G.M. Used Graffiti in a Car Ad. Should the Artist Be Paid?

As graffiti becomes a marketing tool, copyright law has struggled to catch up. A lawsuit could decide when an artist is entitled to compensation.
NYT > Arts

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A Fire Killed 32 at a New Orleans Gay Bar. This Artist Didn’t Forget.

Skylar Fein’s new exhibition is part of a larger movement in the city to recognize, finally, the victims of the UpStairs Lounge fire in 1973.
NYT > Arts

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‘A Catharsis Sculpture’: An Artist Makes a Monument to Cancer Survivors

Prune Nourry’s new work, on view in Manhattan’s meatpacking district, is a tribute to women like herself who have battled breast cancer.
NYT > Arts

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Frida Kahlo: Getting personal with the artist who was ahead of her time

As a retrospective of the Mexican artist begins, why does she remain so popular today?
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

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Moonwalker and space artist Alan Bean dies

Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, who walked on the moon and then built a career out of painting it, has died aged 86.
Tech News – Latest Technology and Gadget News | Sky News

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Hunting World’s Collaboration With Artist Daniel Arsham Hits Stores

American brand Hunting World’s collaboration with New York-based contemporary artist Daniel Arsham is hitting stores.
The exclusive six-item capsule collection will be exclusively available at Comme Des Garçons-owned Dover Street Market stores in London, Tokyo, New York and Beijing, as well as at Kith in Los Angeles and New York, starting from May 26. On the same day both doors will also launch the merchandise on their respective online shops.
The capsule was extended to a full-look offering, in time for its retail debut, although a preview was teased at the brand’s fall men’s show in Milan last January.
The collection features a T-shirt, a hoodie, a baseball cap and a coach jacket along with a duffel bag and a carry-all style, both priced at $ 1,980. With a streetwear and easy attitude, the collection’s items are splashed with both the brand’s and the artist’s logos, the latter coming under the AA tag. The apparel pieces will retail at between $ 140 for the T-shirt and $ 460 for the hoodie.

A look from the Hunting World and Daniel Arsham capsule collection. 
Courtesy Photo.

“Travel is an integral component in the development of my work. Functionality and resilience are critical in all things that I use and make,”

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Meghan Markle’s Makeup Artist Swears by These Reusable Eye Patches

ESC: Meghan MarkleIf you plan on watching the Royal Wedding, you’ll probably need these eye patches.
For US-based royal fans, E! Live From the Royal Wedding starts at 5 a.m. EST/2 a.m. PST, so you can…

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Artist Turns Life With Girlfriend And Toddler Into Adorable Comic Series

This is what love REALLY looks like.
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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Makeup Artist Uses This $8 Concealer for Dark Circles

ESC: Rosie Huntington-WhiteleyCelebrity makeup artist Katie Janes Hughes is brightening our stare with an easy and affordable solution to dark circles.
The beauty professional, who works with Rosie…

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Artist Who Carried Mattress Across Campus Explores Being Asian-American ‘Banana’ In New Exhibit

“Why are we angry Asians? It comes from a place of being stepped on. There is a level of invisibility we have.”
Culture and Arts
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Genius: Picasso Star Antonio Banderas on the Importance of Not Failing the Truth About the Iconic Artist

Genius, Antonio BanderasAntonio Banderas is playing one of his heroes. No, not the swashbuckling masked swordsman named Zorro, but Pablo Picasso in Genius: Picasso, the second install of National Geographic Channel’s…

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Avicii, top electronic dance music artist, found dead at 28

One of the world’s biggest dance music stars has died in Oman, his representatives say.
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

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Cara Delevingne’s Makeup Artist Shares How to Achieve Breakout-Free Skin

ESC: Cara DelevingneWhen you know better, you do better.
That’s why celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno is telling us exactly what we need for perfect skin. The expert, who works with Cara Delevingne,…

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Tracy Reese Teams With Artist Mel Chin for Art Project Designed to Raise Awareness of Flint’s Water Crisis

EVERY LAST DROP: Conceptual artist Mel Chin recruited Tracy Reese to create a fashion element for his retrospective “All Over the Place” at the Queens Museum in New York.
Coproduced by the public art-focused nonprofit No Longer Empty, the exhibition will feature 70-plus examples of his work — drawings, paintings, sculpture, installations and videos. Running through Aug. 7, the multilocation show will include sites in Times Square and the Broadway-Lafayette subway station. Adept at revealing environmental and socioeconomic systems and injustices, Chin recruited the Detroit-born Reese for “Flint Fit,” a fashion project designed to magnify the water crisis in Flint, Mich.
At Chin’s suggestion, 90,000 used water bottles were collected by Flint residents, who continue to use bottled water for everyday purposes more than three years after lead-contaminated water became a citywide problem. Once shipped to Unifi in Greensboro, N.C., the bottles were shredded and converted into fabric. Reese then designed a water-inspired collection that included rainwear and swimwear. About 14 women at the St. Luke N.E.W. Center produced the nine looks, which will be unveiled in a fashion event Sunday in the museum’s Watershed Gallery.
Chin and Reese had never met before last summer, when he approached her about the prospect. “We

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Gigi Hadid’s Makeup Artist Makes Pastel Eye Shadow Look Easy

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Cardi B’s Makeup Artist Uses a $5 Concealer for Doll-Like Skin

ESC: Cardi BLike the tell-it-like-it-is star, Cardi B’s makeup is relatable AF.
You can catch the star wearing colorful furs, diamonds all over her body and designer wears, but when it comes down…

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Graffiti Artist ‘JonOne’ Creates Candy Crush Collection for Fashion Designer Agnès b.

AGNÈS B’S SWEET ART: Agnès b.’s spring collection borrows from Candy Crush, but her label’s version features artwork by that name from the graffiti artist John “JonOne” Perello.
Unlike the rabidly popular smartphone game, the artist’s “Candy Crush” collection will include limited-run apparel and accessories for women and men. Known professionally as “JonOne,” the American-born artist got to know the designer after moving to Paris in the Eighties. After showing his work at her Galerie du Jour in Paris in 1989, Perello showed his work in two group shows at the gallery before having his first solo show “Fireworks” in 2015. His “Candy Crush” art was produced for the solo show in 2015.
That was a big year for Perello. After being commissioned for a large-scale work that is displayed in the French National Assembly in Paris in 2015, Perello’s work was reproduced as a French postage stamp. The American-born artist was awarded the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur that same year.
In honor of the Candy Crush collection, Perello is creating three large canvases for its launch at agnès b.’s downtown New York store. Set to open on April 3, the exhibition will also feature the work of artists from The 156

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Priyanka Chopra’s Makeup Artist Explains the Glass Skin Trend in 5 Steps

ESC: Priyanka Chopra“Glass skin” is in.
The Korean beauty trend has finally hit mainstream makeup mavens, with celebrity artists like Sir John–who has worked with Beyoncé, Karlie Kloss,…

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How an Artist Learned About Freedom From ‘The Negro Motorist Green Book’

For 30 years, black travelers navigating the swamp of Jim Crow laws relied on guides to find safe places. Derrick Adams conjures their experiences in art.
NYT > Arts

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After the Curtain Falls: Talking to Suzanne Farrell, Artist and Muse

Ms. Farrell talked to our critic about George Balanchine; her life as a dancer; and her company, which closed shop this month.
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Nonfiction: The Hand of the Comic Artist

Manohla Dargis reviews two new books that examine the aesthetics and the business of comics, from Superman to R. Crumb.
NYT > Books

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Stormzy is BBC Music’s artist of the year

The grime artist caps a huge year by taking home the main prize at the 2017 BBC Music Awards.
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

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Artist Jeremy Deller helps Newcastle recreate Martin Luther King speech

Artist Jeremy Deller and the people of Newcastle recreate a speech the civil rights hero gave there.
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

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Ariana Grande’s Makeup Artist Shares a Megawatt Highlight Tip

ESC: Ariana GrandeLong, high ponytail, cat-eye, brilliant highlight–Ariana Grande’s signature look is dangerously amazing.
Not only is the look bold, but you spot her megawatt radiance from across the…

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Should we separate the art from the artist?

Louis CK is the latest to be accused of sexual harassment. If proven guilty, should we look at his work in a different light?
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First, Hire an Artist. Then, Build the House

Some art lovers design their homes around site-specific works—murals, sculptures, even mosaics by famous street artists. But such pieces can be a gamble at resale time.
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Review: ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ Reveals the Artist, Real and Intense

In a hybrid of concert and autobiography, Bruce Springsteen delivers a major statement about his life’s work — but also a major revision of it.
NYT > Arts

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‘Bambi’ Artist Who Endured America’s Racism Finally Gets His Due

The late Tyrus Wong, whose paintings formed the basis of Disney’s iconic film, is finally receiving the recognition he deserves.
Arts
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Artist Jon Berkeley Explains His Stunning, KKK-Tinged Economist Cover

“The supply of weapons-grade lunacy in every corner of the globe seems to have ramped up.”
Arts
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Artist Jon Berkeley Explains His Stunning, KKK-Tinged Economist Cover

“The supply of weapons-grade lunacy in every corner of the globe seems to have ramped up.”
Arts
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Moroccan Artist Meriem Bennani Offers An Absurd Antidote To Fake News

Her work is a mix of America’s Funniest Home Videos and David Lynch.
Arts
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Exhibition of artist who inspired Banksy

He was the rock star painter who inspired rappers, filmmakers and street artists.

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Artist reveals how he turns ‘invisible’

Most artists won’t admit it but public recognition is important when it comes to becoming an established name in the art world. However, if you’re Liu Bolin, being noticed would be a sign he’s really messed up.
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The Nigerian Artist Drawing Exuberantly Plump And Pampered Nudes

Uthman Wahaab’s “Phenomenal Woman” celebrates “‘different bodies’ that aren’t actually that different.'”
Arts
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‘Bambi’ Artist Who Endured America’s Racism Finally Gets His Due

The late Tyrus Wong, whose paintings formed the basis of Disney’s iconic film, is finally receiving the recognition he deserves.
Arts
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American Artist Miranda July Opens Charity Shop in Selfridges

TAKING A STANCE: Selfridges is continuing its mission of enriching shoppers’ in-store experiences. This time, the U.K. department store has teamed with the artist, writer and filmmaker Miranda July and the London-based arts organization Art Angel to create the U.K.’s first interfaith charity shop.
The shop, located on the third floor of the department store, will be run by four religious charities chosen by Miranda July: Islamic Relief, Jewish charity Norwood, London Buddhist Centre and Spitalfields Crypt Trust. It will offer a mix of products, just like other charity shops across the country, including secondhand clothing, ornaments, toys and kitchenware.
“For many years I’ve wanted to make a store as artwork; utilizing the inherently participatory conventions of commerce,” said Miranda July, who is known to create a range of artworks that depend on public participation. “When I first came to London, in my 20s, I was giddily amazed by the sheer number of charity shops, but it’s only in creating this store with Artangel that I understand what a radically unique economic model they are. The nuances of this come from my faith-based charity shop partners and from the site, Selfridges.”
The proceeds will be shared equally between the four participating charities and

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The next great sack artist? Where top rookie pass-rushers stand

The next great sack artist? Where top rookie pass-rushers stand
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Paris Jackson’s Makeup Artist Breaks Down the Hazy Shadow Trend

ESC: Paris Jackson, BeautyIt’s time to embrace the rainbow.
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Meet The 18-Year-Old Artist Now Showing In The Museum Of Sex

Harlem-based Taira Rice creates watercolor portraits of naked women of color.
Arts
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He’s the Very Model of a Modern Major Artist

Mark Grotjahn, whose prices are soaring, calls the shots in the relationships he has with collectors and galleries.
NYT > Arts

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Wonderfully Awkward Artist Draws Plight Of The Introverted Partygoer

Neethi is a 27-year-old illustrator from Bangalore who really hates group hangs.
Arts
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This Tattoo Artist Proposed To His Girlfriend In The Riskiest Way Imaginable

The couple that tats together, stays together.
Weddings
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The Detective Was a Performance Artist. The Evidence Is Now a Show.

A strangely entrancing new work explores a mysterious audio recording, and recreates a moment in the life of a 1950s Long Island family.
NYT > Arts

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CNN Trolls The White House By Sending Sketch Artist To Press Briefing

On Thursday, going back on years of tradition, the White House announced that they would not allow audio or video recording during the day’s press briefing. They later changed their minds and agreed to allow audio recordings only, inexplicably.

Today, CNN pretty hilariously trolled the White House by sending their Supreme Court sketch artist Bill Hennessy to the press room to capture the scene.

It’s really paints a wonderful picture, doesn’t it? You can almost see Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s fumble his way through another Trump tweet storm.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Coach Commissions Artist Arthur Peña for Dallas Installation

DOWN IN DALLAS: Coach wined and dined 50 Dallas fashion and art elites, influencers and philanthropists Thursday at The Joule Hotel. The teaser for the new, expanded store, opening June 30 at NorthPark Center, was also a celebration of the brand’s commission of work by Dallas artist Arthur Peña. It was the first such collaboration for Coach, and the artist created colorful abstract murals for three branded billboard-like banners around town plus an exhibition that runs through early July in the mall. NorthPark is known for its museum-quality collection of modern and contemporary art, and Dallas is a hotbed of contemporary art collectors.
“We were trying to find a way to be locally relevant, to cut through,” said Coach North America marketing director Alexis Kirk. “We wanted to do [the artwork] in the community and then bring it back to the center.”
Dallas Contemporary exhibition director and senior curator Justine Ludwig linked Peña with the brand. “Stuart Vevers [Coach’s creative director] brings art and music together in a really beautiful way, and that’s what Arthur does in his practice,” she said, noting Peña’s openings regularly feature a band. “Thank you, Coach, for having faith in Dallas-based talent.”
Guests included Lynn McBee, Jane Aldridge, Michelle Nussbaumer, Maxine

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Artist Realizes Only Appropriate Use Of Trump Tweets Is Plant Food

President Donald Trump’s tweets might be polluting the natural environment that is your mind, but they’re finding greater purpose somewhere: specifically, in a subterranean lavender field in New York City.

Austrian artist Martin Roth, now based in NYC, is the mad gardener behind an idyllic new art exhibition, which happens to be powered in part by Trump’s 140-character declarations. Nestled inside the Austrian Cultural Forum of Midtown Manhattan, it consists of 200 lavender shrubs that are nurtured by grow lights whose power corresponds with the activities of several social media accounts.

That’s right, the strength of the bulbs depends on how frequently accounts like @POTUS, @realDonaldTrump, @PressSec and @KellyannePolls issue a tweet. (Other connected accounts: @foxandfriends, @seanhannity, @tuckercarlson, @breitbartnews, @heritage, @CNN and @washingtonpost.)

Motivated by the “heightened anxiety” many have felt in the wake of Trump’s election, the arrangement is meant to turn the chaos of our present political reality into something capable of assuaging our collective terror.

“The pace and tenor of the current political discourse, blasted out through social media 24/7 without respite, affects our psyche in a profound way,” Martin told Mashable. “I’m interested in Twitter because it seemed to be the only news getting through. It’s fast and used as a political weapon, but … it seems overall just to be there to distract us.”

Using eight tons of soil, six rows of lavender and a soothing backdrop of nature-adorned wallpaper, Martin has created what appears at first to be place of refuge, a fragrance-filled spot where art lovers can stop to, quite literally, smell the flowers.

However, they can’t do so without wondering just how many tweets are flying through the digital ether at any given moment. If the lavender is thriving, so too are POTUS and co.’s statuses. The effect, Hyperallergic’s Claire Voon notes, is amplified by “the windowless, concrete space,” which she describes as “claustrophobic.” Even when the air smells like perfume, something capable of transcending the underground sanctuary is probably amiss ― you just can’t see it.

“The total effect is less an immersion into the woods, and more a sojourn in a doomsday bunker of the One-Percent,” Kate Sutton wrote in an essay that appears on the Forum’s website. “Any calm this environment induces is innately tinged by suspicion of its circumstances.”

You can visit the not-so-subtle installation until June 21.

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24 Times Pat McGrath Proved That She Is the World’s Most Influential Makeup Artist

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Watch Us Take Mario the Artist From Grungy to Grown-Up

Without killing his artistic vibe.

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Ovadia & Sons Collaborates With Artist Steven Harrington

Ovadia & Sons will debut its first-ever artist collaboration on Thursday — a partnership with L.A.-based artist Steven Harrington who is known as the leader of a contemporary Californian psych-pop aesthetic and is known for his bright colors and characters.
A limited-edition capsule of T-shirts, hoodies and a denim jacket were designed featuring Harrington’s signature characters with a Nineties vibe. A handmade tie-dye T-shirt and hoodie are in pink and green and feature a screen print on the front. Ovadia & Sons’ Type-O1 denim jacket was reimagined with embroidered patches sewn on throughout.
The look book was shot on film in Palm Springs, Calif., by Sean Sullivan. It includes a Q&A with the artist on the inspiration behind his artwork, his favorite cartoon character — Garfield — and his favorite piece from the collection — the tie-dye hooded sweatshirt.
The collaboration will be available exclusively at Barneys New York in Manhattan and Beverly Hills as well as online. It will be also be available on the Ovadia & Sons web site.
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Artist Turns Life With His Wife Into Adorably Relatable Comics

Artist Yehuda Devir takes life with his wife Maya in Tel Aviv and turns it into relatable comic book-style illustrations.

The pair has been together for eight years and will be celebrating their first wedding anniversary in two months. 

“My inspiration for these comics is simply our daily lives,” the artist told HuffPost. “These are real cases that happen to us.”

The couple met while they were in the army, became best friends and, over time, the platonic relationship turned into a romantic one. 

“Because of her, I make these illustrations ― she just gives me laughter and happiness for life,” Devir told HuffPost. “She is also an artist, in my opinion, better than me, and I sometimes get her reviews about the illustrations I do.”

To see more of Devir’s work, visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Instagram

H/T Bored Panda

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Making waves: Artist turns newspapers into tsunami

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Books of The Times: An Artist Fears She’s a Fraud in ‘A Line Made by Walking’

Sara Baume’s second novel follows a 25-year-old Irishwoman (one who cries all day) down the rabbit hole of elegiac distress.
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The Trans Teen Artist Fighting Discrimination With Wearable Works Of Art

“Adulthood is bullshit,” multi-hyphenate creative Hunter Schafer told Dazed when she was selected as one of the Dazed 100, a list that highlights the next generation of youth culture. “And I think some of the most successful and radiant people are those who have been able to get back to that instinctive and child-like part of their selves again.”

It’s an amusing comment coming from someone who, at 18 years old, has accomplished more than many twice her age. Schafer, who has been drawing since she can remember, is a gifted illustrator and comic artist, tweaking the styles of influences like Tim Burton and Skottie Young to create aqueous ink and watercolor images that combine moody fantasy with teen angst. “My parents were really good about not sitting me down in front of a TV,” Schafer told The Huffington Post. “They really nurtured the creative part of me.”

When Schafer got an Instagram account, she started exploring the potentials of photography. Today, with almost 5,000 followers, she uses the platform to hone her artistic vision and weave visual stories about herself and her community. “I became more aware of an aesthetic that I was interested in and wanted to uphold,” she explained. “I realized that just drawing things wasn’t enough for me; I could convey my voice artistically through other mediums outside of two-dimensional, surface work.”

Influenced by David Bowie, Schafer is a quickly evolving artist driven by experimentation, self-discovery and play. Her works break down binaries of all kinds ― between exterior and interior, personal and political, authentic and artificial, serious and fun. 

Schafer is also an activist, specifically advocating for trans youth. Having transitioned at 14 years old, Schafer has actively protested North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which forces transgender individuals to use bathrooms that don’t reflect their gender identity. After the bill passed, Schafer joined a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and began sharing her experiences through art and writing. Though HB2 was technically repealed in March, the compromise passed in its place perpetuates the discriminatory views that propelled the original law, and does nothing to protect trans populations from prejudice or abuse. 

As a high school student based in North Carolina, Schafer has firsthand knowledge of the emotional damage and physical danger inflicted upon trans teens when they are denied the basic liberty of using a bathroom. “Every time I use a public bathroom, I have to make a choice,” she wrote for Teen Vogue. “Do I break the law, or do I disregard my comfort and face the risk of harassment and violence?”

Initially, Schafer viewed art and activism as separate parts of her life. But more recently, she’s begun to experiment with the ways creative expression and political resistance can bolster one another. For her high school senior thesis project, Schafer is working on a series of garments aimed to fight discrimination against trans communities, exploring how imagination can wrestle the body away from binary understandings of gender.

One of Schafer’s recent wearable creations is a pair of bulky red underwear with two large hands covering up the wearer’s genitals. Lettering across the unorthodox undergarments reads: “Peel away every perception.” On the item’s backside is a black-and-white line drawing of a wrinkled face, lips pursed in what resembles judgment. The garment speaks to the absurdity of discerning one’s identity with one particular body part we rarely even, if ever, see.

“The piece is dealing with how people perceive me versus how I feel,” Schafer said. “I am encountering new facets of being trans every day. I need to process that through my work. They’re almost like journal entries.”

Another biographical ensemble, titled “Puberty,” is a yellow two-piece featuring felt cutouts of writhing torsos placed atop the wearer’s breasts. The outfit, with its exaggerated, proportions, visualizes the changes a body undergoes during puberty, or gender transition. Awkward, unruly and ultimately beautiful, the outfit visualizes the experience of inhabiting a changing body. 

Schafer also communicates her personal experiences through illustrations, like this 2015 series on Rookie, which navigates the difficulty of dressing up for formal events like school dances, where a strict gender binary was especially enforced. “I longed to escape, and to express what I felt inside me — not what was expected of me,” she said in a statement.

So far, Schafer has enjoyed incorporating the spirit of activism into her art. “I want to do something meaningful with my work,” she said. “Being able to translate my experiences as a trans person into my artwork, and using my work as a platform to support marginalized communities in general, those are things that are really important to me now. They’re definitely becoming part of my artistic identity.”

Aside from the many media she’s already successfully dipped into, Schafer is beginning to explore modeling and modern dance as other modes of storytelling. In part, she credits the internet for eliminating rigid boundaries between artistic disciplines and encouraging young artists to create without limitations.

“The internet is changing the young artistic scene because we have such a fast way to share and react and create our own platforms,” Schafer said. “I think the internet has empowered young artists to create these online personas and carry out aesthetics that they want to try out. We can receive direct feedback from other young artists, react to them, and share and spread our ideas. It’s completely youth led and that’s what is so wonderful.”

