Friday, September 4, 2015

How To Grow Imagination by Grant Snider

More beautiful illustrated wisdom from Grant Snider (previously here, here, here, and here).

Snider's website says:
"I drew this comic for the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College. Thanks to Professor Junlei Li for collaborating on its creation!

The Center works to further the legacy of Mr. Rogers by promoting child development through the power of human connection. Like countless children of the 20th century, I grew up watch Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. His earnestness, simplicity, and openness to imagination is something I strive for in my work and life."

I too grew up watching Fred Rogers and he brought a lovely, gentle sense of life to my soul that seems to be missing from childhood today.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Extraordinary Mirrors by Tom Palmer

These exquisite mirrors are not only decorative interior accessories but sublime works of art in their own right. Tom Palmer, located in England, uses glass, resin, and hand-silvered mirror set in steel, brass, or wood to fashion his stunning wall creations. I'd love to use one of these in an interior for a design client.

His double Aqua Alta Mirror uses layered glass and poured translucent resin, with hand water-silvered mirroring, framed in a worked and polished black gesso frame to evoke a liquid world.

For Ghost Mirror, a slice of silvered cloud is caught between a sheet of low-iron glass and a slab of thick clear perspex, with frosted edges that diffuse the light though the piece. Held with dark patinated brass clasps, and float mounted from the wall, the otherworldly piece suggests another shadow world behind the mirror.

The Iris Mirror behaves rather like a fun house mirror: a convex glass is filled with translucent tinted resin, layered over a hand silvered panel, set within a hand-carved and gessoed frame. This creates a unique optical effect, magnifying and distorting the relocation though the colored lens.

And Palmer invokes the wonder and mystery of the night sky with his Nebula Mirror. Water-silvered glass, layered with tinted resin is set within a hand carved wood and polished gesso frame.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

BEAUTY: Interior--Black Lacquer Design

This home designed by Black Lacquer Design (founded by Caitlin Murray) is glamorous, modern, and eclectic--elements that look fantastic together (I really love the dark green cabinetry in the kitchen and the graphic black penny round tiles in the bathroom)...yet taken as a whole, there is a marvelous, skilled restraint that feels peaceful.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

BEAUTY: Photography--Jessica Backhaus

I fell in love with art when I was still a child. Paintings fascinated me. It helped, of course, that my parents bought me a board game called Masterpiece where players participate in auctions of famous works of art. Naturally, the art works on the playing cards interested me more than playing the game itself. And one of the things I noticed early on and that made me intensely interested in art was the way the Impressionists portrayed reflections in water with a few glorious strokes of color, thus imitating how rippling water breaks up a mirror image.

And German photographer Jessica Backhaus pays homage to those Impressionist ripples in her series I Wanted to See the World which was published in book form by Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, Berlin. She shows the exact kind of color break and rippling effect that made me fall in love with art to begin with.

Monday, August 31, 2015

"Guilty of Love" by Unloved

After vocalist Jade Vincent created the music group The Jade Vincent Experiment, she joined forces with keyboardist Keefus Ciancia to form Vincent and Mr. Green. And now a third musician, David Holmes, joins them for the most recent incarnation called Unloved. And I just love the sound of the trio's first single, "Guilty of Love." It has such a marvelous, retro quality and sounds like it could have appeared in a late-60s Bond film or perhaps it is a long-lost track from Nancy Sinatra's vaults. In fact, Unloved's Facebook page describes it best, all in lower case:

"if the shangri las got locked in a studio with lee hazzlewood, nancy sinatra and raymond scott and ennio morricone it could possibly sound like unloved"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jacques-Louis David!

Today is French painter Jacques-Louis David's 267th birthday! From violent revolution to calm wisdom, his life and beliefs were reflected in his paintings. It is fascinating to survey his oeuvre and to see just how many of his works have become absolute iconic, famous images (like, oh, just every single one you see here).

Top to bottom: Bonaparte at the saint-Bernard Pass; Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon and the Coronation of the Empress Josephine; Madame Récamier; Oath of the Horatii; Portrait of Pierre Sériziat; The Death of Marat; The Death of Socrates; The Intervention of the Sabine Women

Joyeux Anniversaire, Monsieur David!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

When it's hot...

...Bruiser Bear loves to go swimming!

Bruiser lives at Single Vision, an animal sanctuary in Melrose, Florida.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

"Sherman (Animals in the Jungle)" by Tom Vek

I love the dream logic of both the dizzying lyrics and the tense, fragmented editing and pacing of the video for this song, "Sherman (Animals in the Jungle)" by Tom Vek. It plays almost like a David Lynch film...especially with that ominous, non-specific rumbling in the has the texture of a scene from "Twin Peaks" or even "Mulholland Drive."

