Monday, August 13, 2018

BEAUTY: Painting--Tae Lee

I like Tae Lee's paintings of people as part of the universe. Her artist statement says:

"My work is my exploration of place of human consciousness in an universal causality.

Finding patterns in ancient investigations of consciousness of the Buddhist sort, to the New Age American psychedelic movement in the 60's and 70s, I am striving to connect the blips of various epiphanies the world provided. Painting as a process gives me the time to focus on this contemplation, not only in an opportune sense, but the act of manifesting itself seems conducive to capturing clues from the Universe.

Are we free to make decisions or is every current moment the ultimate product of the mechanism still reacting and forming from the beginning of time?"

Top to bottom: All The Unwanted Parts Of Himself; Cosmosis; Invisible Waves; Last LIfe In The Universe; Rejoicing In The Ordinary Things; Sending A Dream Into The Universe; Smiles and Tears

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

"Use Me Up" by Until The Ribbon Breaks

I like Until The Ribbon Breaks (previously here and here), the Welsh duo of Pete Lawrie-Winfield and Elliot Wall. There is an earnestness to their music that I respond to. Here is a new song, "Use Me Up," the video for which shows a lovely, morphing progression of famous actresses and starlets.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Martyn Thompson

Now it's time for you to meet Martyn Thompson.

I feel a bit of kinship with Martyn Thompson. Born in England but raised in Sydney, Australia, the teenaged Martyn was very influenced by glam rock, punk, and especially the New Romantics, previously here. In fact, his website bio says, "He was particularly captivated by the aesthetic of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s subversive early collections and the music of artists such as Siouxsie and the Banshees." Regular readers may recall that I too was entranced with the New Romantics (seen here) as well as Westwood (whom I still adore) and McLaren (and I love a bit of Siouxsie as well, here)!

Thompson began designing clothes just after leaving university in Sydney in the early ’80s. But after photographing his creations, he discovered it was the photographs people truly responded to: moody settings, natural lighting, and a sense of place that went beyond the frame. He decided to try photography and, essentially self-taught, he ended up shooting for Australian fashion magazines! He moved to Paris to further his career and after three years there, decamped for London where his work morphed from fashion to interiors. Finally, in 1999, he moved to New York City where he now lives and runs Martyn Thompson Studio, photographing campaigns for companies like Jo Malone, Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Hyatt, Ralph Lauren, Grey Goose vodka, Hermès, FLOR, and MAC cosmetics, and creating his own textiles and rugs.

I love his utterly unique, patchwork, frayed look: a bit Georgian (if Mr. Darcy had been clothed by gypsies), and a bit Icelandic gnome, with a sprinkling of 70s funk (I'm in love with his chunky platform shoes!). And look at the red Vivienne Westwood squiggle socks below! You go, brother!

His textiles are fascinating. He created a jacquard fabric (the design is woven into the fabric itself) he calls Rock Pool which looks like a view of rocks just below the surface of a shallow sea...

His website shop describes another jacquard, the Accidental Expressionist series:
"Layer upon layer of paint flecks cover this design that beautifully captures the spirit and texture of an artist's drop cloth. The layering of colors gives the fabric a sense of history, a patina developed over time with each new paint speck."

And his floral design Cézanne's Shadow is a tapestry that can be used for pillows, soft goods (one could stitch several together for bedding or drapery), and placed for upholstery.

He turned the paint-splatter pattern into a rug for Perennials available here!

His on-line shop also has a wonderful selection of bags, pillows, blankets and scarves. Take a look!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Robyn Sings "Missing U" and Goes To Her Party

I just love the music of Swedish singer Robyn (previously here and here). She sings songs that ring out beautifully on a dance floor but somehow she manages to build her songs out of heartfelt, emotional lyrics. Her approach is earnest and sweet and marries what it is to be uninhibited on a dance floor in a sense of euphoria with all the sadness and heaviness of life...since the highs and lows/the ups and downs are intertwined and do not exist without each other.

Here is her newest song, "Missing U" that ticks all the afore-mentioned boxes: an awesome beat for dancing, a slinky electronic sound, touching lyrics, and a chorus musically engineered for maximum emotional impact.

And here is a very touching, delightful mini-documentary about a group of Robyn fans in Brooklyn who began to host a Robyn-themed dance night at a venue...

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Trump’s rally rhetoric is going to get somebody killed by Eugene Robinson

Regular readers know that this blog is dedicated to endeavors not necessarily of a political nature, but sometimes I simply must post something because it is too important not to. And Eugene Robinson's words are of the utmost importance. We in the United States are in a serious crisis, one that is literally about the future of Democracy and the fate of the country itself. The Republicans have played a long game and we are witnessing the catastrophic end result. We MUST get out to vote to reverse the damage that's been done...I live in a blue state and while I am certainly voting in the midterms, I am not worried about the results. California is after all, a leader in social issues and as of May 2018, is now the FIFTH largest economy in the world, surpassing the entire United Kingdom. But the rest of the country is a grave concern. If you are anywhere in or near a red state, please try to convince as many humanists and progressives and people with sense to get out and vote in the midterm elections. We must stop this terrifying wave of fascism, nationalism, and isolationism. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that it is the single most important election in the history of this country.

Trump’s rally rhetoric is going to get somebody killed
GOP bets its future on Trump’s megalomania

By Eugene Robinson
The Washington Post

Everything you need to know about today’s Republican Party is summed up by a photo from President Trump’s political rally in Ohio on Saturday. Two men in the crowd look defiantly at the camera, proudly displaying the slogan on their matching Tshirts: “I’d Rather Be A Russian Than A Democrat.”