Schafer is currently finishing up her final year of high school and is planning to take a gap year before college to live and make work in New York City. Her contributions as an artist and activist are wildly impressive, regardless of the fact that Schafer is still a teenager. Thankfully, the young creative force shows no signs of slowing down or growing up anytime soon. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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This Artist Is Calvin Klein’s Latest Muse

The long collaboration between Sterling Ruby and the designer Raf Simons comes to fruition.
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Artist Isabella Huffington Delves Into Fashion With Two Items for Bo Guo’s Designow Web Site

OUT OF THE FRAME: In keeping on track to make art more accessible, Isabella Huffington has a two-item collaboration with Designow and two upcoming exhibitions.
While her paintings can be “kind of intense, colorful, bright and a bit overwhelming,” she decided to translate a “very light one” called “Chrysanthemum” for the dress and scarf that will be sold on Designow’s site starting March 30. The artwork’s floral motif is actually a collage made of found objects like books and magazines. With clothing, you’re thinking about the consumer and you’re thinking about yourself, so it’s much more like an architect. You want to be authentic but it also has to look good on the person.” Huffington said of the $ 250 long-sleeve knee-length dress with a tapered waist. “You could wear it to a party but you could also wear it to work at 20 or at 40. I’m really interested in making art that has mass appeal.”
There is also a scarf with an artistic box that is geared for gift-giving or for a younger shopper who might not want to wear a dress. Huffington said of her fashion debut, “This is the first dip in the water but I’m definitely interested in

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Polaroid Swing Taps Natalia Vodianova, Paolo Roversi, Lord Brown for Artist Support Program’s Jury

IN AN INSTANT: To help rev up interest in the new iPhone app Polaroid Swing, the company is trying to help groom talent through its Polaroid Swing Artist Support Program.
Established and up-and-coming photographers will be given equipment, commissions from brand partners, exhibitions and media coverage. Selecting the winners will be a 12-person panel of judges including Natalia Vodianova, Paolo Roversi, the Tate’s chairman Lord Browne, artist Rolf Sachs and Twitter cofounder Biz Stone. Polaroid has a long history of helping artists due to its founder Edwin Land. Through the years, Ansel Adams, Robert Rauschenberg, David Hockney, Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol have been among the beneficiaries.
Other jurors include Arianna Huffington, The Wall Street Journal’s Christina Binkley, Gigaom founder Om Malik, photographer Dylan Don, Instagram filter creator Cole Rise, Getty’s Hugh Pinney, The Art Newspaper’s Ermanno Rivetti and “Instant: The Story of Polaroid” author Christopher Bonanos.
Polaroid Swing app cocreator Tommy Stadlen said, “Natalia Vodianova has spent a career in fashion working with the world’s leading Polaroid photographers, including Paolo Roversi.”
Aside from giving movement to an image, Swing allows users to reverse the sequence by swiping left or to advance it by swiping right. Stadlen said, “We had a very simple insight:

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Heroic Artist Gets ‘Make America Great Again’ Tattooed Around His Anus (NSFW)

Queer performance artist Abel Azcona has taken his critique of Donald Trump to the next level: by tattooing the words of the president’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” in a circle around his anus.

The tattooing of the phrase occurred in the Defibrillator Gallery in Chicago amongst a crowd of eager onlookers earlier this week. Azcona, who has engaged in more than 500 performance projects and over 100 individual exhibitions around the world, told The Huffington Post that he considers the bold statement to be a queer, political act. 

“I always worked my body as a weapon and a political tool,” Azcona said. “For more than 12 years I have been performing political and social performances and exhibitions that have led me to jail, detention or death threats. I believe in the empowerment of the body and of the pain. The anus is a pleasure zone for many people, and an area of sin for others. I think demystifying what the anus is, and writing a fascist political motto like that in my anus, is a clearly critical and subversive action.” 

Azcona went on to say that anyone who faces marginalization or discrimination at the hands of the Trump administration has a responsibility to speak out in whatever way that they see fit.

“I believe that all of us who consider ourselves different should never be silent,” Azcona continued. “We must attack. We must use our body as a weapon of empowerment. We are faggots, women, Mexicans, blacks and different. And we are brave. Art is the greatest critical, social and political weapon I know, and if we know how to use it, among all we will end up with Trump’s hatred of this new era.”

What a painfully powerful statement! Head here to learn more about Azcona.

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Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Artist Rodney Graham ‘Pulls Coats’ at Akris

WEARABLE ART: Guests at the Akris show in Paris on Sunday discovered the work of Vancouver artist Rodney Graham, who mounted a 2015 exhibition in Zurich devoted to photos of himself donning an overcoat.
Akris designer Albert Kriemler displayed the photos in his show space — including one called “Coat Puller” — and printed the images on the backs of some coats, and as linings.
“I use myself as a model in my photographs,” Graham explained, noting that the clothes he wears are important. “Often they’re costumes, reflecting different characters. Sometimes I get them made in Vancouver by a costume maker. Or I just assemble things together. You know, prop shops.”
It wasn’t Graham’s first collaboration with a fashion designer. “Actually I did a white shirt with Ann Demeulemeester in 1992, a long time ago,” he recalled. “It came in a box, so it was kind of an artwork collaboration. There were only 10 of them — a very small edition.”
After flashing the Neil Barrett label on his sports jacket, Graham noted he’s preparing exhibitions for the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Newcastle, England, and Museum Frieder Burda in Baden Baden, Germany.

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Artist Channels Her Anxiety And Depression Into Hilarious Comics

Dealing with a mental health condition is no laughing matter.

But British illustrator Gemma Correll is channeling her depression and anxiety into her art — and the results are hilarious.

“I hope that those who can relate to them can find some light relief,” Correll told the Huffington Post. “Mental illness is horrible to live with but I believe in art as a form of self-care. Whether it’s making art or looking at it.”

To check out 10 of Correll’s most poignant pictures, just scroll down:

 

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Every Friday, HuffPost’s Culture Shift newsletter helps you figure out which books you should read, art you should check out, movies you should watch and music should listen to. Sign up here.

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‘The Invisible Man’ Performance Artist and Photographer Liu Bolin About to Take a More Public View

ALL CLEAR: The Chinese performance artist and photographer Liu Bolin is the art world’s version of “The Invisible Man,” but he won’t be so hard to see in the months ahead.
Annie Leibovitz’s semitransparent shots of him in Moncler’s spring ads are just the start of a hectic work schedule. In April, Bolin will have solo exhibitions at the Gallery Magda Danysz in Shanghai, and at the Galerie Paris-Beijing in Paris. There will also be a performance at Centre Georges Pompidou and another at Festival Portrait(s) in Vichy, France later this year.
Before those get under way, the artist will speak May 11 at the “Art of Tomorrow” conference at the W Doha Hotel & Residences in Qatar. The upcoming blitz is a switch for the artist whose “Hiding in the City” series features self portraits in which he camouflages himself by painting himself to blend into his landscapes. “It’s my way to convey all the anxiety I feel for human beings,” the artist has said of the practice.
Along with brands like Guerlain, Fred, Renault and Ford, Bolin said his first fashion-related project was to hide five well-known designers — Jean Paul Gaultier, Alber Elbaz, Angela Missoni and Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier

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Artist Turns Donald Trump’s Most Controversial Quotes Into Comic Book Covers

An artist is giving President-elect Donald Trump’s most outrageous comments the comic book treatment.

Cartoonist Robert Sikoryak is transforming several of the controversial and offensive statements that Trump made during the presidential election campaign into eye-catching and thought-provoking illustrations.

“The idea occurred to me right before the election,” the New York City-based artist told The Huffington Post on Saturday.  Trump had said so many outrageous things during his campaign that I wanted to catalogue them.”

“It was important to me to only use Trump’s actual quotes, I didn’t want to put any words in his mouth,” he added. “Once Trump became the president-elect, I felt I had to do it.”

Sikoryak’s work has previously appeared on the cover pages of The New Yorker magazine and the Harvard Business Review. He has also transformed Apple’s iTunes terms of service into comic parodies.

For this project, titled “The Unquotable Trump,” he has compiled the images into a mini-comic. He’s also posting them on a dedicated Tumblr page.

“The reaction has been very enthusiastic, much more so than I expected,” Sikoryak told HuffPost. “I needed to get these comics out of my system, so it’s gratifying that other people have been enjoying them.”

Check out more of his Trump-themed comic book covers below and see his other work via his website, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter accounts.

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What it’s Like to Be a Makeup Artist at the Golden Globes

Makeup artist Jamie Greenberg—who prettified both Tracee Ellis Ross and Kaley Cuoco for the Golden Globes last night—gives us a glimpse of what it’s like to be a member of a celebrity glam squad.
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Actress Amandla Stenberg shaved her head for a new movie she filmed with acclaimed director Amma Asante.
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Donald Judd, Artist, Revealed as a Philosopher-Critic by His Children

Years of the sculptor’s notebooks and manuscripts have culminated in “Donald Judd Writings,” published by the Judd Foundation and David Zwirner Books.
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Big Dreamzzz” Baby Artist

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With just a brushstroke and buckets of splattered paint Baby Aspen artisans have created a masterpiece of baby bedtime attire. Art lovers and fashionistas alike will appreciate the beauty of the beret, the style of the smock and the playfulness of the ruffled pants. Picasso would be proud. Features and facts: Artfully designed sleep set includes a black beret with colorful palette accent and the words Baby Artist, long sleeved, collared artist smock with multi colored paint splatters and a pocket, also with the words Baby Artist, accented with graphic paint brushes, and black, ruffled pants. Made from machine washable 100% cotton. FeaturesSleep set includes a black beret with colorful palette accent and the words baby artist; Long sleeved, collared artist smock has multi colored paint splatters and is accented with graphic paint brushes, and black, ruffled pantsMade from machine washable 100% cottonArt kit white gift box is topped with a black satin bow and covered with splattered paint, accented with a palette and the words baby artist

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Who topped Spot? Most streamed artist revealed

Drake has dominated Spotify for the second straight year, ending 2016 as the most streamed artist for both album and song.
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The ideal carry-all for makeup artists and hair stylists on the go. Carry all of your belongings and tools of your trade to and from location with minimal weight and maximum protection. You will always be organized with the four included vinyl lined Utility Pouches and one Standard Packing Pouch. Traveling for work has never been so easy and fun, Aluminum alloy frame is light, super strong and rated to safely support 300 pounds, 41 inch telescoping handle, Removable, Washable & Replaceable.

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Simms Solarflex Artist Series LS Crew – Women’s

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Artist Andrea Larko brings an awesomely uncommon approach to the fish that ignite our imaginations. Source the Larko-illustrated SolarFlex Crewneck-in permit and trout prints-for a point of view enriched by wickedly wicking, odor-smashing, UPF50 COR3 fabric tech. Angler-ready architecture includes smooth wearing flat seam construction and a longer body that brings everything from sessions at the oars to laser-looped double-hauls within reach.
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Quadriplegic Makeup Artist Kaitlyn Dobrow Is A True Inspiration

Quadriplegic Makeup Artist Kaitlyn Dobrow created her beauty channel to help promote self-acceptance not only for herself but for everyone.
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Sakroots Artist Circle Convertible Backpack – White Peace

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The Sakroots Convertible Backpack is either a backpack or a crossbody bag with your favorite artist circle print. This bag is made with a canvas exterior and a polyester interior lining. Zipper closure under flap secures the contents of your bag. Two front pockets provide more space for your accessories.

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Louis Garneau Graphic Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey – Kid’s Size 6 Color Artist

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The Kid’s Graphic Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey is made with Louis Garneau’s Light Micro-Airdry, a polyester stretch knit that increases airflow, wicks moisture, and offers a 50 UPF/SPF protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Three back pockets offer storage for riding essentials and an elastic hem keeps the cycling jersey in place. This youth cycling jersey is offered in two fun designs that will appeal to kids and can be matched with Louis Garneau’s junior helmets with the same designs. Elastic At Hem – Secures fit Light Micro-Airdry Fabric – Moisture wicking Back Reflective Accent – Enhances visibility 3 back pockets Rounded collar Standard Fit UPF/SPF 50 Size 6 Color Artist
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Carry your small tablet and more in the Sakroots Artist Circle Tablet Crossbody bag. This women’s compact bag is perfect for travel or an afternoon jaunt when you want to pare down. A padded compartment protects your iPad mini; a zippered main compartment includes additional pockets for organization.

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An Alert, Well-Hydrated Artist in No Acute Distress–Episode Seventeen: Behold the Mayo

A serial about two artists with incurable neurological disease sharing fear, frustration and friendship as they push to complete the most rewarding creative work of their careers.
2016-04-10-1460310250-3965617-MAyoClinic.jpg
Read Episode Sixteen: The Patient Will See You Now
Or, start at the beginning: An Illness’s Introduction
Find all episodes here.

“Do you think you’d be able to manage such a large commission?”

In early November 2012, this was the question someone asked Hadley about the Montana State Capitol Building mural project. Hadley was the only Montanan – in fact, the only Westerner – in the group of three finalists, and her work was well known; so was her Parkinson’s diagnosis, because of her organization, Summit for Parkinson’s. Now, Hadley herself was wondering if it was reasonable for her to remain in the competition.

Later that day on the phone, Hadley and I mulled this over. On the one hand, she was so tired and slow-moving that it was difficult for her to imagine physically executing the mural if she were to win the competition. On the other hand, she still didn’t have a clear diagnosis and the finalist selection was a year off; she could be fine in a year, for all anyone knew. She decided to be optimistic and stay her course. If she were to win it, the mural commission would be the most exciting project of her career.

Hadley continued work on the Missoula Catholic Schools murals, grappling with her increasingly bothersome symptoms. Since all of her movements were slow and stiff, her dexterity was worse, climbing scaffolding to work on the large panels was becoming difficult, and she had trouble getting up from a squatting position without support. All it took for her to lose her balance was someone tapping her on the shoulder from behind. She fell several times, luckily without injury. In addition, she was struggling with focus and concentration and her field of vision seemed to be narrowing.

Fortunately, Hadley’s Missoula neurologist, Dr. Reid, was still very much in her corner. Dr. Bright’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s and Dr. Youngman’s dismissal of both Parkinson’s and MSA, and his embrace of upper motor neuron disease still didn’t make sense to Dr. Reid. She felt it was time to call in the big guns – the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

The Mayo could take Hadley in late November and scheduled her for a series of appointments during a ten-day period over Thanksgiving. Hadley wanted John to stay in Missoula during her first week at the Mayo so that Sarah and he could spend the holiday as they usually did. John would join her the second week so that he could be with her at the important appointments summarizing the Clinic’s findings. To break up the stretch of time Hadley would be alone, I decided to fly to Rochester on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to be with her for a few days.

Rochester, Minnesota, five o’clock, late November 2012. Looking forward to our movie, Hadley and I paid for our mojitos and hustled out of the bar into the slipstream of the crowded mall. The drinks hadn’t been strong, but we must have appeared a little drunk anyway, with our awkward walks. For both of us, maneuvering through crowded spaces had become trickier. To make matters worse, for diagnostic purposes, Hadley had stopped taking levodopa for the duration of her time at the Mayo. I could tell she was concentrating hard on not running into the racks of scarves and hats and people swimming toward us in their fat coats and boots.

But at least, unlike me, she knew where we were going. Many times in the past six days she’d traversed the underground arteries that branch from the mother ship Mayo; they minimize a person’s contact with Rochester’s harsh winter temperatures that average between 12 and 27 degrees. Fast food, fast souvenirs, fast art – in the mall, they’re all available for the 35,000 people who work at the Mayo and the thousands of patients who are killing time between heart-pounding visits to the medical specialists who’ll send them back to Riyadh or Rome, Marseille or Missoula with the most costly souvenir of all: a diagnosis that will change their lives.

The teeming tunnel spewed us into the lobby of the Mayo. I took a deep breath as the soaring glass curtain wall lifted the compression in my chest. The Gonda building is the newest in the 3.5 million square foot medical center and has the ambiance of a five-star hotel or corporate headquarters; a sea of beige marble, bronze statuary and medusa-like glass Chihuly sculptures make it easy to believe that it really is The Best Medical Center In The World. On Monday morning, Hadley and I would be back here at nine a.m. for her appointment with the movement disorders specialist. But now, we were just passing through to the garage, hoping to get to the movie on time.

I climbed into the driver’s seat of a rented red Chevy Impala and Hadley sat next to me, navigating with her iPhone. The Galaxy 14 Theater was 5 ½ miles south on route 63, a road lined with warehouses and malls, devoid of landmarks – unless you counted Target, which I soon learned people there do.

Hadley was subdued. Finally, she asked, “Do you want to hear what that one doctor wrote in her report about me?”

I did. Hadley scrolled through her emails on her phone. Mayo reports are sent to the patient within a couple of hours after each appointment. Hadley had told me that the first doctor she met with six days ago, a general neurologist, had given her a “probable” diagnosis of multiple system atrophy. But the next day, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist reported inconsistencies in Hadley’s exam that might suggest she didn’t have an organic disease at all. This was the report that was bothering Hadley.

“I felt like she was trying to trick me,” Hadley said. “Listen to this: ‘Though she has definite organic problems, she has inconsistencies on her examination. During handwriting, she wrote small, but she has excellent coordination and grasp/relax of the pen. While I was typing my notes, she was toying with the ring on her finger, moving her fingers in a normal and fairly rapid way without difficulty that seems very different than her formal exam findings. She has broad based ataxic, stiff-legged gait with decreased arm swing and very turgid trunk and pelvis. However, her gait as she left the examination room was at least 50% better than during the exam.'”

Hadley slapped her phone down on her lap. “In a half-mile, take a left turn,” the phone instructed us. “You see what I mean? It’s like she was looking to trip me up.”

“Wait,” I said. “Read it to me again. I think I know what you mean, but I need to hear it again.”

When Hadley had finished reading, I understood; the doctor clearly had been looking for contradictions in Hadley’s movements. Why? I wondered.

“That whole thing about me having a better gait when leaving the exam?” Hadley said. “Of course I did. She had me walking back and forth in this tiny room, every two steps having to turn, and turning is always hard for me. When the appointment was over, I got to walk straight out the door, which is a whole different thing.” I knew this difficulty Hadley was talking about; changing directions when walking can often feel precarious to me. “And when she was watching me twirl my ring?” Hadley went on. “That’s a small repetitive movement, a habit like a twitch almost, completely different from the bigger hand movements she’d asked me to do. Also, my decent coordination with the pen is because I’ve been working with an occupational therapist on my grip so I can keep painting.” Hadley sighed. “But she believes all this is proof that it’s all in my head. It’s like she’s saying, ‘Gotcha! It’s functional!'”

“Functional” was clearly the hot-button word for Hadley, but I wasn’t familiar with it.

“It’s a movement disorder brought on by psychological causes, not organic,” Hadley explained.

“Listen to this part – she’s so evil! ‘Alert, appropriate affect, excellent historian. Admits I am not the best patient.’ Totally out of context!” Hadley says, before reading on: “‘She was told she had Parkinson’s disease and had been pretty comfortable with that until this summer when things changed. She has moments when she is very overwhelmed. She expresses a lot of self-doubt. Depression is likely. She may need further psychological evaluation and counseling relative to the functional overlay.'”

Hadley groaned. She was flushed and furious. She suspected this doctor’s report had biased the movement disorders specialist she saw the next day who wrote in his report:

Impression:
Gait disorder and rigidity. The patient has a very unusual exam. This is not a classic disease of anything. I agree we need to consider things like stiff person syndrome and primary lateral sclerosis. I am not comfortable with the diagnosis of multiple system atrophy. I find the signs of her parkinsonism to be unusual, and I think a functional etiology needs to be in the differential diagnosis for her problem.

It seemed MSA and PD were no longer even on the table, having been blown off by the gust of a suggestion: functional movement disorder.

I found myself thinking again about Munchausen syndrome, in which a patient invents symptoms and travels from doctor to doctor, changing her medical story. Could this “functional” word suggest something like that? I didn’t buy it. Once again, I felt indignant on Hadley’s behalf. Despite the fact that no doctor in recent years had doubted she was afflicted with an organic disease, I could see her confidence was shattered and she was in the grip of all the memories of doctors who hadn’t taken her symptoms seriously.

Hadley’s phone announced that we’d reached the Galaxy 14. We parked in the nearly empty parking lot and the insides of my nose froze as we ambled toward the theater’s entrance. Inside the huge, red-carpeted lobby there were only the ticket seller, popcorn scooper, soft drink dispenser, Hadley and me. I ordered some popcorn for us, trying to cop some much-needed feeling of fun. I began to worry whether the movie would be okay for Hadley. Although there were fourteen theaters in this one building, we’d only considered two of the movies playing, deeming the others too stupid, too violent or too sad. We’d finally nixed the Bond movie for potentially being too stimulating after Hadley’s exhausting days at the Mayo. That left “The Sessions.” “Heartwarming” the reviews said, which to me sounded prescriptive.

There were three other people in the cavernous theater. Who would come to watch a movie about a man in an iron lung on a 14-degree Monday night? I wondered. Loneliness settled over me and I knew Hadley felt it, too. She pulled out her phone and it lit up her face like an old friend.

“The Sessions” is based on the true story of Mark O’Brien, a polio victim who spent most of his life in an iron lung. In his thirties, he hired a sex therapist with whom he could lose his virginity. The film was touching, poignant, but I wasn’t watching it through my own eyes, I realized ten minutes into it; I was trying to see it through Hadley’s. Could it be entertaining to watch someone else’s cruel medical plight when you were seeking a diagnosis for your own?

Hadley leaned into me. “I’m worried that after all this, I’ll leave the Mayo without knowing anything more,” she whispered. “What do you think of what the rehab specialist wrote?”

How could I possibly have imagined with everything on her mind that Hadley would be able concentrate on a movie? In my head, I tried to rationalize the doctors’ reports, reminding myself that this was the Mayo after all, and I should keep an open mind and let the professionals do their work. Besides, I hadn’t yet had a chance to research what this “functional” diagnosis really meant. But then my intuition blared: “functional movement disorder” simply did not fit Hadley’s case.

“Forget about that doctor,” I whispered. “She just has something to prove. No one will pay attention to her report.”

When Hadley laughed and said, “Right? Oh good,” I knew I’d said the right thing.

Still, she barely touched the popcorn. Occasionally, she checked her phone. Then for a while she seemed to settle into the movie. Helen Hunt sweetly caressed her disabled client; witnessing the movie’s intimate scenes in such an empty theater, I felt more like a voyeur than part of an audience. I wondered if Hadley was wondering, as I was, whether this man’s horizontal life was better or worse than her life would be. Was his condition or hers the worst thing?

Each time the caged man laughed, it signaled a little victory for humankind – a testament to how, if only for a moment or two, we can rise above even the most challenging circumstances.

Episode eighteen of An Alert, Well-Hydrated Artist in No Acute Distress will be published in two weeks. You can also follow the serial here.

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Meet the Artist You Keep Hearing in All of Kylie Jenner’s Snapchats

If you're wondering who's the guy that's playing in the background in most of Kylie Jenner's Snapchat stories, then meet Bryson Tiller, the 22-year-old Louisville, Kentucky native who's putting himself on the map with his…


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Artist Shot Dead While Working On Oakland Anti-Violence Mural

SAN FRANCISCO — An artist was shot to death Tuesday while working on a public mural in Oakland, California, sponsored by a group trying to reduce violence in the troubled and changing neighborhood. 

An argument broke out between the artist and shooter beneath a highway overpass around 10:30 a.m. as the artist worked on a painting called “Self as Superhero,” authorities said. The work had been designed as a collaboration between West Oakland middle school students and area muralists. Students were scheduled to work with artists at the site on Wednesday.

The gunman fled after the shooting and remained at large. The victim’s name wasn’t released, but police described him in a statement as an adult man. Police didn’t release a description of the shooter. 

“All they were doing was painting, trying to beautify a neighborhood that has seen its challenges,” Oakland police Lt. Roland Holmgren told the Oakland Tribune.  

The shooting took place in West Oakland, beneath Interstate 580 on West Street. Violent crime in the area historically has been above average. Recently, the neighborhood has experienced rapid changes from gentrification. 

Oakland has had 71 homicides in 2015, compared with 56 at this point in in 2014. 

Plans called for a 4,000-square foot mural. Portions that are in progress show children on an a tree-lined street of homes. according to the Oakland Tribune. It’s supposed to be the third in a series of six murals by the Attitudinal Healing Connection.

“The murals serve as a constant reminder of the importance of dreaming big,” says a description on a fundraising site. “Its long-term impact on our youth and community is something Oakland can celebrate.”

 The online fundraising campaign underway before the shooting sought to raise $ 10,000 for supplies and some compensation for the artists working with the middle schoolers. 