You think of death
The inevitable option
Not the thinking type
You just wanna tick some boxes
Now that you're out of calm
Now that the rubber has erased it
Oh, we're attacking now
I'm on the team, the immovable object
An exotic creature,
Wrapped around the tree of your life
Armed with little perfect teeth
Armed with long legs dancing
Armed with the type of smile
That will crack your pain
Oh, it's so ha-ha, ha-ha-ha-ha

We're just animals in the jungle, Sherman
In the jungle, Sherman
Animals in the jungle, Sherman
What is it on that ramp, Sherman?
On that ramp, Sherman
Animals in the jungle, Sherman

Now you realise things have got out of control
There's no thinking time
There's no multiple choice
What is the action now?
How can it all just disappear?
Why did you swallow that way?
You aren't gonna fool anybody, you know
In a court of law, your braces hanging
You better pull up your trousers
There's no belts allowed
All these people will heckle
They'll want life inside
And that's when you decided you died

We're just animals in the jungle, Sherman
In the jungle, Sherman
Animals in the jungle, Sherman
What is it on that ramp, Sherman?
On that ramp, Sherman
Animals in the jungle, Sherman

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rick Owens in Town & Country

Regular readers of "Oh, By The Way" know that every January and June, this blog is turned over to the wild, wonderful, artistic fashion shows that happen in London, Italy, and France. And regular readers know that I am smitten with the amazing work of Rick Owens. Perhaps this Town & Country profile of Owens and his partner Michel Lamy--along with powerful portraits of Owens, Lamy (you can spot her in the third photo by her black henna-ed fingers and ARMLOADS of bracelets), and their creative staff--will explain in a way I have yet been able to why Owens is so noteworthy.

Rick Owens's cult of gothic glamour continues to draw surprising converts.​

By Liz Goldwyn

Photo: Max Vadukul

My first sighting of Rick Owens happened at Les Deux Cafés in the late '90s. Nestled in the back of a parking lot, Les Deux was an oasis of Gallic chic in gritty Hollywood, where hustlers jostled with movie stars for tables.

Michele Lamy, the French-born proprietress, held court, a tribal queen with tattooed fingers and lips, draped in raw-edged leather jackets and long skirts that trailed along the asphalt boulevards. Rick, her partner, a son of the San Joaquin Valley, looked like a tanned, muscular god, inky mane hanging down his back, impressive biceps accentuated by dark T-shirts of the softest jersey. I was intimidated by these gothic creatures, in awe of their otherworldly glow.

Rick and Michele bewitched all who laid eyes on them. Women clamored to buy the slinky jersey dresses and skirts Michele wore, which were made by Rick in their live/work studio across the street. The skinny elongated sleeves of his pieces became a discreet indicator of insider status. Michele was Rick's ideal model, her louche, laissez-faire sophistication the perfect complement to his aesthetic, which reflects a wide and surprising range of influences, from Iggy Pop to Oscar Wilde.

Photo: Max Vadukul

It wasn't long before word of Rick's designs spread beyond the confines of their court. Costume designer and mutual friend Arianne Phillips dressed Madonna in his clothing, beginning with her Ray of Light promotional tour, in 1998, and the New York fashion establishment took notice. Soon Rick started showing there, and in 2003 he moved to Paris to revitalize the centuries-old furrier Revillon with his trademark rock 'n' roll Cali cool. Michele flashed her gold-toothed smile at editors backstage at his shows, and the French too fell under their spell.

Rick became a favorite among women of means who preferred to telegraph their status in code—say, by wearing a $450 black cotton T-shirt, identifiable only to the trained eye, and not by a logo but by the drape. Vera Wang, Ellen Barkin, and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn are repeat customers, and so are the Olsen twins, whose own label, the Row, pays homage to Owens's muted luxury.

Photo: Max Vadukul

His line is now designed in Paris and produced by the very best craftspeople, but it somehow maintains the dark glamour of his Hollywood days. His furniture designs, which used to be roughhewn tables and shelving made by hand, are now fashioned from bronze, alabaster, antler, and petrified wood, objects of sculptural splendor shown at Art Basel and seen in townhouses across the Upper East Side. They are as covetable as the leather jackets Michele wore at Les Deux back in the day, and as hard to get.

Still, he continues to provoke. Full-bodied dancers from U.S. step teams walked the runway for his spring 2014 collection; spectators at his January 2015 men's show were confronted with aspects of the male model seldom seen outside a dressing room.

There is a fearless, revolutionary spirit to this couple that reminds me of the 1968 student radicals in Paris, the art/drag scene in San Francisco led by Divine and the Cockettes, and the pioneer settlers of the West—conquering new territory, celebrating the counterculture, and proudly letting their freak flags fly.

Original article here:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

BEAUTY: Photography--Nick Rees

London photographer Nick Rees photographed glasses of champagne from above, capturing the effervescence of the classic drink in a view few stop to notice.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Just watched...

...the 2014 Daniel Radcliffe film "Horns."

