Monday, September 21st, 2009

Inspiration Mondays: Alex Katz in Maine


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Lincolnville Harbor 1994

One of my favorite museums is The Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine, and it was there I first discovered the work of Alex Katz, whose studio is nearby in Lincolnville. I wandered into a room and watched a movie of this man painting birch trees on a huge canvas. I loved watching his energy and how quickly he was able to assess which move he was going to make next. I can’t really describe it better than Sanford Schwartz does in this book:

Katz has always been so clear and forceful about his goals, and those goals are such a fine blend of the naturalistic, the abstract and the theatrical, that literally where he works can seem a little beside the point. But the possibility that, in some slight degree, Lincolnville lets him connect with a freer self adds a wrinkle of feeling to the pictures he makes there.

study for Fishing Boats 2000

Ives Field, 1956

Hammon House 3 1963

Smile Awhile 1983

Cow 1986

(part of) Wildflowers 3 1993

Untitled Drawing 1953

all images by Alex Katz, as seen in Alex Katz in Maine


Thursday, September 17th, 2009

D.I.Y. Art, What to do with Ticket Stubs, and Some Other Good Ideas


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I stopped by my friend Lucas’s loft in the Old Fourth Ward today and took about a million pictures. Between the funky flash and the fact that I was dizzy, I’m not thrilled with the results, but the ideas are so good I had to share a few with you immediately anyway. I’ll share more of a house tour in a later post after some photo editing attempts, but for now, here are a few of his great ideas.

Aren’t these ticket stub shadowboxes a great idea? I have ticket stubs floating all over my house, some in scrapbooks, some on bulletin boards, I even saw one in my laundry room the other day. I’d love to get them all in one place, as each one carries different memories (side note: perhaps I’ll blow up the one from the Depeche Mode concert this past month – that show was AWESOME! OK, back to Lucas…) Lucas is a singer-songwriter and goes to see live music ALL the time. I even spy Suzanne Vega’s signature on a stub in his collection.

Lucas has a knack with IKEA frames. The piece above was bought from an artist in Provincetown, and he gave it more of a presence with an inexpensive black frame. The piece below is a tangle of old guitar wires that he was gathering up to toss out. When he saw they had formed a heart shape, he popped them in another frame:

Every surface around the loft is well-curated. Living in a small studio instilled the feeling of only keeping things you need and love around the house. Lucas entertains a lot, and I noticed he utilized trays and modern tray tables all over his home for various things. He keeps his bar beautiful with fresh flowers and candles.

A TV-related tree, currently some sort of shrine to Carrie Bradshaw!

Again, sorry for the photo quality. I’m not sure what happened there, and I feel like they don’t do the art or the space justice! Luckily, I have a bunch of photos from Lucas himself which are much better than mine. You can sort through them all in this flickr set if you’d like a peek before the house tour post!

Oh, and in case you were wondering about the note in the shadowbox, “U Cute” was a note left in grease pen on a Burger King bag by a toothless cashier who was staring at Lucas so much that he said “I was afraid he was gonna cut me.” It was only later as he picked up his burger detritus that he saw the note and it all made sense! Did I mention that Lucas is hilarious?


Monday, September 7th, 2009

Monday Inspiration: David Hockney


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For some inspiration on this fine Labor Day Holiday, I thought I’d give you a last hurrah, via the vivid colors of David Hockney’s takes on California:

The Little Splash


Pearblossom Highway

Nichols Canyon

Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica

all images by David Hockney. I apologize for any that are a little skewed; I have an antique scanner.


Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Color Inspiration Compliments of Paul Klee


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Do you ever get in the design doldrums? Clearly you are a blog browser – do you ever get style ennui? Sometimes I feel very overloaded with so much information that I fail to see freshness because my brain is short circuiting. How do you get the juices flowing again?

One thing I do is climb up and take down one of my many art and design books (I’m a bit of a book hoarder and I’m starting to get a little scared for myself after watching this crazy show called Hoarders on A&E the other night (by the way, this show is really good at inspiring you to clean out the attic, the basement, the fridge, and any other place clutter can gather!). Last week it was this charming little book on Paul Klee that I picked up at my favorite used bookstore on the planet for two bucks. Not only was he a master of form and composition, but Paul Klee mastered color baby! Next time you are in the design doldrums, I highly recommend going to the library and checking out a monograph. For now, I’ll show you a few that jump-started my creative engine:

The next time that I fear picking out FLOR tiles is overwhelming, I’m just going to grab some that make this pattern:

Or this pattern:

This color palette is very Don Draper’s office:

Hmm, in a room this combo might come out looking a little 1980’s Miami, but it could still be great in a nursery or used with the just the right amount of each hue:

Seriously, if you are a clutterbug and you want to be scared straight, check out Hoarders over here.


Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Green Product of the Week: Art for Your Walls


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In a continuing attempt to find green products that are right under my nose, I’m concentrating on art this week. Here are a few of my favorite sustainable products for adorning your walls:

Columbia Forest Products Alexander Girard PLYprint® – Love Heart:

In collaboration with the estate of Alexander Girard, and Pfeiffer Lab, Columbia Forest Products reissues select artwork, by Alexander Girard, first used as part of the 1970’s Herman Miller® Environment Enrichment Panel program. For the first time since 1972, these graphics are now available as wall art.

Amenity Willow Large Wall Print – Cream & Cocoa:

Made of 100% pure organic cotton certified independently by third-party agency SKAL and printed with eco-friendly, non-toxic, water-based dyes. Made in the United States of imported fabric. I love the large scale of this piece.

Graham and Brown Taylor & Wood Frames Wallpaper

Approx 50% of this wallpaper is sourced from recycled material or from FSC-certified (Forestry Stewardship Council) managed forests. What’s so fun about it is that you can fill in your own artwork, and kids won’t get in trouble for scribbling on this wallpaper!

olli & lime Art Poster – Billie

Made on 100% recycled paper. I love the fun graphics and colors here.

k studio Heart on a Sleeve Wall Art

At Shelly and Mary Klein’s growing studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan, they manage each product from start to finish. They start with fabric made from some of the most sustainable materials available such as hemp, organic cotton, and recycled wool. This one in particular is hemp, so if you are looking for a gift for Woody Harrelson, I highly recommend this piece!