German painter Cornelia Baltes has a wonderful ability to paint the idea of things. Not the objects themselves but something that’s both right but not quite right, more like capturing an essence or a feeling. In her work I see things that you might not, which is why her playful, almost cartoon style, opens itself up to letting your mind fill in the gaps. The bright gradients she employs are wonderfully offset by the stark additions of black and white, a really lovely contrast.
A friend recently recommended to me the work of Soey Milk, a Korean artist who uses oil paint and collage to stunning effect. Her attention to detail and nuance, especially in facial features, is what immediately draws you in. The faces are so life-like, yet they’re surrounded by these abstract fields of flowers and random drips and swathes of paint. The combination of the two make create beautiful masterpieces that you can easily get lost in.
I recommend that you follow her on Instagram, as that’s where most of her updates come from, including some great behind-the-scenes imagery of her paintings.
Shawna X is a New York based artist and visual designer who’s work is an ecstatic explosion of colors, gradients, nude women, and fantasy landscapes. I am always all about crazy colors and Shawna X gives me all the feelings. Her ability to balance colors and contrast means all of her imagery is super impactful.
I found an interview with Shawna from March 2017, where she speaks about creating art during these tough times, which I found quite relatable. This is why I’ve started writing again, because we all need some good vibes and inspiration from the art around us.
Q: How do you see your role as an artist in these increasingly fucked up times? A: It’s suffered. Sometimes I feel like it doesn’t matter. When our world is suffering, the last thing anybody cares about is artistry and creativity. However I must remind myself that being an artist is a privilege because my life thus far has given me the space to think, feel and create freely- and that inspiration from art is almost as good as faith, it speaks and helps people who need it.
PichiAvo is a pair of Spanish graffiti artists working together to create pieces that combine ancient art with urban art. These pieces are manifested as Grecian sculptures, created with spray paint, which are surrounded and embedded with tags and marks. These distinctive styles may be separated by thousands of years but PichiAvo brilliance is in making it look easy.
Raku Inoue has a fondness for nature which is highlighted in much of his work. He recently debuted Natura Insects, a series of insects that had been created from pieces of flowers. Petals and stems combined to create colorful bugs like stag beetles, butterflies, and black widows in the loveliest of colors.
Based in Malmö, Sweden, Mästerverk presents fine art prints, in super limited editions, from emerging Scandinavian artists. Their initial line-up so far includes Oscar Grønner, Maria Pohl, Clara Selina Bach, Stine Maria Aalykke, Jon Kono, Freja Erixån, Olle Halvars, Karl-Joel Lrsn. My personal favorite is the piece by Oscar Grønner of the man taking a tinkle in the public toilet.
On Easter day in 1988, Keith Haring painted an 8′ X 16′ mural on the White House lawn, and then donated it to the Children’s Hospital, National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. It’s a beautiful piece, I love the colors and shapes, and of course, that cool dog in the middle. He wasn’t even 30 years old when he did this.
I had a wonderful trip to Milan thanks to the awesome folks at Lexus. If you follow me on Instagram it seems like a bunch of pretty pictures made easy. That’s kinda true but it’s also a lot of walking, a lot of editing & organizing, and a lot of trying to keep all your devices charged. That said, here are the top 10 coolest things I saw in Milan, my personal favorites that really got me excited and inspired.
Jia Wu’s Player’s Pflute
Jia Wu, one the Lexus Design Award and Event prototype winners, presented one of my favorite concepts of the entire week. It’s called Player’s Pflute, which is a series of plastic components (like mouthpieces, hole punchers and connectors) that allow you to turn vegetables into musical instruments. Weird, right? I’m drawn to this because it’s so ridiculous and fun, and honestly, I didn’t see a ton of this kind of playfulness while I was in Milan.
This isn’t a brand new space, but it’s certainly a space that many are buzzing about right now. This is the Valextra Milano flagship store, designed by Alex Mustonen and Daniel Asharm of Snarkitecture, who are recipients of TheDesignPrize. The space was recognized for the “Shop Design and Retail” category.
I was able to stop by the space the other night and it’s truly a lovely experience. The ceiling is drape din flowing sheets of white mesh that unite the space in an ethereal manner. That paired with Valextra’s curation of bags in the store, nothing but whites, greys, and creams, it’s a stunning combination.
