I was first introduced to Japanese painter Yayoi Kusama thanks to the 2007 documentary Marc Jacobs Louis Vuitton, a film which I found to be hugely inspirational and I can’t recommend enough. Since the 60s she’s been spreading her spots everywhere and applying them to literally everything: from canvas to sculptures, on fashionable bags and as a part of sprawling museum installations. Recently she spoke with Sophie Knight for The Telegraph about her life, her inspirations, and the source of her talent (kind of).
Kusama says that all her inspiration comes from within her mind, with no conscious thought, or influence from other artists, most of whom she dismisses (“Picasso painted thousands of pictures in one style, whereas my art covers every kind of idea,” she boasted once.)
“A lot of artists have to draw first with pencil, but I paint directly. Many people ask me, ‘How do you draw that?’ and I just say, ‘Ask my hand!’” she says.
It’s a great piece and a great reminder that no matter what we as creatives have a responsibility to keep on making. If she can get up at 3am and make all day long so can you.
Sometimes I forgot how beautiful simple things can be. I think that is one of the best things about art; it can really remind you of the beauty that exists in the simple things and the mundane parts of life. That’s what I love about this series by the German-born photographer Michael Wolf. Shot on the streets of Paris, the work shows little more than the shadows of trees set against the buildings of the street. Yet in his composition and his high-contrast black-and-white he manages to find something effortlessly beautiful in something so banal.
Wolf’s work is frequently interested in contemporary city life. His images of modern cities often feel far less inviting than the work shown here. Through his lens buildings reach near abstraction as they dominate everything around them and themes of voyeurism, privacy and detachment are often seen throughout his practice.
Wolf doesn’t offer an explanation to the meaning behind this work. Considering his previous projects one might view it as an exploration of natures challenged role within the city, or perhaps it could be seen as a study into the small traces of the natural world that remain within our busy cities. Personally I prefer to take a more romantic view of it and see it as a simple celebration of the mundane. For me, these images serve as a reminder that there exisits simple pleasures in the world and its important to take the time every-now-and-again to stop and appreciate these simple things.
You can see more work from Wolf on his website.
At this point, Gary Baseman has probably marked everything off of the bucket list for his career. He has won several Emmys and had a huge, traveling (brilliant) major museum show and even successfully funded a Kickstarter campaign: dude has done it all. The latest addition to this lengthy list of creative triumphs is a luxury fashion collaboration, one on par with Kenny Scharf for Jeremy Scott and Yayoi Kusama for Louis Vuitton: Coach enlisted Baseman to provide complimentary monsters for their Spring Ready-To-Wear collection. This sounds like it could be a troubling pairing, yes—but the collaboration is absolutely spectacular.
Baseman’s characters are used in myriad ways: they are at the center of a few t-shirts, seemingly painted on purses, and even patterned very elegantly onto dresses. Like the shirts, the characters are even knitted into sweaters. No, they aren’t appliqué but woven into the material, a seamless and quaint and quirky effect that takes Baseman’s creations and transforms them from art objects or cartoons to these high fashion objects of intrigue. Coach wisely uses an understated palette of pastels—and a few complimentary prints like cheetah (which Baseman may have created)—to place his work at the center of the clothing. Moreover, the 1970s-meets-1990s design of the clothes somehow works here: it’s then and now, fake and real, imaginative and real.
What’s most surprising is this pairing: Baseman is phenomenal while Coach has become so suburban mall. Whoever thought to enlist over at Coach needs many, many high fives. The designer(s) who also worked with Gary to figure out how the pairing would manifest itself did an amazing job as well. Collaborations between art and fashion require a great amount of editing—and confidence. You can see more from the collaboration here.
“I wanted to have an estate sale of my own but obviously I couldn’t get any enjoyment from it myself if I was dead. So I decided to do it now.”
That’s the quite peculiar thinking of acclaimed designer Nigo, the founder of Japanese clothing branding A Bathing Ape, on his upcoming Sotheby’s auction titled NIGO® Only Lives Twice, which takes place October 7th, 2014 in Hong Kong.
