Archive for April, 2012

Jan Huling the Beadist, Shayna Lieb the Glassist, and two epic WTF movies.

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

I went to SOFA 2012 last weekend. SOFA stands for Sculptural Objects and Functional Art. It’s a terrific show of different galleries showing off their best stuff that isn’t paintings. A lot of glass, a lot of bronze, a lot of ceramic, jewelry, furniture and everything in between. Here are some images I found on the internet to give you an idea.

I love going every year because there’s all this art there, the kind of art you see in modern art museums all over the world, and if you have piles and piles of money you can own some. It feels more alive than a museum because the art isn’t just sitting there – it’s changing hands. You can meet the gallery owners, the artists, the buyers, everyone. It’s exciting. There were two artists that were of particular interest to me. One was Jan Huling. I saw her work at the first SOFA I went to, I think it was 2006. She finds bits of what some people consider trash and she covers them with intricate seed bead patterns. I’ve always loved that idea, the idea of taking a variety of items that have little or no worth in themselves and through your hard work and skill, convert them into things of beauty and value. I am still a little sad that I didn’t buy one of her pieces at that first SOFA. It was a bird sculpture (she was really into birds then) on top of an ostrich egg with a happy little cricket waving a little paper hat. I adored it but it was around $4,000 and I simply don’t have that kind of money. Probably the most expensive art I have in my house was around $600 and I struggled with that, so four grand wasn’t going to happen. Every time I see her work, though, I get a little pang for my bird-with-ostrich-egg piece. Sigh. I found some pieces that are similar so you get an idea.

She, as with all good artists, has expanded her horizon and now she’s moved on from birds and smaller pieces to larger pieces. Jan has also now incorporated medallions and leaves more negative space. I was super-excited to see that she had three pieces for sale at SOFA and two of them had red dots on their name plaques (meaning they were sold). The two sold pieces was this really big monkey:

And this awesome cobra that I totally would have loved to have in my house.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I love it when artists I love are successful. It warms the cockles of my heart. And I’ve been watching Jan’s work for a while now, so it’s wonderful to see her pieces getting appreciated more and more each year.

The other artist that really caught my eye was a woman called Shayna Leib. I’m a sucker for glass, so it’s no surprise I fell in love with her work. They look like swirly ocean grasses expanding out of boxes. Here’s one to give you an idea.

On her website she explains her process. Apparently she makes cane, usually opaque color inside, transparent color on the outside. She does it with an assistant because they stretch the glass over fifty feet. Thirty feet of it is usable, not to thick, not too thin. Shayna then cuts in into a variety of lengths, but the pieces are all stick-straight, so she warms them up (really warm, glass needs to be hot), so they bend over metal curved shapes, and when they’re cool, she very slowly assembles them from one corner to another inside the frames so they flow and wave. They really don’t work very well in photographs. In person, they take your breath away. I found some closeups to help illustrate the incredible-ness.

There was a piece like the one above that I would have loved to own but it was 1) sold, and 2) $53,000. FIFTY-THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS. I do not have fifty-three thousand dollars, but if I owned an office building I would put one of her pieces in the entrance hall to greet everyone every day because they are magical. I would feel bad if it was in my house and only me and my familiars got to enjoy it. You see something new every time.

Lately I’ve been digging into the treasure trove of Netflix streaming movies. I think Netflix thinks I’m an arty pervert, because it recommended two films that I have a lot of problems with: Sleeping Beauty and Dogtooth. Sleeping Beauty came out about a year ago and it is about an Australian young woman who needs money so she does some medical tests, and waitresses, and possibly prostitutes herself a little bit. Then she gets a job doing table service in her underpanties with other women, also in very exposing scanty garb. I found a picture and put modesty hearts over all the nipple-age. The lead’s the one in white.

