth recommendations from friends and family.

With that in mind, I hope you spread the word and share this guidance with your network, pay forward these suggestions of high quality music.  Please check out my YouTube playlist featuring clips from every album, featured at the bottom of this blog. And if you're feeling bold, drop a comment and let me know what you think.

Thank you for visiting! Rock on.



"Feel (EP)" + "Regenerate"

My Take: A solid EP with a delicious single in "Feel", especially the remix created by Zardonic. Find it. Feel it. The future is bright for this rock band from the UK.


My Take: Underrated doom metal from Arkansas with clean, melodic vocals,  gloomy pace and smart guitar work. Reminded me of Solitude Aeturnus.

"Galactic Empire"

My Take: This was bound to happen, eventually. I imagine that the empire is filled with metal bands. Pardon the pun. A brilliant, heavy tribute to the sounds of Star Wars.


My Take: It's fitting that Sanctuary released this album of Demos and rare tracks circa 1986, considering their lead singer, Warrel Dane, passed away in December of 2017. Warrel was an inspiration to me for the duration of his time on the metal scene, over 30 years. In 1988, I ordered a relatively unknown album called "Refuge Denied" from the Columbia House Tape Club. I loved the album so much that I ordered a rare "Refuge Denied" album shirt. I loved the shirt so much that I stitched the cover to the back of my high school jeans jacket. Sanctuary has always been my banner band. Some of the song quality is rough and unrefined, but it is amazing to hear the range of Warrel's talent prior to the release of polished "Refuge Denied", cementing the reality that he is one of the most underrated artists of the last four decades.


My Take: You have to give any project by Logan Mader (Machine Head/Soulfly) a lot of leeway. Fronted by the beautiful and talented Lauren Hart, Once Human echoes the sound and style of Arch Enemy. Their sophomore effort is solid, though a bit unspectacular.

"Color of Nothing"

My Take: Ethereal, industrial, gothy. kaRIN and Statik have been creating unique and dynamic darkwave for decades now, powered by melodic vocals and edgy electronics. 


My Take: I honestly can't take concentrated death metal for long. The vocals are often too inaccessible, the music too chaotic and sometimes untrackablle. I've been listening to Obituary off-and-on since their 1990 "Cause of Death" album, so they are acquired taste. Their power is in their consistent, unrelenting brutality. Insert metal horns here.

"Post Self"

My Take:Post Self brought me back to 1992's "Mothra". 25 years later, the Godfathers of mechanical industrial music are still cranking the wheel. Themes of transhumanism  and technological singularity echo throughout this gritty,  guttural soundscape.

12  IAMX 

My Take: IAMX (Chris Corner) is a dynamic, multi-discipline, avant-garde artist, reflecting the variable that is featured in his pseudonym. "Unfall" explores his abstract and instrumental interests. While I prefer the version of IAMX that involves guitars and grittier elements, I can appreciate his electronica explorations.


My Take: Amy Lee + Orchestra + Evanescence tunes = Divine Experience. Not your typical rock or metal album, but Amy Lee has never been typical. "Lost In Paradise",  "Secret Door" and "My Immortal" orchestrated are awesome works of art.

"Prophets of Rage"

My Take: Now here's a dream superband - key members of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill. If you told me twenty years ago that this band would form to help "Unfuck the World", I would've moshed in place and cheered loudly. As Morello told Rolling Stone, "we're an elite task force of revolutionary musicians determined to confront this mountain of election year bullshit, and confront it head-on with Marshall stacks blazing." They are my anti-Trump trumpet.

"Futility Report"

My Take:Leave it to a band from the Ukraine to create the most interesting death metal album I've heard in a long time. "Futility Report" is a smart fusion of death metal, metal core, horror and jazz. Yes, jazz. Featuring a full-time saxophonist as part of their six-piece, the presence of sad sax tones adds dark swing and swagger to an otherwise typical death metal set. Additional props to the creepy, mysterious art of the album.


My Take: Beacons of controversy since the 90s, ICE-T and Ernie C are back when the United States needs them most. Featuring a Slayer cover ("Raining Blood") and guest spots by Dave Mustaine, Max Cavelera  and Randy Blythe, "Bloodlust" is 100% brutal, relevant and necessary.