 

 

 

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Artist Michael Kalish Introduces Men’s Lifestyle Brand Kalish & Sons

Artist Michael Kalish is joining the apparel industry. Kalish, who is best known for his large-scale work made from reclaimed objects, will launch a men’s wear lifestyle brand, Kalish & Sons, on Kickstarter today.
“The art world is an interesting place,” said Kalish. “It’s been very good to me but it’s been very limited. I wanted to create a new form of art with this collection.”
The project comes after five years of research that included Kalish traveling to meet with manufacturers across the country, which he is utilizing for his Made in the U.S. collection.
The line includes a classic chore coat, which retails for $ 225, that’s made from a breathable duck canvas and is lined with hand-screened original prints; a utilitarian duffel bag, which retails for $ 225, and limited-edition canvas prints screened on U.S. mail bags, which retail for $ 399. For the limited duration of the campaign, which ends on Nov. 1, backers can purchase these items at a reduced cost. A candle and a mug are also available.
“It’s a starter kit for men or pieces that can easily fit into your collection,” said Kalish, who added that the collection will grow and include more men’s wear staples and home items.
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Meet ‘Beirut’s Banksy,’ The Artist Who’s Transforming The City One Wall At A Time

Artist Yazan Halwani peels political banners and posters off Beirut’s walls to make room for his murals. Born in the Lebanese capital, Halwani, 22, grew up against the backdrop of political logos stenciled on city walls and faded posters of politicians plastered on street corners, some left over from the civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990.

In Lebanon, “people usually identify with sectarian or political symbols,” Halwani said. Frustrated with the political fragmentation and sectarian strife on and off the walls of Beirut, he decided to draw the public’s attention to cultural figures that “reunite Lebanese, and Arab citizens, without any divisions.” On walls and buildings in East and West Beirut (which were separated during the civil war), he paints large-scale portraits of Arab poets, musicians and actors, encircled by intricate Arabic calligraphy.

Born a couple of years after the war, Halwani is part of a generation of Lebanese youth pushing, in various ways, for greater unity in Lebanon. With his artwork, he strives to offset decades of political polarization that has resulted in cultural divisions and “a weakening of national identity.”

Referred to as “Beirut’s Banksy” by Arab media outlet Al-Arabiya, Halwani has also produced artwork for international street art events, and his work has appeared in Germany, Singapore and Paris. By taking his calligraphy outside the Arab region, Halwani says, he wants to instigate “cross-cultural conversations” and to inspire a “positive view of the Arab world.”

But it’s his work in Beirut that’s garnering the world’s attention.

Political paralysis is nothing new in Lebanon’s government, which is tenuously balanced according to the country’s religious factions. But it has reached new heights: The country’s parliament has failed to pick a president for more than one year, and its inaction and corruption leaves much of the country without regular access to services like electricity and water. This summer, more than 20,000 tons of garbage has accumulated on Beirut’s streets after a major landfill closed and the government failed to agree on an alternative dump or a new contract for its garbage collection company.

Residents began to protest, resulting in the YouStink campaign decrying their officials. Public frustration peaked last month, with the recent wave of protests in the capital being described as “the biggest show of civil disobedience” in a decade. 

Halwani marched in a mass YouStink rally in downtown Beirut on Aug. 22. 

“I think the current problem and the main motivation behind my artwork stem from the same reason,” says Halwani. “Sectarian political forces that are working in their own self-interest.”

Halwani won’t write political slogans on Beirut’s walls, though. By painting much less polarizing figures, he subversively proposes an alternative cultural and political narrative: one of unity and harmony.

“I think that what needs to be done on a political level cannot be summed up with a wall tag,” he says.  

Along the side of a building in the vibrant district of Hamra, Lebanese singer-actress Sabah peers out onto the street, smiling disarmingly, surrounded by a halo of interwoven Arabic letters that look like snowflakes from afar. Across an orange wall in the lively residential district of Gemmayzeh, Halwani painted beloved musical icon Fairouz, in black, white and grey.

“I want to replace corrupt politics with more positive cultural elements that show the real face of the country,” he says.

Halwani’s street art hasn’t always been propelled by such lofty ambitions. At the age of 14, he was drawn to French hip-hop songs and gangster films. “Everyone wanted to grow up to be a soldier or an actor, but I wanted to be a gangster like these taggers in New York,” he says. He started tagging his name on Beirut’s walls, in bright colors and big letters. Later, however, he experienced what he calls a “critical response” toward his own work. “I realized that what I was doing did not have a shred of identity. It had no relationship to Beirut. That’s why people ignored or destroyed it.”

Around the same time, Halwani borrowed a calligraphy book from his uncle. He quickly discovered that there was a discrepancy between the essence of calligraphy and that of tagging; the former was less about the artist and more about the words (often Quranic verses or folkloric proverbs.). “I was no longer interested in writing my name,” he says.

In fact, he was no longer interested in writing anything at all. The Arabic letters he places around his portraits often don’t make up legible words; they’re more like ornate crossword puzzles. “What I try to do is I try to evoke meaning without having to use the actual word … I use calligraphy to create an Arabic visual language which can be understood by Arabic and non-Arabic speakers alike,” he noted.

Often, he seeks to paint murals that start conversations. On one of the walls in Concord Street is a portrait of a gray-haired man, his eyelids on the verge of caving in, his gaze despondent. His creased forehead is crowned with tufts of white and grey hair. The portrait is of Ali Abdullah, a homeless man who for years had set up residence in the nearby Bliss Street. In January 2013, Beirut’s harsh weather reportedly led to his death. The incident mobilized hundreds of Lebanese youth to launch initiatives to help the homeless.

“After two weeks, everybody forgot about him,” says Halwani. “I decided to repaint him, just to tell people that you do not need to help the homeless only when you hear a tragic story on the news.”

As Halwani was standing in a shopping cart, with blotches of black paint on his shorts and T-shirt, a worn out taxi pulled up by the curb. A teary-eyed driver called Halwani over, and said, “When I saw what you’re doing, I was really touched. I used to see this homeless man on the street.”

Three years later, Halwani is still touched by what happened next: Desperate to give something, anything, back to the artist, the driver offered him a ride. “All I have is this car. If you need to go anywhere, I’m ready to take you,” the driver told him.

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New Artist Reviews: Kiravell

2015-08-28-1440803554-8599523-1bKiravellPianoBW.jpg

Traveling can evoke innovations and creations unlike any other muse. The inundation of new interactions, challenges, textures, tastes, sights, smells and sounds awaken the spirit. Singer, songwriter, and healer, Meniyka Kiravell, has dipped the quill of her mind into the bottomless inkwell of travel. With her quill dripping in inspiration, she created the album Vaudevellia!

Growing up just outside of Detroit, Michigan, she immersed herself in fantasy books and tall tales which bore a love of storytelling and theater. It was not until her time spent at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, however, that she discovered her love and talent for music. Playing in a number of indie bands as well as DJing on her college radio station, she found a passion for many genres of music, constantly exploring new sonic landscapes. “I was into everything I could get my hands on,” says Kiravell. “I’d rock Alice Coltrane one minute and Tchaikovsky the next.”

With the seed of music already planted in her mind, she left her Midwestern home to see the world. Over the course of a decade, she visited over 40 countries, surfing azure seas, broadening her musical influences, and discovering healing techniques from various cultures. She began using her newfound knowledge of healing on herself and experienced successful results. Kiravell eventually settled and found a home in Australia and planned to establish a residency there when her mother fell ill with crippling migraines. When she returned to the U.S., Kiravell employed the healing techniques she had learned on her travels, including Bowen Bodywork, and cured her mother’s ailment.

2015-08-28-1440803765-7940819-5KiravellArtist.jpg

Re-connecting with her family through healing became a great inspiration for Kiravell, infusing her spirit with a fresh perspective. Her healing capabilities paired with the sonic discoveries of travel, nourished the musical seed in her mind which soon flourished into Vaudevellia! Translating her experiences into sound, the largely jazz-based Vaudevellia! takes the listener on a journey through Kiravell’s personal life story.

Now established in San Diego, Kiravell’s debut release is also infused with many elements of the world music she experienced on her travels. Her poetic and poignant lyrics describe the cosmic perspective in which she sees the world around her. It is apparent in this album that Kiravell approaches her music with appreciation, humility and an open heart. Playing piano, keys and strings, the opening track “Pache Mama” is a song of reverence for the South American goddess of earth and time, Pachamama. Using worldly percussion and rhythm, the mind is transported to the lush valleys and verdant rainforests of the South American landscape.

Releasing all the songs on the album separately, Kiravell included unique album art and a written vignette about her intentions and motivations behind each track. Vaudevellia! is a well-crafted musical experience that is both humble and extraordinary. Her tales do not preach or teach, and yet somehow we learn from listening. Kiravell expresses her love for all things creative and hopes that this album will be received in the same way.

Website: www.kiravellmusic.com
Bandcamp: https://kiravell.bandcamp.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kiravell
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/kiravell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kiravell

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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New Artist Reviews: Kiravell

2015-08-28-1440803554-8599523-1bKiravellPianoBW.jpg

Traveling can evoke innovations and creations unlike any other muse. The inundation of new interactions, challenges, textures, tastes, sights, smells and sounds awaken the spirit. Singer, songwriter, and healer, Meniyka Kiravell, has dipped the quill of her mind into the bottomless inkwell of travel. With her quill dripping in inspiration, she created the album Vaudevellia!

Growing up just outside of Detroit, Michigan, she immersed herself in fantasy books and tall tales which bore a love of storytelling and theater. It was not until her time spent at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, however, that she discovered her love and talent for music. Playing in a number of indie bands as well as DJing on her college radio station, she found a passion for many genres of music, constantly exploring new sonic landscapes. “I was into everything I could get my hands on,” says Kiravell. “I’d rock Alice Coltrane one minute and Tchaikovsky the next.”

With the seed of music already planted in her mind, she left her Midwestern home to see the world. Over the course of a decade, she visited over 40 countries, surfing azure seas, broadening her musical influences, and discovering healing techniques from various cultures. She began using her newfound knowledge of healing on herself and experienced successful results. Kiravell eventually settled and found a home in Australia and planned to establish a residency there when her mother fell ill with crippling migraines. When she returned to the U.S., Kiravell employed the healing techniques she had learned on her travels, including Bowen Bodywork, and cured her mother’s ailment.

2015-08-28-1440803765-7940819-5KiravellArtist.jpg

Re-connecting with her family through healing became a great inspiration for Kiravell, infusing her spirit with a fresh perspective. Her healing capabilities paired with the sonic discoveries of travel, nourished the musical seed in her mind which soon flourished into Vaudevellia! Translating her experiences into sound, the largely jazz-based Vaudevellia! takes the listener on a journey through Kiravell’s personal life story.

Now established in San Diego, Kiravell’s debut release is also infused with many elements of the world music she experienced on her travels. Her poetic and poignant lyrics describe the cosmic perspective in which she sees the world around her. It is apparent in this album that Kiravell approaches her music with appreciation, humility and an open heart. Playing piano, keys and strings, the opening track “Pache Mama” is a song of reverence for the South American goddess of earth and time, Pachamama. Using worldly percussion and rhythm, the mind is transported to the lush valleys and verdant rainforests of the South American landscape.

Releasing all the songs on the album separately, Kiravell included unique album art and a written vignette about her intentions and motivations behind each track. Vaudevellia! is a well-crafted musical experience that is both humble and extraordinary. Her tales do not preach or teach, and yet somehow we learn from listening. Kiravell expresses her love for all things creative and hopes that this album will be received in the same way.

Website: www.kiravellmusic.com
Bandcamp: https://kiravell.bandcamp.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kiravell
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/kiravell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kiravell

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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Norman Rockwell: Artist or Illustrator?

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“Peach Crop,” American Magazine, 1935 (Courtesy Norman Rockwell Family Agency)

Was Norman Rockwell an artist or an illustrator? My initial thought is, “Isn’t every illustrator an artist?” Yet the debate continues — especially when it comes to Norman Rockwell. The modern take on illustration is much too limited. A reevaluation of the medium through history is called for.

Thomas Buechner, director of the Brooklyn Museum, published his monumental book on Rockwell and his work in 1970:

“Norman Rockwell may not be important as an artist — whatever that is — but he has given us a body of work which is unsurpassed in the richness and variety of its subject matter and in the professionalism — often brilliant — of its execution. Unlike many of his colleagues (painters with publishers instead of galleries) he lives in and for his work and so he makes it important.”

This statement is contradictory at best. It is the kind of ambivalence and confusion that follow my grandfather’s work to this day. But Buechner then goes on to make an appeal that “illustration should be considered an aspect of the fine arts.”

Admittedly, it is Rockwell himself who kept publicly pronouncing, “I’m not a fine arts man, I’m an illustrator.” Two separate and distinct worlds and sensibilities. One of the reasons my grandfather led with this was emotional safety — if he limited the way his artwork would be observed he could avoid the derision that might have come from the critics for trying to pass himself off as an artist with a capital A. He did this with other aspects of his work, such as his quips that he couldn’t paint pretty, sexy women (this, of course, wasn’t true, as evidenced by the many appealing women he painted throughout the years). He was humble to a fault.

Illustration is what Rockwell trained for. In my grandfather’s mind, fine arts painters will not accept limitations or restrictions — they are free to express themselves, encouraged to break all the rules. The illustrator is working not just to express him/herself but must work to please the client, art editor and the public. The illustrator’s work is “meant to be seen in mass reproduction,” the fine artist’s “in the original” (Buechner). Rockwell embraced and accepted these restrictions. In fact, he thrived under these limitations and found ways to excel, grow and expand his work within, and in spite of, these confines.

Rockwell’s artistic gods were Rembrandt and Pieter Brueghel. Rembrandt was great, according to my grandfather, because he was a great lover of humanity and that translated into his work in the most powerful way. What do we think of when we think of Rembrandt? The extraordinary faces and the incomparable light he captured. Rockwell revered Brueghel because he was a “great recorder of the times.” Both observations could easily be applied to Rockwell’s own work — he was a great observer of human behavior, his love for humanity was an integral part of his art and, first and foremost, he was a storyteller:

“My life’s work — and my pleasure — is to tell stories to other people through pictures… I try to use each line, tone, color and arrangement; each person, facial expression, gesture and object in my picture for one supreme purpose — to tell a story, and to tell it as directly, understandably and interestingly as I possibly can.”

He painted with the work of the masters all around him — strewn on the floor, clipped on top of his canvas or tacked to the walls. Vermeer, Velasquez, Durer, Holbein, Klee, Rubens.

He looked to the Leyendecker brothers, Whistler, Homer, Rackham and Pyle for illustration inspiration. Howard Pyle was his guiding light when it came to the possibilities and potential of illustration; Pyle broke out of the mold to elevate the medium with a fresh authenticity — his artwork is meticulously detailed and pulls you in. He expanded illustration beyond what it had been before.

Like Rembrandt, Rockwell found a way to capture light in a wholly unique, striking way. I noticed that most of my grandfather’s memories in his autobiography are connected to light; light was emotion to him: in the midst of a nervous collapse in his teens he observed, “… the light faded along the walls, grayed, and was gone.” In another memory, he said, “I watched the sunrise firing the river between the dark wall of houses on either bank. It looked like a scarlet lizard slithering in a coal bin.” It is that awareness of light that is readily felt in all his work; it is one of the vital, subtle elements that creates a revelatory power that the viewer can viscerally feel when he sees the work in person. It is part of Rockwell’s ceaseless drive to convey a powerful feeling or need in his art:

“This ability to ‘feel’ an emotion so intensely that you can project your feeling to someone else is one of the real joys of creative work. If you can do this, then you have creative ability.”

He insists over and over again about the importance of focusing on the “original feeling” he wants to evoke and translating it onto the canvas. Thomas Fogarty coaxed Rockwell and the other students at the Art Students League in NYC to “Step over the frame and live in the picture.” My grandfather tended to feel paralyzed by his emotions, but here he had finally found the perfect outlet for understanding and working through them.

To Rockwell, the human face was “the most important single element in any human interest picture,” and when he would paint the head of a character he wanted to feel it: feel the structure of the skull beneath it… not just paint it, but “caress it.” He didn’t mind when people stopped by the studio if he was painting a background or an arm, but he didn’t want any distractions or disturbances when he painted a head. Feeling, feeling, feeling. This drive extended to all his work, even the most commercial — the advertisements. He didn’t seem to give any job short shrift — though some were more successful than others, of course. His early series for Edison Mazda lamps in the 1920’s is dramatically effective and moving — again, they are about electric light — and light was emotion to Rockwell.

Like all great storytellers, from Dickens — whose work had a profound influence — to great movie directors like David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Rockwell’s work was not completely “true to life,” not photographically exact, but rather, he said, “the scene as I saw it.” He was known as “The Kid with the Camera Eye,” but his best work transcends the realism of photographs. When you study the photographs he used for each painting, you can see how he went past what they depicted and revealed his own truth beyond the photo. He understood the need for humor and pathos, the play between tragedy and comedy that he first discovered in Dickens.

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“And the Symbol of Welcome is Light,” Edison Mazda, 1920 (Courtesy Norman Rockwell Family Agency)

Rockwell’s individual vision always ended with an affirmation of life, the essential resolution of all his work. His pictures were like Frank Capra’s films in that way. No matter how much disappointment and struggle you may face, all will be well — all is well. He produced his pictures much like a movie director would: Get the idea, then the actors, the sometimes lengthy search for costumes and props, and then direct the scene and throw yourself completely into the creation of the story you need to tell. Intensive research and an astonishing amount of preliminary work went into each painting: the idea sketch, then the charcoal sketch, in which he developed the story, then the color sketches — finding the right color scheme to convey the mood — then the layered process of the final painting, the under-painting on to the painstaking detail work of the characters, their clothing and the background. And naturally there were revisions along the way. At last came the fun of the final touches, which was something my grandfather particularly enjoyed, the stress of completion no longer nagging him.

How is Norman Rockwell not an artist? At his core, he was a true artist. And like all great artists he was high-strung, driven. Like tuning a guitar — the strings must be tightened to arrive at the perfect pitch — the artist has to be highly sensitized and attuned, inspired by something greater than he is. A laser focus is required to express a deeply personal longing that moves into a more universal need, ultimately a “resolution of an eternally familiar need,” as Mark Rothko said.

What makes an artist great? Work that makes a great impact, strikes a resonant, resounding, lasting chord with the viewer, the audience. Many artists deal with the heightened sensitivity by escaping into addictions — to alcohol, drugs, sex, food. They lose themselves in mental illness — the mind and spirit break down from the high-wire tension. If Rockwell had an addiction, it was to his work; the smell of the turpentine, the feel of his brushes, squeezing a generous gob of Cadmium Red or Mars Violet onto his palette in the sanctuary of his studio. His work was unquestionably his greatest passion. Throughout his life he suffered several extended periods of depression — not chronic depression — and these were usually connected to struggles with his work. He would feel that he was not progressing, fueled by a nagging fear that his work would be perceived as “old-fashioned,” out-of-date. Even at the height of his dementia at the end of his life when he had lost his abilities, he insisted on being wheeled out to his studio, where he would just sit and hold his brushes. It is what he knew. It was who he was.

Doesn’t this make the charge of Rockwell being only a “recreationist,” a “sentimental traditionalist” absurd and irrelevant? This extends into the endless debate about whose work is more valuable and lasting — realists or abstractionists? Why is either art lesser than? Perhaps it is time to see beyond the imposed categorizations to the bigger picture of the importance of all art that has an impact. As a singer, to me it’s like asking if Billie Holiday is more important than Renee Fleming. One, an unschooled jazz singer with an indescribable existential wail; the other, a technically brilliant singer who has trained her instrument to produce a clarion call of sublime longing and beauty. Both are equally important and essential as artists. Van Gogh admired Howard Pyle. Artists of all kinds have respected and been profoundly influenced by Norman Rockwell. True art fuels, sustains and inspires.

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“Love Ouanga,” American Magazine, 1936 (Courtesy Norman Rockwell Family Agency)

Rockwell himself divided art into three categories: fine art, illustration (covers and magazine illustrations) and commercial (advertisements and calendars). In truth, Rockwell was an artist with three distinctive sides. He aspired to paint like the masters and continually pushed his own envelope to improve, never resting on his laurels. There was the illustrator and storyteller, his artistic home. And then there was the necessity of being a commercial artist; this ensured that he survived financially.

His commercial work was sometimes too caricatured and sentimental — the elongated limbs of the boys in his Four Seasons calendar, “Four Boys”(1951) is a perfect example of this. The only way to get to know the real Rockwell is to study his prolific body of work. Fine artists like Rembrandt and Michelangelo were storytellers and illustrators, too. The lines are sometimes nebulous, not always clear. All great art has its origin in illustration, from the cave paintings in Lascaux to the Egyptian pyramid paintings — in particular the religious illustrations of the Middle Ages through the Renaissance and the tradition of genre painting — all are examples of this. It is still not known if the cave drawings from almost 20,000 years ago were illustrations, stories or part of a spiritual ritual. Nevertheless, the downgrade of all illustration in this modern era is a step in the wrong direction, a modern construct that needs to be reexamined.

I found an unexpected ally in Mark Rothko, the abstract painter whose work is the antithesis of Rockwell’s. Both trained briefly at the Art Students League and both studied with the renowned George Bridgman; Rockwell was born nine years before Rothko.

“It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted… There is no such thing as good painting about nothing,” Rothko once said. He transcended the necessity of the figure by creating symbols and shapes in its place. His pictures, to him, were “dramas” conveying a fundamental, universal longing, illustrating the “condition of man.”

In the two artists we see the ultimate abstractionist and the quintessential realist. Both driven, both with similar agendas in surprising ways, but a completely different mode of expression and conclusion — Rockwell’s ended with affirmation, Rothko’s in “tragedy, ecstasy and doom.” Both were gifted draftsman. One worked to improve that talent and reach a place of mastery with it; the other worked to break out and innovate. Rockwell needed the public to like him and his work — connecting with the audience was essential to him. But fine artists like Rothko need acceptance also — not on a mass level, but they cannot reach their audience without approval from critics, scholars, galleries, etc. All artists look to connect — if they are truly good, that is. All other art is masturbatory and self-indulgent.

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“Portrait of an Indian Art Student,” 1962 (Courtesy Norman Rockwell Family Agency)

Approval and acceptance of Rockwell’s work eluded him for many years. But the truth of his work still eludes many of the critics. The New York Times, for example, has a long history of denigrating his work. John Canaday dubbed Rockwell, the “Rembrandt of Punkin’ Crick” in 1972. Michael Kelly branded him the “quintessential middlebrow American artist” in 1992. Before the “Pictures for the American People” exhibition in 2001 that traveled to the Guggenheim, the Corcoran and the High Museum — an exhibition that illustrated the beginning of a critical reevaluation of his work — Deborah Solomon, an art critic writing for the New York Times, belittled Rockwell’s work in her assessment of “bad art” in her 1999 article, “In Praise of Bad Art”:

“… nothing seems more outrageous than middlebrow art and the sort of pictures your grandmother savored — the art, in short, of 100 percent normal Norman Rockwell… When you look beneath the surface in Rockwell, you find more layers of surface. What does it mean when ultrahipsters embrace an ultra cornball like Rockwell? You can see their stance as merely perverse, or you can see it instead as an honest vote for mass taste.”

Solomon then goes on to compare the love of Rockwell’s art to the appeal of cheeseburgers at Burger King.

(What’s interesting to note is Solomon’s complete reversal on everything Rockwell: her view on his art and person in her biography on him over a decade later. No art critic does a complete 360 without a powerful agenda driving them — and it wasn’t a genuine epiphany born of solid research.)

Lennie Bennett, art critic for the Tampa Bay Times, added her voice to the misleading assessments of Rockwell’s work in March, 2015:

“… Rockwell never seems to stretch himself the way a great artist does. He avoids nuance and the complexities of relationships. The inner life holds no interest for him. But how fabulously he painted the outer life.”

