A Pow Wow in Japan

Street art has become a big influence in the art world. I have to be honest that I’m not too keen on all of it, like murals recently commissioned by Justin Bieber, for instance. However, I have been following it and what I’ve posted on this blog via street art and graffiti art posts, I think shows some of the best artistic talent, at least that I’m aware.

I haven’t seen all that much in the Asian countries except for recently when I discovered  Pow Wow in Japan and I was very impressed.

Pow Wow is an annual art festival of well-known street artists painting large-scale murals that have pow / impact and causing the viewer to act with a wow reaction. The festival also includes lectures, gallery and musical events all open to the public for artistic enlightenment, education, awareness.

It started in 2010 in Hawaii and has spanned globally but hasn’t made an Asian tour until this year. There are two back-to-back events that just took place in Japan and then in Taiwan.

Pow Wow Hawaii 1 on Art Is Everywhere Pow Wow Hawaii 2 on Art Is EverywhereHere are some of the murals painted in Japan via Rocket News 24 and you can see all the artists profiled.

Sumo wrestler by Case Maclaim Pow Wow Japan on Art is Everywhere

Sumo wrestler by Case Maclaim

@bakibaking and MON Koutaro Ooyama Pow Wow Japan on Ar is Everywhere

Japanese style mural by@bakibaking and MON Koutaro Ooyama

Fafi and Kamea Hadar Pow Wor Japan on Art Is Everywhere

Fafi and Kamea Hadar collaborated on this mural

@shizentomotel Pow Wow Japan on Art is Everywhere

mural based on Japanese figurines by @shizentomotel

Tamura Yoshiyasu mural Pow Wow Japan on Art Is Everywhere

Tamura Yoshiyasu mural

Get ready for a Pow Wow coming near you. There are plans for Pow Wow to come to the US with events slated for DC, Austin and Long Beach, California. Israel, New Zealand, Jamaica, Singapore, and Germany are among other locations.

A Toussaint Tribute

How upsetting to learn that one of the musical greats, Allen Toussaint passed away suddenly on November 10th. He was stricken with a heart attack just hours after performing in Madrid with his son. He was 77 years young.

I’ve been wanting to see him live in concert for years. I love his music, especially the song, Yes We Can from the album Our New Orleans recorded with other iconic New Orleans musicians such as Irma Thomas, as a benefit album for the Gulf Coast. This CD got me through some rough, surreal days after Katrina.

Here’s Allen Toussaint performing Yes We Can with Dr. John at Tulane’s Commencement.

Deacon John Moore and Irma Thomas reflects on their memories of Toussaint.

There are so many songs you may know that you never knew were written by Allen Toussaint like: Southern Nights made famous by Glen Campbell , Working on a Coal Mine (even Devo did a cover of this), Sneaking Sally through the Alley and Lady Marmalade made famous by Patty LaBelle as her signature song. He played piano on Mother-in-Law earlier in his career with Ernie K-Doe. His song Whipped Cream was made famous by Al Hirt and Herb Albert and their trumpets (and later became known more wildly as the song for the popular Dating Game). He produced Dr. John’s breakout album Right Place, Wrong Time (1973). Many of his other songs were recorded by the Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt and Warren Zevon among others.

Allen Toussaint on Art is EverywhereAccording to his obit in the Washington Post, he began playing the piano at age 6 and played everyday in the style of Professor Longhair, who was a major influence.

After being born and living all his life in New Orleans, he was forced from his home for the first time during Katrina in 2005. He didn’t make it back until 2013.

Enjoy the official Toussaint website for some Toussaint Tribute and wonderful jazz music to just play in the background. The site hasn’t posted any updated news yet, probably because his death was so unexpected.

Allen Toussaint on Art is EverywhereEnjoy a little more…from this great musician who will be sadly missed. Fortunately, he’s left us so many songs to happily play.

A Careful Burn

Steven Spazuk’s artwork is pretty remarkable considering it is a slow and steady process that takes a careful burn.

Steven Spazuk_1_Art Is Everywere

Photos via Spazuk.com

He creates incredible images through the process of burning paper and the smoke it creates. His portraits are collages assembled with many different burned smokey-square pieces of paper. They give the illusion of a photo-realistic, “Chuck Close-like” painting but with an alternative flare that you just “can’t put your finger on” — at first — until you know it actually is smoke that creates the effect.

Steven Spazuk portraits featured on Art Is EverywereChuck Close uses non-traditional methods to create his artwork as well. Fanny Fingerpainting is one of my favorites, originally created with his fingerprints!

fannyfingerpainting by Chuck Close via National Gallery of Art on Art Is EverywhereSpazuk has done his own painting of Chuck Close (far left in this image below).