The sound you hear is the GOP presidents of the Cold War era — Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford and Reagan — whirring like turbines in their graves.

This is the state of derangement to which Trump has brought a once-great political party. Anyone tempted to dismiss these cult-of-personality rallies as freakish sideshows should keep in mind one sobering fact: An astounding 89 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s performance as president, according to Gallup. The GOP has lost its mind.

The Republican Party used to believe in fiscal discipline and worry about the mounting national debt; Trump has blown a trillion-dollar hole in the budget. The party used to believe in free trade; Trump is imposing tariffs left and right, including on our closest allies. The party used to believe in free markets; Trump clumsily tries to pick winners and losers, hectors the independent Federal Reserve board and uses his Twitter feed to attack individual companies for political reasons.

The GOP used to champion American ideals of freedom and justice throughout the world.

Trump gives the back of his hand to the post-war alliance of Western democracies, and has nothing but praise for autocratic rulers who abuse human rights in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Philippines — and, of course, Russia.

Previous Republican presidents have complained about press coverage. Trump calls the news media “the Enemy of the People,” a phrase that bloodsoaked totalitarian regimes have used to justify assassinations and purges. Don’t be comforted by GOP apologists who say Trump is just using overthe- top rhetoric and doesn’t really mean it. As recently as Sunday, he tweeted that “The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People because they know it’s TRUE.” He called the media “very dangerous and sick!”

On Friday, a C-SPAN caller who identified himself as “Don from State College, Pennsylvania” threatened that “I’m going to shoot” CNN hosts Brian Stelter and Don Lemon. Words have consequences: Trump’s unhinged rhetoric is going to get somebody killed.

If you ask House Speaker Paul Ryan or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, they will of course disavow such sentiments. And then, la-di-da, they’ll go back to pretending this is a normal presidency rather than a runaway train.

Brace yourselves, because it’s all going to get worse.

It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to see that Trump is increasingly frantic about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. On Sunday, shortly after the “Enemy of the People” tweet, Trump added this: “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics — and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”

How much lying can you pack into one tweet? It was a meeting to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from emissaries of the Russian government. It is not at all clear that it was legal. It is not the sort of thing ever done in politics. We don’t know whether it “went anywhere.” And it sure seems unlikely that Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign chairman would have such a meeting without ever mentioning it to Trump — who, when the meeting was revealed, personally dictated a false statement designed to obscure its real purpose.

It is safe to surmise that Trump feels the walls closing in. And if Democrats seize control of the House in November, he will face a lineup of committee chairmen, armed with subpoena power, who are determined to do their constitutional duty of holding the administration accountable.

So Trump reportedly plans to spend as much time as possible on the campaign trail, desperately trying to stoke enough fear, resentment and anger among the GOP base to produce a big turnout that saves the House majority. What a surprise: Trump intends to make the election all about Trump.

It worked for those guys in the photo, the ones who’d rather be Russians than Democrats.

The Republican Party has betrayed all of its history, all of its hallowed ideals, and bet its future on the corrosive power of Trump’s scorched-earth megalomania. GOP candidates richly deserve to lose.

Link to original article:

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

BEAUTY: Fabric Art--Sylvie Franquet

The needlework art of Sylvie Franquet is layered and complicated. She finds pieces of needlepoint but picks, re-stitches, and reimagines the pieces with texts, quotes, and lyrics from sources as varied as Rumi, Bob Dylan, Homer, Federico Fellini, Baudelaire, Nietzsche, David Bowie, Charles Bukowski, Edward Albee, Jean Genet, and Captain Haddock from the "Tin Tin" comics series.

In an interview with Textile Artist website, she said, "I’m Belgian, and the country has a long tradition of textile production and textile art….woven tapestries etc. I have always made things in fabric, knitted and sewn my clothes.

However, this more recent story all started when I inherited a cupboard full of needle points when my mother-in-law died. I realised she had not entirely finished any of them. That intrigued me, it said something about her that I didn’t know. She always seemed so perfect. I had never been interested in needlepoint because I don’t like following a pattern, but I couldn’t throw these away.

I started filling in the blank holes she had left in the very traditional needlepoints of Victorian roses, with my own lurid colours, geometric patterns and words. I liked the result a great deal and found it an interesting way of working. Later on, I started reworking found tapestries, by unpicking and re-stitching them, embroidering on top...

I am interested in the way needlepoint somehow resembles digital pixelation…it’s so hard to do an accurate face in needlepoint portrait, it’s really like an impressionist technique.

I am also interested in the kitsch aspect of needlepoints, particularly of iconic masterpieces of art. I slowly developed my own voice while unpicking and sewing the works. I love the conceptual and subversive approach to something seen as a demure, domestic female expression. The laborious process in itself seems to me like a rebellion to our world where time is money...

It questions art history, why are certain works masterpieces, and others not. It looks at how male masters portray female nudes, women in their space, and then somehow women doing a needlepoint of it fixes the image of themselves but seen by a man. It’s a form of accepting the roles given to them throughout history.

Stitching is both subservient and rebellious, I like that."

Top to bottom: 11 January, 2016; A Room Not So Of One's Own; Call To A Prayer; Holy Cow!!!!!!!!!!; It's Written, It's Fate; La Grand Bellezza; Oh no honey, I'm an angel, I swear; Prisoner of Love; Rapture Means Being Taken Into The Clouds; She famously fainted when She the Elgin Marbles