Neither Solomon, Bennett or the others seem to have made a comprehensive study of Rockwell’s more than 4,000 paintings and 60 years of work, and they make definitive, generalized judgements about his work that are simply wrong. My grandfather searched for new techniques and concepts and utilized them throughout his career. There were pronounced shifts in his methods; Gottaist techniques in a different kind of paint, dynamic symmetry, he experimented with other artists’ approaches, such as those of John Falter and Al Parker.

In the late 40’s my grandfather learned a technique of the old masters, involving multiple glazes, when he was working at the Los Angeles Art Institute. An important shift occurred in his work after the Saturday Evening Post redesigned its cover in the early 40’s to include full paintings instead of just vignettes with one or two characters and almost no background. That is when Rockwell’s stories and technique took flight in a fresh, powerful way, leading to “The Four Freedoms” in 1943; afterwards, his pictures carried more serious subject matter.

One of the most astonishing things is to view all of his Saturday Evening Post covers from 1916 to 1963 in the downstairs room of the Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge. The progression of his technique and vision from a promising beginning to mastery took me by surprise. When he reached 1950, coinciding with my grandmother’s breakdown, a very dark time in my grandfather’s life, his art evolved into something with unexpected layers of depth — “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” is one of his true masterpieces. Rockwell is the isolated, unseen observer looking through a cracked windowpane into the darkened barbershop, the musicians beyond his reach in the joy and light of creativity in a back room. An ominous, lone black cat sits in the shadows. This is “surface” art? Come on. Norman Rockwell’s work rises significantly beyond what is known as “Rockwellian” when you study his work.

In Rothko’s words:

“I hate and distrust all art historians, experts and critics. They are a bunch of parasites, feeding on the body of art. Their work is not only useless, it is misleading. They can say nothing worth listening to about art or the artist.”

I recently visited the National Museum of American Illustration in Rhode Island. I don’t know of any other museum that exhibits many of the leading illustrators together, side by side — J.C. Leyendecker, Maxfield Parrish, Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Mead Schaeffer, Charles Gibson, George Hughes and Stevan Dohanos, among others. As much as I admire his “Arrow Collar” man and technique, Leyendecker’s work feels constricted and overworked; Parrish’s landscapes of light are silent, shimmering revelations, though his characters are less fully realized.

Rockwell’s work stood out in a pronounced way. Why? I came upon a painting I had never seen before, “Cat’s Cradle” (1943), part of the Willie Gillis series. As I began to study the image, it was like a secret door had opened, a password was whispered, and the small mysteries and details became illuminated and revealed. The thread of the cat’s cradle in Willie’s hands stands out as almost three-dimensional through the texture created with the oils, the heightened white to draw the viewer in. The tiny blaze of brilliant orange of the mirrored cigarettes, the glint of the gold touches of the swami’s earrings and adornments, the surprising depth and darkness of the background, the language guide put aside — they are connecting without words. You are not just the observer anymore, you are there, part of the story. And that is the great impact of Rockwell’s work: He connected with his audience, without words, for over half a century.

Another way he transcended illustration? Look at “The Problem We All Live With,” Rockwell’s celebration of the triumph of the Civil Rights movement with the story of Ruby Bridges. He made the radical move in taking off the heads of the marshals; they are visible from their shoulders down. They are not important, except as pillars of protection and support. Ruby is the focus. My grandfather dresses her differently: not in the dark dress and shoes with the white cardigan that she actually wore, but in the pristine white dress and shoes that illuminate the contrast with the color of her skin. He used two different local girls as models; he didn’t just work from the photos of Ruby. She is a symbol of promise for all black children. He doesn’t play it safe and creates a wall behind her with offensive epithets — “Nigger,” “KKK” — but then in typical Rockwell fashion he paints an almost unseen love note to his third wife, Molly — a tiny heart with “MP + NR” — to counterbalance the hate.

Rockwell elevated illustration to a fine art, defying categorization. That is why he confounds critics and historians to this day.

I confess that for most of my life I remained ignorant of my grandfather’s work. I did this to distance myself from what felt, at times, like an overwhelming legacy. I didn’t even know the names of his most famous paintings and even, I think, unconsciously accepted the notion that Rockwell’s art was overly sentimental and not “real art.” I came to this recent investigation of his life and work with surprising objectivity and a fresh perspective.

A laborer works with his hands,
A craftsman works with his hands and his mind,
But an artist works with his hands, his mind and his heart.

~ From Louis Nizer

______

Abigail Rockwell is a jazz singer/songwriter. She recently finished the final draft of show she has written, called Torch Light, about deconstructing the concept of torch music. She has worked in voiceovers for years. Abigail joined the Norman Rockwell Family Agency to assist her father, Thomas Rockwell, a year ago in April. She has since left the agency and has written a comprehensive 62-page paper on the Deborah Solomon book — extensively detailing the hundreds of errors and omissions.

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Fashion Angels Tattoo Artist Sketch Portfolio

Fashion Angels Tattoo Artist Sketch Portfolio


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This Artist Is Using ‘Artivism’ To Break Down Queer Stigma And Stereotypes

A Venezuelan artist is making a bold statement about queerness and art’s power to aid in the breaking down of stereotypes related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identity.

 

The “I’m Not A Joke” campaign from Daniel Arzola is a series of images inscribed with compelling truths about human diversity that encourages individuals to live as their authentic selves. He wants the images to eventually appear on buses and subways, exposing audiences to the realites of queer experiences in an attempt to breakdown prejudice in a form of activism that he calls “Artivism.”

 

Much of Arzola’s work comes from personal experience as an LGBT person growing up in Venezuela. “I had an violent adolescence because of [Venezuela’s intolerance],” he told The Huffington Post. “When I was 15-years-old they tied me to an electric pole and tried to burn me alive. I was able to escape that but I spent six years not being able to draw because they destroyed all of my drawings. After escaping that I transformed everything into lines and colors instead of returning the violence – I wanted to break the cycle.”

 

The Huffington Post chatted this week with Arzola about “Artivism,” his artwork and what he hopes to see accomplished through the “I’m Not A Joke” series.

Want to see more from Arzola and his “I’m Not A Joke” series? Head here to check out the artist’s Tumblr.

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Trump President…? No. Trump Performance Artist…? Oh Yes.

For some strange reason, the last few days I have been thinking about legendary performance artist Marina Abramovic. For the last forty years she has been making a brutal spectacle of herself and her collaborators, orchestrating unforgiving performances which often last for hours or even days at a time, requiring extraordinary endurance from the artist and lots of patience from the audience.

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In 2010, she had a solo exhibition at MOMA, which devoted numerous galleries to recreations of her performances from the past forty years. But in the central atrium, crowds gathered to watch Marina Abramovic herself — sitting quietly while staring at any member of the audience courageous enough to sit at the small table opposite her. In total silence, without moving a muscle, Marina would stare at them. They were only allowed to sit and look back at her. They knew that no words could be exchanged. Some of them lasted for a few minutes, others mere seconds. A few even broke into tears. But Marina herself sat motionless from the moment the museum opened in the morning until the time the museum closed.

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The only explanation I can come up with for my thinking about Marina Abramovic is the nonstop news coverage of the Republican primary debates. So, here comes Donald Trump, completely dominating the event, over-shouting each and every one of the participants, including moderators. I started to think about the only person whose formidable face and equally formidable hair could compete with Donald’s. That was a man who lived 2,000 years ago, and whose bronze portrait I saw recently at the exhibition at The Getty Center. This ancient man definitely could stand up to Donald.

Donald not only performed better than anyone else — he was also the most entertaining. I have to admit I was not listening to him as much as I was watching him. All of a sudden I stopped seeing Mr. Trump as a presidential candidate and realized that I’m watching a formidable performance artist with the potential for a real art career. Just imagine Donald in the central atrium of MOMA, standing at a podium and yelling at any member of the audience who would choose to stand in front of him and yell back. So Mr. Trump, here’s my two cents! Why don’t you embrace a career as a performance artist? If you do, I promise to review your inaugural performance!

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Now that we have covered the political theater, let’s touch upon the unprecedented overhaul of Italy’s state museums in its attempt to shake up its notorious bureaucracy. The current issue of The Art Newspaper reports that the Italian Ministry of Culture is searching for energetic new manager-directors for twenty of the country’s most important state museums, including the Borghese Gallery in Rome and Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

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For the first time ever, foreign candidates have been invited to apply and a fluency in business management is the main requirement. Opposition to the reform in Italy has been fierce.

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Equally challenging is the situation with Italy’s tourism. According to a New York Times article, in the 1970s, Italy was the world’s number one tourist destination. Today, it has slid to fifth place. Italy doesn’t even have a minister for tourism, as other European countries do. As beautiful and romantic as Italy has been for all of us for all these years, maybe it is time for Italy to face the business realities of the new millennium.

To learn about Edward’s Fine Art of Art Collecting Classes, please visit his website. You can also read The New York Times article about his classes here, or an Artillery Magazine article about Edward and his classes here.

___________

Edward Goldman is an art critic and the host of Art Talk, a program on art and culture for NPR affiliate KCRW 89.9 FM. To listen to the complete show and hear Edward’s charming Russian accent, click here.

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Erotic Embroidery Artist Is Not Your Grandma’s Craft Maker

Two edgy, platinum blonde girls in black bikinis pose, showing off tongue rings. Another badass pair gossips behind cupped palms; another lazes on beach towels, sipping beer. This isn’t a hip Instagram feed, an Urban Outfitters catalog or even a photography series. These fun, relaxed scenes were embroidered by artist Alaina Varrone, whose work rethinks the limitations of a needle and thread.

That’s because for her often erotic works, Varrone isn’t inspired by other embroiderists; in an interview with The Huffington Post, she said she was mostly influenced by “history’s pervs and weirdos.”

“My absolute favorite saucy perv is bar none Nell Gwynne and wicked weirdos like Aleister Crowley and Helena Blavatsky, paranoid occultists like H.P. Lovecraft.” 

Since we last featured Varrone’s designs, her aesthetic interests have evolved; she’s begun incorporating trendy fashion choices into her designs. Long, highlighted hair with pops of color, Peter Pan collars, and American Apparel-esque tube socks dress up her works.

She’s also nurtured a budding interest in occult imagery — one of her subjects rocks a Tarot tattoo — and has begun entertaining the idea of creating a series of designs strung together by a cohesive storyline.

“I put so much thought into all these imaginary people and my little worlds, and I’d like to give them some meatier story lines in the future,” Varrone says. “I do have these ongoing stories in my head, I’ve even reused characters.”

Of course, a series isn’t necessary to lend Varrone’s work a narrative quality; her individual images already possess enough subtle details to inspire a story in the mind of an imaginative viewer. Check out her latest, kickass embroidery works below:

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Tattoo Artist Turns Girl’s Leg Braces Into A Pair Of Wicked Awesome Disney Villains

A tattoo artist helped to make this girl feel like a Disney star; not a princess or queen, but an awesome villain.

Aaron Guillemette, a tattoo artist in Fall River, Massachusetts, created a set of Disney designs for 8-year-old Hope Laliberte’s leg braces, Today Parents reported. The illustrations feature two villains from classic animated movies — Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” and Cruella de Vil from “101 Dalmatians” — and they’re wicked awesome.

“I’m glad to be in a position where I can help the community in any way,” Guillemette told the news outlet. “When I was first approached about designing Hope’s braces, I thought it would be an awesome idea — especially when I heard what the subject matter would be. Hope wanted Disney villains on her braces, not princesses.”

hope laliberte leg brace

Hope and her twin sister were born premature at 24 weeks. The 8-year-old has cerebral palsy and a rare form of epilepsy, Yahoo reported, but her sister, Paige, does not. Hope has been wearing leg braces for the past four years but the clinic at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, where her braces are fitted, has limited designs.

Knowing their daughter was a big fan of Disney villains, Hope’s parents, Aaron Lebeau and Pamela Laliberte-Lebeau, turned to Guillemette, who owns the tattoo studio Up in Flames, for some custom designs.

Guillemette painted the Disney characters on sticker paper, which he then applied to Hope’s braces with coats of polyurethane to ensure they stuck, the artist told Herald News. The designs recreated the villains, but also incorporated Hope’s name — making them extra special.

hope laliberte braces

And when Hope first saw her braces? “I screamed,” she told the news outlet.

The experience was special for Guillemette too, as he told Today Parents, “The look on her face when I gave them to her was worth everything it took to make them.”

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The Rules of the Game: Artist Ariane Schick’s Latest Oeuvre

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“A Throw of Fifteen-Love”, by multimedia artist Ariane Schick, opened Thursday at 55Gansevoort, a project space known for exhibiting renowned and upcoming artists including Aaron Bobrow, Jeanette Hayes and Betty Thompkins. This latest opening comes immediately following Schick’s show, Casual Throws, at gallery Super Dakota in Brussels. While the title of her last exhibition referred to the comfy blankets that decorate the ends of sofas, “A Throw of Fifteen-Love” refers to score keeping in tennis. This serves as a reminder of the reciprocal, interdependent dynamics featured in her work, and perhaps even more so, it highlights the relationship of the work to the viewer, which bounces back and forth, much like the back and forth of a ball on a tennis court.

Like a spectator at a tennis match, a spectator of Schick’s show also looks on from the outside in. All exhibitions at 55Gansevoort are fully visible, at all hours, by peering through the windowed doors. Upon peeking in, one first notices a strip of printed organza at eye level that ribbons the room’s walls, doors, pillars and corners. It wraps entirely around the space, almost decoratively, enveloping it like a present. The continuous flow of images printed on the organza is a haphazard mix of interiors, exteriors and the human form. Gathered from Internet search results and personal pictures, they are lit up by rounded, store bought wall sconces, placed directly on the strip, obscuring some of the images and highlighting others. The sconces are placed at varied intervals, which sets a rhythm for the viewer’s eyes to travel around the room in a continuous loop.

Jeffery: Can you describe the images featured on the organza ribbon?

Schick: The ribbon features a still from the Japanese film Tampopo, in which two embracing characters tip an egg yolk back and forth until its thin skin inevitably breaks. Stills and posters from the French film Maitresse show the protagonist, who spends the film exploring the limits between her two very different personas, in moments of transformation. The still of her in front of her mirror, its bare light in the foreground, is a throwback to the wall sconces in the space. The panel also features images of clothing items found on eBay. A picture of a pair of semi transparent vinyl trousers and figure hugging swimwear are modeled by disjointed, static, headless mannequins, highlighting the fact that what is cut off or not visible is just as important as what is clearly available to the eye.

Other images pull the viewer into a more historical context. These include an inflatable finger by situationist group Haus-Rucker-Co., whose work explored architecture through installations that altered perceptions of space. The image of Elsa Schiaperelli’s trompe l’oeil gloves emphasizes the recurring theme of the boundaries between inside and out. There is a repetitive series of frames of a glass fence-like structure that holds back a hedge. Its green mass spills out over the top, while still visible through the fence’s surface, which reflects the trees and electricity poles that face it. There are images of birds in a cage and a snapshot of flowers with sun glares that interrupt it.

An image of a building that features a large hole through which you can see the sky allows the viewer to slide from outside in. A chest of drawers holding a bonsai tree plays with limits and boundaries. A CGI image of a single pistachio nut shows two shells neatly separated. And finally, the open pages of a book called Silent Back (Dog), features images of puppy dogs’ butts, held open by hands visible in the snapshot.

Jeffery: Can you describe the importance of the sconces sporadically placed on top of this imagery?

Schick: The sconces posit an air of, potentially, but not necessarily, domestic, casual informality. They push the image strip back to the status of a decorative element. They also play up the space, recognizing its needs, acknowledging both its specificities and its commonplace nature. They represent, in various direct and indirect ways, a blurring of perimeters and borders. They place the viewer at the center of a court of images and objects in which their display hovers between presence and absence in order to highlight the viewer in action.

The result of Schick’s show is a site sensitive experience as the wallpaper-like strip flows across the room. The viewer slips between layers of available information as the ribbon beckons the eye to follow the strip in its linear form. Overall, the images project an unreliable feeling and their accumulation heightens this by flattening out and cancelling their singular importance as readable messages. The sconces placed on top of the images interrupt their flow and remove the feeling of the typical ‘white cube’ experience, as they evoke a more residential space. The title, “A Throw of Fifteen-Love”, the linear form of the project, and its minimalistic simplicity, all hark on the experience of rules as a recurring theme in the artist’s work. Ultimately, if Schick’s goal is to put the viewer in a position where they question in what context they are seeing what is laid out before them and ask themselves, “How am I supposed to look at this?” then she has succeeded.

A Throw of Fifteen Love is open June 18th – July 12, 2015, 55 Gansevoort St, New York, NY, 10014, http://www.55gansevoort.com

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New Artist Reviews: The Clear

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The beauty of America is in the eyes of the beholder. Despite its massive debts, processed foods, poverty and unbalanced government, there is a spirit that America exudes which draws approximately 67 million tourists and up to 900,000 immigrants per year. When you strip away Americas flaws, something all nations have, you are left with a beautiful image of cascading landscapes, sparkling oceans, sunny skies, towering redwoods and snow-capped mountains. In addition to its natural splendor, America has long been a beacon of freedom and opportunity, a bright light in a foggy world of struggle.

The 1960s and ’70s painted a Technicolor dream of the American West Coast through its Summers of Love, waxed surfboards, relaxed lifestyles and perpetual sunshine. A place where music was divine, love was free and so was the mind. Emerging from Northern England is The Clear, a Sheffield-based trio whose emotive single “America” is a nostalgic reminder of this Technicolor dream.

Comprised of Chris Damms, Jules Buffey and Bryan Day, The Clear’s dynamic is always shifting as Jules and Chris both sing and Bryan plays multiple instruments. Always writing their music together creates a oneness and unity, above ego, which infuses their sound with an authentic and multi-dimensional energy. The group was recently signed with Universal Music’s label Rondor Music International who has seen a rich history of artists such as Otis Redding, The Carpenters, Tom Petty, Jane’s Addiction, Beastie Boys, Adele, DJ Shadow, Danny Elfman and many more.

When the band’s manager, Meredith Cork, presented their single “America” to Lance Freed, president of Rondor, he said that it reminded him of an era and that he nearly fell out of his chair. The Clear quickly began their ascent up the proverbial ladder, recording their debut album and playing live acoustic shows, most notably at the legendary Abbey Road Studio in London.

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An eclectic blend of styles and songs, their debut album promises to be an evocative experience through a vast spectrum of sounds and sensibilities. Their lead single “America” is already gaining recognition as a poignant song about the depiction of the American dream. Chris Damms described it as “a color-faded memory of a bygone era, a 60s/70s West Coast vibe and a view of America from the media, what we see in the rainy, cold, north of England.”

Officially released on July 4th, the music video for “America” is an avant-garde collection of old advertisements and romanticized images of the American dream juxtaposed with an airliner making its descent into LAX. Flashing clips of Ernest Hemingway and billowing flags with a few hula-dancing mice peppered throughout the video sparks a reconnection to a magical era where an entire country began to wake up from a long sleep. The video uses subliminal-style editing to unfurl its narrative through iconic imagery. A very powerful method used by many filmmakers such as Godfrey Reggio with his Koyaanisqatsi trilogy.

The highly acclaimed track “America” has been picked up by Exit 97.7FM WEXT in New York as part of their “Across the Pond” series and receives regular radio play. “America” will be released, appropriately enough, on July 4, 2015 and will be available for purchase on several outlets including iTunes and Amazon.

Haunting vocals drift alongside ethereal melodies as the track “America” takes you on a romantic journey from edge to edge of the U.S. and Canada. The emotive expression of The Clear is not something that can be mimicked. Their passion and love for the creation of music pulls the listener into their world where they are not just creating your sonic journey but also along for the ride. As long as they keep creating, there is no doubt that The Clear’s ascension will be meteoric.

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/clearmusic/clear-america
Twitter: @theclearband
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theclearband

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6 Ways to Improve Your Career as an Artist in the Music Industry

I was walking down the aisle of our local grocery store focused heavily on the items on the shelves on either side while my wife strolled a few paces behind looking at our shopping list. My cell phone rang a familiar ring tone of a close industry friend. “Patrick, I need you to call this number when we hang up. Are you sitting down?”, he asked. I replied, “No. I’m in the grocery store.” He continued to share that Spencer would have a shot at being in a feature film if we could work out the logistics on short notice. Of course my jaw dropped as I tried to pantomime what I was hearing to my wife who was perplexed why I was stalling our evening excursion to talk on the phone. I held my phone out so she should see who was on the line and she waited for me to hang up so I could explain why I had a look of shock on my face. “I have to call the director of a film that starts shooting this coming weekend in Baton Rouge because they requested Spencer to have a cameo and perform one of the singles off his album. I have to call them now.”

My wife had an equal stunned look on her face as she watched me dial. “Aren’t you going to tell Spencer first?” I shook my head and simply replied, “Um, no.”

There it was. A two minute phone call and a 7-day notice to arrange a 15-hour drive to Baton Rouge to appear in a film. We didn’t even know the potential pay for such a thing, but learned it wasn’t bad for a day’s work. But the opportunity, exposure and networking this would create for Spencer was all worth the time and investment to do it.

The longer I am in the ocean called the music industry, the more I’m learning about the moving tides, the sharks, undercurrents, and the opportunities to catch a wave versus the stagnant areas of a lagoon or oxbow. I’ve watched artists get pulled under, swimming too fast and too far away from shore only to not have the energy or ability to make it back. I’ve seen those who are content to build castles by the water’s edge or splash around in the knee-deep tide pools near shore. I’ve also witnessed the giant luxury liners in deep waters who represent the major stars in the industry who have enough money to have a full crew navigate them through the choppy waves to connect with many shorelines throughout their career. As far as metaphors go, sorry to be so funny, but the music industry is simply a sink or swim reality. You have to keep moving either under your own power or using some device or vessel to assist you if you want to remain in the water.

The phone call was nothing I was mapping out or planning to pursue for Spencer. But when the call came, we had to be ready to adjust our current plans to ride a wave that may carry him somewhere beyond his current area of the ocean. Subconsciously, an artist should be prepared to do this. That leads to my first tip to improving your career as an artist.

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1) Practice Being A Contortionist
The difficulty of many artist’s lives is the most valuable resource you have, which is time. Many artists are chained to a regular job or some other life circumstance that makes it difficult to respond when opportunity presents itself. Being extremely flexible (contorting) is not meaning to never commit to anything in hopes of something better, but it’s more about knowing your goals so clearly that when the right opportunity presents itself, you are able to rearrange your life to accommodate. The more you network and meet people along your journey, the more likely one or more of them will call on you someday to participate in an opportunity they refer or have for you. Be prepared to respond to a sudden wave that presents itself.

2) Become A Mind Reader
If you are fully aware of your target fan base, you’ll be more able to focus your energies to meeting their wants and needs. Even though the artistic and creative side of music sometimes causes an artist to remain inward focused, the reality is that without your fan base, you are creating for an audience of one. Take time to connect with your fans through social media, live events, or arrange meet and greets when you can. Unfortunately, knowing who listens to your music isn’t the only goal of knowing your audience. The word KNOWING requires interaction, and that is where your personality and the human side of you can trigger a deeper connection. Taylor Swift is infamous because of how hard she has worked and continues to make personal connections with her fans. That process takes time and in the end it will build a stronger loyalty for your music and artistry.

3) Define Your Makeup
I’m not talking eye shadow here. I had a conversation with a 20 year music industry A&R veteran who shared a great piece of wisdom. He explained that an artist is both creative and entrepreneurial in their makeup. Some are more of an artist than entrepreneur and visa versa. So if you had to make a pie chart of your split, what would that look like? For example, if you find yourself enjoying creating music but also enjoy babysitting your cash flows, then you may have a 50/50 split. Some are 80 percent artist, only 20 percent entrepreneur. The essence of defining this has everything to do with how you spend your time most effectively. If you are more artistic driven, then you will need a team of support around you to handle the business on your behalf. This will mean you are likely going to rely on others to make sure your cash flows are happening. But the trade off is that while you are immersed in your world of creating, you’re paying others out of your income flow to handle the business. If you’re more like a 60/40 split, then that means you’ll have to allocate more time to watching the business side of your career and less time in the studio creating. It’s a very simple formula, but once you’ve been doing your career a while, it is likely an epiphany that could really help you. A great example is if you find yourself more driven as a creative artist split, then you’ll likely want to cozy up to a record label to handle everything else. This seems obvious, but many artists that do this end up regretting the bank balance down the line because the label’s is significantly more than their own. But when you take on the indie artist route so you can keep more of your pot of gold, then you also are the one having to finance everything. So either side has it’s benefits and unfortunate negatives.

4) Develop Your Role As A Politician
As much as you may not like politics, it’s real and not going anywhere. Every business that has any financial upside has politics. It’s naive to take on the attitude that you can avoid it, because either your own team or the people involved in a new opportunity are going to have a myriad of personalities to navigate. I’ve learned the hard way that the words I use in phone conversations, emails, or even texting can help or seriously hinder a relationship. How you interact with industry people, including fellow artists and managers, can seriously impact the path to reaching your goals. It’s a people-centric industry where relationships dictate everything. Knowing how to adjust your expectations and communication role to appeal to the audience you’re in front of (whether on stage or off) can seriously affect your future if you don’t practice flowing with the current that you’re around. There’s a time to go upstream in your career, but that’s usually after you’re well-established and have enough relationships to cash-in on your chosen position.

5) Become A Sprinter
There seems to always be a season of a music journey where the ground beneath you starts to shake and shift. It’s in those times you need to quickly move to solid ground to avoid losing what you’ve built. Usually this involves carefully defining those monuments and stable things around you that aren’t necessarily going anywhere. For Spencer, it has been his faith in God, his family and a few industry peers who have been through the same journey or on the journey with him. Having the ability to quickly rely on those stable places when your career or life are being jolted by circumstances, is essential. A lot of artists become jaded and isolate themselves or burn bridges so much that when troubled times happen, they have nowhere to run. Sometimes the stable people they thought they had, end up not being so stable. Or sometimes they relied too heavily on others to handle their career and when those people are no longer involved, they don’t know what to do. Perhaps the one stable person is you. You are absolutely able to control your own choices even when circumstances may seem that you have no choice. Every choice just has a consequence you have to live with, good or bad. Running quickly to a stable place can often times avoid disaster because you steered clear of certain doom.

6) Beware Of Getting Hooked
While I’m in the midst of a trivial “ocean” metaphor, why not discuss fishing. Most artists, at one time or another, are tempted by amazing lures that many industry related people throw in the water nearby. Some industry types use very attractive bait to gain your attention and it’s very easy to get excited about what is dangling in front of you. First off, the bait has a hook. It always does. As I’ve experienced, you’ll get tempted by bait hundreds of times when you’re starting out. Sometimes it’s logical to take a bite and see what happens. However, the majority of the time you’ll get reeled in… be taken into a place completely out of your environment… and, sadly, get examined for a while and then thrown back in the water. Just like a fisherman, you go to the water with a bucket full of bait and keep fishing until you find the big catch you’re looking for. These industry people are fishing 24/7 and will catch and throw back many artists before they decide to keep a few. As a potential fish, just keep in mind that you should be particular about shiny objects trolling your water and equally be aware that if you decide to put yourself in a new and larger body of water, the bait gets more sophisticated.

While there’s never an immediate knowing of how a decision can impact your career, the longer you’re in the business, the more you learn about how to navigate choices toward hopeful results.

Spencer showed up on the movie set and within 24 hours of hearing the director declare a wrap on the scene and day of filming, Spencer was lying in his bed back at home. The picture of a music career is more of a puzzle being assembled where the shape and quantity of pieces lying in your view over time aren’t always understood at first glance, but as they are assembled, it becomes more obvious how they all interconnect.

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Artist Susan Sweet Talks About Painting And Living In Rural Nova Scotia

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Bright and Lion, (c) 2009 Susan N. Sweet. Acrylic, 30″ by 40″ diptych.

Perhaps it was inevitable that I would eventually end up interviewing family – as I am not the lone artist in our bloodline. So, as a photography and arts blogger, it made sense to corner my aunt, painter Susan Sweet, and try to squeeze a little more than an artist statement out of her. Here is my attempt.

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Hearts and Flowers, (c) 2008 Susan N. Sweet. Acrylic, 24″ by 24″.

Michael Ernest Sweet: Why paint? I always ask this of painters and they usually don’t like the question, but too bad, I want to know?

Susan N. Sweet: I paint because I can’t stop. I will often do almost anything to avoid getting started, but then once the paint hits my brush, it is what I want to do and where I want to be. It is the form of art making I am most interested in. I look at everything and imagine how I might paint what I see. The more immersed I am in a painting, the more the world around me breaks down into colours and planes of light, and how I might describe them.

Michael: My grandmother (your mother) was a creative person in many ways, having operated a business, Lady Martock Fashions in Sleepwear, for a couple of decades after retiring from teaching. She both designed and made these often elaborate, almost Victorian, nightgowns. It wasn’t painting or photography, but she certainly was designing. Do you think she had any influence on your life as an artist?

Susan: My mother, Muriel, was the only art teacher I ever had in my first thirteen years of school. She taught art in the basement of Windsor Elementary, and was my teacher in Grade five. I think she was a bit hard on me as I was her child and she never wanted to appear biased. She was supportive of everything her children pursued and not that concerned with how much financial success we achieved, as long as we were happy and doing okay. I think that was her influence on my career in art making – just do what you want and try to be happy. Her true impact on my life, all our lives, as you know, is very hard to articulate.

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Young Mabel, (c) 2014 Susan N. Sweet. Acrylic, 20″ by 16″.

Michael: Your maternal grandfather was also an artist. In fact, he was a wood carver of some note that depicted domesticated animals. Could some of your animal art be genetic, or is it simply a product of growing up in the Nova Scotia countryside?

Susan: Probably a bit of both. I did not know either of my grandfathers, both died long before any of us were born, but I was very familiar with his wood carvings, a very primitive style of Nova Scotia folk art. I like the idea of continuing the subject matter that was such a part of all of our lives.

Michael: Familiar indeed! One advantage to interviewing a relative is that I know some of the stories. For example, many of those wood carvings of your grandfather’s encountered some damage. Could you tell us about that and the ensuing irony?

Susan: That story featured prominently in my 2008 solo show “Broken Horses, Spotted Cattle”. When I was five and my brother, your dad, was four, our mother had gone back to teaching and left us with the housekeeper. I was not happy about that. So, I enlisted the help of my brother and we quietly went upstairs to the flat my grandmother lived in and got into her cabinet full of the wooden carvings and broke the legs and tails off of as many as we could. My mother was furious and, of course, wanted to punish us, but my grandmother, also a teacher, said no, they are just little children and they don’t know what they’ve done. Of course, I did know what I intended to do, and that was hurt my mother for leaving us to return to work, but what I didn’t know was the hurt I had caused my grandmother and how she understood my feelings. I still have many of the broken carvings. A few years after the incident we did attempt to repair them, but of course it was too late.

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Cow Horse, (c) 2012 Susan N. Sweet.
Acrylic, 30″ by 20″.

Michael: All of your animal paintings are exquisite. Many people tell me that you are able to capture the personality of their pets. When you paint horses I, personally, find something really magical about them. Do you think your relationship with real horses growing up helps you in your artistic work? Are you able to talk, or whisper, to horses?

Susan: No, I am not a horse “whisperer”. I do talk to horses, all of us horse people do that. For many years I breathed and lived horses. I do think my personal relationships with horses have helped me when drawing and painting them. Having grown up with horses and been around them daily for a very long time, one understands how they are built and how they move. There is a long history of equine art throughout the centuries, humankind has had an important relationship with horses that enabled our ancestors to travel, hunt, work the land, etc.

Michael: Indeed, we see beautiful examples of equine art from prehistoric times in the caves at Chauvet, for example. So, yes, we do seem to have been drawing them from the very beginning. You were recently commissioned to paint the official 250th anniversary commemorative painting for the Hants County Exhibition. My grandfather (your father, Ernest Sweet) was President of the exhibition for many years, including the 200th anniversary, how do you think he would feel about this if he were alive?

Susan: Oh, I think he would be delighted and quite pleased that I was approached to paint such a special commission. He loved Exhibition week. This fair is the oldest fair in North America and moved to its present location in 1951. My dad would have participated in livestock competitions beginning in the late 1930s, when the fair was held at the Fort Edward Hill in Windsor, Nova Scotia.

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Exhibition Painting, (c) 2015 Susan N. Sweet. Acrylic, 36″ by 32″.

Michael: Grandad was an avid supporter of rural life and agriculture – having held other positions at The Atlantic Winter Fair and the NS Agriculture Association, for example. He also farmed (in some way) most every day for likely close to 70 years. What impact does this heritage have on your work?

Susan: I do find most of my subject matter comes from rural life. Horses, cattle, and the land, all figure prominently in what I paint. I am always interested in how we treat our domesticated animals, both the ones we eat and our companion animals. I feel very fortunate to live in a rural area where I am close to where our food is grown and where we are concerned with what happens on the land. Urban areas are so exotic to me! My father was an avid horseman. He worked the woods and the fields as a young man with horses, and his love of these things influenced me greatly. I also saw what happened to so many people as the family farms slowly disappeared. As my father slowly sold his own farming assets over the years, I became involved with horses and competing at the same fairs where he had shown his own cattle years before.

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Phyllis, Millicent and Jody, (c) 2012 Susan N. Sweet. Acrylic, 32″ by 37″.

Michael: During your BFA, at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, you worked in painting and photography as well as printmaking. The photography stuck with you for some time afterward, and of course you still paint, but what about the printmaking?

Susan: Printmaking became just too hard after I left the open studio environment of university. I found both intaglio and lithography a fascinating form of art making, but technically overwhelming, and I don’t feel my work was all that memorable from my university years. I do still find myself drawn to prints, especially intaglio. Nova Scotia has some fabulous print makers thanks to the department run by Ed Porter and Bob Rogers at NSCAD University for many years.

Michael: I often marvel about the lifespans of so many artists (and photographers too) it seems (from my casual survey) that so many live such long lives. I think about Alex Colville, whom I knew, and how he worked into his nineties. Do you think there is something therapeutic or particularly healthy about a life as an artist?

Susan: Oh my goodness no! I do know of many older artists, in fact the gallery where I work summers represents a 92 year old who is still painting, but I am sure many other professions can offer up such individuals too. I often think there are so many toxic materials artists use in their work and that we are putting ourselves in danger! I don’t have a sense of calm when I paint. Painting for me is always a struggle and a challenge when it is being pulled from my heart. I find no relaxation in painting. I am focused though, and I can paint in public with no problem. It doesn’t bring me contentment though, not really. I am happy when I am painting, but it is the hardest thing in the world.

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Vivian, (c) 2015 Susan N. Sweet. Acrylic, 24″ by 24″.

Michael: For a while you went in a direction that was a bit more commercial with your Animal Art business (earrings, brooches, ornaments, even small drawings of pets) but more recently you seem to have returned to fine art. What inspired this shift away from business woman, if you will, back to les beaux-arts?

Susan: I needed to say something in my work that could not be achieved through a commercial practice and taking a risk to paint what matters to me seems to be working. I also worked very small for many years and my body was rebelling against the ten hours of sitting every day. I still produce commercial portraits of animals for clients, but I follow my heart and luckily people do respond to my current body of work.

Michael: Often many artists reach a point in their career where teaching becomes an option – that is, schools seek you out. This can also be an important income supplement to support personal projects. Have you ever thought about teaching part-time, perhaps a class at your old alma mater?

Susan: I would be the worst teacher ever. I have conducted an occasional workshop, and those are fun. Many people in our family are teachers, and really good ones – I am not one of them.

Michael: Not only living in a more remote rural area, but also working in a home studio can become quite isolating, I would imagine. How have you dealt with this, perhaps more negative, aspect of the creative life?

Susan: It does mean that one must work very hard to be noticed. We’ve become reliant on the internet to communicate so much. I like living and working in a rural area, and even my rare excursions into civilization only involve small towns and cities. I think we sometimes miss the positive aspects of peer criticism working so isolated, but the area where I live has many other artists working in various media. I can also have my studio right in my home.

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The Percheron King, (c) 2012 Susan N. Sweet.
Acrylic, 36″ by 24″.

Michael: In the years when you and I both lived at the family home in Martock, we often fought like brother and sister, or cats and dogs. I think this has a lot to do with my obsessive compulsive tendencies and your “artistic” messiness, If I can express it this way. Oddly enough, we both ended up as artists, and would likely live under the same roof more easily now. Or would we?

Susan: Oh, we are much more mature now. Or at least I am! We would easily get along. I am still extremely messy though, be warned, that hasn’t changed. Come here anytime, there is lots of room to work!

Michael: I’d love to, believe me. New York City is wonderful, but it’s a very BIG kind of wonderful and sometimes I long for the quiet of the countryside. To finish up, tell me, who has influenced your work as an artist?

Susan: I admire the work of Rosa Bonheur. She could really paint a horse! Joe Fafard of Saskatchewan is fabulous. Mary Pratt of Newfoundland. Edward Hopper, David Hockney, Tom Thompson (and any of the group of seven) and Emily Carr. There are so many I admire, but in the end, I find I can only paint the way I do.

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Simone, (c) 2015 Susan N. Sweet. Acrylic, 24″ by 24″.

Susan Sweet is a painter who has spent most of her life in rural Hants County, Nova Scotia. She graduated in 1990 from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Art, with a minor in Art History. Her work is held in many public and private collections, including the Nova Scotia Art Bank. Follow or contact via Facebook or her website.

Michael Ernest Sweet is a Canadian writer and photographer. He is also Susan’s nephew. Michael lives in New York City. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or through his website.

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This V. Wise Cat Understands How Hard It Is To Be An Artist Today

“Sometimes people ask me, is it harder to be a director because you’re a cat? I mean, sure, sometimes it’s hard to get a director to take you seriously when you have paws instead of hands or whatever. But most of the people I meet are honestly really great.”

This is Emily. She’s a cat; a lady cat, to be specific. And an aspiring filmmaker. And she gets it.

She knows what it’s like to compare yourself to your peers and hate yourself for it. She understands having big ideas but no cash or time to make it happen. She gets it when you spend hours stalking success stories on Twitter and IMDB and dive headfirst into a shame spiral. She’s a smart kitty.

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This wise feline is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based filmmaker Yulin Kuang. If Marcel the Shell and Paw Paw from The Future had a very creative offspring, she’d be it.

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If she’s not already taken, we’d really like her to be our mentor. Preach, girl.

H/T Buzzfeed

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Frida’s Garden, Frida’s Closet: The Artist and Her Personal Artifacts

Ishiuchi Miyako, Frida by Ishiuchi #34, 2012-2015. © Ishiuchi Miyako. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery.

Of all the important artists of the modern era, Frida Kahlo’s work is perhaps the most inseparable from her biography and her unique physical appearance. Her life and art are presently interpreted in three exhibitions–in New York, London, and Mexico City–through the objects she surrounded herself with or used to adorn her body. By studying Kahlo’s personal effects and the environment she immersed herself in, can we learn anything new about the artist we know so well? Do these objects reveal something about her daily reality that her stoic visage belies? Followers of the Kahlo-cult won’t be disappointed with these three exhibitions of her artifacts, which aim to deepen our understanding of her relationship to life and death, pain and beauty, and her enduring love of Mexico.

A reimagined version of Kahlo’s garden at the Casa Azul (Blue House), “FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life,” installation view, 2015. Courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden. Photo: Ivo M. Vermeulen.

“Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life,” curated by art historian Adriana Zavala at the New York Botanical Garden, celebrates Kahlo’s love of nature in this summer blockbuster exhibition. Walls painted an intense azure blue complemented with accents of terra cotta evoke Kahlo’s lifelong home, known as the Casa Azul, in the Coyoacán suburb of Mexico City. In the Garden’s conservatory, cacti, succulents, and colorful marigolds take center stage on a brightly painted pyramid, a scale model of the one at Casa Azul that Diego Rivera used to display his collection of pre-Columbian sculpture. Calla lilies, sunflowers, ivy, palms, and other types of flowers and plants that Kahlo painted, and pinned in her plaited hair, appear in abundance. In a small gallery in the library of the Botanical Garden, fourteen of Kahlo’s paintings and works on paper are also on display, focusing in particular on her still life paintings, which abound with melons, citrus, cactus fruits, and sometimes birds or other animals.

“FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life,” installation view, 2015. Courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden. Photo: Robert Benson.

“Art, Garden, Life” is verdant and succulent, an unabashed celebration of Kahlo’s iconic art and likeness, and of Mexican culture in general. “Frida al Fresco” evenings bring live music, cocktails, and Mexican dining to the Botanical Garden; “Frida’s Flora and Fauna” leads children and families on a scavenger hunt for botanical specimens; and “Cooking with Frida” demonstrations teach visitors how to prepare Mexican cuisine. Kahlo felt an intense connection to Mexico–in the years she spent abroad in the United States and France, she complained bitterly of homesickness–and particularly to the Casa Azul, whose surroundings and lush plant life loom in the background of many of her paintings.

An evocation of Frida Kahlo’s studio overlooking her garden, “FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life,” installation view, 2015. Courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden. Photo: Ivo M. Vermeulen.

Frida Kahlo began and ended her life within the confines of the Casa Azul. It was at Casa Azul–as Kahlo lay convalescing from the traumatic trolley accident she endured at the age of 18 that would haunt her for the rest of her life–where she first began to paint. It was at Casa Azul where she and Rivera entertained countless Mexican and international artists, poets, and intellectuals. And it was at Casa Azul where Kahlo died, in 1954, at the age of 47. Her ashes rest in an urn in one of the rooms on the upper floor. After Kahlo’s death, Rivera placed her personal belongings–her clothes, jewelry, medical supplies, and other items–out of view, in a bathroom of the Casa Azul, which was to stay sealed until 15 years after his death. Rivera died in 1957. The room, however, remained shut until 2004.

Ishiuchi Miyako, Frida by Ishiuchi #2, 2012-2015. © Ishiuchi Miyako. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery.

At Casa Azul, now the Frida Kahlo Museum, the items that were locked away for so many years are now on display in a long-term exhibition entitled “Appearances Can Be Deceiving: Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe.” Her many Tehuana dresses bear witness to her fierce sense of Mexicanidad, while invoking, as curator Circe Henestrosa argues, the image of the powerful women of the matriarchal Tehuantepec region. The long skirts also benefitted Kahlo in that they disguised her infirmities: her withered right leg, the result of a bout of polio she contracted at the age of six; and the effects of that devastating traffic accident, wherein her spine was broken in three places, her uterus pierced through, and her foot crushed. The lasting trauma from the accident would prevent Kahlo from ever bearing children, and forced her to wear orthopedic braces and corsets to support her spine, particularly later in life as she became increasingly weak. These corsets and prosthetics, along with her dresses, costumes, jewelry, and other items displayed throughout five rooms of the museum, demonstrate how Kahlo went about constructing her identity. The exhibition’s title originates from a drawing by Kahlo showing her frail, buttressed body, disguised by the voluminous folds of her skirts and shawls.

Ishiuchi Miyako, Frida by Ishiuchi #36, 2012-2015. © Ishiuchi Miyako. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery.

The objects, prosthetics, and adornments through which Kahlo transformed herself hold a striking power. Japanese artist Ishiuchi Miyako, invited by Henestrosa to document Kahlo’s secret wardrobe when it was opened at last, captured these objects in an extraordinary series of photographs, on view now at Michael Hoppen Gallery in London. Ishiuchi’s photographs have garnered an immense response from a worldwide audience. These photographs, simply styled and elegant, seem to translate so effectively the character of Frida Kahlo–her shimmering vitality, her independence, her coquettish style, and her resilience in the face of pain and trauma. The prosthetic leg she had fashioned, after her right leg was amputated near the end of her life, reveals a defiant pair of jingle bells. A wretched old cast she wore over her torso, embellished with circular mirrors, illustrations, and a prominent hammer and sickle symbol, demonstrates her allegiance to Communism as well as a healthy dose of surrealism.

Ishiuchi Miyako, Frida by Ishiuchi #100, 2012-2015. © Ishiuchi Miyako. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery.

Ishiuchi Miyako is adept at conveying through photography the inherent memory of objects. In previous projects, Mother’s (2000-2005) and Hiroshima (2007-ongoing), Ishiuchi takes as her subject worn garments evoking absent bodies, some of them victims of the horrific nuclear attacks of World War II. While Ishiuchi knew very little about Frida Kahlo before documenting her wardrobe, she came to be acquainted with the artist through the traces left behind on her personal belongings. The remarkable, magnetic energy of these items is vibrantly clear in her photographs, from the abundant, heavy folds of Kahlo’s Tehuana skirts, to the delicate, moth-eaten fabric of a swimming costume. In one photograph, a pair of long black gloves stretches slender fingers outwards, grasping and ghostly.

Ishiuchi Miyako, Frida by Ishiuchi #86, 2012-2015. © Ishiuchi Miyako. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery.

Although interpreting an artist’s work through her life and personal items gives us an incomplete view–appearances can be deceiving–these displays of Kahlo’s relics and passions reveal facets of her constructed identity, and show that her love of life, nature, and Mexico, and her battle with disability, death, and trauma, were intrinsically and vitally connected.

“FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life,” installation view, 2015. Courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden. Photo: Robert Benson.

 “FRIDA KAHLO: Art, Garden, Life” at the New York Botanical Garden is accompanied by an extensive catalogue, special programming events, and special artist projects. It is on view through November 1, 2015.

Ishiuchi Miyako, “Frida,” runs from May 13 to July 12 at Michael Hoppen Gallery in London.

“Appearances Can Be Deceiving” at the Frida Kahlo Museum remains on view at the museum until 2018.

–Natalie Hegert

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Korean American Artist Nam June Paik Inspires Elementary School Students

They filed in, one by one, a long line of fourth- and fifth-grade students, quiet and well-behaved until they crossed the threshold of the Asia Society gallery. And then, one by one, they gasped, cried out, and– in the case of one young boy– jumped and nearly fell on landing. “Oh, man!” said one of the students. “Check out my robot!”

A months-long project culminated May 19 when children from four New York City public schools saw their own work on the walls and the gallery floors of a major cultural institution. Each fall, Asia Society invites students and teachers to a major exhibition at the museum, then works in partnership with Studio in a School to help the students craft their own art inspired by the show. This year marked the 22nd year of the program, and the original exhibition featured the work of technology-obsessed contemporary Korean American artist Nam June Paik, whose work with robots and televisions starting in the 1960s and 1970s presaged many social and technological advances of the 21st century. The students from P.S. 297 in Brooklyn, P.S. 75 in Manhattan, and P.S. 87 and P.S. 182 in the Bronx used materials and concepts that the late Korean American artist would have recognized to create robotic suit jackets; a “pet” made from the chassis of a vacuum cleaner; a tree showing the evolution of the telephone; and other imaginative works.

“I’m famous,” said one young boy as adults snapped photos of him and the robot he had helped design.

Among those on hand for the opening was Agnes Gund, President Emerita of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), long-time arts patron and founder and chair of Studio in a School. In the Asia Society auditorium prior to the gallery tour, Gund congratulated “these brilliant young artists” for their creativity and skill. She praised the “thoughtful collaboration” among Studio in a School, the schools’ teachers and principals, and Asia Society, and gave special thanks to Nancy Blume, head of arts education at Asia Society.

Gund singled out the piece Baby from the series Robot Family Sculptures, the creation of five boys from P.S. 75 in Manhattan. The piece was built with, among other materials, a basketball for a body, a videocamera lens hood for its mouth and energy-efficient light bulbs for hands.

