3.05.2015

Flowers Guaranteed Not to Perish in your Hands

let's all ignore the cold and brand new piles of snow for a moment and send out welcoming vibes to spring. maybe if we all just focus on spring it'll finally arrive! right?

this is a time when people tend to start (if they haven't already) planting their seeds. for those of us living in small nevertheless quaint apartments, it's window sills that tend to host any plants. then again, for those of us with black thumbs ranging from moderate to downright plant executioners there's flowers in vases and then there is a marvelous other form of flora that you can add to the home that is guaranteed not  to die...ever.
of course i'm talking about posters, prints and artworks. this is probably no surprise for those of you who are more usual visitors. for the new ones out there well...welcome to my art loving corner of the internet.
so basically, i'll share with you four sources from where you can buy prints to at least bring spring into your homes. above you see a print of a beautiful work by anna atkins (1799-1871) {1}, an english botanist and photographer. i find her prints fascinating. they have a haunting almost ghostly look that's given from this appearance as a negative, while at the same time seem very modern, nearly pop-art-like. it is probably redundant to say that atkins was way ahead of her time. nonetheless, aside from a beautiful floral print, you'll be supporting women's history - and after all, it is women's history month!


another amazing source of art ready for print is offered by the rijksmuseum in their rijksstudio {2}. rijksstudio is where the museum's entire digitized collection is saved and offered to the public worldwide without copyright restrictions. you can create your own online collections as well as download images and either re-create them into work of your own or just print and frame them for your home. this is a great way the museum came up with to encourage creative thinking! after all, museums are a place not just to learn and remember but also to broaden the creative side of our minds.





more affordable prints from museums can be found at a website named 1000Museums {3} too. they offer a variety of prints of works from museums all around in various sizes and prices. there is pretty much something for everyone.

museums aside, etsy is another fabulous source for artwork. the finds range from original works by artists to vintage prints and paintings. the above painting really caught my attention because it really accentuates the flow and movement that can be found in something as small as a flower. nature really is the world's first artist.

what prints and paintings do you like to hang at home? do you change things up for spring and summer?

{1} anna atkins, the getty museum
{2} the rijksstudio
{3} 1000museums

** disclaimer -- this post was not an advertisement. 
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3.02.2015

Posterity

happy march to all!

here, march started with some romantic snowfall, and an interesting play. the first of march of 2015 is the first time i ever went to the theater without doing any research on the play i was to see. two days before i was offered a ticket to posterity, at the atlantic theater company for sunday evening. all i knew was that it was about a sculptor. i am surprised to say that though i won't be doing it again, this near ignorance served as the grounds for a very interesting evening, as it was an engrossing experience.


the story evolves around a confrontation between gustav vigeland, a great norwegian scultpor, and a most unwilling sitter, henrik ibsen. an interesting war begins between them and as a viewer you become engulfed in the issues that arise. what does it mean to be remembered? how true can a portrait be of someone, and their psyche? is sight always subjective? and even more, how well are we aware of ourselves throughout life and especially towards its end?

as ibsen is confronted by an equally arrogant as himself, vigeland with aspects of his life from which he had kept himself blissfully concealed, you begin to watch both their transformations on the scene not only as questions on what a legacy truly consists of are debated, but an immense amount of guilt arise in both. john noble (ibsen) was remarkable. his expressions and movements kept the mind on a constant ride while at some point it was almost questioned whether he actually did have a heart attack on the very stage. equally so was hamish linklater who played the sculptor could make you love and despise him within the span of two minutes. not to make it sound all to serious, posterity was equally touching, concerning and funny. the inside jokes on history throughout the play are delicious my favorite being the reference to james joyce's positive review of one of ibsen's plays while he was only a mere student. you had to be there (joke).

one more thing i noticed about the play was the introduction of deeper subjects than even those of the storyline itself. there is a debate about art and art forms. the question of the future of sculpture, if any at all, comes up contrasting to the new forms of painting that were being introduced. even more interesting was the discussion on the concept of the artist. at some point vigeland's patron quotes "an artist is a craftsman with an ego" and for a moment, just before you're drawn back into the story you are left to wonder what an artist really is. as an art historian, let me tell you that was a rather pleasant surprise. finally, you come to consider the bust as an art form as well. while throughout the play, the sculptor laments for his fate of always having to portray arrogant men of politics and power rather than being left free to indulge in his personal artistic vision, the play writer hints at a change of mind. as the story progresses and you become more and more aware of the fragility of life the bust becomes an outlet to make right all that ibsen had made wrong. it comes to encompass vague concepts and not simply realistic facial characteristics. and while a bust is still portraiture thus tied to politics and "being a means to an end", you come to understand that in the end, as a work it is also a legacy, better than any possession one might leave behind.

one thing i may note was that the end was somewhat abrupt. after some thought it can be understood, but it still leaves you with a sudden surprise as to whether you should clap or wait a bit more. scenographically, the play was also interesting. there was meaning hidden behind every decision, something enhanced by the lighting. overall, posterity was a very pleasing experience and i'd recommend it to anyone interested in the arts, in theater and especially in biographical stories.

