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.

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!

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.

Down by the Sea

While vacationing in the OBX what better way to celebrate life than posting about a recent discovery about Google’s Ocean Project and in the process finding this Men at Work song that I hadn’t heard before — jazzy and reflective of the beach’s beauty and beyond.

Down by the sea
I found your hidden treasure
Just you and me,
We overdosed on pleasure…

Imagine searching for directions to somewhere on Google Maps and looking at the street view so you’ll know what your destination will look like in real-time as you drive to it. Google’s Ocean Project gives you this street view in the ocean — under the water. They are mapping the world’s oceans and I can’t think of anything more other-worldly, right here on earth and without having to travel far to find. Truly fascinating!

When you go to the site, click on any map marker in the bottom left and it will take you to a 3-D panoramic view of that underwater spot. You can click on any thumbnail picture view and go there as well.

Google Ocean project_2 on Art Is Everywhere

Google Ocean project_1 on Art Is Everywhere

Have fun searching and discovering a whole other word that most of us will rarely see in person. Here’s a magical spot in the Florida Keys, where I hope to visit someday in person.

Florida Keys_Google Project_Art Is EverywhereIn the meantime, I’m enjoying this Australian sea-side video set to Down By the Sea and the ocean at Ocracokein real-time. Just hope not to see any sharks this trip.

…Down by the sea
I found your hidden treasure
Just you and me
We over-dosed on pleasure

Listen to your heart
Screamin’ at the sky
Can’t you feel it tremble?
Don’t you wonder why?

Color a Village

What a remarkable image! Artists color a village in Mexico to bring beauty and benefit to the small town of Pachuca. Quartz appropriately describes it as “color therapy.”

Pachuca village_via  Quartz on Art Is Everywhere

Pachuca village_via Quartz

Oddly named German Crew group is responsible for this urban renewal project with its youth graffiti artists who transformed 209 residents’ homes with swaths of broad strokes of color.

The village is located in the most impoverished area of the Palmitas about 100 miles outside of Mexico City. The project hopes to bring cultural awareness and tourism to help fend off crime while engaging the community to take back their town.

This part of the project has taken six months, from the design by Mibe, a street artist from Mexico City, to the whitewashed basepaint before to the bright colorization.

Pachura before via ArtNet / German Crew on Art Is Everywhere

before via ArtNet / German Crew

Pachura colored via ArtNet / German Crew on Art Is Everywhere

Pachura colored via ArtNet / German Crew

The second phase will add figurative murals to the streets scape. It’s a beautiful work in progress — putting artists to work and adding a beneficial facial “uplift” to the town — in more ways than just cosmetic.

Just look how this Pachura town stands out now. Photo via German Crew on Art Is Everywhere

Just look how this town stands out now! Photo via German Crew

In a previous posts, you can read about how a similar town of Favela was transformed with murals and color.

An Ai Weiwei and Charleston Mural Update

Here’s an Ai Weiwei and Charleston Mural Update.

I wrote an Weighing in on Ai Weiwei post back in June 2014. I recently read that this controversial Chinese artist was randomly given his passport back after four years (600 days) when the Chinese government first took it away, basically leaving him captive in his own country and after he served jail time. He is still barred from posting anything on the Chinese Internet. However, all this didn’t stop him from creating thought-provoking, ‘pain in the Chinese government’s rear and side’ type of art through instructions he gave to his minions to follow and set up exhibitions in other countries. I have to give him kudos for getting around the situation. Now that he can travel, no telling what he’ll do…

First stop, London.

Ai Weiwei via Washington Post on Art Is EverywhereAlso, here’s a quick link update to the post about the interactive public art “Power” mural in Charleston, SC along with a picture of how the mural came out. The initial information is published in the Metry Gets Muralized post near the bottom.

Power Mural Update_Charelston Gazette Mail on Art Is Everywhere

Taking Art to the Taxis

I’m always impressed when I see new ways to experience art. I discovered Taxi Fabric Art on Kickstarter today. It’s a new artistic campaign in India that is really taking art to the taxis by allowing a vehicle (no pun intended) for artists in Mumbai to submit their artwork for printing onto the fabric that is used in taxi cabs. The philosophy behind the project, from the founders:

We want to help Indian designers have their work not only be seen but also allow them to connect with members of the public who up until now perhaps haven’t understood that design can tell stories and create emotions…

Example of one of the taxicabs fitted with taxifabric on Art Is Everywhere

Example of one of the taxicabs fitted with an artist’s design. Photos via Kickstarter and Taxifabric.org

Not only that, but this is an opportunity to bring economic benefit to those who often have even more difficulty than in America of being discovered as an artist. India is also a place of such dichotomy, with such beauty, natural wonders and gorgeous, delectable food but with such disparity with those who have very little and live with a lot of hardship.

