Or any artists, really. This is solid advice, y’all.
“Be busy. Seek and find a way to do what it is you want to do. Identify what that thing is and do it. Don’t stand around too long having conversations about it. Do it. Refine it. Do it more. Try it a different way. Keep at it until you break through to the next level. Don’t talk or think yourself out of doing it. Put one foot in front of the other and let it happen organically.”
Read/watch Ryan McGinley’s Advice for Young Artists on VICE.
Photo from VICE, copyright Ryan McGinley.
This time of year in New Orleans is absolutely perfect, in my book! Lovely sunny days mixed with the occasional downpour. Not too hot, no more cold nights and abundant flowers and beautiful gardens backed with white puffy clouds and blue skies. In full disclosure, this post is also for the #Weekend10 giveaway by Maile Wilson for an Epiphanie Bag, but I thought I’d share these quick shots with y’all so you can be jealous of the incredible spring we’re having down here! I’d also like to shout out to Hansen’s Sno-Bliz and Peche for the sno-ball and cocktail (and congrats to you both on your well-deserved 2014 James Beard Awards!), respectively, and to Bacchanal for the wine and beautiful courtyard.
I’ve been in need of some graphic design and artistic inspiration these last few weeks. I’m trying to clear out the headspace, turn off Netflix and get out into the world a little more. Getting trapped in the Every Day can put a lid on creativity really quickly. On a philosophical level, I’m trying to make sense of all my time spent on social media, and in doing so, I’m seeking out deeper meaning from hours logged on blogs and Twitter. I’ve picked up a few gems this week that I wanted to share with you. These are just a few beauties in a sea of constant chatter.
One of my recent clients, a couple getting married on Bayou St. John, were so inspired by where they live, they dedicated their wedding programs and venue to the area. It has gotten me thinking about the space I occupy in New Orleans and the space it occupies in me.
In my down time (of which I am trying to create more) I’m focusing on the minutia of daily activities. Commuting across town can be a real drain on one’s existence, but during my commute there is an opportunity to be on one of the highest points in the City and see incredible weather systems from a 360 view. I have never seen sunsets like the sunsets in New Orleans.
During the day, I work in an area of town that is pretty stark, situated alongside Lake Pontchartrain. I require much urban time, so I head back into the thick of it for lunch many days. I am always amazed at how dedicated people are to their space on the urban landscape. Every square inch is an opportunity to make a statement. I feel like I’m squandering my personal opportunity of a yard. (Note to self: Must work on that.)
The other morning, the Fried Green Husband and I went on an adventure to buy plants and came across our second sunrise of the morning. Sunrise over Brown’s Dairy, to be exact.
My last bit of New Orleans inspiration comes from the deterioration and history of our town. There is something constantly surprising about the level of erosion on the surfaces and infrastructure here. It’s beautiful and a little heartbreaking, but mostly I’m drawn to the “what it could be” and “what it once was” of the situation. It’s amazing. Like a blank canvas in a lot of ways. It’s like staring at a blank canvas, but being overrun with ideas. It’s amazing.
So far, I think my two favorite things that I’ve discovered about moving to New Orleans are 1.) the fantastically nice, friendly, unique people here and 2.) the hidden treasures of artistic and political drama interspersed among the historical spaces. I love it. I feel like there’s someone’s little mark on the world around every corner.
This past week, I spent some time with a good friend in town for a visit discovering new hangouts (thanks for the delicious wine and snacks Elizabeth’s, Bacchanal and Restaurant R’evolution!) and taking a mini photo adventure through the Bywater. The Bywater is a fantastic mix of old locals and new hipsters – the kind of pairing where you think to yourself “how in the world does this work?” Like every neighborhood, nothing is perfect, but everyone we encountered seemed to be existing in a certain harmony. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how convenient the Bywater is to my Lower Algiers home by way of the Chalmette Ferry. Any day I don’t have to drive through the tiny French Quarter streets during Carnival season is a good day in my book.
For those of you not in New Orleans, and who didn’t really follow the post-Katrina stories in 2005, above is a permanent representation of the the marks left on homes after they had been checked for inhabitants, bodies, pets, gas, electric, and so on. Every flooded home would have had a spray paint mark to indicate the findings and the date it was checked. This is the first I’ve seen where the homeowner has created a permanent installation where the spray paint once lay. Kenny Klein has a great blog with a graphic to explain the information detailed in these marks. He explains it much better than I ever could and his post on Katrina 6 Years Later is definitely worth a read/look through.