I watched this film without knowing much about it. Yes, I had seen a trailer, but as we know, trailers are often one-note. So, without knowing that it was directed by Alexandre Aja (whose resumé boasts "The Hills Have Eyes" and, ahem, "Piranha 3D") and that the script is based on a story by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King), I settled in.

We follow Ignatius, known in the film as Ig, (Daniel Radcliffe) a young man who is accused of murdering his young girlfriend (played by Juno Temple). But the catch--and the premise of the film is--he didn't do it. Ah, a crime story. But the sudden appearance of horns on Ig's head (hence the name of the film) veers us off into a horror story. And that's okay. Genre mash-ups can be fun and at this point in the film, it seemed to be working just fine. A who-dunit fantasy horror story is fun. Everyone in the cast is great. Radcliffe has proven himself to be a very talented, versatile actor and I am glad he made the leap from child star. He deserves it. And his American accent is really quite good! The art direction and special effects are marvelous too--the horns looks absolutely real.

But as the film progressed, I had a little trouble with the direction of the story...or perhaps I should say that I had trouble with its own internal logic the story itself generates. Joe Hill makes Ig turn into some kind of devil, paying for a sin, or becoming evil since he, according to the people of the town he lives in, committed an evil act. But we the audience know he didn't commit murder and has done absolutely nothing wrong. So why does he have to turn into a devil and suffer? The concept itself seems totally wrong and counter to what they story is about. Ig eventually does discover the identity of the true murderer but at that point, the trajectory of the inconsistency is cemented and unfortunately, the horns are never explained to Ig or to us, the audience. Oh well. It's a hoot while it lasts, and there are a lot of great visual puns and black comedic moments on the way to a gruesome and non-sensical ending. Don't get me wrong: I don't expect a fantasy film to make everyday, real-world logical sense. Of course not. I adore fantasy and have had great fun with, and profound reactions to horror films. But I do expect things to make sense within the fantasy world if that is what an author or filmmaker is going to use as a vehicle to tell a story. Once I found out that Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King, I realized that the apple falls close to the tree...I am not a fan of Stephen King who seems to have had only a handful of good ideas in him which he exhausted decades ago. A lot of King's novels have left me scratching my head at the end and I gave up reading him long ago. And the fact that King hates Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," truly the best adaptation of any of King's stories, tells me all I need to know about his sensibilities. I guess Hill grew up around his father's stunted ideas.

Recommend? Um...I guess so. Yeah, sure, why not. Good acting. Good effects. Just don't expect fullfillment or for the partiuclars of the story to make sense.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

"Glow" by Asa and Stumbleine

Bristol-based musicians and producers Asa and Stumbleine collaborated on a release called "Your Secret" and this lovely track, "Glow" is on it. Awash with dreamy sounds, shimmering textures, and a cryptic vocal sample that evokes half-remembered snippets of songs or conversations, the song plays like a soundtrack to a gentle, emotional scene in someone's personal film in their head(heart).

Saturday, August 22, 2015

"Cloud Calls" by Count Counsellor

This delightful song, "Cloud Calls" by Aussie/British Count Counsellor (real name: Henry) is a joyous celebration of childhood. The song is from his four-song EP entitled "& The Childhood Heroes." Of the collection of songs and this song in particular, Count Counsellor says, "The idea came from establishing each song as a story book in a child’s life. The first song, 'Cloud Calls,' is about youthful optimism where anything seems possible."

"Top of the sky, we’d run to hide
As friends we’d play til we catch the last light
Beg and dare each other to stay out further
What if we meet the dark, she said
Jumping all the fences so carelessly into the clouds ahead…"

"It’s your turn, don’t worry, I got all you need
Shut your eyes and jump cuz I got all you need
I mean, you can’t be scared of the heights now,
We’ve been in the clouds for hours
And the dodo’s with us now, can’t you see his wings are down, down, down
Jump now, jump now, I’m here, you know that falling is the best part
You follow and I’ll lead cuz I got all you need..."

Friday, August 21, 2015

"My Daughter's Living Room" by Alge

Alge (the nom de musique of Jon Weiman) just released "My Daughter's Living Room."

Alge says, "The song is definitely inspired by my family, but it is more about the essence of what family is, which to me, is this sort of transcendent, absolute love and light and bond that exists outside the confines of time or generations. The line, ‘We’ll wait until the switch flips and we can be like dust radiating in a beam of sunlight in my daughter’s living room,’ is actually a spiritual meditation on the afterlife. When the switch flips, we can leave our bodies and become one with those dust particles suspended in the rays of sun, everywhere all at once, always present in the warm blue light of our loved ones."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Welcome, Keegan!

Keegan Hirst (Photo by Andy Stenning)

Another major sports star has come out. Keegan Hirst of the Batley Bulldogs, a rugby team in the UK has announced he is gay.

Keegan Hirst (Photo by Andy Stenning)

According to UK newspaper The Mirror, he “is the first British professional in the code to openly say he is gay." He has been met with tremendous support from within the sport and from the public at large.

Welcome, Keegan! Continued success to you!