They serve these old people dinner and then two of the women get naked and pretend to be andirons at the fireplace, it’s so very weird and S&M-y and not very sexy at all. Then she signs up to drink this tea that makes her fall asleep and old men can lay naked with her, no penetration, but they can snuggle and she won’t remember any of it. What the…? Seriously, that’s the film. A bunch of other stuff happens and it ends, but nothing is resolved and it doesn’t really matter. I cannot fathom how this film got made. It’s so art-house-y and pointless. You know a film is bleh when it’s got sex-n-nudity in it and you’re not even slightly titillated. Which leads me into my second film recommended by Netflix called Dogtooth. I’m not even going to try and explain it. Watch the preview.

What a fat hairy pile of WTF that movie was. Oh, did I mention there’s a super-creepy and depressing sex scene in it? It’s a bonus! That’s probably how it got that “No one 18 and under admitted.” If it was me, I’d insist people 18 and under go see it. It would certainly cut down on teenage pregnancy. I hate you, Netflix. From now on, I’m only watching movies made by Michael Bay, with big shiny explosions.

The Orchid Show at the Botanical Gardens.

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Cricket and I decided to check out the orchid show on its last weekend at the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx last weekend, and it was the bomb diggety. I was expecting a smattering of orchids here and there but they had actual walls full of orchids growing. I looked up the definition of orchid but I got a long convoluted description that talked about types of pods and seeds and had many science-y terms, so I will give you my definition. It’s a tropical plant that doesn’t grow in soil, has leathery leaves and flowers that either resemble dragon faces or ladies’ genitals. There ya go.

First, here’s a picture of the Botanical Gardens:

It was built in the late 1800s and both the building and the surrounding grounds are beautifully organized and maintained. The orchid show was predominantly in two major halls, but there were touches of orchid-ness throughout the whole building. When you first came in, there was a giant orchid wall. Remember, orchids don’t grow in the dirt, they use little “fingers” to attach to the bark of trees, so they can be vertical with no problem.

Near the end there was an gorgeous orchid corridor that you could walk down. I was blown away.

And then there were orchids all over the place hiding in pre-existing floral situations. I said hello to all of them.

There was a case of teeny-tiny orchids being all wee and precious.

And there was an orchid tower.

It was amazing. I’m going to go again next year. And I got to walk through all these non-orchid exhibition halls that had great plants in them as well. My favorite, as always, was the cactii room.

One of the coolest plants we saw was the wax rose. It was a large, exceptionally spiky plant with things that looked like triangular pieces of cheddar cheese on top. I was very intrigued.

There were also carnivorous plants, which I find charming for some reason. It’s a plant! That eats meat! Wacky! What will they think of next?

The water pond section was stunning, with the overhanging arches of some kind of creeper.

And there were various other awesome plants doing their plant thing.

After we had done a full circuit of the inside of the buildings, we went outside and saw the outdoor exhibits. The azalea and rhododendron field was just starting to bloom…

… and the crabapple trees was in the middle of its blooming season and were fluffy and fairy-like.

There were different varieties of pansies in pots scattered around, which delighted me because I love pansies.

It was a lovely experience, very scenic and zen. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Designin’ for a livin’.

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

While I devote almost all my free time to my Burning Man costume, I am still gainfully employed in the advertising and still do freelance work on the side. Someone asked me why I work so much, and I sent them this image. While I do not knit, it still answers the question.

And work is not always work. Publicis recently competed in an inter-agency dodgeball tournament, where I went as a cheerleader (or “athletic supporter”). I made a truly offensive sign and with my co-worker Foxxx we sat there and cheered for our team. Team Dodgy Style. Really. Warning: Totally classless.

But in actual work-related stuff, I finished the Publicis History Timeline that I started about a year ago. I had to do a ton a research because no one had any pictures or anything, but I really enjoyed the quest. And it all gave me an opportunity to stretch my designing muscles because I was given complete free rein. I came up with all the little curlycue bits on the text boxes and all the graphic elements, everything. It was a blast. Here’s the full timeline, followed by several noteworthy chunks for deeper perusing.

Also, I love it when nothing goes to waste. A while back I made a vector illustration of a variety of buildings and signs (and one ambulance) in Chappaqua for my side work,, the local newspaper. It wasn’t a hit and I was a bit forlorn because I had spent a lot of time on it. But sho’nuff, it has resurfaced in this page header and everyone thinks it great so that makes me happy.

