A few weeks ago, I decided to park my car in Highland Park to check out a few of the new shops, cafes and art galleries that I’ve noticed sprouting up over the last few years. It’s always fun to check out smaller shops and boutiques with original and vintage items. It’s good for the soul to steer away from mass produced things, which seems to be just about everywhere you look these days. I was so inspired by York Blvd, I invited my son out for an afternoon of sandwiches and art.
I think one of my new favorite places right now has to be Align Gallery. The space itself is just fantastic. Huge windows with lots of sunshine peeking in and a back patio fit for parties and events. And if their current exhibition is an indicator of the kind of shows being produced here … I will certainly be back for more.
Currently on view at Align is LA based artist Sequoia Emmanuelle, whose stunning photography left me in awe. Her work is a mix of film, graphic and set design mixed in with high fashion and theatre. As you can see, the work is exploding with color and texture. My son, who is really not an art buff (although he grew up with it) was stopped in his tracks. That made me very happy, as these pieces and the space reminded me so much of the underground art scene of New York during the 80s and 90s. I like that he got to somewhat feel that energy in a small way. Because really, there’s no feeling like it.
Some of the headdresses featured in Emmanuelle’s work were designed by mixed-media artist, Daniella White. Aren’t they stunning? My son said they reminded him of Queen Padmé Amidala’s stunning costumes in Star Wars. Personally, I wanted to wear one but that would be a big no-no. But hey, her work is designed to bring out one’s inner beauty, wild side, and higher self. This Leo is always ready to wear her feathered and jeweled mythical headdress. The temptation was real, my friends.
Daniella White is inspired by the natural world, feminine forms, mythology, music, art deco/art nouveau, tribal shamanism and mysticism, and uses many natural elements in her work – feathers, horns, vintage fur, jewelry and textiles from all over the world. There are so many details in each piece .. It’s simply breathtaking.
Who knew that a random stroll would lead to such inspiration! Sometimes you have to get out of your car, walk and discover! Oh hey, Amanda Lepore.
I’ve mentioned this before … But I need art to keep me going. It was one of those days that I just could not bear being at the computer any longer. I looked in my inbox and remembered there was an opening at the Pacific Asia Museum. I love going to that museum. The garden, the collection … Oh, so soothing. I RSVP’d and made my way over to Pasadena for an evening of modern design genius.
I spend a lot of time looking at design online, but there’s nothing like getting up, close and personal to the work of the greats like Japanese artist Ikko Tanaka – one of the most prolific graphic designers in the last 50 years.
The exhibition is exactly what my Excel sheet vision needed. It was a vibrant celebration of ukiyo-e tradition, abstraction and typography all in one space in the form of logos, print ads, posters and books. Tanaka’s style is provocative yet minimalist in execution. I’m always fascinated by an artist’s ability to do this. I tend to over-render my paintings, and was never able to break it down to a simpler form. Just not in my artistic DNA to do it. That would explain why I’m not a graphic designer. Tanaka’s brilliance is the ability to seamlessly combine traditional Japanese prototypes in a very modern way while keeping its traditional grace and beauty.
Muses, when you’re in a creative rut, hit up an art show. Even if it’s not the kind of art you do or are into. In fact, you must go especially if it’s not art you tend to navigate toward. It helps you step out of the box. And if you can find one that’s vivid, even better. Nothing like color and shapes to feed the brain. Tanaka’s show is up until August 2nd.
Thanks to PacAsia for the images!
There’s something about Spring that gives me this need to surround myself with Degas’ work. The gold frames and pastel canvases always the mark the beginning of the season for me, so imagine my surprise when I saw that the Norton Simon Museum had moved their pieces around to create a gallery solely dedicated to the artist. Usually, his work can be found throughout (and it still can) but they moved the Little Dancer into a space of her own, and surrounded her with many of Degas’ most beloved works of art.