Steven Spazuk portraits featured on Art Is EverywereEven Spazuk’s single images have a smokey, ethereal, diaphanous quality.

Steven Spazuk artwork featured on Art Is EverywereHere’s a fabulous video on KSL.com that shows his process and technique called fumage.

Steven Spazuk fumage featured on Art Is EverywereWith November already here and the cold weather approaching, this makes me want to light a fire…;)

Insectual Design

This post is appropriate with this spooky weekend ahead, with Halloween and things are not as they seem.

I learned of Jennifer Angus’ work from a recent Washington Post article. She is a Madison, Wisconsin based artist, whose work will be exhibited at the Renwick Gallery in DC and will adorn their walls with bugs, that’s right, bugs!!

I’d say this is a case of intellectual + insect =  ” insectual ” design!

Casart coverings features 1_Wonder_Bug-covered-walls_Smithsonian-Renwick-Gallery_Jennifer_Angus_dezeen_Jennifer_Angus_on Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog

Jennifer Angus’ Wonder Bug Covered Wall at the Renwick Gallery, images via Dezeen Magazine

Casart coverings features 2_Wonder_Bug-covered-walls_Smithsonian-Renwick-Gallery_Jennifer_Angus_dezeen_Jennifer_Angus_on Slipcovers for your walls, casartblogHer work is truly fascinating! She based her buggy design on wallpaper!! Her insect use was inspired by her ongoing use of arthropods in her artwork and Victorian pattern, inherent in her teaching at the University of Wisconsin. The insects she uses in this installation are all different colors, shapes, sizes with many iridescent, shimmering shapes. They come together carefully placed on a beautifully, pink-colorwashed backdrop to form an overall design scheme, which is viewed as one succinct visual to the onlooker. The impression is similar to what one might have when walking into someone’s home for the first time and being awe-struck by their room’s ambiance and décor. It’s only after one views more closely that the individual design objects are bugs. As she states, “Many people who visit my exhibitions were never aware that such unusual insects exist.” She describes the purpose and her ethical use of real insects in her work on her website.

Casart coverings features 3_Wonder_Bug-covered-walls_Smithsonian-Renwick-Gallery_Jennifer_Angus_dezeen_Jennifer_Angus_on Slipcovers for your walls, casartblogThis effort is for the long-awaited re-opening of the Renwick, here in Washington, DC after two years of extensive renovation.

Casart coverings features 4_Wonder_Bug-covered-walls_Smithsonian-Renwick-Gallery_Jennifer_Angus_dezeen_Jennifer_Angus_on Slipcovers for your walls, casartblogAngus’ work is entitled The Midnight Garden and is just one gallery that is a part of the Renwick’s Wonder exhibition, which features 8 other artists who, “transform perception, and work on the border between art and craft,” as stated on Dezeen magazine, where you can also see other bug-related articles. (You can see related posts on this blog on Janet Echelman and Patrick Dougherty, just a few of the artists featured, whom I’ve been inspired by for quite some time.)

While the nine artists featured in WONDER create strikingly different works, they are connected by their interest in creating large-scale installations from unexpected materials. Index cards, marbles, strips of wood—all objects so commonplace and ordinary we often overlook them—are assembled, massed, and juxtaposed to utterly transform spaces and engage us in the most surprising ways. The works are expressions of process, labor, and materials that are grounded in our everyday world, but that combine to produce awe-inspiring results. (via Renwick Gallery)

Nicholas R. Bell, the curator for the show, so eloquently explains this exhibition’s significance in this statement on Dezeen magazine, “The concept of ‘wonder’ – that moment of awe in the face of something new and unknown that transports us out of the everyday – is deeply intertwined with how we experience art…These elements matter in the context of this museum, devoted for more than four decades to the skilled working of materials in extraordinary ways.

The exhibition will be on view for 3 months but I’m so excited to see it and hope to make the opening on November 13. It is truly going to be “wonderful!”

I’ve written about bug / insect art previously with these posts:

Brooke Duckart

and below with my hand-painted butterflies along with many butterfly-written posts.

casart-coverings_Butterfly_Grid, as seen on Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog

Casart coverings’s Butterflies- Butterflies are Free to Fly!

Click this link for a recent interview in the UK regarding the passion and artwork for Casart coverings and using the unexpected.

You can read a more extensive version of this post on Slipcovers for Your Walls.

Happy Halloween!