“I think it’s a terrific work of art,” Gund said, “and I happen to have an interest in basketball.” She explained, to laughter from the students, that she was a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers and had watched their win over the Atlanta Hawks the previous night.

“We fought a lot about how to make it great,” said Isaac, one of the students who designed Baby. “I think Mr. Nam June Paik would have liked it.”

Just a few feet away from Baby lay Dog, also part of the Robot Family Sculptures series and a creation of Chloe and Stephanie from P.S. 75 in Manhattan. This piece, it turns out, had been inspired by something missing from Asia Society’s Nam June Paik show.

“There were robot moms and dads but no pets, no animals,” Chloe said. “So this is kind of based on his art, but kind of our own idea, too.”

The students’ art will be on display at Asia Society Museum until July 19 in an exhibition titled Inspired by Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot. The show and this partnership with Studio in a School is one of the coolest things we do, and just as much a part of our mission as the visits of Asian leaders to our stage. The idea behind both is the same — building bridges of understanding between the people of Asia and the U.S.

“You are the youngest artists to exhibit at the Asia Society Museum,” Peggy Loar, Asia Society’s Interim Museum Director, told the children. “And this is a museum where some of the artists were born three thousand years ago.” Loar spoke of the power of a young person’s creativity and working as a team. Before the children left, she invited them to return with their families and receive free admission to see the exhibition and share their accomplishments with their loved ones. “Just come in,” she said, “and say you are one of the artists featured in Inspired by Nam June Paik.”

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In ‘Cloud Nine,’ Artist Kate Durbin Asks Women ‘What Have You Done For Money?’

Head over to the website for Los Angeles-based artist Kate Durbin’s newest project, “Cloud Nine,” and you’ll be greeted by a few lustful mouths lined with dollar bills, flirtatiously positioned above a rather intrusive question: “What have you done for money?”

The question is aimed at female-identifying artists, all of whom are encouraged to submit their “confessions” anonymously to a designated email address. There, Durbin gives no hints as to what she’ll do with said confessions, so The Huffington Post reached out to the artist to figure out exactly why she’s soliciting women online, under the guise of a common cam girl name — cloud9.

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“The connection with the cam girl has to do with the fact that many artists I know do sex work in order to have enough time and money to be artists,” Durbin explained. In an earlier interview with the pop culture blog Konbini, Durbin said that the responses she’s received already have indeed ranged from sex work and sugar daddies to babysitting, PR jobs and parental and governmental assistance. She’s heard about jobs from stints as assistants to pizza delivery, even reality television.

By prying into the lives of female artists, Durbin wants to highlight the difficulties creatives face — particularly women — in securing funds for their work, whether it’s compensation for pieces made or financial support to travel and show their work. The fact that women artists earn less money than men is hardly a secret; for example, in 2012 alone, every artist in the top 100 auction sales was a man. Durbin digs deeper than that, though, confronting the fact that women outnumber men in art school (according to Gallery Tally expert Micol Hebron, women constitute between 65 and 75 percent of students in MFA programs), only to enter a world in which men make up 70 percent of gallery-represented artists.

Below, find out what Durbin had to say about art-school debt, her own financial history and exactly what she’s doing with her collection of anonymous stories.

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What was the inspiration for Cloud Nine?

I started noticing how often my artist girlfriends’ conversations revolved around money and not what was inspiring us to make art.

I noticed how often they Skyped into conferences, because they had no institution or funding source to support their attendance. I noticed how often they didn’t write because they had to work an 8-4 job just to pay rent and then work some more to pay off their student-loan debts. I noticed how often they defaulted on their loans because they didn’t have money to pay them. I noticed how many of them had sugar daddies and felt like they had to hide it. I noticed how many of them had trust funds and felt like they had to hide it. I noticed all the adjuncts who were teaching six classes at three different schools and not making enough to live, and also not making art. I noticed all the paintings being flipped and selling for bank, and then I noticed my friends who were on food stamps and who couldn’t afford dental work.

I started to notice everything in the world around me that had to do with art and money, and I paid attention to it, instead of ignoring it — instead of believing in the fantasy that these were all “individual failings,” that none of these people were “good enough” artists to make it. This is how “Cloud Nine” came to be.

How many stories have you gathered so far, and how did you go about reaching out to women?

I have 50-plus stories so far, and hope to gather more. The call is viral on Facebook, and Konbini’s article helped. I’ve reached out to female-identifying artists who I know personally, and have asked them to share their stories and to spread the call. I’m specifically reaching into as many communities as I can, of varying socio-economic backgrounds. The project is DIY. I don’t have a team reaching out for me. I’m doing this while simultaneously working other jobs.

What form will “Cloud Nine” take once you’ve compiled the stories?

I will be performing the piece live online via video stream on New Hive and also on one of the world’s biggest sex camming sites simultaneously. I don’t want to give the performance away, but I will be playing with the idea of “confession,” performing as a cam girl/artist. The stories will be woven into the performance.

You mentioned to Konbini that talk of how artists make money was never discussed in school. Ideally, what would these discussions look like to you? Would you have benefited from a class geared toward the economics of being an artist?

The short answer is yes, but I think we have larger systemic problems that won’t be alleviated by a class on the economics of being an artist (although that should just be mandatory within our current system). It should also be noted that not all artists create the type of work that can be bought and sold for money (take poets, for example), or want to work within the gallery system.

MFA programs themselves perpetuate debt, as well as credentialism: two economic disadvantages to artists. Yes, some programs pay full tuition, and those are the ones people should be attending. The fact that it’s sort of a given for artists to get MFAs — and, increasingly, PhDs — is a sign of the bureaucratization of our era. And of course, many people get MFAs in order to go on to teach, yet most teaching work is now adjunct labor. Adjuncts are not paid a living wage and not given any job security. The majority of adjuncts are women. Can you see how the odds are stacking higher and higher against female-identifying artists (and, let’s not forget, artists of color, queer artists, trans artists)? Can you see how increasingly it is only artists who had money to begin with who can succeed in such a system?

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People have long said that artists should “know what they are getting into” when they become artists and suffer. Now people are starting to say that to college teachers. It’s a way to shame people from speaking out against systemic abuse — and neglect is a form of abuse. We exist currently in a system that does not support human beings with basic resources to use their gifts in this world. We exist within a system where art is not valued, which makes sense, because human beings are not valued in this system either. But is this the world we want? If not, we need to overcome our shame and fear and speak out about the realities of our lives as artists.

That is the first step. Then, to dream of something better. Yoko Ono says, “A dream you dream alone is just a dream, but a dream we dream together is reality.” I personally would love to see something like universal basic income put into place as a step toward alleviating this problem. It also serves to alleviate the increasing income equality and unemployment that is resulting as technology and robots take over human jobs over the next few decades. So this is not just about artists — artists here are the canaries in a coal mine, in a sense. Yet of course it would be beautiful to live in a world filled with art, instead of people producing things or doing jobs they don’t care about just to eat and die.

Obvious question: what have you done for money?

What haven’t I done?

I plan to share my full job history during the performance, but I will give you a partial rundown now of some of the jobs I’ve had. I started working when I was 12, running my own babysitting business in two neighborhoods. I worked almost every day — my parents homeschooled me, and as a result I could work all the time. Through high school I worked in fast food, at Krispy Kreme, and in college at a Jamba Juice knock-off shop and then at a mom-and-pop health food store. After college I worked a series of miserable administrative jobs, from data entry to [being an] administrative assistant to writing the intros for religious radio shows.

For the past seven years, since I got out of grad school, I have worked as an adjunct professor both in person and online. I often worked more than full time but did not have health insurance or a living wage. Next year will be the first year I have a full-time teaching job. I love teaching, but it is very hard to make a living teaching college.

There is more to my economic history that is difficult for me to talk about, all of which I will confess during the performance.

Do you have anything else you want to add to people who either want to take part in the project or see it when it’s completed?

I would love to hear your stories if you want to share them with me. All of your identifying information will be removed, so it’s totally anonymous. Please send your story to cloudnineconfess@gmail.com.

Tune in to the “Cloud Nine” performance on May 28 on New Hive at 7 p.m. PST/10 p.m. EST. Images by Tien Tienngern.

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Artist Richard Prince Sells Instagram Photos That Aren’t His For $90K

Did you know someone could resell your Instagram pictures for $ 90,000?

Richard Prince, an established artist who plays with authorship and appropriation, made waves at the Frieze Art Fair a couple of weeks ago with his Instagram paintings.

Prince took screenshots of gorgeous Instagram pictures uploaded by models, celebrities and artists, and added creepy comments underneath, like, “Enjoyed the ride today. Let’s do it again. Richard.” Then he printed the images on canvas. Last fall, he exhibited them at the Gagosian Gallery, where they sold for $ 90,000 each.

He took photos of Sky Ferreira, Pamela Anderson and porn stars, as well as Doe Deere, the CEO of Lime Crime. Last week, she Instagrammed a picture from the Frieze exhibition.

You’d think the original Instagrammers could sue Prince for copyright infringement. But because Prince edited the photos to include his own comments, the works count as original pieces of art.

Not everybody agrees Prince’s appropriation is artistically valid. Los Angeles-based artist Audrey Wollen, whose reinterpretation of Diego Velázquez’s “The Rokeby Venus” was reprinted, told i-D last fall that she was “really angry” he’d taken her work.

“What Prince is doing is colonising and profiting off a territory of the internet that was created by a community of young girls,” she told the outlet.

A critic at ArtNet laid into Prince after the Gagosian show too, writing that it had “thin offerings for anyone who is in possession of a brain.”

Some artists, though, appreciate the exposure. Stacy Leigh, whose photo series of sex dolls was featured on The Huffington Post last week, commented on Instagram that Prince “knows a good thing when he see’s it” [sic].

Prince had reposted one of her images on his Instagram, which has since been taken down. When another user asked if he printed her image for the exhibition, Leigh replied, “I wish he would!!! I would be honored.”

Missy Suicide, the founder of pinup girl website Suicide Girls, had a photo taken of the site’s main Instagram account, as well as those of her models.

“I’m not holding a grudge,” she told The Huffington Post. In fact, she noted that it seemed natural Prince was drawn to the Suicide Girls, which has 3 million Instagram followers. “Our girls’ portraits are the most compelling on Instagram, so of course he found ours,” she said.

Nor is she critical of his work. “He’s starting a conversation about what we put out there in the public, and it’s definitely an interesting conversation to start having,” she said. Missy’s just surprised people paid $ 90,000 for the images.

To bring his work down to a more affordable price point, Suicide Girls is turning the reproduction tables back on Prince by reproducing and selling their own reproductions of his reproductions. The profits will be donated to charity.

“We’re just happy to make his art accessible to the kinds of people that he’s featuring,” she said. Ironically, the Gagosian press release warns that “All images are subject to copyright.”

The Gagosian Gallery and Richard Prince did not respond to requests for comment.

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Artist Jim Bachor Fixes Chicago Potholes With Ice Cream Mosaics

ice cream sandwich

Devouring a melty, delicious Good Humor bar on a stoop on a steamy July afternoon — does anything say “summer in the city” more perfectly?

With the hottest months fast approaching, mosaic artist Jim Bachor is bringing those frosty memories to streets around Chicago. In a series called “Treats in the Streets,” Bachor fills in potholes in city avenues not just with cement, but with bold, colorful mosaics of ice cream treats.

ice cream sandwich pothole

“Potholes are universally hated/despised no matter who you are,” explained Bachor in an email to The Huffington Post. “Ice cream is (almost) universally loved.” This isn’t the first time he’s both repaired and beautified potholes with his art. Last fall, he installed flower mosaics in a number of potholes in Chicago. “I like the contrast of juxtaposing something ‘bad’ with something ‘good,’” he says.

While an untended pothole is an annoyance, a public eyesore, even a danger, Bachor’s guerrilla mosaic repairs are both practical and healing on a more soulful level. Instead of jagged holes in the concrete, Chicago streets are dotted with cartoonishly bright, meticulously crafted patches of public art, adding a touch of optimism to the neighborhood.

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Many street artists work in ephemera — graffiti that will soon be removed, murals that will eventually be painted over — but Bachor is intrigued by the possibility of longevity offered by these street mosaics. “Ancient mosaic art — its durability astounded me,” he says. “2,000-year-old mosaics look exactly like the artist intended today!” By combining this durable art form with a problem of crumbling infrastructure, he saw a way toward achieving two highly desirable ends.

As for the beneficiaries of his reparative art, he says the Chicago public has been “overwhelmingly positive” about the project. City officials have been more measured in their response. Last year, city spokesman Bill McCaffery told The Chicago Tribune, “Mr. Bachor and his art are proof that even the coldest, harshest winter can not darken the spirits of Chicagoans. But filling potholes is a task best left to the professionals and CDOT.”

Fortunately for the grateful citizens of Chicago, Bachor isn’t leaving well enough alone. Instead, there are a few fewer potholes, and a few more pieces of striking public art, around the city. Sounds like a great start to the summer.

ice cream cone

bomb pop

creamsicle pothole

creamsicle

soft serve

twin pops

HT Junk Culture

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Conversation with Artist Micki Pellerano

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On the occasion of my friend Micki Pellerano‘s solo show at American Medium in Brooklyn, I spoke to him about the things that matter to him: drawing, growing down, experiencing pain, pop music and of course love.

Below is an excerpt from a rather long talk I had with Micki exclusively for Huffington Post readers. There are plans to release the entire conversation among some of my other conversations in book form later this year.
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MP: There’s this book The Soul’s Code written by a psychoanalyst named James Hillman. He talks about this Socratic theory stating that before you’re born, there’s this ethereal being – Socrates called it your ‘daemon’ – who determines that your precise incarnation is the best suited for it to unleash its supernatural purpose into the world. It chooses you and your life as a vehicle. The book is about doing service to that.

There’s this chapter he calls “Growing Down” – how if you’re especially good at channeling this daemon energy, sometimes it requires adjustments to the confines of terrestrial existence. Like you have trouble with things like social norms or societal structure because this energy is coming out of you all the time. Then he talks about Judy Garland for example and, you know, how she had trouble being a mere mortal because she was this total beast.

I mean I’m no Judy Garland, but I sort of feel it’s time to grow down.

MN: (laughs) I don’t think you could be normal if you tried. You conforming is a funny idea to me, it’s comical.

MP: I think a degree of it is necessary if you want to be an effective artist. Joseph Campbell explores that very idea – comparing the bodhisattva to the artist. Someone who achieves this transcendental realization and then they choose to come back, and share what they have obtained with their race. And the bodhisattva has to conform to the desires of his socio-economic climate in such a way where his message will still resonate to his world.

MN: I think every artist has to wrestle with this in some way. Every once in a while you find a Warhol or a Bowie who figures it out. How they can be pop but also be scary and be all these things that speak to the animal inside you. Little Richard does it effectively. He speaks to the Lucifer inside you, but he makes it sound like lollipops.

MP: Yeah that goes for a lot of pop music in general. Except I think things are different now, and pop culture has been sanitized of its daemons. People don’t like that anymore.

MN: I wonder why? Pop music functions best when it’s not self aware, when it’s channeling something really evil under an unsuspecting guise.

MP: Well even 60’s girl groups. The Crystals, the Shangri-La’s. That music is all about death and destruction. All these harsh, painful realities and yet it was done so sweetly and palatably that people were really responsive to it. I love 60’s girl groups, it’s one of my favorite genres.

MN: Me too.

MP: And that’s precisely why: the contrast between the childish naiveté and this sinister violence, masochism, codependency, abuse. It’s all so adolescent but so painfully real. Maybe we are all adolescents when it comes to falling in love.

MN: That’s what makes the cute aspect of pop so effective.
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MP: I think this latest body of work is about embracing that wild, you might say pubescent, rage and channeling it in the service of the daemon. The show’s title, Celestial Love, is the name of a poem by Emerson, whom I didn’t know until recently. There are a lot of explicit references to alchemy in his poems, and transmuting pain into personal evolution. Sublimating it into something that makes you feel vivid and alive.

MN: He’s a transcendentalist, right? Makes sense. Your work seems very experiential to me.

MP: I actually think it’s been helping me grow down, exploring my own experience as a human among other humans. Alchemy is about eroding the things that hold back the daemon. If I can sense spiritually “Whoa, this is changing, this is dying, something’s boiling up so that a new substance can emerge.” I need to be sure that that energy is channeled is not just squandered. Consolidating something like that into a drawing is really helpful to divert that energy into a specific goal. And it’s universal because everyone is going through these processes in their own way.

I’m lucky to say that I’ve tasted love in this immeasurable, magnificent capacity. If you surrender to that and really let yourself live it, even if it’s almost unbearable, it’s a huge gift. I feel so stoked on my psychic experiences as of late. And the people and the poets who brought them about. I’ve done my best in my feeble way to put across how I see and experience that kind of immensity. It’s not an easy thing to render.

Like when your heart breaks it’s an interesting phenomenon. It separates you from one person, but then it unites you with this ocean of other people, who are experiencing life and its pain right along with you. That’s why those sentiments are so resonant in our pop songs!

MN: Pop music is the ultimate vehicle for transmuting pain because it reaches so many people, it’s almost like a religion.

MP: Anything that chips away at your limited view of yourself and opens your eyes to the immensity of what you really are can be called a religion of some sort. The real enemy is within. And so is the real guru. When you’re free of your self-imposed limitations, that’s when you can manifest your true life purpose. That’s freedom.

People hold the government responsible for taking their liberties away, but no government really has the power to do that. Or people think “the government is watching.” I mean, I would feel really special if the government were using their precious time and resources just to watch me, or read my email.

We like to see the oppressor as something outside of us but really it’s inside. The trick is to let the daemon slay the oppressor. Just like Little Richard did.
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You can see Mr. Pellerano’s exhibition of drawings at:

American Medium
424 Gates Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11216

It’s running now through June 6, 2015
*all images courtesy of the artist.
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FABRICATIONS: Meet Queer Fashion Designer And Artist Ben Copperwheat

This is the twelfth installment in a miniseries titled “FABRICATIONS” that elevates the work of up-and-coming queer individuals working in the fashion world. Check back at HuffPost Gay Voices regularly to learn more about some of the designers of tomorrow and the way their work in fashion intersects with their queer identity.

Originally hailing from the United Kingdom, Ben Copperwheat is a queer fashion designer and artist living and working in New York City. His clothing is heavily informed by both his background in screen printing and his work throughout a variety of facets of the fashion industry, and his designs have appeared on the likes of Boy George, Liza Minnelli and Pat Cleveland. Read the interview below to learn more.

ben copperwheat

The Huffington Post: What has your journey as a queer artist and fashion designer entailed?
Ben Copperwheat: I was born in Luton, England, 30 miles north of London and lived the first 28 years of my life in the United Kingdom. I had an interest in art at a very young age and drew pictures of Disney characters in my childhood and Madonna in my teens while listening to the pop music my mum would play. At 18 I enrolled in the local art college and, with the nurturing of wonderful tutors, I went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in Creative Arts at Bath Spa University. My aspirations led me to London and the Royal College Of Art of which I graduated with an MA in Printed Textiles in 2001. This jumpstarted my career and since then my journey has been a wondrous ride of exploration and growth.

After graduating I taught textiles for fashion at Northumbria University in England. This was great as I enjoy working with students, but it also enabled me to pursue print design projects with a variety of different people and companies. After two years working in London I felt ready for a big change. It doesn’t get much bigger than New York City! I had visited New York twice before and had fallen in love with its fizzy energy and sky-high possibilities. My cousin was already living in NYC, so this made the transition easier.

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Upon arrival in 2003 I applied for jobs, and almost immediately I was offered a position as a print designer at Calvin Klein Jeans. I worked at CKJ for five years and I had a great time. I learned a huge amount about the fashion industry, met some lifelong friends and travelled the world to cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Berlin, Paris, London, Barcelona, Dehli and Jaipur, shopping for inspiration. During my time at CKJ I also designed print collections for Stephen Burrows, Sue Stemp and Peter Som. In 2008 I desired more freedom so I left my job and transitioned to a freelance print designer.

In 2009, in partnership with my cousin Lee Copperwheat, came the formation of the clothing label COPPERWHEAT. We produced five seasons for New York Fashion Week in a variety of venues including Soho Grand Hotel, the Maritime Hotel and Cappellini store in SoHo. This was a huge learning curve, a tumultuous ride, the outcome of which was some beautifully made, very cool clothes. Ultimately, this label and partnership was not meant to be. In 2012 we went our separate ways, at which point I threw my creative energy into what I know best: screen printing. This juncture felt like a new beginning, and came with it a freedom of expression more vibrant and unrestrained than I had previously experienced. With a print area built into my duplex apartment in Bushwick, I went for leather and printed clothing, wallpaper and interior fabrics. I started selling pieces in Patricia Field’s store on the Bowery and producing commissioned outfits for clients.

liza

Where have your designs appeared?
Through my work with Stephen Burrows, my prints have adorned the bodies of Liza Minnelli, Pat Cleveland, Gail O’Neill, Alva Chinn, Anna Cleveland and Lily Cole. With the label COPPERWHEAT we were featured in Dazed, Surface Magazine, Vogue Italia, Style.com, collaborated with Palladium Boots, Singer Miguel and Bruno Mars. For my own brand, Ben Copperwheat, my prints have been worn by NBA star Russell Westbrook, commissioned for Will Sheridan, Rod Thomas of Bright Light Bright Light and, most recently, I designed the stage outfit for the Boy George/Culture Club reunion tour and merchandise T-Shirts. Boy George debuted this outfit on “American Idol” in March 2015.

boy george

What does it mean to you to be a queer designer? How does your queer identity intersect with your work?
Queer has always been a tough word for me to embrace, as growing up in England I was bullied for my sexuality from as early as I can remember to the age of 8. Queer was one of the words I was called, along with “bent” and “puffter.” I feel, as time goes on, the word “queer” is becoming more of a friend. So, therefore, to be a queer designer, living in New York City is a gift. I feel incredibly grateful to have the freedom to express myself through my clothing, art and interactions in such a vibrant culture — especially when there is so much oppression and suffering throughout the world. I have been openly gay/queer for over 20 years, so my queer identity is without a doubt synonymous with my work. Bright color and graphic pattern are predominant features in my designs, which is not the norm in current fashion and art. I feel “queer” represents that which is not the norm.

Who does Ben Copperwheat design for? Who is your audience and how do your designs cater to them?
I design for anyone who is looking for something different and visually exciting. My designs are a cross between artistic streetwear and high-end fashion. Whomever wears them brings their own personality and dimension to the prints. I have fans and clients of all ages and backgrounds. I wear my designs daily as I find this to be the most comfortable form of self-expression and I am regularly stopped on the street by a cross-section of admirers. I am inspired by the world around me — in particular New York City — and I feel my work reflects this.

Historically the fashion world has been extremely queer friendly — what role do you think the fashion world has played within mainstream acceptance of LGBT identity?
I feel it definitely has played a part in mainstream acceptance, especially Vivienne Westwood, with her embracement of all things queer. Also, other designers in tandem with popular music, specifically artists such as Madonna working with Jean Paul Gaultier, Lady Gaga with Alexander McQueen, Pet Shop Boys with Jeffrey Bryant to name a few. On the other hand, designers such as Dolce & Gabanna and Giorgio Armani are trying to turn the clock back with recent comments. Such is the push and pull nature of progress.

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What does the future hold for Ben Copperwheat?
With 15 years working as a designer and turning 40 this coming September, I feel that I am only just starting to realize my full creative potential. To be an artist/designer is a lifelong vocation, so with, I hope, at least another 40 years left on this planet I have many great things to come. I am currently in a group show curated by my friend Walt Cessna, “#INTERFACE Queer Artists Forming Communities Through Social Media” at the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York. I am also planning work for a solo art show in NYC. I would like to show solo again at NYFW when the time feels right — branch out more into interiors (wallpaper/murals/fabrics). I am turning my apartment into a “museum” of my work, where every surface is printed/painted. Design costume and sets for theater. Get back to painting — I started out as a painter while at art school. Continue to nurture relationships with recording artists and performers and design more stage outfits. My ethos is that prints can be applied to anything. The nature of my work is very versatile, and I intend to continue to evolve in this way.