And finally, there might be another type of timeline similar to the one above and they wanted it to be very contemporary-looking so I designed my first number set for the 1920s, 1930s,… 2000s, 2010s, etc. part. It’s harder than it looks but I think it turned out really cool. I like that each number/letter will have a unique color pattern.

Burning Man Costume Part 5.

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Before we get to that, a friend of mine showed me a video of a Kinect game where you are either Darth Vader or that nasty shriveled Emperor and you have… a dance-off. I don’t know why this exists. The whole thing was really funny, but at the end, I cracked up and I made an animated gif of the exceptionally amusing portion.

Happy dancing stormtroopers! Get down witcho’ bad selves!

Okay, costume. I hemmed the skirt that Snorth made for me (thank you, Snorth) and painted it brown and more brown and gold. Then I covered it with wee magenta dots so it would somewhat match the jacket bit. It’s okay that the magenta dots aren’t exactly the same because the skirt and jacket will be covered by a plethora of sea beasts. I took one picture with flash and one picture with natural light. Neither one is completely accurate, but it definitely gives you an idea.

I trimmed the jacket sleeves and the back panel and added all kinds of froofy-foo. Seaweed, glass beads, some fabric paint and some green sequins. I’d like you to note that nowhere am I using any crystal. No crystal beads and no rhinestones. There’s a reason for that, it’s very simple. The reason why is once you encrust something in rhinestones, it immediately becomes awesome. Anything. See image below.

What do we have here: a tape dispenser, a toilet, a wee bottle of Vaseline? You get my point. So in order to make this a challenge for myself I decided no crystal of any kind, and no precious stones. Some glass, mostly plastic, a lot of fabric. It’s a challenge for me because it’s out of my comfort zone, but I like that. I’m attempting to do that famous quote:

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

So, yeah, sleeves. I tried to find alternative ways to make it spectacular without being bejeweled. I also took pictures of the sleeves with and without flash to give you a better understanding of the look I’m going for.

And finally, tube worms! Who doesn’t like a good tube worm? Bad people, that’s who. These guys are going on my hat with the sea anemone. The ugly bases will be covered by kelp and whatnot. Maybe some mussels if I have the time.

I still have a million things to do (the giant crab that goes on my hip isn’t going to make itself) but I feel like I’m getting somewhere. I can see the finished product a little bit better in my head now.

Cake cake cake cake, etc.

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Today’s post will be about baked goods! I heard Rihanna’s latest song “Birthday Cake Remix” which she sings with Chris Brown and I originally hated it pretty violently, but not unlike a toenail fungus the song has crawled into my brain and has taken up residence there, and I suppose like a Stockholm Syndrome victim I have grown to like it. Here’s a link to it (warning, super-vulgar and sadly not really about cake):

I was wandering around the internet and I saw The Most Amazing Cake Ever™. Seriously, look at this thing and tell me otherwise.

I did some research and found out it is from the Atlanta, GA shop Highland Bakery. I’m thinking of setting up a road trip because, damn. Check out their other cakes and you’ll see what I mean.

I bet those cakes are mad tasty too, but I’m just blown away by the artistic skill. They could taste like sand and ash and I would eat them solely to have some of that amazing art in mah belleh.

Addendum: OMG there are two new cakes posted on Highland Bakery’s Flickr stream. I… I have no words for the bunny cake. Gloriousness.

Burning Man Costume Part 4.

Friday, April 6th, 2012

I was petrified but I bit the bullet, went to Home Depot, bought polytubing and built mah hoop skirt. It only needed two hoops to poof out as much as I wanted it to. I wanted to soften the harshness of the hoop edges, and Snorth recommended ruffly tulle, so ruffly tulle has been added in shades of yellow and green. Because tulle doesn’t fray the way fabric does, I’m going to build the skirt over it and then trim the tulle so you only see a wee bit underneath (I’m coy!)