The auction is filled with an eclectic mix of art and design unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Amongst the objects up for auction are a number of paintings and sculptures from KAWS, paintings by Andy Warhol, lots of Eames pieces, many vintage signs and memorabilia, and of course, a Gucci christmas tree designed by Tom Ford. Clearly he’s a man of great taste though to me it shows how insanely lavish the super-rich can live. What do you want to bet that this is but a small part of a much larger collection?
You can see the entire ridiculous list of lots by clicking here.
I’m pretty novice when it comes to museums and galleries in New York. I’ve been to the big ones like MoMA and The Armory, but it wasn’t until recently that I read there was a museum in Queens dedicated to the work of Isamu Noguchi. The Noguchi Museum opened in 1985, the museum is truly unique because Noguchi himself designed and curated the space, the only one artist created space like this in the U.S.
Writer Daniel Waite Penn recently visited the museum for Cereal Magazine, penning a lovely piece that explains the mystique of the Noguchi’s works and the space they permanently inhabit.
Polished sections and geometric slices are cut into the remaining swathes of their rough, unaltered surfaces, dubbed by Noguchi the ‘skin’ of the stone. Crowbar chips and dynamite holes are evidence of the quarrying process, embracing found qualities alongside a determination to shape the raw material into art. This juxtaposition of deliberate geometry with natural and accidental irregularity gives these works a powerful formal tension, showing Noguchi at the height of his creative powers. He was a veteran artist by the time he made them, and they evince his lack of interest in notions of perfection – a theme he had pursued diligently in earlier phases of his career.
The next time I’m in New York I’m definitely making a special trip out there to visit.
I came across this old piece by Banksy the other day and it reminded me of how funny the guy is. If you haven’t visited his site lately you should take a minute and see what he’s been up to. I found a bunch of new street pieces I hadn’t seen before.
Frequent readers of the site know I love plants and artist Paul Wackers makes just the kind of plant paintings I would love to own. Paul has an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute and BFA from Corcoran where he honed his unique style of painting, which to me looks like a contemporary vision of 19th century folk painting.
His latest works center around still life set-ups, almost all of them prominently feature plants, and each are created in an outrageous palette of colors. One of the details I love about his work are the objects which appear to be collaged in. The brush strokes that make up these objects go against the grain of the background as well as the other objects around them, giving them a real energy. I also like his juxtaposition of flat versus rendered that creates an interesting sense of depth to each piece. Probably one of the best artists I’ve come across in the last year or so, really beautiful works.
The South African artist Peter Eastman has been living and working in Cape Town for a number of years. While working primarily as a painter, it is Eastman’s prints that I find the most appealing. Produced digitally, Eastman creates these by working over photographs. He subtly alters forms, tones and colors and he views this process as an opportunity to explore color.
As a painter, Eastman’s work is typically monochromatic, so these images are quite distinct from what he normally creates. I find his use of color very interesting and each image has a unique atmosphere and mood to it. Despite being created digitally, I feel that there still remains quite a painterly quality to how these images are rendered and I love the way he captures light.
More work from Eastman can be viewed on his website.
German artist Mark Gmehling has an elastic view on life. He makes fine art prints from 3D renderings of abstract characters and bizarre scenarios, all illustrated in a playfully fluid manner. It’s interesting to see 3D modeling being presented as fine art which you don’t see very often. The aesthetics of each of his figures are highly polished though and resemble beautiful, glossy ceramic pieces.
These pieces in particular are from a show that opened last Thursday called Plastic Relations, which is on view at the RWE Foyer in Dortmund, Germany. I wish I could see the images up close and pick Mark’s brain on how he makes these.
Just a little north from Copenhagen you will find the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Currently it’s home to a solo exhibition by the Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Best known for his sculptures and large-scale installation art, Eliasson often works with elemental materials such as water, light, air and soil. For this, his first solo show at Louisiana, the artist has decided to turn the entire south-wing of the museum into a riverbed; transforming the galleries into a giant unfolding landscape of rocks, stones and water.
Described as a “stress-test of Louisiana’s physical capacity”, the installation is a surreal and beautiful sight. Visitors are encouraged to walk on the rocky surfaces and spaces are entered through semi-submerged gallery doorways. I think it looks terrific and I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to hear the trickle of water running through the small galleries of the Museum.
The exhibition is due to open to the public on 20 August, more details can be found on the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art website.