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2.26.2015

Book of the Week

during winter break, i found myself in the need to read something non historical, like a novel, yet still connected to my work and studies. it was one of those moments when you're at the library browsing through the shelves looking for that one book that you will just know is exactly what you were looking for. books are magical like that. 

for me the solution came with steve martin's "an object of beauty". granted i loved the book for multiple more and less expected reasons, and that about a couple of years ago it generated buzz of being turned into a movie starring amy adams, i thought it an excellent idea to share some thoughts on it with you.

to make a short introduction for any of you who may not have read it yet:
the story seemingly evolves around the entering and rise of its heroine, lacey yager in the new york art scene from the early 90's. the reader follows her steps and along with them, the history of new york's art world.

having said this, the first thing i realized was what kept me glued to its pages wasn't just that lacey's story was interesting, or that i had to understand what exactly about her fixed her permanently in the narrator's mind. what was most fascinating of all was watching new york and most particularly the evolution of its art world through the pages. martin walks the reader through the entire island of manhattan, from the upper west side to the lower east side, and from the high end galleries of the upper east side, to the bustling and buzzing contemporary ones in chelsea. through what seems to be the narrating of lacey's career and life evolution, you get to witness almost as though you were there all the fascinating changes that occurred since the early 90's. 

in addition, martin's narrator is unlike any one i had ever encountered. throughout the book, he is the one who basically seems to simply record things and occurrences. you observe lacey through his narration, but are left free to draw your own conclusions and feelings about her. it is almost as though it isn't important to judge or empathize with her like one usually does with the hero of a novel. i'll go as far as to say that the actual interest focus lies in how the private art sector works professionally in new york than lacey's actual story which is nevertheless incredibly enticing. it is not until the end of the book when you are allowed to understand the connection between the narrator and the heroine, and perhaps even a better understanding of his need or desire to "write her story" as he says. for me, this worked almost like a catharsis. it was that little extra something that was needed to pull everything together. 

finally, one more thing that i admired in this book was that even while reading it, nowhere near the end, i felt i was gaining something. being in this field, although with a larger focus on the non-profit sector, "an object of beauty" provided so much information historical and professional in such an exciting way. for anyone else interested in this work or field, i would hands-down, recommend this book (among a few others as well, naturally).

have you read this book? what did you make of it? what other art related books do you find captivating?
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2.23.2015

Beating the Winter Blues

while in new york it is nothing compared to boston - winter has really settled in and made itself comfortable. thankfully, we get a couple of days of sunshine, till the snow clouds settle back in the sky. the temperatures are fixed in the uncomfortably cold zones making spring seem like a far-off dream. this, combined with a much to heavy work load can really give the gal (or lad for that matter) the blues.

luckily, there are little ways and things that we can do to beat those blues...and not cry over the unwritten essays, articles and threatening deadlines. or at least, cry only a little. 


1. make a tiny bit (even if just thirty minutes) of quiet time. turn everything off, put away phones and computers and just settle with some tea, a fruity, energizing treat, or a book. if you're really short on time try a fun article like this one. 

2. add a bit o' color. try some on your lips, nails, socks and most importantly your decor! a little color can really make a difference when everything seems dull and moody.


3. speaking of decor, little trinkets with faces, like these adorable swedish handmade dolls can bring your spirits up like when you were little and played with dolls. 

4. fake it till you make it. while we can't avoid sweaters and heavy coats, we can layer things so as to add a pretty blouse, or a colorful tie or scarf. little alterations to the usual winter clothes colors can make a difference.

5. add flowers. the more colorful the better. for those of you in new york, my favorite places for affordable flowers are trader joe's and andy's deli on 18th street and broadway (right off of union square). their flowers are also fresh and the variety is pretty good!

6. eat a banana or an apple, and for even better results pair them with peanut butter. the richness in potassium will work as a natural mood-lifter!

7. finally, add a colorful print to your computer and phone backgrounds. many of us are pretty much stuck to them so they might as well help us out in a way or two.

what do you do to beat the winter blues? happy monday y'all!


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2.19.2015

Young and Budding: Watching an Artist Grow

have you ever walked into a museum, observing artists - be them great masters, or younger contemporaries - and wondered what it may have been like when they were starting?
there is something interesting about digging into an artist's past. sometimes, if you're lucky your research will lead to a fascinating understanding of the process that led to their maturity. others, you are left with a bitter sense of wondering why you even began to look into it in the first place. you can be left more puzzled than ever. after all, they say we must be careful what we wish for.

nonetheless, this little rant is meant to lead us elsewhere in discussion. namely, i wanted to share with you some works of a very, very young, but what seems to be quite prominent artist: david marinos. marinos as you can also read from links i'll be providing at the bottom of the article, is of greek-ukranian decent, and has an intriguing talent at digital arts. 

what first captured my attention in marino's works is his mixed media experimentation with the human form and color. he produces images that somehow overcome the natural 2D character of the digital medium, producing a sense of movement sometimes broken and other times rather poetic. 


i also find interesting the way he plays with his cultural heritage and ties it to contemporary times. there is something that keeps making me go back - something in the way the past and present are connected, though the bold colors certainly help. as he told the creator's project, he likes to dig into his roots especially greek plastic arts (including architecture) and even poetry {2}. this is quite refreshing, considering his age, and that i insist upon the concept of research before creation. art must always carry meaning, even if it is to not carry any, and whether marinos is aware of his meanings or still finding them, only time will tell. 

on another note the textures are also fascinating. digital media can produce characteristically flat imagery, yet in many of his pictures, marino's manages to convey a sense of the haptic.

David Marinos - Untitled

so how does this all tie to the introduction, and whole discussion on observing an artist's path? 
well, david marinos seems promising and exciting. there are foundations behind his work, both theoretical and practical which grasp the viewer's attention, and can evoke thought and contemplation. it is up to him to see where this can lead, and up to us to observe the path which seems to have founded itself on a rather exciting, though as natural, experimental beginning. in the meantime i thought it to be interesting and wonderful to share david marinos' works with you all this thursday, and give you something beautiful to contemplate till the weekend comes. 

cheers!

{1} david marinos online
{2} interview with the creator's project
{3} mention in complex
{4} profile on thefilearts
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