07  16VOLT  
"Dead on Arrivals (EP)"

My Take: Always proud to promote the great work of friends Eric Powell and Steve Hickey. "Dead on Arrivals" is a return to the delicious machine rock, coldwave assault that began on "The Negative Space".  I deeply appreciate Eric & Steve's rugged, electronic-edged, aggressive style and have been a fan of 16volt for decades. I've also experienced the perfect circle of fandom, where the artists of the band support the work of other artists and involve them in their craft:  my acrylic piece "Wake of the Maker" is featured as the "Dead on Arrivals" EP Cover. Trivia:  My piece "Spectre Weather" was used for the cover of  16Volt's last album, "The Negative Space".


My Take: My love affair with the Cavalera brothers began with Sepultura's "Arise", and continued into the band Soulfly after the two had a ten-year feud (and Soulfly was birthed during the feud). The brothers reunited with Cavalera Conspiracy, and continue to crank out brilliant and brutal thrash/death metal with Brazilian tones, heavy drums, tribal chants and screams. If "Soulfly" and "Cavalera Conspiracy" are two sides of the same metal coin, this band would represent Tails, the darker and grittier underside -- both are inextricably connected and similar, but different in their style and approach. I prefer the Conspiracy, and love the inclusion of Justin Broadrick of Godflesh in the song "Hellfire". 

"Heaven Upside Down"

My Take: I love Manson's clever, sarcastic approach to his art. He inspires me and empowers me with his dark dynamism and seemingly endless creative well. "Heaven Upside Down" pales in comparison to his previous work, but features enough Manson classics ("Tattooed in Reverse", "SAY10", "Kill4Me", "Heaven Upside Down") to consider it great.


My Take: Lars Gotrich of All Songs Considered described their style as "nightmarishly chaotic hardcore". I think that sums up Code Orange's style nicely. Brutal, bloody, jarring, sludgy, melodic and macabre, "Forever" is a revelation, a creative vision that has evolved amazingly since "I Am King". To truly appreciate their breadth, you must listen to "Forever" then give "dream2", the final track on their album, a listen. Dichotomous darkness abounds and Reba rocks.

"Strength In Numbers"

My Take: I will always prefer the Peter Dolvig version of The Haunted, but can't deny the awesomeness of the band with the return of their original vocalist, Marco Aro. Between "Exit Wounds" and "Strength in Numbers", The Haunted have developed consistently powerful pieces that demand attention and renew the aggressive, metalcore style that they were known for in their early years  -- only better than 2003.


My Take:  Like an oasis in the midst of a war-torn desert, the feint of heart (and ears) will take solace in this electronic escape. The concept of this album is similar in formula to my faves  artists Conjure One or Sleepthief -- core musician/DJ creates music and teams up with well-known vocal talent to create song/album. "Awake" features brilliant electronic musicianship with soaring and inspiring vocals from Emilie Brandt, Kerli, Annika Wells, RUNN, MAX, and Nevve, to name a few highlights. This album operated as a Soundtrack during a period of my life, and know that it will resonate in my memory for years to come. Sometimes, we are better off lost.

01  Cyanotic  
"Tech Noir"

My Take: I've been a fan of Cyanotic since I first discovered "Transhuman 2.0" almost a decade ago.  love their sci-fi apocalypse angry robot noise-inspired industrial cyberpunk coldwave metal. Their album "The Medication Generation" was my #1 album of 2010, and I have been a supporter of the evolution of the brilliant man behind the Glitch Mode mask, Sean Payne. "Tech Noir" would be the screamo, swinging soundtrack to SkyNet taking over the Earth, to the mechanical crush of skulls during the robot apocalypse, and to the digital crash of mankind. Peppered with perfect snippets of culturally-relevant movies like "Falling Down", "Blade Runner" and "The Terminator", Tech Noir is a chilling electronic soundscape, crackling with  dark electricity and violent ghosts in the machines.

Artemis Sere Returns to the Ritual Madness Podcast

Ritual Madness Podcast Episode 166 featuring Artemis Sere

On December 1, 2017, I returned to the Ritual Madness Podcast for a three-hour show about art, music and the #YearoftheSere with brother Greg Chilton, Godfather of the Twin Cities metal scene and vocalist of the band Outside the Murder.

About the Ritual Madness Podcast

The Ritual Madness Podcast is run by Twin Cities metal legend and friend, Greg Chilton. Ritual Madness Podcast supports music of all styles -- tattoo artists, photographers, painters, digital artists, comedians, local businesses, and anything underground in Minnesota and the surrounding areas. His main focus is "to help people recognize that the midwest is a hotbed for talent and the world should take notice."

Artemis Sere Returns Podcast 12/1/2017

As previously mentioned, Greg and I chatted for over three hours. To access the full stream, click on the link below.

In the future, I'll clip out the Podcast and share individual segments of the Podcast in this blog.

Xoterica 9: The Flow

artemis sere's xoterica

As a future trend for this series, I will highlight quotes from one of my idols and primary sources of inspiration, the legendary Bruce Lee. In terms of Fight Club, Bruce Lee would be my power animal (he was originally human, but was as fierce as most animals…). For those who don’t know Bruce Lee beyond his “Enter the Dragon” and “Green Hornet” work, he was not only one of the greatest fighters of our modern time, but also one of the greatest philosophers.

Bruce Lee’s penultimate book, “Tao of Jeet Kune Do”, is a powerful guide on how to be deft, harmonious and reflective.

“He intended it as a record of one man’s way of thinking and as a guide, not a set of instructions… When you have finished this book, you will know Bruce Lee better, but hopefully you will also know yourself better.” (Linda Lee Caldwell)

I am not a martial artist and never have been. Though learning the practice of JKD interests me, I haven’t had enough time to learn the teachings in the framework of martial arts. Instead, I apply the philosophies of JKD to graphic design, visual arts and the rest of my creative practice.

“Jeet Kune Do, ultimately, is not a matter of petty technique but of highly developed personal spirituality and physique. It is not a question of developing what has already been developed but of recovering what has been left behind. These things have been with us, in us, all the time and have never been lost or distorted except by our misguided manipulation of them. Jeet Kune Do is not a matter of technology but of spiritual insight and training.” (Lee)

First snow today. The wind is whipping furiously, bringing driving rain and snow globe-like gusts. The season of human hibernation is approaching, where I dodge the inclement temps and tempests for the shelter of my creative space.

A good reminder that I have much to accomplish this winter.


artemis sere's xoterica

Xoterica 8: The Allhallows

artemis sere's xoterica

It's probably no surprise that Halloween is my favorite Holiday. There are enough Wiki sites and documentaries to cover the history of Halloween; this blog post isn't about the origins of it, or my history with it. As a horror writer and artist, this is the time of year that I am in synch with the creative and celebratory themes of the United States.

After today, attention in America will turn to Black Friday (sadly, not connected to Halloween, but a horrific shopping day), Thanksgiving and X-mas. Common discussion among the throngs will turn to feasts, materialism and football.

And my focus will turn to post-Halloween sales of cool décor and art. As a Humanist, I don't observe X-mas; I also participate in Thanksgiving for family reasons, but I'm not a supporter of the history of the holiday (truly, what we did to Native Americans was horrifying, and could be its own Halloween-themed event).

While I love the Halloween holiday, I don't celebrate in public ways. I don't give out candy to kids, mostly because I'm not home from work in time to do so. I don't get costumed up and hit bars on Halloween night, mostly due to the drunks and dangerous individuals that can make it a ghastly night. I don't get invited to Halloween parties, mostly as a result of the fact that I'm somewhat antisocial (I promote my brand as a necessary evil).

I do find the history of Halloween, and it's complicated mix of Pagan and Chrisitan roots very intriguing. Christian history is fascinating to me; I'm captivated by the proliferation and influence of religious propaganda across cultures and countries throughout the human timeline. You'll see that as a recurring theme throughout my blogs and my content.

That aside, Halloween is a time of celebration. Depending on your view of the holiday, you probably celebrate it differently than I do.

Regardless, I hope all have a pleasant (and safe) Halloween! Need a soundtrack to your macabre festivities? Check out my Halloween 2017 playlist and song recommendations!

All Hallows
(by Louise Glück)

Even now this landscape is assembling.
The hills darken. The oxen
sleep in their blue yoke,
the fields having been
picked clean, the sheaves
bound evenly and piled at the roadside
among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:

This is the barrenness
of harvest or pestilence.
And the wife leaning out the window
with her hand extended, as in payment,
and the seeds
distinct, gold, calling
Come here
Come here, little one

And the soul creeps out of the tree.



artemis sere's xoterica

Xoterica 7: The Seretic

artemis sere xoterica

The following information was generated by a generic naming website (site listed at the end of this).

Much of the report is applicable to who I am as a human (the details of which are on a need to know basis only), as an artist (Artemis Sere) and as a brand-runner (Seretic Studios). For a generic reporting site with numerology guidance (which I don't typically follow), it had some interesting insights. I've listed those details below.

An interesting note: an anagram of SERETIC is "SECRET I" or "I SECRET", which highlights the cloudy intersection between the artist and the human.

[ESOTERICA: Seretic Studios is the professional title of the unified states of the Art of Artemis Sere universe, originally created in 2007 in conjunction with the Artemis Sere brand/pseudonym.]

Meaning of SERETIC numerology analysis (7)

Meaning is related to the symbol of the spirit, absolute knowledge, analysis, research of the inner life and originality. But it also represents the loneliness, isolation and renunciation.

Seven is a mystical and magical number with strong mystical connotations. Considered as the lucky seven, in astrology Neptune relates to the planet and governs the sign of Pisces. Personalities related to these vibrations have a clear sense and an aptitude for spirituality. They search for the truth, especially in the psychological and spiritual domain. Having an objective and devotion for researching the unknown and to find answers to the mysteries of life.

A very sharp mind who prefers to work alone. You are an analytical thinker capable of a great mental concentration and profound theoretical insights. Usually the solitary type who lives by his own ideas and beliefs. As a result of this attitude, your partnerships are difficult or problematic, in particular marriages. The need for personal space is strong. Privacy violations can cause you great irritation and frustration. When all these conditions are fulfilled your life becomes balanced. This in return makes you more charming and attractive. Your powerful spirit and great knowledge make you attractive to others(especially of the opposite gender). But it also provides well-defined boundaries.

Although you are rather generous in social situations you often feel the need to return to solitude. Peace and the discreet intimacy of your own world are very important! They are vigorously defended. Intimacy protects your inner world and is very precious, because it feels good. Paradoxically, when this need for solitude is exaggerated it can lead to a situation of isolation and loneliness. That can condemn you to great dissatisfaction and a empty emotional life. A part of your personality always longs to have social and emotional contacts. If the isolation is taken to the extreme, sevens may become cynical and distrustful. Also try to control a tendency to selfishness and self-centeredness. Thinking of yourself as the center of the universe or as the only person that really matters is not healthy. Finding balance between alone time and social interactions takes experience, time and effort. Yet it truly is worth to strive for general balance in life. That way you won't close the doors for emotions and love for others.

Excessive isolation can result in a repressed spirit and a narrow mind. Becoming too isolated from the world and social contacts will create a poor and miserly outlook on life. Secretly people of this path may feel jealous of how easy it is for others to create and keep social ties. Often perceiving people as less inhibited than yourself, or more free to express themselves. There exists a risk of severely criticizing yourself for lacking charisma or leadership.

The constant challenge for SERETIC is to preserve independence without feeling isolated and ineffective. Have your own view of the world and at the same time maintain an opening towards others. This ways you can receive and fully express all feelings and sentiments offered by the surrounding world. With your ability to learn, analyze and seek answers to the important questions of life, you have an enormous potential for growth and success in life. Once experience is obtained you tend to have important background knowledge and wisdom to pass on. You can develop with success and satisfaction in the domains of science, religion, insurance, invention, companies and all that refers to research. When they reach maturity sevens often radiate wisdom. The fate of this person is characterized by his psychic powers and their strong intuition that serves as a guide in life.

Has an introverted personality, that needs much time to himself. It frequently has a contemplative tendency and is interested in meditation. You have a great imagination that leads you to be interested in insignificant things. This trend can sometimes affect your mental and physical health.

xoterica 2


Letter S Meaning For SERETIC

Possesses huge vitality with reserves to spare. Enabling it to realize or build large projects. Truly has the potential for completing ambitions big things. It triumphs over obstacles in its path and even attracts money. Love and generosity bring new interesting paths to follow. Such high energy will eventually draw near huge changes that can be good or bad. However anything can be overcome with a positive attitude.

Letter E Meaning For SERETIC

Radiates joy, good humor and great intuition. Seeks primarily freedom. Feels very attracted by spiritual experiences rather than material things. Strives towards a life that is active and intense. Equipped with conversational skills for long entertaining talks. Always acts intelligently by knowing its personality. In many occasions feels tensions building up when doing routine tasks.

Letter R Meaning For SERETIC

Powerful dynamism that wants to evolve. Tends to idealize love, family and friendship. Has a philosophy to be supportive. In groups relies on everything and everyone to communicate the best way possible. Having a positive vision and a great inner spirit draws near followers who provide the balance needed to move forward. Not really a follower of rules. Has enough wisdom to know what it wants. Can be extravagant. Always wins the respect of others.

Letter T Meaning For SERETIC

Likes to organize and structure things. Has a dominant aura that can lead to conflicts when overcome by emotions. So it needs to know the limits of his strength. Very tidy and dominant as a leader. Sees clearly how things should be. Additionally wants to share knowledge and love. Radiates kindness, tolerance and an aura of patience.

Letter I Meaning For SERETIC

Shows a big concern for humanities welfare. Feels no desire for power in general. Simultaneously is able to take advantage of new experiences in order to gather more wisdom. Psychological understanding for problem solving is exceptionally advanced. Good artistic abilities for seeing new perspectives. Always switching between being a teacher and a student. Very altruistic with a sense of enthusiasm and generosity.

Letter C Meaning For SERETIC

The letter C gets it's force and energy from joy, feelings and intuition. Those attributes always want to go to various directions in order to share their own knowledge. Changes and travel may occur often, even though change can be scary at first. Materially it has very clever tendencies, that can help greatly when communicating with others. Tends to deal with too many things at the same time. This way almost always something will be left unfinished.


artemis sere xoterica

Xoterica 6: The Lost

Xoterica 6: The Lost

"On the night of October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, leaving 58 people dead and 546 injured. Between 10:05 and 10:15 p.m. PDT, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, fired hundreds of rifle rounds from his suite on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel. About an hour after Paddock fired his last shot into the crowd, he was found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His motive is unknown.

The incident is the deadliest mass-shooting committed by an individual in the United States. The shooting reignited the debate about gun laws in the U.S. with attention focused on bump fire stocks, which Paddock used to allow his semi-automatic rifles to fire at a rate similar to that of a fully automatic weapon." (wikipedia)

I wrote the following during a trip to Las Vegas in 2011. Coincidentally, I stayed at the Mandalay Bay, the same location where the shooting took place. While I'm not a country music fan, my heart goes out to those poor victims of the tragedy. I don't know if I'd ever feel at home in Los Vegas. It is too plastic, too material, too glitzy and too splashy for me. Beyond the dazzle, it is the land of the lost.

we laugh
we drink
we merry
and cry
we fall
we crawl
we crash
and rise
we launder
our failures
with misfortune,
bankrupt memories
and glittery

is bitter shelter
in this land of the lost
yet we flock here
regardless of cost,
to cinder and suffer
of thirst never
on entitlements
and embarrassments
and pleasures of the

we lose
amongst the
tables and
lines, recall
this plastic place
in better times
built by gods
long since gone
tall tombs which glisten
and burn in the blistering
sun, and when all
hope is finally done,
lives rolled up
and the last wheel spun,
when the leech has drank
more than its share,
left us with little
blood to compare
we laugh
we drink
we merry
and cry
we become
the lost,
without sky

[ESOTERICA: lost vegas, published in 2011 in my original blog and used in my second book, “Xenomorphine”.]


Xoterica 6: The Lost

Xoterica 5: The Apex

Xoterica 5: The Apex

“In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.” (Lee)

I often wonder if Sisyphus stopped to enjoy the view from the top of the mountain. After an eternity of pushing the boulder uphill, he would make it to the top, a wiry and weary prisoner to someone else’s wrath, see the wicked landscape of Hades from the tallest heights, and be comforted by his sentence. I suspect that sometimes he tipped the boulder himself, sending it in an angry, violent descent back into the dark, vile depths below.

Lower than the damned dwellers, deeper than the cursed and fallen shadows, the collected plaque in the bottom of the ecosystem of life.

A base and hopeless beginning. There, where the mountain of guilt meets the canyon of woe, he finds the strength to climb again, even if he doesn’t want to. An endless ascent to a view of unfavorable oblivion.

He squares his shoulders in the hellish gloom, rights himself soundly beneath the well-rounded behemoth, and budges the boulder up, slowly, repetitiously, forcefully, until the dust has been completely kicked from its resting surfaces and momentum carries it

up, ever up, for eternity,

until the inevitable apex is reached, and descent is a necessary response

to happiness.

[ESOTERICA: the topography of happiness, published in 2012 in my original blog and used in my second book, "Xenomorphine".]


Xoterica 5: The Apex

Xoterica 4: The Buzz

Artemis Sere Xoterica

Hump day. The sexual innuendo of the term makes me giggle, but I appreciate that I've made it to the middle of the work week nonetheless. For those of you who don't know, Artemis Sere is a pseudonym and brand; behind the façade exists a normal human with real life problems and 45-50 hour a week Corporate work schedule.

My life can get a little nutty, and I don't even have kids. Making time for art is a challenge these days, on top of all the day-to-day drama.

Music is the primary source of my inspiration and a common thread of my world, a consistent resource for my creativity. For years now, I've tracked my favorite music in annual "Best of" blogs, and I spend a fair amount of my time researching what's new and juicy in the genres that I follow.

These #xoterica blogs will highlight what I'm listening to, and often these shouts will introduce content that will be featured in my annual countdown of best music.

Starting off the day with the new Rabbit Junk EP "Like the Flesh Does the Knife". I'm a big fan of remixes, extending the creative life of a great song and giving it a different atmosphere. I love listening to how another artist would approach a music piece differently than the original artist – or if the original artist augments the experience of a song with different atmosphere. I first encountered remixing via Rob Zombie -- who remixed his classics in the 90s, such as "More Human than Human" -- and Trent Reznor, who remixed Megadeth's "Symphony of Destruction".

I'm a big fan of what friend JP Anderson and  his wife do with their band Rabbit Junk. I've been listening to Rabbit Junk as a favorite artist since I discovered them in 2009. Their style of "Hardclash" is a refreshing, glitchy mix of many different styles with an aggressive edge.

In the rotation this morning is also Cyanotic's "Tech Noir" album, which is another great entry into the Cyanotic catalog. I'll have a more lengthy review for my upcoming "Best Music of 2017" blog. My friend Sean Payne of Cyanotic runs a label named Glitch Mode, and helps polish, produce and promote the work of Rabbit Junk, and has for a really long time. Cyanotic and Rabbit Junk are tandem bands in my mind, heralds of the glitch and hardclash techno-industrial genre, each woefully underrated and underappreciated.

[ESOTERICA: Yesterday was picking day of the harvest. 6'- 8' tall plants. 22 jars of output.]


Xoterica 3: The Gust

Artemis Sere Coagulative Spill

I awoke to the howl of winds this morning. Appropriate background noise for my life these days. The union of storms of life continues to attack, ENE at 33 MPH in a circular motion towards a dissipating horizon.

I deftly duck my head and another gust rushes at me, tempting to topple me and my life down. The cold is coming; I can feel the chill in my bones as the temperatures dip. Another long winter of hibernation, creation and reflection ahead.