Via Manzoni, 3, 20121 Milano
COS X Studio Swine
“Bubbles, bubbles, everywhere and not a drop to drink!” That’s the phrase that kept running through my head when I first saw this collaboration between COS (probably my favorite clothing brand at this point) and Studio Swine, made up of Japanese Architect Azusa Murakami and British Artist Alexander Groves.
Their collaboration has yielded what I’d call a high-tech tree that regularly sprouts giant, soapy bubbles that are each filled with smoke. It’s hypnotic to watch as these bubbles form an fall of the tree, like ethereal fruit, and absolutely delightful to encounter in person. You honestly feel like a child standing there, mouth agape, because the bubbles are strong enough for you to hold in your hands. The bubbles also smell amazing, which gives rise to the question, is a new COS scent on the way?
Via Pietro Mascagni, 8
Green Brewing branding by Lucy Alter Design
This is a delight from Lucy Alter Design that I quite enjoyed. Lucy Alter is the studio of two Japanese guys, Satoshi Aoyagi and Mikito Tanimoto, who together are doing some really great work.
I found their work while browsing at the Triennale, coming across their branding effort for Green Brewing, a Japanese tea company. I love the simplicity they sought in both color and typography which reflects the purity of the tea itself. The type is extremely well laid out and the overall packaging is very well-executed.
Triennale, 20123 Milan
Fare Luce @ Foscarini Spazio Brera
There were a few experiences at Milan Design Week that you could walk around in and this was certainly one of my favorites. Giovanni Maria Filindeu worked together with lighting brand Foscarini to create Fare Luce, an immersive experience in the heart of Berra that let you walk through and experience lighting in unique installations.
There was the mirrored room, the ancient citadel, the rainbow road, the veiled room, and more. It made for many Instagrammable moments, which might sound gross, but there was nothing but smiles on everyone’s faces.
If I had to guess I wouldn’t have imagined that a bed would have been on my “coolest things” list, but when the bed is made of pink palm leaves, how can you resist?
This masterpiece was designed by Marc Ange and was exhibited at the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibit, which overall was one of my favorite exhibits. It’s described as “a contemplative, palm-shaded daybed installation in a lush fantasy setting, by the Green Gallery, in the Mediateca garden.” I think it’s the bed of my dreams!
Mediateca di Santa Teresa
Via della Moscova 28, Milano
Continuing my love for the work inhabiting the Wallpaper* Hand Made space was the TOILETPAPER BAR! This is literally a physical manifestation of the magazine, an aesthetic overload sprung from the mind of Maurizio Cattelan.
Kyle and I grabbed a couple of proseccos from the friendly bartenders and worked here for a while, it was actually quite nice if you’re comfortable being surrounded by walls and floors covered in spaghetti wallpaper.
Mediateca di Santa Teresa
Via della Moscova 28, Milano
The Visit by Studiopepe
Refinement, sophistication, drool worthy. Those are probably the words I’d use to describe the impeccably designed apartment simply called The Visit. Located in the heart of Breta, Studiopepe has curated a perfect vision of what an apartment could be, you know, if you could afford dozens of designer pieces and a space with huge rooms and high ceilings.
The space included pieces from designers like Agape, Agapecasa, Aytm, Bang & Olufsen, Bulthaup, Camo, cc-tapis, FENIXNTM, Florim, Green Wise, Lambert Et Fils, Leftover, L’Opificio, Molteni&C, Shuj, Vitra and so many more. They did a fantastic job, but I’ll still to my own eclectic style—lots of random tchotchkes that have personal meaning.
Via Palermo, 1, Milano
Elle Decor concept store
Spotted this concept while walking around Milan and what drew me in was the bright pink signage and typography, I couldn’t say no. Basically, Elle Decor created a Concept Store that looked at the future of shopping and what that might look like.
It was a bit tough figuring out what their point was exactly, but there was lots of VR, selfie spots, a coffee conveyer belt, and lots more. Aesthetically the space was decked out with perfect furniture and lots of beautiful accessories that gave me a ton of ideas for my own apartment.
Palazzo Bovara, corso Venezia 51, Milano
Thanks to our friends Josh and Evan, Kyle and I had a chance to speak with Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Formafantasma, one of the hottest design duos out there. Not only are they super rad guys, their multiple lighting designs featured at Milan Design Week were some of the stand outs.
First there was their collection with Flos, the Blush Lamp (which you can see above) and the WireRing, both of which were physically minimal while having a very robust, and in the one case colorful, output. The second was their exhibit at Foundation at Spazio Krizia where they featured their lamp concepts that helped to form their ideas for the Flos collection.