Jake Weidmann Wields a Mighty Pen

I ran across this video below about Jake Weidmann and his Master Penmanship, which is beyond just writing. His calligraphy, illustration, artwork and control over the pen just blew me away. I know how easy it is to mess up. He does to, Considering the detail involved in his work, it’s hard to imagine how many times he might have to start over to have a perfect version. I gave up perfection a long time ago but certainly can appreciate it as well as some human flaws that might add character.

I wasn’t familiar with his work but he wields a mighty pen.

He’s passionate about maintaining the human touch to art. The physical activity of putting pen to paper is strong enough to link the brain with intelligence, communication and engagement and learning beyond what just modern email or phone call, for that matter, can do.

Handwriting as we know it is inspired by Nature and how we interpret it. Writing for him is drawing and an artistic form of expression.

His art form calls for the necessity of making sure every human knows how to physically draw a letter onto paper. Bringing back the art form of writing letters is more than just nostalgic, it is a serious, time-labored endeavor with significant long-term meaning.

For instance would the Constitution have the same significance if it was an email?

In an age when we’re all moving to be more cloud based, which I certainly follow suit for convenience and backups, I also realize that “Digitality” loses permanence! Hard copy lasts, even if it does take up physical space. There is something “noteworthy” in the physical “indelibility” and maintaining a sense of dynamic culture through handwriting.

Weidmann is a true Renaissance man, not only mastering the pen but carving, creating them, building and carving a frame for his Master Penman certificate, that he wrote, illustrated and made — all art forms in and of themselves — but centered around the humble but mighty pen.

Jake Weidmann_Mightier_on Art is EverywhereJake Weidmann_Steward painting on Art IS EverywherHis handmade pens are beautiful but all sold out except this one.

Jake Weidmann_ergonomic pen on Art Is EverywhereAs he so eloquently says, “the written word gives such powerful life to [his] artwork.” And, I’d say in life. His portrait of Christ below was created in one single pen stroke!

Jake Weidmann_single stroke portrait of Christ on Art Is Everywhere

Everything Colossal

I’ve been following the Colossal blog for so long that I was surprised that I had not put it on my Blogroll. It must be because it’s not one of those things that I don’t have to think about knowing to do. Well, I’ve remedied that now and added to my list.

When I last clicked on their site, every one of their posts was filled with inspiration.

Here’s a quick sampling from Colossal.

 1_David Oliveira_wire sculpture_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

I love anything seashells! I collect them.

2_Shells by Lonac_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

This takes an amazing ability to sync the laborious stop-motion film (based on time sequence photos) to the music. Beautifully achieved but incredibly time-consuming.

3_Fluxos Claymation_via Colossal_Art Is Everwhere

Like seashells, I love anything with aquariums and fish. This is so other-worldly to see.

4_Aquatic Aquarium Layout_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere 5_Aquatic Aquarium Layout_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

The detailed nature of these illustrations are more inspiring to me than the subject; although they remind me of a modern-day Arcimboldo.

6_Benze illustration_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere 7_Benze illustration_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere 8_Benze illustration_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

What a fantastic diptych and triptych idea + artfully repurposing old surf, skate and ski boards.

9_Artboards_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere 10_Artboards triptych_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

I also saw these masks below for sale on Etsy. They would be great for Halloween but they are just a little too scary for me, reminding me of some sub-cult or slasher movie if you saw someone on the street wearing one and walking toward you.

11_Wintercroft mask_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

And if the current posts don’t grab your attention, you can click on their suggested posts at the bottom. Of course I was intrigued by the kaleidoscope one because it reminds me of Spirograph.

12_Trending Colossal_Art Is EverywhereAnd here’s the post about Ornate Textiles by Suzan Drummen.

13_vlissingen-j-voor-site_via Colossal_Art Is Everywhere

Can Historic Murals Be Divisive?

There is an ongoing issue with racial division coming to the forefront lately. I usually don’t take on such political topics and it is not my intent to do so here but simply report and as usual show some connectivity to how art really is everywhere and relates in our lives.

There is controversy a-brewing at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama over the historic murals that were painted by Chicago artist John W. Norton. He painted the large-scale, eight-foot murals to depict the story of the Old South and the New South in the 1930’s when the courthouse was being built.