I’m not sure why I’ve seen large street-side Cy Twombly dedications, but this is not the first one I’ve seen in New Orleans. Coming from Virginia, I have a special place for Cy Twombly in my art-y heart, and I love that he is loved worldwide.
The two photos above are at the Clouet Gardens, a serene little space created out of a vacant lot – both beautifying the space and neighborhood and also creating a place for locals and passersby to sit and relax.
I have secured some borrowed internet from the cozy, delicious and vegan-friendly Z’otz cafe on Oak Street and I thought I would take a few minutes to post a bit about the exhibits I want to check out shortly. P.S. I’m pretty sure the locals can spot a yankee from a mile away – I’m the only one outside thinking this weather is warm!
In addition to the NOMA “Lifelike” exhibit I want to see (opening on the 11th), the Ogden Museum of Southern Art has a few exhibits I would like to check out. They have photographs by Shelby Lee Adams and the surreal, yet vintage, works of Jeff Louviere and Vanessa Brown. I recommend a trip through their kitschy website too. I also plan to get out to the Octavia Art Gallery on Magazine for a peak at all they have to offer.
So far, we’ve been unpacking and cleaning and getting situated in our new digs, bugging Cox for some interwebs and figuring out where to hang my extensive poster collection. My main squeeze has had a couple of trumpet gigs and is looking at some other new bands which is super exciting. This weekend will be our first weekend where we can afford some time to hear music, see art and enjoy it not being 45 degrees and I cannot wait!
For those of you wondering, these guys are not hating their new home:
In addition to my awesome freelance gigs and some exciting freelance projects (keep your eyes peeled for an online shop very soon!!!) I will be starting part time doing design and marketing for a super awesome eco-friendly shop here in town. I love working with folks who are tightly aligned with my own greenie philosophies. I’m really excited to share the shop with you next week! The neighborhood does not suck to look at:
View from First and Magazine
In unrelated news, coffee shops are funny places. I’ve never been a coffee shop kind of girl – I’m a ruthless get-in-and-get-out coffee buyer and I really love local beans and my cute green french press at home. But a loud guy has joined me outside on his phone and now I know all about how he is dating his friend’s ex girlfriend and he got a nosering. He is “quite the Don Juan right now” – according to him. I would bet his friend does not think so.
On that note, I’m out to hear some music with my man!
The French street artist known as JR has struck again – this time with his TED prize-funded “Inside Out” project hitting Hong Kong. The Wall Street Journal posted a nice article with video yesterday.
Image from JR’s website.
JR won the 2011 TED Prize and his wish for the world was to use art to create change. JR says “I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world… INSIDE OUT.” Since March of 2011 JR has been taking photo submissions from individuals and groups and then sending back a large format print of their piece for them to paste up as a statement for a cause or idea they care about. Additionally, JR has continued his work of bringing attention to the various faces of the world. It’s pretty incredible and I am really happy to know a bit more about the idea behind this quiet, global movement. Check out the follow up on JR’s year of turning the world Inside Out.
Greetings from rainy Richmond! It’s a dull dreary day here and it makes me want to run off to the beach to sit in the sunshine with a book, but that’s not in the cards this week. I know a lot of you don’t live in the path of the storms currently sweeping across the Southeast, but I thought I’d pass along some sunny art and design news to get your spirits moving regardless of where you are. Or, it’s purely selfish and I just want to de-fog my own brain!
1. Huffington Post (I hesitate to even send you there before the election is over, no matter which way you sway.. yikes) had a post about some amazing grass human sculptures by Mathilde Roussel. These living grass pieces are beautiful studies in movement, reminiscent of early college days creating figure drawings in different mediums. I love how she pushed the envelope. People’s creativity never ceases to amaze me. Ms. Roussel has a large catalog of exceptionally beautiful pieces from a wide range of mediums – check out her website.
Image from Mathilde Roussel website.
2. Design Week posted an interview with Vaughan Oliver (who you already know I love). And nothing says “sunny days lay ahead” like a solid Pixies album cover…right? Judge me if you must, but sunny is in the eye of the beholder. I love the Pixies. Desert Island Album style love. But that’s not the point. Oliver is totally funny and insightful, so go read his interview. I love how he talks about working with 4AD: “… it wasn’t just a record company to me, it was like putting sleeves on my own records.” A designer’s dream! (Oh and if you’re reading from the UK, there’s a link to contact someone for inquiries on attending his upcoming talk at the bottom of the article.)