Want to see more from Ben Copperwheat? Head here to check out the website. Missed the previous installments in this miniseries? Check out the slideshow below.

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A Love Letter To My Mother, An Artist

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My mother is an artist. She wouldn’t introduce herself that way. In fact, I’d bet some of her friends and relatives are oblivious to her talents. But she is an artist. The kind of artist that studied her craft in college; painting was her speciality. She once told me that she helped pay for school by finishing other students’ still life assignments, selling her work to the kids who couldn’t hack the job. That kind of artist.

But she’s also the kind of artist that never stopped creating even after she left art school behind, started a career in business, married, gave birth to three exhausting girls and moved halfway across the country more than once. I grew up believing that everything my mom touched turned to art, because, frankly, it did. She covered our bedroom walls in murals of our choosing, sewed us matching Easter outfits (our teddy bears got them too), repurposed furniture with nothing but a feather duster and a can of Behr.

And then there were the crafts. My mom often instated No Television Weeks — we were made to believe these were part of some sort of national initiative, which turned out to be very untrue — peeling us away from the screen with popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners. We screen printed our own Warholian T-shirts, we made Goya-esque monsters with felt and buttons, we pretended we were Play-Doh’s answer to Calder. She was never one to wax poetic on the history of dead guys, though I’m sure she knew it all too well. I didn’t know Andy from Francisco until much later. We didn’t spend hours in museums either. She preferred dirty hands and happy kids. Kids who knew how to conquer a pencil until it poured forth something spectacular. Kids who sat at a sewing machine and stitched until pretty things happened.

She took pride in everything she did, too. My mother was endlessly clever with all her projects, whether she was hosting a Girl Scout camp, entertaining our birthday partiers, prepping neighborly gifts for the holidays. Speaking of, her festive decorations are still the stuff of beauty. She once used nylons and Christmas-hued fabric to make life-size elves that she lovingly displayed climbing up the columns of our old house in the Midwest. When one of my high school boyfriends stole the handcrafted wooden candy corn creations she featured for Halloween, it was Vincenzo Peruggia all over again. Everything was rightfully sacred. She’s that kind of artist.

Back then, I thought this was all standard. That every kid grew up with a reserve of acrylic paints, an extensive knowledge of the merits of various glues, and, most importantly, a mom who could do anything. I thought everyone made their own birdhouses, hammering and painting until a tiny home just appeared, right there on the table. Like my belief in No Television Week, I was obviously ill informed. I became an adult and realized this wasn’t everyone’s reality, that my sisters and I, we were some of the lucky ones.

Now, I write and read stories about art for a living. And even though we live in different states, I feel close to my mom every day I sit down to work on a story. I cherish those moments when colleagues ask me how I got into it all, because I get to tell them about her. I tell them how, recently, my mom decided to give my father — a rather rabid Boston sports fan, comically the perfect yin to her yang — a gift. She recreated Fenway Park’s Green Monster scoreboard in his basement sanctuary, gloriously memorializing a Sox win against the Yankees in a shade that envies SC-12. I beam with pride when I think about it.

If and when I have children, I want to be this kind of mom. I want to fill my house with finger paints and stained glass kits and modeling clay. I want to deviously proclaim No Television Week, and watch as my daughters’ initial rage fades into this incredibly pure sense of wonder. I want my kids to experience that pride my mom feels when she makes, the pride I felt and feel now.

So yes, mom, I want to be just like you. Happy Mother’s Day, to my favorite artist.

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New Artist Reviews: Sonic Fear

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Music is a selfless, living organism that grows and evolves, always giving and never taking, even in the face of criticism. Its evolution has spanned the history of mankind, awakening our auditory cortex like a desert flower in bloom. From tribal drum beats to Mozart’s piano concertos, music creates a space where simplicity and complexity are equal. One solitary beat can move someone just as easily and powerfully as a symphony. New York based classical composer and electronic music producer Adam Reifsteck is set to release his new EP Horizon on May 12, 2015. His studio alias, Sonic Fear, has been garnering attention in not only the EDM community but also the classical music community.

Receiving an M.M. from Western Michigan University and a B.M. from Duquesne University, Reifsteck’s fine-tuned craft has earned him several accolades. His original compositions have been performed by Attacca Quartet, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Duquesne University Chamber Singers, Flutronix, Gaudete Brass Quintet, Mana Saxophone Quartet and Western Michigan University Chorale. In addition to releasing Horizon on May 12th, he is currently working on a new clarinet quartet commissioned by the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble. His compositions are a testament to the timelessness of classical music, keeping it alive within the millennial generation.

Though passionately immersed in the world of clarinets and quartets, Reifsteck has also found a home in the world of electronic music. With a background in music technology, Reifsteck’s transition from classical to electronic music was as seamless as a crystal ball.

Horizon visits many facets of the EDM spectrum. From dancefloor-ready beats and hypnotic trance to meditative and thought-provoking downtempo, Sonic Fear paints vivid soundscapes in a symphony of color.

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In addition to being a classical-composing, electronic-music-producer, Reifsteck has recently launched his own record label, Teknofonic Recordings. Horizon will debut on Teknofonic Recordings as the label’s first release. Reifsteck’s goal is to create a place for other genre-bending artists to discover their sound, reach new audiences, and most importantly, be heard. 2015 looks to be a big year for Reifsteck as he is also working on a contemporary classical piece titled Fragmented Fractals as well as creating an interactive iPhone app that engages listeners on both audio and visual levels.

The artistry of EDM has been under scrutiny since its inception. Like all new genres of music, however, it has not only flourished in spite of criticism, but has evolved from it, finally becoming a respected style of music. The Beatles were once hated as angry protesters burned their records in the streets. Now they are considered the greatest rock band of all time. Sonic Fear is among the many talented electronic artists who are changing the misconceptions of the genre. His classical influence and ear for music is apparent in his mesmerizing beats and ethereal melodies. There is nothing but light on Sonic Fear’s horizon.

Sonic Fear paints a soundscape that is as sweeping as a velvety meadow and as pulsating as a lover’s heartbeat. Sound needs no rest, food, love or companionship to exist. It simply is, even if we are not there to hear it. It is when we manipulate sound into music, however, that it needs us to exist. Those who create music, speak the language of the soul. Those who hear music, keep this language alive.

Website: http://www.sonicfear.com
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Soundcloud: http://www.soudcloud.com/sonicfear

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5 Tips About How to Stop Thinking Like a Starving Artist

Most of my life I believed that if I went after a creative career I would struggle financially. It was deeply ingrained in my belief system. I would think about phrases like “poor starving artist” and “feast and famine are part of an artist’s life”. It was a nonsensical belief system that was very damaging to my motivation. I literally believed all artists or creative’s had a hard time.

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I also felt like if I enjoyed my work and my creative projects, somehow I shouldn’t be paid properly or at all. Because I get joy from design, writing and art it used to be hard to expect actual money from being creative. Some people don’t value the arts as much as others. I have found a wide range of appreciation towards artistic projects from other people. Many people I have met have a great appreciation for design, writing and paintings. Other people I have met don’t value it at all. So as you can see the attitude and value is very different depending on the person viewing the work. How you value your own work is the most important part when getting over old crappy belief systems. You must believe you are good enough and talented enough. The rest falls into place with more confidence each step of the way.

My second belief deeply ingrained in me was if people thought I was creative they did not think I was business savvy. So I had a silly thought that I could not be creative and business smart at the same time. I held onto this conflict for most of my life. I am now 38 and realized a couple of years ago that I needed to change my inner thoughts around creativity, business and art. My life and business changed drastically, once I switched my thinking around.

1. Find some audio tapes so you can replace your belief system around feeling like a starving artist.
Start listening to people, podcasts and audio that speak highly of creativity and art. Invite people into your life that respect and admire your work. Focus on telling yourself the opposite of what you believe about money and creativity. I personally found I had to completely change my way of thinking around my work and what I have to offer the world. It took serious focus and quite of bit of time listening to other positive words around the subject. Audio tapes about positive thinking, business and art became my new best friends.

2. Make more art!
I say F**k what other people think. Don’t be shy, don’t hold yourself back, and don’t stop being you creatively because you are afraid. The more you feel inhibited, do the opposite and jump into your creative side, go for it. Use the fear like it is oil to fire. Be stubborn and keep creating!

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3. Read more about what you feel afraid to learn, or think you can’t learn.
I felt uncomfortable around selling and marketing my own creations. So I switched my thinking and read as much business and marketing books I could possibly get my hands on. I hated this thought at first because all I wanted to do was design, draw, sketch, paint and write! It felt awful at first but once I took control, I felt so much better. The best part was, I felt more confident about my work in every way, including business. As soon as I faced my fears, I started earning more money for my creative efforts. The results felt instant!

4. Vulnerability brings great lessons in life.
Being vulnerable with your art, writing and creativity can be a huge step for some, including me. I always shied away from truly putting myself in front of people. I really disliked the feeling of possibly being rejected or feeling judged. I decided that my vulnerability was just what I needed to go forward. Nowadays if I feel vulnerable I take it as a sign that I need to do more of it. The rebel side of me comes out and I just make the leap into the unknown and see what happens. Feeling rejected is all part of the process. Of course we are going to get rejected sometimes but you can’t get a big fat “yes” if you don’t try. Trust me, the uncomfortable feelings soften and become less of an issue, the more you simmer with your own vulnerability.

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5. Hide out for awhile and stop any outside influences from interrupting your change of thinking.
Changing how you perceive something takes time. You may need to back away from friends or family for a little while, until you get grounded on your new way of looking at creativity. For me, if I honor my ideas by executing them and being true to myself I then value my work in a much higher regard. Taking yourself seriously and working hard, can increase your creativity and trusting the process can open up opportunities as if by magic.

Do you like this blog? Comment below, I would love to connect with you and hear your thoughts.

Visit www.MandalaSky.com to see some of my creations!

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Mozart The Man And The Artist

Mozart The Man And The Artist


Purchase one of 1st World Library’s Classic Books and help support our free internet library of downloadable eBooks. 1st World Library-Literary Society is a non-profit educational organization. Visit us online at www 1stWorldLibrary. ORG The German composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was not only a musical genius, but was also one of the pre-eminent geniuses of the Western world. He defined in his music a system of musical thought and an entire state of mind that were unlike any previously experienced. A true child prodigy, he began composing at age 5 and rapidly developed his unmistakable style; by 18 he was composing works capable of altering the mind-states of entire civilizations. Indeed, he and his predecessor Bach accomplished the Olympian feat of adding to the human concepts of civility and civilization. So these two were not just musical geniuses, but geniuses of the humanities. Mozart’s music IS civilization. It encompasses all that is humane about an idealized civilization. And it probably was Mozart’s main purpose to create and propagate a concept of a great civilization through his music. He wanted to show his fellow Europeans, with their garbage-polluted citystreets, their violent mono-maniacal leaders and their stifling, non- humane bureaucracies, new ideas on how to run their civilizations properly. He wanted them to hear and feel a sense of civilized movement, of the musical expressions of man moving as he would if upholding the highest values of idealized societies. One need only listen to the revolutionary opening bars of his famous Eine Kleine Nachtmusik to see this.

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Genius Makeup Artist Transforms Himself Into Kim Kardashian, Dakota Johnson, Other Female Celebs

Paolo Ballesteros, a 32-year-old Filipino actor, model and makeup artist, wowed the Internet last year with his jaw-dropping ability to transform himself into seemingly any female celebrity under the sun — with little more than some deftly-applied makeup.

Ballesteros is making waves yet again this month with several new transformations. He made himself up as Kylie Jenner and as the newly-blond Kim Kardashian, as well as Dakota Johnson, the star of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

A photo posted by @pochoy_29 on

A photo posted by @pochoy_29 on

A photo posted by @pochoy_29 on

Ballesteros, host of the Filipino variety show “Eat Bulaga,” told The Huffington Post in an email Tuesday that he started experimenting with celebrity makeup transformations after watching tutorials on YouTube. He made a few attempts, he said, and was “surprised” at how quickly he took to it.

Over the past few months, Ballesteros has transformed himself into several female celebrities. They include Cate Blanchett…

A photo posted by @pochoy_29 on

Cher…

A photo posted by @pochoy_29 on

Jennifer Lopez…

A photo posted by @pochoy_29 on

Ariana Grande…

A photo posted by @pochoy_29 on

…and Jennifer Lawrence.

A photo posted by @pochoy_29 on

Ballesteros told HuffPost that the hardest part of his metamorphoses is getting the nose just right.

“My nose is smaller and shorter [than most celebrities],” he said. “It took me a while to figure out how to do it. By drawing new nostrils, it made my nose more pointy or bigger.”

For see more of Ballesteros’ celebrity makeup transformations, visit his Instagram page.

H/T Perez Hilton
Style – The Huffington Post
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The Top 10 Beauty Products for Brides, From a Celeb Makeup Artist Who’s Getting Married Soon

Your wedding day is one time when you want to be sure you're using all the best possible beauty products—but where to begin? With this list from celebrity makeup artist Kayleen McAdams. Not only…




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The World’s Largest Artist Colony Is About To Be Bulldozed

In the heart of New Delhi lives what is said to be the world’s largest collective of performers — puppeteers, drummers, monkey tamers, snake charmers, singers, acrobats, and more. Their family units can include more than a dozen members. Dads and moms pass their art down to the kids. In Kathputli Colony that’s simply how things are done.

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Chatta Khan, a 45-year-old monkey tamer, is just one of thousands of performers living in the famed Kathputli Colony. By Mark Leaver.

Whether tradition will continue this way is another story. The 3,000 families of Kathputli are facing a major threat to their way of life, a standoff that’s mesmerized local papers and documentarians abroad who have trekked to the so-called magician’s ghetto.

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Honey Bhatt, 12, is a drummer. By Mark Leaver.

The colony began in the 1950s, when Delhi was not so dense as it is today. Now the land it sits on is central and valuable. Accordingly, powerful entities are vying for it. The civic body who owns the land, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), plans to evict all the current residents to make room for luxury flats and a shopping mall.

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Portrait of Punna Gujat, a 65-year-old chair-maker. By Mark Leaver.

Kathputli means “puppeteers,” but the word has come to stand for every type of magic that happens in the 6.5-acre colony. Recently, photographer Mark Leaver visited to document the scene before it disappears. Leaver took portrait style shots of the performers in their homes, which he plans to compile into a book.

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Sundra Beui lives in the colony with her husband, a painter. By Mark Leaver.

The accommodations are hardly luxurious. The houses are basic and crowded onto narrow streets that smell of sewage. Families often sleep on the floor to store their equipment. Because of the colony’s slum-like spirit, DDA officials and others behind the conversion justify the imminent bulldozing as a lifestyle improvement.

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Laxshman Bhatt is one of many puppet makers in the colony. By Mark Leaver.

But residents argue that their unique lifestyles are necessitated by their art, and therefore unimpeachable. “Our lifestyle is our identity,” Aziz Khan, a magician who holds a Guinness World Record title, told a Time reporter who visited the colony in March. “The lifestyle of a multistory building is not for us.”

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Fifty-year-old Basanti Bhatt has perfected the art of head balancing. By Mark Leaver.

The DDA’s line is that the project caters to residents, who are slated to shift to a high-rise building billed by the government as a modern artists’ community equipped to nurture street art. Residents are largely skeptical. They doubt they can store puppets as large as 15 feet in a “cramped flat,” as the colony’s eldest resident, puppeteer Puran Bhat, told Time. And their families are larger than average. Bhat’s, for instance, comprises 18 members.

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Puppeteer Jagdish Bhatt poses with one of his dolls. By Mark Leaver.

Then there is the interim housing the DDA is trying to push residents into right away, which many have criticized as shoddy and susceptible to wind damage. Last month saw incidents of police violence against men and women in the colony, including beatings by lathe and tear gas sprays. One 15-year-old boy described being dragged out of bed while sleeping, beaten and slapped, and taken to the police station, where “a senior cop asked me why we didn’t shift to the transit camp at Anand Parbat.”

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Thirty-year-old Susila Bhatt holds her son Moono, one of the colony’s youngest residents. By Mark Leaver.

Speaking to Time, one magician blamed “middle-class India” for making a mass eviction possible. Folk artists, he opined, are “at odds with the image of India as a rising power.” Many are hoping to sway the government into preserving the colony as a tourist attraction, a workaround that could address the issue of national self-image.

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At 80 years old, puppeteer Kesar Bhatt is one of the colony’s eldest residents. By Mark Leaver.

“We perform for the poor as well as the rich, for the Prime Minister as well as the commoner,” Bhat, the colony’s eldest resident told Time. “And we have always lived like kings without worrying about the future.”

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The tented homes of Kathputli. By Mark Leaver.

Arts – The Huffington Post
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Artist Launches Bonsai Trees And Other Lovely Plant Arrangements Into Space

We’ve heard that outer space is, visually speaking, a pretty majestic experience. Yet although the galaxy beyond is undoubtedly filled with stars and misty clouds for days, there aren’t any decorative touches around to spruce up the space.

Enter Tokyo-based artist Azuma Makoto, aka the official interior decorator of outer space. For Makoto’s recent artistic endeavor, entitled “EXOBIOTANICA,” he launched a 50-year-old Japanese white pine bonsai, along with an arrangement of orchids, hydrangeas, lilies and irises, into the great beyond.

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The carefully arranged greenery was expelled from planet earth from Black Rock Desert, Nevada — also the location of the Burning Man Festival. The whole project was taped, thanks to the six GoPro cameras strapped to the balloons which carried the plants. As you could probably guess, the juxtaposition of crisp floral arrangement and the empty wilderness of outer space is a surreal sight to behold.

“I went to Amazon, Brazil last year and created art pieces with plants that were full of aliveness in dense forest where I could hear groan from the earth,” the artist explained to the Huffington Post. “This was a mind-blowing experience since I really felt that I was arranging the plants onto the earth. For this EXOBIOTANICA project, one of my inspiration sources was curiosity – I asked myself, ‘what would it happen when I arrange plants on the globe, from up in the sky?’ as a concept that is completely opposite of what I did in Brazil.”

The goal was simple: “I wanted to explore how flowers and plants would bloom, decay and change outside of the earth. I wanted to seek and tell how their beauties will look with the earth as its background.”

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Before actually launching the flora into outer space, Makoto, in collaboration with John Powell of JP Aerospace, “experimented number of times under low-temperature and did rehearsals for camera’s angles beforehand so that we would able to estimate what would happen to some extent.” Despite all the preparations that took place, nothing could predict the staggering beauty that results from the strange and enchanting vision of a domesticated floral arrangement floating through the unbridled Milky Way.

Now that he’s tackled outer space, Makoto has set his sights on artistic destinations closer to planet earth, though just as visually compelling. “For the next steps I would like to try various conditions such as the bottom of the sea, volcano, the Arctic and the Antarctic to see what kind of expressions flowers and plants would display. These challenging concepts make me excited by only thinking about it.” We cannot wait to see where Makoto brings his lucky bouquets next.

See the breathtaking photos below and let us know your thoughts in the comments:


Arts – The Huffington Post
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12 Perfect Edgar Degas Quotes To Help Unlock Your Inner Artist

On one July 19, 180 years ago this Saturday, a man named Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas was born in Paris, France. You may know him better as Edgar Degas, and you may know him best for his dreamy paintings behind the scenes of the ballet.

Ballet is an art form that privileges all things perfect and pristine, but Degas took inspiration from the dance’s sloppy moments i between — every hunched back, sullied slipper, slumped posture and awkward stretch. Degas took his fascination with the beauty of ugliness outside the ballet studio as well, rendering cabaret singers and circus performers as something monstrous. Not to mention that “L’Absinthe” painting; it doesn’t get much darker than that.

Though in retrospect Degas is often referred to as an impressionist, he considered himself a realist, illuminating his notion that reality often lies beyond what they eye can perceive.

In honor of Degas’ big 180, we’ve compiled some words of wisdom from the iconic artist, illuminating the workings of one of the greatest mind’s art history has ever known. From his fear of fame to hatred of art critics, the following quotes will give a glimpse into the twisted and brilliant mind of good ol’ Hilaire. Prepare to be inspired.

1. On the importance of a little mystery

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“A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.”

2. On the need to challenge yourself

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“You must aim high, not in what you are going to do at some future date, but in what you are going to make yourself do to-day. Otherwise, working is just a waste of time.”

3. On the unpredictable nature of success

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“There is a kind of success that is indistinguishable from panic.”

4. On the questionable veracity of art critics

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“Art critic! Is that a profession? When I think we are stupid enough, we painters, to solicit those people’s compliments and to put ourselves into their hands! What shame! Should we even accept that they talk about our work?”

5. On the importance of opening your eyes

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“We were created to look at one another, weren’t we?”

6. On the myth of spontaneity

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“I assure you no art was ever less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and study of the great masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament — temperament is the word — I know nothing.”

7. On the necessity of solitude

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“It seems to me that today, if the artist wishes to be serious — to cut out a little original niche for himself, or at least preserve his own innocence of personality — he must once more sink himself in solitude. There is too much talk and gossip; pictures are apparently made, like stock-market prices, by competition of people eager for profit; in order to do anything at all we need (so to speak) the wit and ideas of our neighbors as much as the businessmen need the funds of others to win on the market. All this traffic sharpens our intelligence and falsifies our judgment.”

8. On the quaint notion of knowledge

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“What a delightful thing is the conversation of specialists! One understands absolutely nothing and it’s charming.”

9. On maintaining that youthful spirit

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“Everyone has talent at twenty-five. The difficulty is to have it at fifty.”

10. On the gravity of imagination

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“It is very good to copy what one sees; it is much better to draw what you can’t see any more but is in your memory. It is a transformation in which imagination and memory work together. You only reproduce what struck you, that is to say the necessary.”

11. On the ambivalent appeal of fame

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“I should like to be famous and unknown.”

12. On the incomparable power of art

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“I put it (a still life of a pear, made by Manet, ed.) there (on the wall, next to Ingres’ Jupiter, ed.), for a pear like that would overthrow any god.”
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Robert De Niro’s Anxiety of Influence: Remembering the Artist Premieres

Back in the 1970’s when Robert De Niro was breaking out in films–Bang the Drum Slowly, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver–his dad Robert De Niro, Sr. was a painter of note, influenced by the European modernists Manet, Matisse, and Picasso, but never to equal the fame of his actor son. By the time De Niro, Sr. died in 1993 of prostate cancer, he left behind a significant body of work, journals and other writings revealing pride in his actor son, homosexuality, and depression. Now De Niro, the son, encouraged by his Tribeca Films producing partner Jane Rosenthal put together a documentary about his father, Remembering the Artist, directed by Perri Peltz and Gita Gandhbir that will air on HBO on Monday night.

On Thursday night at the DC Moore Gallery in Chelsea, Robert De Niro’s paintings eclipsed all the stars. The actor’s friends, Christopher Walken, Thelma Schoonmaker, Regis Philbin and wife Joy praised the work. Tony Bennett, a painter, had never met De Niro’s dad, admiring the exhibit. In fact, De Niro had a show in Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of the Century gallery, a major early recognition, and continued to exhibit throughout his life. The exhibition catalogue lists his shows with bibliography and also features a 1958 ARTnews essay about the artist with photographs by Rudy Burckhardt.