Old and New South Murals via BhamWiki on Art Is Everywhere

Old and New South Murals via BhamWiki

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 1_Art Is Everywhere

Old South section via AL.com

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 2 _AIE

New South via AL.com

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 3_AIE

Old South full mural via AL.com

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 4_AIE

New South full mural via AL.com

They have existed without complaint until recently when Anne Garland Mahler, a Birmingham native who teaches now at the University of Arizona, started an online petition on change.org to have them removed because she cites them as being racist.  She indicates, “These murals have been described by scholars as white supremacist images and even the Chicago firm, Holabird & Root, that originally designed the courthouse and commissioned the paintings, has stated their support for the removal of the murals.“…”Since these murals are works of art and were painted by a famous muralist, we are not necessarily advocating for their destruction.”…”Most importantly, these images do not belong in the courthouse.”

There is precedent here with a twist when the now famous Maine Labor History Mural by artist Judy Taylor painted in 2008 was removed by then Governor LePage in 2012. It caused so much controversy that a lawsuit ensued by artists to keep it in place. Here was what resulted after a long battle, reported in Yankee Magazine:

The solution to many problems in this life is simply for enough time to pass for the problem to disappear on its own. What seems to have happened in the case of the Maine Labor History Mural is that, with litigation at an end, new Maine State Museum director Bernard Fishman, former director of the Rhode Island Historical Society, approached new Maine Labor Commissioner Jeanne Pacquette about exhibiting the mural in the museum lobby. Artist Judy Taylor was consulted on the move and consented. Gov. LePage apparently had no objections. And the U.S. DOL, which paid for the mural and had been demanding its money back if the mural were not exhibited, agreed that it would be okay for the mural to hang, at least temporarily, in a non-labor department facility…. And, with its new-found fame, the mural will now be seen by thousands more people than would ever have seen it in the tiny, airless DOL waiting room.

Maine-Labor-History-Mural_via Yankee Magazine on Art Is Everywhere

Maine Labor History Mural’s current home_ via Yankee Magazine

I would also say that controversy can be resolved with respectful dialogue — communication “with” rather than “at” one another.

It remains to be seen what will happen with the Courthouse Murals because removal can cause extensive damage and the cost can be exorbitant at an estimated $100,000, when that money and effort could be possibly better spent on the citizens and their community.

 County Commissioner President Pro Tem, Sandra Little Brown, writes an impassioned plea for their removal and makes some valid points for everyday living with the murals and what they represent. I’ve even tried to envision myself having to view them daily and recalling painful past struggles — if that is the only thing you see. However, they provide a beautifully rendered, stylistic depiction that is indicative of the Industrial Movement post Art Deco, despite the subject representing America’s honest history. They also show progress and historically represent the mindset of the 1930’s, not present day era, as they were painted then, not now. Diego Rivera also painted the American Worker in the 30’s during the industry labor movement. Detroit fought hard and won to keep these murals intact as their many other museum acquisitions had to be sold during the city’s declared bankruptcy. However, these are one of the main tourist attractions to the museum and have since become even more so visited.

Diego Rivera Murals at Institute of Arts in Detroit_via Huffington Post on Art Is EverywhereEqually persuasive is Wayne Flynt’s argument that,”Addressing systemic issues involves confronting policies, but dealing with historic symbols is more complicated and divisive.”  He is Auburn University’s professor emeritus of history. His closing phrase is poignant, “What, as a historian, I find wrong about that is this no longer allows us to have a conversation about the way we were,” Flynt said. “And the way we were is the problem.

Perhaps this is a solution, as stated on AL.com:

Linda Nelson of the Jefferson County Historical Commission has suggested installing educational materials near the pieces and a third mural documenting Southern progress. Jackson told the commission he’s open to that idea.

Nelson and Flynt say they understand the emotions that the artwork stirs, but they would rather preserve reminders of the region’s past than wipe it away.

Until a resolution can be found, at least there is comfort in enjoying the beautiful building and some of its many details.

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 7_AIE

You can almost see Atticus here.

Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 6_AIE Jefferson County Courthouse Mural 5_AIEI’m from the South, a New Orleans gal, and I currently live in a Southern town of Alexandria, VA, right outside the most political town of Washington, DC. We are grappling with our own “Confederate” symbols that became controversial in the sad wake of the senseless Charleston church murders. Although some landmarks, streets and Confederate flags are being removed or replaced, this beloved statue, where the Confederate Soldier, entitle Appomattox stands in the middle of a busy street with his back to the North, is totally symbolic of the Civil War when the North and South were at such odds and pays tribute to VA’s dead in the wake of such a horrific war. It would take more than just a city order to remove as it is on the historic registry of landmarks and is owned by the state, so it is staying.

