Sunday, July 31, 2011

BEAUTY: Art--Roger Hiorns

In 2008, British artist Roger Hiorns collaborated with Artangel, a London-based arts organization to create a mind-boggling site-specific work called "Seizure."

From Artangel's website:
"'Seizure' was the result of a vast chemical process precipitated by Roger Hiorns in 2008 in what was his most ambitious large-sale work to date and saw him shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2009.

75,000 litres of copper sulphate solution were pumped into a council flat to create a strangely beautiful and somewhat menacing crystalline growth on the walls, floor, ceiling and bath of an abandoned dwelling."

iamamiwhoami: "clump"

The amazing and epic iamamiwhoami/ Jonna Lee project released a new video just today! The new song is called "clump" and clearly picks up where the last video "; john" left off. I posted and wrote about ";john" here.

I adore all of the mysterious, highly symbolic, and supremely imaginative creations from iamamiwhoami/ Jonna Lee, but if you are not familiar, do yourself a favor and see the Mandragora series from the beginning. We seem to be embarking upon a new song/ video cycle with "; john" and "clump" but it would still behoove you to go back to the beginning. In fact, it is necessary to get that foundation before you can get caught up. It is well worth the small amount of time...
Go to the iamamiwhoami YouTube channel and start at the beginning with "Prelude."

It is also very exciting to find out that iamamiwhoami will be performing live for an actual audience at the WayOutWest Festival in Sweden on Friday, August 12th, 2011!

BEAUTY: Interiors--Jessica Helgerson

Portland-based interior designer Jessica Helgerson does wonders with the indigenous architecture of the area. Just take a look below at the magic she created for a classic American Four-Square home. She shows how a very modern, clean, and dramatic look can be achieved without eliminating the original, very traditional spirit of the space. The black and white palette is crisp and the sleek, and the modern furnishings contrast beautifully with the period details of the house itself. I especially love the dining set with the curved banquette seating and the stunning blown glass balls in the chandelier. It's gorgeous work...

And for another turn-of-the-century Portland home (she did not list this one as a Four-Square so I will assume, based on the area and the time period, that this home is Italianate), she worked the same magic, keeping the original character and intention of the architecture while infusing the space with a contemporary feel. I really like the penny round tiles on the bathroom floor with the sleek sconce and what looks like a Delia Shade in the shower window!

BEAUTY: Art and Jewelry--Kali Arulpragasam

Originally from Sri Lanka, Kali Arulpragasam is a London-based jewelry designer. She founded her own company, Super Fertile, in 2006 and has since been producing provocative jewelry designs that blur the line between jewelry, art, and social commentary. She has the heart and soul of an activist and expresses her concerns through her creations. She is less concerned with creating an object of empty beauty than she is with creating something that will engage the mind and cause a reaction. In the past, she has created collections based on, among other social causes, the current economic crash (with pendants and rings emblazoned with slogans like "15 million workers lost their jobs worldwide," "Mortgage debts greater than the value of homes," and a pie chart showing world military spending figures). Her current collection is entitled "Murder." On her website, she says, "MURDER: VIOLENCE AND ELEGANCE HAVE BEEN THOUGHTFULLY CRAFTED IN INCREDIBLE DETAIL TO PRODUCE A RANGE OF BEAUTIFUL AND BREATHTAKING PIECES IN RUBIES, SAPPHIRES AND GARNETS, CAREFULLY SELECTED TO RESEMBLE BULLET WOUNDS, CUTS, MACHINE GUN FIRE TO THE BODY, SLASHES, BUTCHERING AND HACKING OF THE THROAT, HEAD AND EARS TO PORTRAY THE INHUMANITY AROUND THE WORLD."

Grisly? Yes. Shocking? Yes. Beautiful? Yes.

Currently listening to...

...two versions of the same song.

The phenomenal William Orbit co-wrote, played on, recorded, and produced Beth Orton's first album, "SuperPinkyMandy" which was released only in Japan (popular lore has the only pressings at between 1,000 and 5,000 copies). "Yesterday's Gone" came from this obscure and now hard-to-find album.

And for his "Strange Cargo--Hinterland" release, Orbit got out the tune, dusted it off, re-recorded it, and amped it up so it kicks ass. He called this new version "Montok Point" and the lighthouse of said point (purposefully misspelled) at the eastern tip of Long Island is referenced in a spoken word section at the very end of the song. This is the version I was familiar with first (it was the soundtrack to my life in 1995) and only recently learned of the Beth Orton version.

Neither songs have official videos but each artist has an official website:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

BEAUTY: Men--The Tweed Run

Here is a selection of the hearty, British, stiff-upper-lipped gentlemen of The Tweed Run including the gorgeous, talented (and, ahem... gifted) Ewan McGregor. Delightful!

BEAUTY: Ceramics--Natalia Dias

Natalia Dias is an amazingly imaginative sculptor working in clay, ceramic and porcelain. Her recent work has centered on the heart--no, not the sweet, cute, Valentine heart with double lobes and a pointy bottom but the real, visceral, human heart complete with aorta, arteries, and the superior vena cava.

From her mission statement:
"My work is my own language. I sculpt metaphorically the way that I see and feel things, intending to project the viewer to a dreamscape of sensuality and magic realism.
This recent body of work is an allegory to the human condition, the Alchemical journey that an individual takes from birth to death in search of harmony and which can be manifest through Love."

BEAUTY: Interiors--The Zetter Townhouse by Russell Sage

The Zetter Townhouse is a new, intimate, 13-bedroom hotel in a restored Georgian townhouse in the London area of Clerkenwell. After the success of The Zetter Hotel, restaurateur-hoteliers Mark Sainsbury and Michael Benyan recently opened a smaller, charming spin-off located "21 steps" from The Zetter (as their website advertises). In conjunction with Sainsbury and Benyan, interior designer Russell Sage came up with a fantastic concept for this new hotel involving a fictional and very eccentric "great aunt." The result is a quintessentially British appearance and feel involving Victoriana, WW II British patriotism (I love the four poster bed festooned with a Union Jack canopy and garland), and,... well, just plain oddities like the taxidermied kangaroos in one of the salons. The atmosphere is more like someone's home full of treasures and collections spanning a lifetime than a hotel, which is clearly its draw.