The dark gray dimly lit walls were perfection. It created the mood for what much of Degas’ work is known for – voyeurism (Oh, hello. Don’t mind me. I’m just creepily standing behind you. Keep bathing. Keep dancing). Many would disagree, and have argued that he simply enjoyed the ballet and was just capturing a moment. And that his bathers were just studies of form, not much different from his horses. I say, it’s not such a black and white topic. From what I know, he did not have relationships, he frequented brothels and spent most of his life painting. It’s not so far fetched to believe that a person who lives a life with no intimacy would be a voyeur. Today’s online culture is a key example of many desensitized people displacing intimacy with images, no?
One thing is for sure, Degas’s work ethic is one to be admired. He is proof that you must never stop being a student, and that it takes many tries (drawings, sketches, models) before completing your final product. Everything today is go, go, go … Looking at his study pieces is almost meditative for me and a reminder that the process of creation is far more important than the result (and many times, more beautiful). His sense of endless inventiveness and artistic curiosity is a huge inspiration for me, and I simply can’t imagine the month of April without a Degas fix.
I think it’s so crucial to not only surround yourself with art, but to make it a part of your life in some way. It awakens the senses and inspires the soul. I always leave a museum with a new take on the world and my surroundings, and still find it hard to believe how many artists like Degas were scrutinized for their vision. Yet, their masterpieces live on to inspire.
Artist Ana Bagayan’s work is inspired by her “fascination with the metaphysical, and by a creative preoccupation with the limitless possibilities of the unknown.” This was the perfect show for me to see after months of not being able to attend an opening. I wasn’t able to stand for very long and the vertigo (plus visual disturbances) certainly didn’t allow for art gazing. To throw on a pair of heels and look through my lens again was an absolute joy, and a privilege I will never take for granted.
On Saturday, we headed over to ThinkSpace to see Children of the Sun – A collection of work that combines innocence, fantasy and surrealism. I was in the mood for a bit of magic, optimism and limitless possibilities. It was exactly what I needed to remind myself of the child-wonder I once had when I initially pursued art. Although I love the work I do now, the painter in me will always be there. I haven’t been able to sit with an easel and a canvas in a very long time. I think the absence of it was one of the contributing factors to my TMJD disorder, as I strongly feel that creative outlets are crucial to a person’s overall well-being. For me, painting is a form of meditation, communication, and is an innate part of who I am. Sure, I’ve been able to substitute my need to create with photography but I need the smell of oils and charcoal to feel fully alive.
I’ve been thinking of ways to transform my home office into an all-things-creative space, which includes everything I need for my day job and creative passions. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, if you’re in LA and need a dose of inspiration, check out Ana Bagayan’s work at ThinkSpace – On view until June 14.
This cold/flu bug thing I’ve had, since my trip to Michigan last month, has delayed everything with this blog. I’ve been anxious to blog about my trip to Michigan for over a month now. How did I end up in frigid temperature from sunny Los Angeles in the middle of January, you ask? The people over at Ford were kind enough to invite me to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), along with a few fabulous bloggers. The trip included lots of great food, a visit to the TechShop, Rouge Factory and the Henry Ford Museum (seen in this post). Like Murphy would have it, I spent most of my visit sick, and even ended up being escorted back to my hotel room after turning an unflattering shade of green. However, I did manage to have a fantastic time at the Auto Show (see pics HERE) and at the Henry Ford Museum, where I got to see (albeit a bit morbid) the Kennedy Limo and the Lincoln Chair. I was very touched and internalized the installations as if I had witnessed these events in history. It was that moving. Another one that got me right in the gut was the Rosa Parks Bus – Honestly had no idea this vehicle was at this museum. I stood in shock when I turned the gallery corner and saw it right before me. Again, television images and the recounted stories of this day played in my head as I sat inside what I felt was a very crammed space. I mean, how do you put the feeling of awe, sadness and pride into one beautiful articulate package of written words, really? It’s an experience I will hold close always.
Visiting the museum, prior to attending the NAIAS, really put things into perspective for me when comes to the extraordinary vision of Mr. Ford himself and why Ford is such a leader in technology and innovation. Thank you Ford for the invitation and the lovely accommodations – But most of all for offering me the opportunity to experience history, the future and the realization of dreams.