3. The Washington Post tells me that there are (at least) two big shows worth noting in NYC this fall and winter: Andy Warhol at the Met and Edvard Munch at the MOMA. The Warhol exhibit will showcase his lasting effect on other contemporary artists, featuring both his works and those where he may have been inspiration. Munch at the MOMA will showcase his famous work The Scream for a six month period of time starting October 24. Evidently this is the only non-Norwegian original version of the work, so check it out while it’s in the area!
3.1. While you’re visiting The Scream, stop in to the new photography exhibition. The show features the works of Michele Abeles, Birdhead, Anne Collier, Zoe Crosher, and Shirana Shahbazi. Collier was also featured on the Highline this past February with a billboard-sized commissioned piece.
Image from Highline website.
My brain is all over the place today! I’m in the middle of a proposal at the day job, finished up some exhibit panels for a freelance client this week, working on finishing an album cover for a dear friend this weekend and yet all I can think about is home furnishings. I have fancy home furnishings on the mind, for whatever reason, and the lovely travel-inspired posts from Modern Commissary just keep pouring in. That, and Heath Ceramics just sent me something about free shipping this coming weekend/week… ugh.
If I had it my way (and had a million dollars), I would be busy making my house even more lovely than it already is, instead of working all the time. It has a lot of classic 1940s Cape Cod charm and original floors and bathroom tile. Every house in my neighborhood looks the same on the outside, but has a little surprise on the inside – did you get the black and white bathroom tile or the pink and maroon? I’m just thrilled we didn’t end up with this:
Yikes. We have very classy black and white.
I love a lot of what I’m seeing people do with vintage fixtures and reclaimed wood these days. Yesterday, I toured New Kent Winery after a meeting with the ladies from SMPS Virginia. The owner has used many many reclaimed and repurposed pieces in the structure that houses the winery. Evidently many of the doors came from the Jefferson Hotel when they revamped back in the 1980s. The inside of the brewing room had old train trestles from the old Mayo Bridge (Route 360 in Richmond, VA) in place of rafters. The winery is owned by Taylor Moore and he has another business (E.T. Moore) collecting and reselling reusable pieces from old homes and businesses.
I also cannot get enough of old, run down buildings right now. It’s become a photographic obsession.
I’m completely in love with and inspired by all the textures in the faces of these old buildings. I’m planning on incorporating this feeling into a few upcoming pieces of design work. I can’t wait to see where this takes me.
On a completely unrelated note, I have recently had the opportunity to rent cars through both Enterprise and Avis, and I have to say that Avis truly does “try harder.” I would just like to remind you all about the famous (and amusing) 1962 Avis rebranding and mention that they have definitely stuck to it. Good for them and good for me. I’m a loyal customer now – and as much as I love branding, I’m not usually one to just pick a brand and settle down. Avis really does try harder. Read more about the brand here. I also think it’s pretty incredible that the tagline still lives after 50 years. Happy Brandiversary Avis!
I’ve made it back from the beautiful weather on the West Coast, and though I really enjoyed the cooler temps, I am thrilled to see humidity again. Is that weird? I don’t care, I love it. Anyway, this is not a post about the weather.
I did have an opportunity to get to see a lot of the fabulous art I had hoped to see while I was in San Francisco, but that will be for Part 2. I had a few art surprises that I’d like to share first. My cohort, Em2, and I met up with some of my East Coast ex-pat friends for phenomenal tacos at Tacolicious in the Mission. Somewhere between the BART and the restaurant, we happened upon an alley (Clarion Alley) full of amazing street art. In doing a bit of digging, there’s a little info on the history of this space at Wikipedia. Turns out this is the Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) which, in short, is a collaborative mural project among a community of artists with positive messages and bohemian vibes. I found a bit more info here. And a few more of my pics are here.
Last Wednesday I set out the SFMOMA only to find that they are closed on Wednesdays. So I took a different street back to the hotel and chanced upon an incredible photo exhibit at the Catharine Clark Gallery on Minna Street. They were showing pieces by Ellen Kooi. I love the scale and the sort of muted, yet brilliant colors of her work. The images are both peaceful and a bit jarring in a really intense way.
Image from Ellen Kooi website.
Through mid-August, the SFMOMA will be hosting the 7 Ans de “Moirage” – a play on words combining “7 years of marriage” with the technique called “moire.” These pieces can be seen on the garage windows on Minna and Natoma streets. The pieces are a collaboration of artist/partners Claire Pasquier and Ian Padgham. A little more info and some pics at the SFMOMA blog. Sorry team, I failed to grab a pic of this one! Stay tuned for San Francisco artventures, Part 2. Yep, artventures. I totally went there.