Albert Kresch, a fellow painter, speaks about the artists’ milieu, the Cedar Tavern, as a mecca for abstract expressionists like Kline, DeKooning, and Pollock, noting that De Niro would have nothing to do with it, feeling himself superior, as art world tastes shifted toward the commercial and pop Warhol, Lichtenstein and Kelly. Little is revealed about Virginia Admiral, De Niro’s mother, a painter too of some early acclaim who met her husband studying with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown. She stopped painting, needing to be more practical, she told her son, a resonant glimpse of the talented, pioneering women of that time, and their thwarted ambitions.

At a Q&A after the MoMA screening, Gita Gandhbir said it was most difficult to make a lively film portrait when the subject is dead. With De Niro’s wistful interview at center, the documentary remembers a significant artist of his time, and stands as an eloquent tribute of son to father.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.
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Artist Heimo Zobernig Channels Picasso In The Digital Age

With an eye for sharp-edged abstraction and painterly self-awareness, artist Heimo Zobernig conjures the creative spirit of Pablo Picasso in the digital age. Working in painting, sculpture, video, architectural intervention, institutional critique, and performance, Zobernig explores the relationship between ideas and their artistic representation.

Initially I painted wildly, in all imaginable styles, but later on I settled on radical geometric abstraction as my preferred technique,” the artist explained in an interview with Kaleidoscope Press. “My sources back then often had nothing to do with art, which led to clear deviations from convention.”

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Heimo Zobernig, Untitled, Acrylic on canvas, 2013, courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York
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Zobernig’s current exhibition at Petzel Gallery, his third solo show, riffs off a 2012 Picasso exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zurich. This source exhibit was itself a re-creation of a 1932 Picasso show at the same space. In an email to The Huffington Post, Zobernig explained his inspiration with Picasso’s “radical avant-gardism with which he precedes the conventions of developments in painting again and again.” With neon streaks and an underlying rigid geometry, Zobernig remodels and remixes Picasso’s iconically simple line and all the artistic freedom it embodies.

The show also features a series of mannequins donning tee shirts, tape and metal studs, creating a space where the human body and the geometric grid intersect. He recalled to Art Forum’s Karin Bellmann when, as an art student, Zobernig wanted a dummy for his showroom for no apparent reason and subsequently felt like there was a living presence in the room with him. “It occurred to me that objects could appear alive,” he said. “This is a moment where a sensation from the unconscious enters our consciousness. It really fascinated me, particularly because my approach to art usually is very sober.”

Zobernig’s exhibition combines theory, history and a dash of humor in a postmodern visual display which self-consciously reveals its modernist threads. When asked what modernism’s titan would think of the contemporary art world, Zobernig replied: “Picasso was always committed to the present and informed about the current happening. That would be the same today.”

Zobernig’s exhibition runs until June 21, 2014 at Petzel Gallery in New York.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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This Artist Turned A Major Street In Bristol Into A Huge Water Slide

That’s no street — that’s a slip ‘n’ slide!

So it was Sunday, when some 360 people in Bristol, England, went careening down Park Street on a 300-foot homemade water slide.

The slide, a crowd-funded project by artist Luke Jerram, was built from little more than plastic sheets, hay bales, water and a dash of liquid soap.

If you look at photographs in the 1900s you see these beautiful empty streets with all the kids playing out.” Jerram said to the BBC, explaining part of his inspiration for the slide. “It’s an extraordinary thing and all that has been taken away.”

According to NPR,nearly 100,000 people applied to take a run down the slide — unfortunately, only 360 riders ultimately got to take the plunge.

h/t Good News Network

Check out photos of the event, below:

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Artist Adrien Broom Reveals the Inspiration Behind Her Fanciful Photos

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(Photos Courtesy of Adrien Broom)

By Mila Pantovich

There are many different types of artists out there, from photographers and painters to sculptors and filmmakers, and some artists are talented enough that they excel at more than one medium. It’s pretty darn amazing though when someone has so much creativity spilling from their minds that they do all of it, and that’s exactly what Adrien Broom does.

Whether she’s working on her acclaimed Color Project in her Andy Warhol-esque studio space in New Haven, Connecticut (which includes simultaneously shooting a film and creating a book), going on the road with friends Grace Potter and the Nocturnals as their official photographer, or building ornate sets out in the woods, Adrien is always bursting with a creative energy that can only be described as beautifully organic.

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With much of Adrien’s work exuding a childlike innocence, sometimes in direct opposition with darker themes, it’s no surprise at all that her love for artistic expression grew at a very young age. Plus, her parents are both creative types; her mother manages an art gallery, and her father owns a company called H.P. Broom Housewright and refurbishes antique houses (oh yeah, and he’s also a landscape and figure painter). Noticing that she was the type of child who arranged food at a restaurant into still-life, Adrien’s mother set up a artistic after-school activity for her daughter with an art teacher named Xena. They went through a few different things (“At first we did piano and I…hated that”), before Broom started finding things that she enjoyed.

“She was the zaniest, coolest old woman,” recalls Adrien fondly. “She was kind of a jack-of-all-trades artist. She did lots of arts and crafts stuff, she was very hands-on. We would…do some drawing and this and that, and I remember just loving it…and loathing all the other after-school things [laughs].”

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Her work, which she describes as a built set that she stages narratives within, straddles the hazy line between childhood and adulthood. Many of her favorite books as a child still resonate with her today, especially in her work, and she cites Maurice Sendak and Jill Barklem (Brambling Hedge in particular) as influences. She describes her art as pulling on the childlike place within her while being very much grounded in her adult perspective. “… I really want the work to be accessible, to children and adults… there’ll be different interpretations of the work, no matter who you are, how old you are, and that’s kind of the point…”

Much of her work is deeply rooted in fairy tales and mythology, reinterpreting figures like Aphrodite and stories like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You’ll notice while looking through her portfolio that she often uses animals, both living and taxidermied, in jarring ways. Sometimes the animals are juxtaposed with people in a way that seems to imply mankind’s invasive way of living, and other times she shows a harmonious balance. “I’m actually thinking about taking people out of my photos, and mostly having animals. I love what they symbolize, I love peoples’ connection with different kinds of animals, I love that they are social creatures, even though we don’t really understand. I love kind of combining our social ways with them. I just like the contrast, the beauty. They’re just gorgeous.”

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One of her favorite places to shoot is Ray of Light, a rescue farm in Connecticut. “They have the most gorgeous animals that they’ve rescued from different walks of life. Like that picture with the zebra? It’s actually a half-zebra-half-donkey… called a ‘zonkey,’ which is the best name I’ve ever heard in my life. I think they rescued him from a circus situation. He was kind of a prima-donna, I got like, one shot before he almost destroyed my whole set,” she laughs. Though some animals are certainly easier to handle, like the turtles she used in Day Dreams, Adrien definitely doesn’t shy away from a challenge — she actually wants to start using a lot of birds in a future project she’s been brainstorming.

With so many ideas, Adrien keeps a notebook in which she jots down whatever comes to mind. “I think the best advice I’ve ever gotten in my whole life was from a photographer, and he was like, ‘Adrien, you’ve got all this stuff…you need to calm down. The best thing you can do for projects is do one project at a time.’ And I think if I didn’t do that with the Color Project, I would never get it done. I’ve put my heart and soul and all my brainwaves into this one project, and I try really hard to not think about other things till I’m done.”

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She’s been working on the Color Project for over a year now and it was partly funded through a Kickstarter campaign (the little girl starring in the project even donated five dollars). An eight-part exploration of color, the imaginative series shows a world of white as seen through the eyes of a child. The little girl first passes through a door into a red world, then orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and lastly rainbow. In looking at these images, it’s hard to picture someone physically creating the world without relying on photo editing techniques, but that’s exactly what Adrien does in her studio.

Each color takes over a month to create and shoot, starting with planning and material sourcing from her home in Brooklyn and ending with spending a couple weeks in her studio to make it a reality. Once shooting is finished, she goes back home and starts the editing process. “We build for about two weeks, but I plan the rest of the time. So it’s a lot of sketching and drawing what the set is going to look like, then finding all the materials,” Adrien explains. “A lot of people have been amazing with donating materials and time. So, it’s a lot of calling people and saying ‘This is the project I’m doing, are you interested in being involved?’ There’s a lot of planning.”

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The images are creative and striking, telling the tale of a little girl becoming a young woman through her experiencing of new worlds. Since it’s taken so long to shoot, you can actually chart the model’s growth throughout the series, which has been one of Adrien’s favorite parts. “From the first picture until now, I swear the girl’s grown like a foot,” she laughs. “And her face is changing, you know, she’s turning into a young lady, and actually, I love that, because the whole story is about growing up and discovering yourself and the world. I’m glad that it took this long to put together, so you cannot just emotionally but physically see her change. She was nine when we first started, and I think she’s about to turn eleven.”

Now that Adrien has finished the green world, she only has purple and rainbow left before this lengthy process is over and done with — something which will definitely be a little bittersweet. “I love working on them so much, but I’m so excited to see it as a full, finished project, and flip through and see the story unravel, and see [the girl] traveling through it. It’s going to be amazing to see the whole thing, but I’m gonna be sad, because I love the project.”

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Once the photography project is finished, she plans on hunkering down with her film collaborator Joe Manassi (who records video footage on shoot days while she takes photos) to figure out how exactly they want the film and children’s book to look and sound. “I’m actually debating, it might be a little backwards in a way,” she says. “I’m debating on having absolutely no words in the book, and have some words in the film. But I’m not really sure, it might just be music, but there might be words. I think I need to see the finished product [first].”

Though the Color Project may be ending soon, Adrien definitely doesn’t have a lack of things to keep her busy. She recently finished her first commercial gig for Disney and Phillips, an advertisement for night-lights based on Disney characters. “They wanted the advertisement for these night-lights to be a half-child’s bedroom, half-dream world. So I built these huge extravagant sets that were exactly that, so it was just like a perfect project for me because it’s kind of what I do anyway. It was awesome, it went really well, it was really fun.”

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She’s also been the official photographer for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals since the very beginning — Matt Burr, the drummer, is one of Adrien’s closest friends and has been since they were kids. The moment the music group is brought into conversation, Adrien makes her deep admiration and respect for them immediately obvious. She not only adores their music, but she also gives them credit for helping her gain the confidence needed to break out into the photography world.

Around the same time the band decided to make a go of it, Adrien had resolved to make a career out of photography. She started by helping the band with their press photo needs, oftentimes taking shots of them hanging out in coffee shops, while she was simultaneously working on her own projects. “With them it’s kind of fun, because there’s no set, it’s all kind of documentary. I’m in it and I’m not in control of anything. With my stuff, I’m 100 percent in control of everything, so it’s really nice to have that contrast.”

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“But then it’s crazy; they’re so insanely talented and so dedicated, they’re the hardest workers, they really motivate me a lot. Whenever I’m feeling lazy, I’m like, ‘No no no, Matt and Grace have been on the road for four years straight, get your ass out of bed.’ There’s no excuse,” Adrien laughs. “They’ve blown up, and they’re still working really, really hard, but they deserve it. It’s awesome. We just put out a book together, which is super cool. They’re kicking so much ass.”

The book, Inside Looking Out: A Decade On The Road With Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, is something the group of friends had been talking about for years and chronicles 10 years of their lives together. “They’re the ones that kind of convinced me to just say ‘f**k it’ and be a full-time photographer. I was going through a really hard time, personal life stuff, and Matt was like, ‘Get off your ass, come on the road with us, get out of the house.’ So I did that, that was the first time I really went on tour. It was the first time I was really happy in a long time,” Adrien remembers. “It just made me really happy, taking photos. I was like, ‘Oh, maybe this should be my life.'”

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From then on, Adrien never looked back and it’s a good thing too, because the artist has a lot coming up. Most recently she was invited by the Hudson River Museum in New York to contribute to a cool new project that will be taking place in seven museums around the country in 2015. Called the Seven Deadly Sins, each museum will be showcasing a different sin, each rooted in fairytales, and Adrien was invited to do “Envy” for the Hudson River Museum. Though information on the event is sparse, it’s one exhibit all of us at JustLuxe are pretty excited to check out.

“It’s gonna be half installation. I think I’m doing three rooms with full installation, and then a ton of photographs,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to that. [It’s] going to be a weird head-place to be in for like a year. It’s just like, thinking about envy all day long. [Fairy tales are] very dark, but very fascinating. I’m going to be just living in those old, old texts for a while. I think the show will be really cool.”

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We’ve chatted with a lot of artists over the years, from musicians to photographers, but Adrien personifies genuine friendliness. She may be incredibly talented, but she talks about her art in a way that invites you into her life and her process, inspiring us all to pursue what we love.

Keep an eye on the Color Project by following Adrien on her official site and Facebook page where she constantly posts updates and behind-the-scenes photos and videos!

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Arts – The Huffington Post
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MiamiBash Artist Shoutouts

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‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Makeup Artist On Matthew McConaughey’s Tan And Jared Leto’s Pink Lipstick

Five minutes into watching the Oscar-nominated film “Dallas Buyers Club,” I wanted to bury my tear-stained face in a bag of salty movie theater popcorn.

The movie’s depiction of the AIDS crisis has sparked some emotionally charged reactions from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as well. But as a beauty editor, I was also caught up in the dramatic physical transformations of actors Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. Months later, I am still awestruck by makeup artist Robin Mathew’s ability to create such convincing rashes and lesions on a $ 250 [supplies] budget.

So, how exactly did she do it? Mathews recently dished about her “Dallas Buyers Club” beauty secrets.

Spoiler alert: Read on to find out how this professional snagged an Oscar nod thanks to her ingenious use of grits, MAC lipstick and a lot of tanning products.

dallas buyers club

What was it like working with the most tanned man in America, Matthew McConaughey, and Jared Leto, an actor who is no stranger to makeup?

Both Matthew and Jared were amazingly supportive of this makeup process, and they were 100 percent involved. They realized how important it was that they look like, you know, like they had these different stages of full-blown AIDS. And it was difficult because the only time the camera wasn’t rolling was basically during our lunch breaks and makeup changes.

The director, Jean-Marc Vallée, shoots without any camera or lighting setup. So we didn’t have a grip or lighting department. The camera was always ready to roll in 5 minutes. We just shot, shot, shot and never stopped. For them to actually say, hold on a second. We gotta take 45 minutes, or whatever it was to do this important makeup change, really was a great deal of help and support. And I’m so grateful for that, and it make a big difference in the film, I think.

What type of research did you conduct to really nail down the aesthetics?

We were lucky through the production to hook up with Dr. David Hardy, an infectious diseases specialist. He really talked me through what the physical stages of AIDS looked like.

There’s three common physical traits we see with people with full-blown AIDS — they get extremely skeletal in the face; they get a rash called seborrheic dermatitis, which is kind of a rosacea-colored, patchy, flaky dry rash; and then, of course, lesions. So it was so important that they look like they were really sick. Like they were AIDS patients … pure realism. It couldn’t look like makeup and it couldn’t look like a Hollywood version of AIDS. It had to be real, which goes along with this director’s style of shooting, and I’m so excited after viewing the film that we accomplished that.

dallas buyers club

How were you able to pull off such a huge feat with just a $ 250 materials budget?

I have no idea how we were able to shoot the entire film with the $ 4.5 million dollar budget that we had. It’s 100 percent the most under-budgeted film I’ve ever done. After looking back, scrounging around, and begging and pleading for supplies from people, then calling in favors and even using food products in the place of prostheses, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so glad that we had the money that we did because we wouldn’t have got the realistic looks we were able to get. There’s such raw, gritty detail to a lot of the makeup in the film.

We were looking at the pictures, and I said, normally I would use a prosthesis for this, but what can I substitute? It looked like grits and cornmeal on top of other makeup products. So I hand-painted underneath and then I applied a makeup-effects product to make the skin look taut, dry and wrinkly. As that dried, I pressed in grits and cornmeal to make a pustule rash. We first tested it on Matthew, and he loved it and was a big advocate for it. I thought it would be the end of my career.

What was the makeup process like transforming Matthew and Jared throughout the film?

Both Matthew and Jared came to us 40 pounds thinner than they normally are, so they were pretty darn skeletal to start with. But because we would shoot so out of sequence, we would have to change them back and forth from their sickest looks to their healthiest looks many times in a day. To do that, I used products that take the red out of the skin, and I used that all over their face and bodies to make them look pale. Then I started with a contour color, a dark makeup shade, and I contoured every bone that I could find in their face or every part of their body that was showing in the costume that they were wearing that day. As they got more sick and skeletal, I just continued that contouring process further by looking at photos and where I couldn’t see the bones, I actually drew them in. Also, I drew tons of veins on their face and hands when they were at their final stages. I’d add highlight to the bones as well.

To make them look healthy, like they had gained 20 pounds, for Matthew I gave him a slight tan and I’d reverse highlighting and contouring. So everywhere I had gone in before to make them look skeletal and done the dark makeup underneath the bone and light makeup on top of the bone to make it protrude, I did the opposite. For Matthew, I also used dental plumper, these four little pieces that clip on his upper and lower teeth, and they have a bit of dental material that pushes cheeks out from the inside to make them look fuller.

My key makeup artist and I spent four and a half hours contouring every bone on their bodies for their scenes. She started on the back, I started on the front and we just went to town.

dallas buyers club

Why did you use tanning for Matthew’s character, Ron Woodroof?

It was actually Matthew’s idea and it wasn’t necessarily to make him look heavier, but healthier. He totally came up with it. Obviously it’s the opposite of pale, but Matthew and Jared had so many levels of sickness to show the different stages of AIDS throughout. [For] one of the first levels of sickness for Matthew, when he showed up in the morning on set … we didn’t do anything to him. He was super skinny and had stayed out of the sun for months, so he wasn’t anywhere as tan as he normally is. The next level would be to make him pale, so I’d start with the highlighting and contouring. But as a person, he realized he looked healthier when he had a bit of a tan, and it was his idea to add that back in.

I did it all by hand with a tanning product because, again, up to five times a day I’d have to change him back from his sickest look to his healthiest look. So anything I did had to be completely removable instantly.

dallas buyers club

Can you tell me about that bright pink lipstick Jared’s character, Rayon, wore?

I adore that lip color myself and I can tell you it’s a MAC color. That look is actually inspired from the ’60s actress Jane Forth. There is a pretty famous photo of her where she almost has identical makeup on. That, of course, is when Rayon is her healthiest and heaviest. She’s not quite the hot mess she ends up toward the end of the film.

I especially liked waxing off all her eyebrows and being able to do those fun looks where the eyeshadow comes up on the brow. I came up with the idea that Rayon would be influenced by her mother, the first female she probably had contact with in the beauty world. And Rayon would be influenced by actresses of the ‘60s because that’s when her mom was in her heyday. So I choose Jane Forth, actress Brigitte Bardot, model Twiggy and there was also a shout out to Serena from “Bewitched.” Because this was set in 1985 and Rayon is a cool cat, she was also inspired by actresses and singers of the ’80s. So there was also a nod to Dolly Parton and a Pat Benatar look as well.

dallas buyers club

Were there any scenes in the film that were particularly emotional for you?

Absolutely. Watching the film after so many times, there were scenes where I just couldn’t help but burst out crying — two of them being when Rayon is looking at herself in the mirror right before she dies, and she’s putting on makeup to try to cover up her lesions. She says, I’m going to be a pretty, pretty princess no matter what I do when I meet you. And then the scene in the hospital when she says, I don’t want to die.

Both Jared and Matthew were so into their characters … they were their characters. With Matthew, there were times he was talking to [actress] Jennifer Garner’s character about getting treatment and he actually got so scared that he started crying. And it’s not in the script or the film.

They were very emotional times throughout shooting, but we shot so quickly that we didn’t have time to think about it. We just dealt with the emotions and kept shooting.

This has been edited for clarity and length.
Style – The Huffington Post
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6 Spring Beauty Tips Straight from Beyonce’s Makeup Artist

Really? Radiant Orchid?The aristocratically named Sir John pretty much won the makeup artist jackpot last summer when he got a call from Beyoncé's team asking him to work on the Mrs. Carter tour. He then ended up creating the makeup looks for eight of the videos in her recently released visual album. Any guy who has been that close to Bey's face is someone I definitely want to know. While it doesn't seem like it (stupid polar vortex), spring is right around the corner, so I asked Sir John about spring trends and advice on how to sport scary looks like orange lipstick and radiant orchid anything. Best of all, he shared a few of his best beautifying secrets. BY CHERYL WISCHHOVER More From ELLE: The Best Makeup to Use in Pairs How to Apply Eye Shadow for Your Eye Shape The World's Best Beauty Products How to Make an Effortless Ponytail Look Chic



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Origami Artist Wants To Create A Life-Size Elephant From One Single Sheet Of Paper

His name is Sipho Mabona, he’s a professional origami artist and he wants to create a life-size replica of an elephant from one single sheet of paper. He just needs $ 24,000 to do it.

Yup, Mabona has taken to Indiegogo to crowdfund his folding dreams, asking for your money so that he can build a 10-foot-tall elephant from a piece of paper measuring 50 by 50 feet. He’s promised to install two cameras that will live video stream the whole endeavor, “so you, your friends and family can watch us.” (By us, he means himself and his three assistants, because this whacky adventure is going to take more than a pair of hands.)

Into it? Then, by all means, help out his cause here. Wondering why it would take $ 24k for the origami miracle to happen? You’re not alone. For more feats of paper, check out paper artist Nguyen Hung Cuong’s works below.

h/t Animal New York
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Watch Artist Michael David Set His Painting on Fire (VIDEO)

New York artist Michael David pioneered his edgy encaustic painting technique in the 1970s when he was an enfant terrible of the downtown art scene and bass player with seminal punk rockers including members of the Dead Boys, Ramones, New York Dolls and Plasmatics. Three decades later, he’s still using hot wax (and found objects) to create powerfully physical paintings that explore spiritual metaphors.

“I discovered encaustic (the ancient Egyptian method incorporating pigment mixed with hot wax) in 1975 when I was at Parsons,” David says. “I loved the immediacy of the process, the physicality, and how I was able to embed objects and create narrative in abstraction. I felt it was a perfect actualization of myself through painting.”

Although gases released in the process with which David has experimented over the years have caused neuropathy in his legs, he continues to push his technique to the limits, as evidenced in his latest painting, “Cluster of Blessings.” The 300-pound work includes barbed wire, foliage, and even shreds of his work clothes. To create its rough-hewn, apocalyptic layers, David took the painting to a remote field and set it on fire.


“The painting was created over a period of six years. I wanted to do something as dramatic and violent as nature itself,” he says.

The title, ‘Cluster of Blessings’ is a Buddhist term for the Gohonzon, a mandala people chant to in order to attain enlightenment. It contains all states of life, from complete happiness to abject suffering. I am moved by that, and wanted to represent that in the painting. I felt that burning was a natural process to unify the painting’s multiple layers and immense size and echo the narrative of this work.

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“Cluster of Blessings” by Michael David. Photo by Mike Jensen. Courtesy of Bill Lowe Gallery.

In 1983, David was the youngest recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He first exhibited at New York’s historic Sidney Janis Gallery in 1981 and M. Knoedler represented him for 20 years. His work is included in the permanent public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Jewish Museum in New York, among others. David currently runs Life on Mars Gallery in the Bushwick arts district of Brooklyn, New York. He also lives part-time in Atlanta, Georgia, where he teaches and mentors artists in his Fine Arts Workshop and Fine Arts Atelier.

One of the Atelier’s breakout painters, Karen Schwartz, says of David: “Michael is all about having NO FEAR. Go for it! The other principles he preaches — integrity and freedom, come from the ‘no fear, kill the cat’ approach to making art. Also remarkable about Michael is that he tells you to go with who you are. If you are messy and imprecise, then, go with that and don’t try to control what’s natural for you. ‘Own it’, and make it a strength of your work.”

Michael David’s upcoming one-man show at Atlanta’s Bill Lowe Gallery opens on November 15th.

For more information about Michael David, click here.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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