Appomattox via DCMemorials.com on Art Is Everywhere

Appomattox via DCMemorials.com

There are countless other murals and artwork that resonate with people because they precisely depict a figure who or an image that represents a time and place in America’s history that should not be forgotten.

As I write this piece and with these controversial racial times, I am reminded of one of my favorite books, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. I learned from reading it how Russia used the everyday tactic of simple changes to erase history, like changing street names, renaming and removing landmarks. The next generation never knows its past and does not reflect on it. Therein mistakes are often repeated. It has a striking similarity.

Recently in Seattle, James Crespinel, the original artist of his tribute mural to Martin Luther King below was touching it up and so many people stopped to complain because they were worried he might be damaging it. Once he explained his purpose, the passersby were welcoming of his careful and loving preservation.

MLK mural via TheStranger on Art Is Everywhere

MLK mural via TheStranger

The Art of Plating Food

If you’re a world renown chef, you’re used to plating (arranging food in a pleasing manner); although, what is your creative process for arranging such an artistic plate?

scallops-platedThere is an art to plating food.

Helen Rennie‘s Youtube channels does a good example of explaining just how it is done.

Even more visual is the exhibit, Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity. detailing chef Ferran Adria’s plating process starting from when he was the chef of el Bulli, now shuttered but it was one of the most famous restaurant in Spain in the 80’s.

I first learned about this exhibit in 2014 and it’s taken this long to come to the US.

Ferran's plating diagram on Art Is EverywhereBrett Littman, the exhibition curator, “has been constructing and deconstructing  Ferran’s visual concepts. In fact, out of this exhibit comes a 2,720-page catalogue raisonée, elBulli: 2005-2011, that details all the recipes and techniques of the restaurant from its final seven years. This will be a food lovers visual delight.”

In the meantime, it is interesting to see that the exhibit uses plastine models to visually prep-create the food to give a 3-D perspective of what the plated food will look like.

Plasticine used for the Art of Plating exhibit_AIEI can relate to Helen Rennie’s approach and philosophy, “it’s all fluff” but have fun with it. Plating certainly makes preparing any meal more fun. In some ways it is similar to me needed a Facebook page for my business, it is expected for chefs these days to have a pleasing food presentation. Not only this, as a diner, you’ll remember and possibly come back — if it tastes even better than it looks — so good for business.

You may see other interesting appealing food presentation examples in these previous Food category posts.

Duck, Duck Murals Nearby

While vacationing in Ocracoke, North Carolina, it was coincidental to read this article about Hitnes, the Italian street artist and his duck murals recently painted in Pine Island Sanctuary in Corolla, NC. He is retracing John Audubon’s footsteps while traveling across the US, painting murals as he goes. You can read the full article with links for his inspiration on Audubon.org. Image Hunter article and photos by Jessica Stewart.

Hitnes Duck Mural on Art Is EverywhereHere’s an interesting video regarding the decoys that inspired his artwork.

The Image Hunter / Voodoo Duck from magicmindcorporation on Vimeo.

Although Corolla was a little out of our way to travel to on the return route back home we saw plenty of Nature’s everyday art.

Pre sunset porch time_AIE

Pre sunset porch time

Sailboat view from dock on AIE

Sailboat view from dock

End of day starting on AIE

Sun Rays – End of day starting

Picture perfect sunset and kayaker in silhouette on AIE

Picture perfect sunset and kayaker in silhouette

10 Year Reflection on New Orleans

I’ve been so busy and just coming back from vacation to have much reflection on New Orleans 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. Sometimes painful memories are too difficult to relive but still deserve recollection and at the very least acknowledgement, which is what I’m doing (as I write this on 9-11) and at the first opportunity I’ve had since the August 29th anniversary, when my world and beloved city broke and it took a while to put back together.

On this note, rather than recount my own experience, I’ll note a really wonderful essay I read by Adam B. Kushner, who happens to be from New Orleans and the editor of PostEverything and the Outlook section of the Washington Post.

His refection in his article, “I didn’t know what it means to miss New Orleans” (the same title of one of songs that always tugs at my heartstrings), read as if he was writing my own (except maybe without having elderly parents and a dying father who at first did not want to leave and friends who were stranded). The difference is that I didn’t think that we shouldn’t rebuild.

He has since changed his mind, with reasonable thought and reflection on New Orleans, its heritage and it’s significance to all of the country.

This exuberant image of a Mardi Gras Indian embodies the New Orleans Spirit.

Mardi GMardi Gras Indian via Getty Images__on Art Is EverywhereNew Orleans is still struggling but we’re survivors and after 10 years we’re stronger and striving.

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