Thursday, July 28, 2016

"Sleep" by 'fō

Here is a fantastic live version of "Sleep" by 'fō (the talented Josh Cooke), previously here.
Sounding and looking excellent, my friend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

BEAUTY: Illustration--Matt Dixon

Normally Matt Dixon is an illustrator working in the gaming industry, creating goblins and trolls, but in his spare time, he has created a world of lonely little robot children who valiantly try to find the joy in life. Of course his works are allegorical, showing the human condition and how we all are really, when all is said and done, like little kids, just trying to find something or someone to get us through.

His first collection of robot images, TRANSMISSIONS can be purchased here:

And Volume 2 of TRANSMISSIONS can be purchased here:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

In The Mirror, In The Mind

“We always feel younger than we are. I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings. The sum of them is me. The mirror sees only my latest face, while I know all my previous ones.”
--Tomas Tranströmer, Swedish poet

Monday, July 25, 2016

BEAUTY: Photography--Finn Beales

Welsh photographer Finn Beales likes to go to interesting locations for 72 hours and immerse himself in a milieu in order to photograph all the nuances he sees.

He and his wife recently came to my neck of the woods, Northern California, to photograph a road trip to Lassen State Park and into the glorious redwood forests. But first they flew into SFO to start their trip and of course had to visit the spectacular Marin Headlands overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge (a favorite spot of mine). And they ended their whirlwind trip at the stunning, picturesque beaches in Mendocino County.

I adore my state...

Check out his 72 Hours series on his website to see other beautiful locations around the globe.

Print by Eric Rewitzer and Annie Galvin of Three Fish Studios.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

"Dancing On My Own" by Calum Scott

"Britain's Got Talent" finalist Calum Scott has released his lovely, wrenching ballad version of Robyn's club hit "Dancing On My Own" that catapulted him to fame on the first episode of the ninth series of the show.

And for a side-by-side, here is Robyn's (previously here) original version:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

BEAUTY: Drawing--Mie Yim

Mie Yim repurposes little Martha Stewart brand sample paint chips (available for free at any MS Paint kiosk!) by drawing the cutest, tiniest little images of delicious food in pastels!

Friday, July 22, 2016

"Ode 2 Summa" by Jamil Zacharia

Lazy, trippy, lightly psychedelic, hazy..."Ode 2 Summa" by Australian musician Jamil Zacharia.

I have yet to find a good "summer song." Maybe this one is it?
"In the summer, we fly high..."

Thursday, July 21, 2016

BEAUTY: Drawing--Garth England

Regular readers know that I am an interior designer among other professions, and I recently had a consultation for a possible new client that touched me deeply. I got a call from a woman on the east coast who said she had inherited a home here in California. She said she had been back and forth several times and had started to remodel one of the bathrooms. But she said she is now interested in renovating the rest of the house. So after we arranged for me to get a key, I went to the house to take a look at the scope of work involved. I was under the impression that the house would be empty, or nearly so. But I was surprised to see a home with lawn furniture and plants hanging on the front porch, looking very much currently cared for and lived in. I let myself in and while the house had been cleared of most large furniture pieces, smaller items remained. An antique table topped with a few books in German. Some lovely abstract art pieces on the walls. Persian rugs. In the kitchen, papers, bills, and sunglasses sat on the peninsula as though someone had just recently arrived home. A bookshelf of cook books sat next to a carved oak dining table and chairs. Pots and pans sat silent in a cupboard, used by someone to cook all their meals. In a home office, walls were covered with framed certificates and diplomas and letters to a woman who was praised as a marvelous teacher, someone who changed the course of the lives of her students.

The more I looked, the more my heart ached and throat closed up, and the more I was aware of the life of a human being who is no longer living...but whose entire life in objects remains...the tiny, precious things that we all take for granted in our lives but that will outlive us. As such things have the power to do to me, I was transported back to the deaths of my parents and their home I was responsible for clearing out and selling--all the daily, average objects suddenly took on a huge importance. My mom's tiny porcelain kitty collection, my dad's favorite yellow bowl from which he ate his nightly treat of popcorn...

And the state of this home in front of me was suddenly crystal clear--the meaningful objects, the ones with sentimental value had already been removed. A kind of infinitely sad, almost tangible half-life existed in the house for me to practically swim through...someone's invisible memories and life unknown to me, echoing with the lives of my parents and the lifetime, knowledge, memories and love and...presence that is gone. Presence. Walking through this house shook me and returned me to a state both familiar and feared. And inevitable.

So I was pleased by the synchronicity when I stumbled across, the next day, information about an artist who had, very late in life, recorded all the places and events he could recall. Since he was not suffering from any kind of cognitive impairment, he was able to recall details of nearly everything.

Garth England liked to draw. So he meticulously cataloged his life in the English town of Bristol, mapping out streets, profiles of houses he lived in as well as his neighbors', elevation views of his boyhood bedrooms, furniture suites, and cartoon panel-stories about episodes in his life. One of the most poignant is a story about him and his brother during what is known as Operation Pied Piper (where children were evacuated to rural areas and away from city centers at risk of being bombed in WWII), and being sent to a family in Woodroyd for safety.

Thankfully these drawings were discovered and published in a book which went to print just before Garth England's death. It is wonderful that he knew of the book and its imminent publication...and by extension the value of his memories and life. Here is the blurb from Future Perfect, the Bristol City Council-funded public art programme that allowed Garth's work to be discovered and turned into MURDERED WITH STRAIGHT LINES: DRAWINGS OF BRISTOL BY GARTH ENGLAND:

"Garth England was a long-term resident of Hengrove and Knowle-West in south Bristol; Murdered with Straight Lines tells the poignant story of a childhood lived through a world war and its aftermath; the development of Britain's Welfare State and social housing provision; vernacular architecture, indoor toilets and fitted kitchens.

The drawings were discovered by Jo Plimmer, engagement curator of Future Perfect, when she visited Hengrove Lodge as part of the public engagement programme. Garth died in 2014 but he knew of our plans to publish his drawings and gave us his blessing."

The title refers to an anecdote England told: "Murdered with straight lines — that’s what my art teacher used to say about my drawings. He didn’t like the way I always used a ruler." He may have been a slave to the precision of his ruler, but these drawings are earnestly created and colored with a beautiful, naïve, loving care.

The things we leave behind.

The book can be purchased through the publishing house Redcliffe Press here or through Amazon UK here.


BEAUTY: Painting--Mark Ryczek

Since we are dealing with the theme of memory, recall, and nostalgia today, here is the touching, distant, gauzy work of artist Mark Ryczek. Each image in his Brooklyn Misremembered series feels like a hazy memory, a snapshot our minds take of relatives homes, childhood rooms, small moments...

Artist's Statement about this series:
"The pieces are inspired by photos taken at a friend’s apartment in Flatbush. They are meditations on small areas that have sparked an interest in me and an attempt to capture my impressions of a typically stark and aged Brooklyn apartment interior, transformed by the slight decorative touches of the inhabitant. My hope is to express both the sheer pleasure of seeing and also to slightly warp what I see as one inevitably warps an experience when they store it to memory. Nostalgia has always fascinated me and these paintings loosely deal with not only with the bittersweet nature of the emotion itself, but the question of why we feel it and why some tend to sentimentalize the past more than others. Is it relative to one’s ability to record detailed information, specifically the dull and/or painful bits? Is it a survival mechanism that propels us forward in the hopes of re-experiencing an imagined past? Or maybe there is no purpose – just another seemingly pointless mental quirk."