Here’s where the sadness comes in. I keep forgetting I am shaped like a refrigerator, so in my mind’s eye when I put on this outfit I will look awesome and ethereal, like the goddess of the ocean. At least I will resemble Ursula, or maybe one of those dudes from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, with all the ocean stuff stuck to them. I tried on the jacket, the hoop skirt and the corset all at the same time and looked in the mirror, and it turns out I look like an even split between Brunhilde from the Ring of the Nibelungen operas and the hippos in tutus from Disney’s Fantasia. This is not the look I was going for.

But when life gives you lemons, you quietly cry for a little while, then pull yourself together and convince yourself you wanted to look like a chorus girl from the musical number “Springtime for Hitler”.

So I embraced my inevitable dorkiness and continued working. I made seaweed strips for the sleeves out of chunky white lace.

I dyed it yellow, painted splotches of green, covered the back with a plastic glue that prevents fraying, trimmed it to make it look more “seaweed-y”, then sewed green rocaille beads to add pizzazz. I think I may have to trim the sleeves on the jacket because with the seaweed the arm-parts come down to my waist area, which is too long. That’s the good part about designing your own costume slowly – you can adjust as you go because, hey, who’s gonna complain? More costume to come.

I’m crabby. Let’s talk about it.

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Several reasons:

1. I have a bacterial infection in my head. Specifically in my sinuses and my left ear. The post-nasal drip is causing my throat to feel like it’s ON FIRE all the time for the last four days and my sinuses are filled with cement. Sometimes, when I blow my nose, horrible things come out, things that make me make this face.

Except imagine this cat has hands, and in his hands is a tissue filled with atrocities. It’s all not okay. The worst part is the ear thing. Because my ear parts are all swole up and twisted, sounds aren’t boppin’ around in there like they should. In my left ear I hear everything in stereo, like everyone has a back-up singer who’s saying the exact same thing at the same time they’re saying it, but (and I am not making this up in the least) the back-up voice is tinny-sounding and slightly out of key, like a poorly-tuned jangly piano in a saloon in the Wild West. You might think this is awesome, but you would be wrong. One grows weary of everything sounding terrible. I stopped listening to music after everything started sounding like this:

However, I bit the bullet and hauled my disgusting self to the doctor where he gave me a prescription for ten days of antibiotics. They’re working (music sounds like music again and my throat is not quite as on fire as it was) but I still sound like one of Marge Simpson’s sisters.

2. I went with Snorth and her husband Speeb to the Museum of Natural History to see the “Creatures of Light” exhibition. It’s supposed to be an awesome exhibition about animals/rocks/plants with bioluminescence. So I, like a fool, assumed there would be all kinds of jellies and mushrooms and fireflies and whatnot, and you know what I saw? Helpful diagrams. Little models. At the end there were, like, ten fish hanging out in a tank with wee glowy spots on their cheekbones that you could barely see. I was furious because I have been through this before. A few years ago, there was an exhibition on poisonous dart frogs at AMNH and I was so excited because I was gonna see a million killer frogs, oh boy! Guess what? Helpful diagrams. Little models. Four frogs at the end. You would think I would have learned from my previous experience, but clearly I did not. Seriously, AMNH, how much money does it cost to grow a couple of glow-y shrooms in some mulch? THEY SELL BAGS OF GLOW-IN-THE-DARK MUSHROOM MIX IN THE GIFT SHOP, FOR EFF’S SAKE. Come on. I have friends who have fish tanks, they would lend you one and you could put wee jellies in them with a black light on top. It would cost $1,000 tops. Stop having weak exhibitions.

3. I went to the Macy’s Flower Show across the street. I’ve blogged about it here and here. This year due to repairs being done in the bag/makeup/accessories department the flower show was in an enormous tent on Broadway right in front. So I lined up and went in the text and it was lamey-lame-lame. The theme was “Brasil!”, but it pretty much resembled a very nice garden center with Brazilian music playing in the background. They had a couple cool plants, like mini-pineapples, but I felt it was yet another opportunity missed for awesomeness.

4. Enough with the Adele already. Enough.

One of the only things making me happy right now is this: