Last chance to see 3450 Threads






The last day to see “Three Thousand Four Hundred Fifty Threads” will be Sunday, November 22nd. If you wish to make an appointment, click on the Contact button above and send me a message. I’m available to show it any day between 10:30 – 4:00. Again, ICE Gallery does not have operating hours. If you’d like to see this piece you’ll have to make an appointment.

The above photos are by Philipp Scholz Rittermann. I’ll post the whole set once the show closes. It is the case with most art, but especially with this piece, that a photo is a very poor substitute for seeing it in person. So don’t settle for regret. Come see this thing! I hope to hear from you soon.

3450 Threads

Ok, we’re ready to roll! This installation took about 4 times longer to complete than I thought it would but it’s finally finished.

For multiple reasons, there will be no opening reception. Perhaps there will be a closing, I haven’t decided. Instead I’d like to invite you to contact me through this website (or any other way you’re connected to me) to set up an appointment. The piece will be lit at night and viewable through the windows. However, I’ll only be showing it from the inside during daylight hours as this is when it looks it’s best. If you’d like to come and see it I’m available to show it almost any day. Just give me 24 hours notice and we can set up a convenient time for you


Thank you to all of those that helped me complete this piece. It would’ve taken me weeks to do it on my own.

Thanks to Mark, Storm, Kyle, Philipp, Trista, Terry, Jason and the Toms.

Extra special thank you to these two guys:


Andrew and Sol, you guys worked your butts off. Thank you so much!

Michael James Armstrong – Opening Reception

3450 threads

As much as I enjoy having exhibitions of other peoples work at ICE Gallery, ultimately the main reason I keep the space is to have my own. After 13 months since reopening, that’s finally going to happen. This will be my first site conditioned installation since 2013. I hope to see you.


6pm – 9pm

1955 Julian 92113

A closing reception and some press for Tom Driscoll

Tom Driscoll Artbound

It’s not often that San Diego artists get written about for publications or blogs that reach outside of the county. Other than CityBeat, who seems to be the most consistent, local coverage for art in San Diego is rather pitiful. That’s why I was pleased that Robert Pincus decided to make Tom Driscoll the subject of his maiden piece for Artbound.  It’s fantastic that Artbound/KCET is making an effort to cover all of southern California, not just LA. We’re small, but there are some interesting things happening down here in SD.

Speaking of interesting art…

Tom Driscoll at ICE Gallery


Closing reception is this Saturday, May 2nd, from 6-9pm. See you there.

Opening Reception: Philipp Scholz Rittermann

philipp announcement


It’s great to be in a position to facilitate the opportunity for an artist I respect to exhibit work they wouldn’t normally make. I’ve know for many years now that Philipp Scholz Rittermann is an exceptional photographer with an impeccable eye for detail. As would be expected, being a photographer, Philipp is used to making flat work. However, I had a feeling that he was itching to take his work off the wall and into a more three dimensional realm. I had no idea what to expect when I asked him to take a shot at making a site specific piece for ICE Gallery, but I trusted that he could come up with something interesting.


Please join us Friday January 9th from 6-9pm and participate in an immersive site conditional photographic installation.

New work by Thomas DeMello

Thomas DeMello 2014

This is a piece that so perfectly personifies Thomas’ aesthetic. Rough, dirty, rustic. He’s got a great eye for materials or objects that most people would see as garbage, or at the very least wouldn’t look twice at. Old thread-worn packing blankets for example:

Thomas DeMello, Texture Fields, 2010

Or perhaps a bunch of rotting railroad ties:

railroad ties - Thomas DeMello

And now it’s these:

wattles in a row

Thomas DeMello 2014

You’ve probably seen these everywhere and not even noticed. As I said, In my opinion that’s Thomas’ main strength as an artist. His natural instinct to see the aesthetic value in objects and materials that are ignored by most.


“Ive been looking into tumble weeds.” – Thomas DeMello


Thomas DeMello 2014


Thomas DeMello 2014

Thomas DeMello 2014

See more installation photos HERE.





ICE Gallery is back!

“I’m back, baby! I’m back!” – George Costanza


First of all I’d like to thank all of those that contributed financially and otherwise to help the new ICE Gallery become a reality. Sincerely, I appreciate it so much!


(In no particular order. You’re all important.)

Joan & Reuben Baron

Edith Baumann

Jack Brogan

Amanda Durbin

Christina Hendershaw

Harmony Murphy

Jeannie Armstrong

Liane Armstrong

Jenna Siman

Juan Villescas

Kinsee Morlan

Seth combs

Mathew Simms

Jon Hall

Pamela Putian

Paul Roberts

Bob Metheny

Nick O’dell

Philipp Scholz Ritterman

Sarah Trujillo

Robert Irwin

Jim Brown

Isabel Dutra

Jason Lane

Tom Driscoll

Joseph Huppert

Lee Lavy

Thomas DeMello


I hope I didn’t leave anyone out.


In early 2013 Jim Brown offered the recently evicted ICE Gallery a chance to continue in a new space. A few months later work began on a little 400 sq ft corner of Bread & Salt that would eventually end up taking a year to complete. If I had known how much time, physical work, and most of all, money that it would take to complete the new space I doubt I would’ve taken it on. Hell, I could’ve (should’ve?) spent all that effort and money on making my own work instead of a space to show other people (of course I’ll show there as well, but still). Hey, the opportunity for a cheap space was handed to me out of the blue. In a town as expensive as San Diego that’s a hard thing to pass up.


Anyway, if you want to see the build out progression in a ton of photos go HERE. If you don’t feel like going through all of that, here are some before and after highlights.

This was the space in June of 2013




Obviously the first thing to do was clean it up.



After the initial cleanup, the first major job was getting rid of that uneven concrete slab. It took 3 guys an entire day to break up and haul away 200 sq ft of concrete due to the slab being double thick. There was an additional slab underneath the top layer which was probably about 100 years old.



Then it was onto framing



Next was skinning the inside walls with plywood and then drywall. Having plywood behind the drywall is helpful for hanging heavy objects on the walls. No need to find studs.



I also added this message behind one of the walls before I sealed it up.


Jim Brown had all the windows at the front of the building re-glazed.



Half of the ceiling had to be ripped off due to water damage. That was probably the worst job out of everything. Decades old moldy plaster and dust raining down on me for 2 days. While I was up there I framed out that square hole you see below, which was previously used for an exhaust fan, in order to turn it into a skylight.



Ok, the big construction was done so it was time to mud the drywall. There was only two jobs that I paid someone else to do for me. First was the concrete, because you’re better off with pros for that job. The second was mudding and sanding the drywall which is probably one of the worst construction jobs ever. I was more than happy to pay someone to do it for me. That guy was in there for four days mudding a ceiling and 16′ walls, plus putting 3 layers of skim coat on 2 of the walls. (By the way, if you need a good contractor, this guy and his brothers are cheap, fast, and trustworthy. I’ve worked with them many times and they’re great. Let me know and I’ll put you in touch)



On to painting.



Of course there were a ton of other little things that i didn’t really document, but you get the idea. One thing that really transformed the space was adding the skylight. The roof is pitched facing north, so the frosted glass really lets a lot of light into the room.  It made a huge difference.



Oh, the last major addition was track lighting. Since the space will only be accessible for opening and closing receptions, most of the time the exhibitions will only be viewable from the front windows. So having the lights on all night for passers by to see in is imperative.



That pretty much brings us up to present day.



ice stitch 2


Again, if you want to see more shots of the transformation click HERE.

There’s still a few little things to do here and there but they’ll have to wait. What’s funny is that even after all that work, all I’m left with is an empty room. Time to fill it. There’s already some great artists lined up for the rest of the year. Much thanks to my old pal Thomas DeMello for all the help.