Every Taxi Fabric design has the opportunity to be seen by upwards of 4,000 people in the 4-5 months that it features in a Mumbai taxi. If we reach our target, that will mean 120,000+ people in Mumbai will have seen the work of these designers by Christmas.

The Taxi drivers have commented that they believe their customers are not only engaging with them more, but most of them also ask them about their designs featured in their taxis. Some have even told us that they are getting more fares because their taxis stand out in a way the other taxis don’t.

3 out of the 5 designers who have made Taxi Fabrics have been contacted by members of the public who have seen their designs and want to work with them further…

Taxifabric 3 on Art Is Everywhere

Quite a fashionable ride here. Be sure to read all the artists’ stories.

Taxifabric 2 on Art Is EverywhereClick here to read more and perhaps fund as little as $16 to this campaign. They’ve already reached $7,983 of their $12,402 goal (at the time of this writing) with 83 backers. You have until August 11th to participate.

Click on each image below to read the story behind the artwork. I’m not surprised that their website is very user-friendly, so be sure to go to the home page to check out each of these artists’ taxi’s artistic story and hit the back button to read more here.

Taxifabric 4 on Art Is Everywhere

Click on this image and other images below to read about the artist’s inspiration

Taxifabric 6 on Art Is Everywhere

What do dabbawalla delivering his dabbas, the last man standing in the train compartment, the taxi driver dodging traffic and you – battling time have in common?

Taxifabric 5 on Art Is Everywhere

Who knew hawkers could be so pretty?!

I think, if this effort takes off, and it looks like it will, the concept could be implemented elsewhere. It just goes to show you that the most everyday, taken for granted and often overlooked places show that art can be everywhere.

You can read more about the organization on taxifabric.org

Patriotism Beyond One Day

Happy belated July 4th!

There are ways to display your patriotism beyond one day.

Look at this flag mural. It certainly raises the lowly barn to a new level.

Flag barn mural on Art Is EverywhereArtist Jake Songer in Huntsville, Utah describes his process in this article and on the video.

Similar to Scott LoBaido, who paints flag murals across the country to pay homage to Veterans and all their sacrifice, Songer expresses his patriotic ability with painted flags and in this example the Statue of Liberty, but his main intent is using barns as his canvas for bringing art to his community. There’s a lot of country in Utah and the many barns that dot the landscape are big enough to be seen but this means the murals have to be extra large-scale to stand out.

I like this picture of Scott LoBaido painting a recent flag mural just with roller, not an easy thing to do, because you can see his paint process and how the illusion of flowing stars and stripe are created with his shadows and highlights.

Scott LoBaido paints flag mural on Art Is EverywhereHe’s on a mission to paint flag murals in all 50 states. This is his 17th but he’s more than half way now. Before you know it, a flag mural may soon be in your own town. If not, you can at least fly your own American flag all year round or try your hand at barn painting one.

A Father’s Day Celebration

We have an ongoing monthly brunch with my son and his wife. We decided to combine that with a Father’s Day Celebration last weekend.

It was a 4 star-sensory dining experience at China Chilcano, with everything from the visual decor to the food presentation, taste, smell and even touch with our seating sensation being sunken into the floor, a la modern Japanese style.

China Chilcano is an amalgamation of Peruvian, Chinese, Mexican and Japanese cuisine and eating styles. The food is excellent and the style is serendipitous, so if you’re in for a surprise, as we were, it is a pleasant one.

China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

2 China Chilcano decor on Art Is Everywhere

ceviche at China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

beautiful and delicious ceviche

Sunken table at China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

Sitting at the sunken table

Shaved Blackberry Ice at China Chilcano on Art Is Everywhere

Raspadilla de Chicha Morada. Shaved purple corn ice, lemongrass manjar
blanco, pineapple

Before taking the Metro home, we headed to the nearby Smithsonian American Art Museum and discovered this unusual building facade along the way.

Trompe l'oeil building facade in DC on Art Is Everywhere

Trompe l’oeil building facade in DC

Sculpture at the  Smithsonian American Art Museum on Art Is Everywhere

Sculpture & artwork at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Adams Memorial on Art Is Everwhere

Adams Memorial

About Adams Memorial on Art Is Everywhere

Angel Painting by Abbot Handerson Thayer on Art Is Everywhere

Angel Painting by Abbot Handerson Thayer

Thomas Moran Painting on Art Is Everywhere

Thomas Moran Painting

Later that evening an unexpected thunderstorm came through that created some unusual lighting, similar to the Thomas Moran painting, in its wake. Coincidentally, our American flag was highlighted. Be sure to fly yours on the 4th!

Strange light after a storm on Art Is EverywhereStrange lighting with dark sky on Art Is Everywhere

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