Most in the U.S. look toward the end of the year with excitement for Thanksgiving and Christmas or other family-oriented holidays. I look forward to disconnecting from the ties that bind, and being at one with that dissipating horizon. I miss the ties that once kept me happy and healthy, but don't miss the mythical fanfare of the season. Beyond the pretty wrapping paper and seasonal propaganda, time-off and time away are the benefits I look forward to.

An appreciation of the silence and stillness of life. The storm has weathered me so much that I yearn for quiet spaces away from the buzz of the human world. Now in my 40s, I suppose you could chalk that up to getting old.

The reality is that I'm getting worn down by the responsibility, pressures and the politics of this path.

The #YearoftheSere has whizzed by, my ten-year celebration almost used up and tossed into dusty files of the history of my brand. Onto the next decade, I say to myself and charge ahead. (NOTE: I won't feel fully "moved on to" 2018 until I finish my #Xposed blog series, which I will complete and share by the end of 2017). This year was supposed to be a recognition of all that I've accomplished over the last decade, but it's turned into a busy year of creative projects and deep contemplation about my existence as an artist.

I should be proud of what I've achieved in 2017.

A first this year -- my art was part of two album releases for two different bands: one, a Twin Cities metal band that I've known since my Sound and Fury days; the other, a national act that found my art by chance on Instagram and became good friends of mine over the years.

Another first – two diverse gallery shows: one, supporting a Rap/Hip-Hop Label Relaunch in St. Paul; the other, a national show that featured an eclectic mix of arts and artists.

Other firsts that were in the mix for 2017 -- countless new paintings, creation of angular stretchers with self-stretched canvas and integration of art resin into my creative process.

Final tally – few painting sales, a brand following/audience in decline, and another year of missing my creative goal of "publishing a new book every year". I feel like this result report – the one that recalls how unsuccessful I've been at selling my art product over the course of the year -- is a recurring tempest that I can't seem to get to stop from spinning out of control.

With the state of the storms these days, I have started to wonder if my gusty goals are even achievable, or if I should simplify my efforts and strive for the best artistic effort possible. Set easier goals, and let my creative winds fill the sails to power my progress toward success. Sounds good in theory.

The howls remind me that time is always moving forward, with or without my observation and participation in the world around me. The SERE in me feels unsettled, even as the human requests acquiescence and respite.


Artemis Sere Coagulative Spill

Xoterica 2: The Wheel

xoterica 2

End one, begin another. The days same to cycle swiftly at present. A veritable blur between today

and yesterday.

Own your hours. It's catchy wisdom but difficult in practice. Most of us are chained to the wheel of servitude, rather than productive autonomy.

What would you do if you had no one to answer to? Who would you be if time was completely yours?

The machines will deliver humanity that question someday. They'll do what we can, only better. Humanity will eventually phase it's pure self off the assembly line. Too fragile, too resource-intense,

Too late. The wisdom of all the ages and sages can't fix the flaws of the human creature. Yeah, it's pessimistic, but it's true: just look at the imperfect people we elect and direct to be our leaders.

Certainly, that's the case in the U.S. right now with Drumpf. He does not lead by example; he leads by the terroristic threat of "firing" people. Or at them, as is the case with regimes around the world with or in which we have conflicts, like North Korea and Afghanistan.

War is good business, and business is good.

Own your hours. When you live in constant fear, they tend to own you. In a sense, our king-president owns us now more than he ever did when he was running flashy casinos or starring in soulless shows.

The terrain is different but the terms are the same: we live in the age of the American tyrant.

America-first thinking is egotistical narscicism at it's finest. Gone are the altruistic and heroic positions of yesterday; Enter unquestionable nationalism and a regression from decency and an honorable place as a trusted world leader.

#humanfirst is the focus we should have. Instead of bullying and building tall walls to keep people out, we should create faster roads for them to come in, even if they aren't citizens. They serve a purpose and keep the wheel moving, as deserving of a shot at stability as you and I have had.

Leaders should live humbly, not inhumanely.