Category Archives: Art

Max Zorn’s Tape Art

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this, except that it is freaking amazing.  I was tipped off to the work of street artist Max Zorn by my grandfather (yeah, he’s awesome).  Zorn uses layers of tape, cut with a razor and  illuminated by backlight, to create incredible portraits and pictures with a very film noir feel.  Again, I love the totally unexpected materials, the whole uniqueness of the concept.  Another thing I’ve never seen before!


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Chromatic Typewriter

I am in near-constant awe of people’s innovation.  If I’m perfectly honest, I have a lot of technical ability when it comes to art, but not as much inspiration (perhaps from a belief I have nothing of value to say as a working class white girl – I feel self-conscious and fraudulent when it comes to the “message”) and even less patience to execute certain things.  I know, I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to creating…

But back on topic.  There are a lot of other very ingenious, artistic people out there.  One of them is Tyree Callahan, creator of the Chromatic Typewriter.

Callahan replaced the ink pads of this 1937 Underwood Standard typewriter with colored paint pads, and the letter keys became a color guide.  The result, which he submitted to the 2012 West Collects West Prize competition, is a machine that allows you to type out abstract pictures.

I personally find this piece so intriguing because it’s a really interesting combination of machinery – automation – and art.  Of course we’re all familiar with the pop art/mass production phenomenon of the 60’s, and this is an odd blend of handmade and machine-made production techniques.  Of course you can’t mass produce anything with the typewriter, so I suppose it’s not on the exact same level of automated art, but it’s an interesting juxtaposition nonetheless.

And the resulting “paintings” – so far mostly abstractions of landscapes – have an ethereal, misty, watercolor-esqe feel to them.  Of course I bet you can do a whole heck of a lot more with such a machine, especially considering what artists like Keira Rathbone have accomplished using a plain old black-and-white lettered typewriter.

Are you inspired yet?

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Remaking Art

Oh. My. God.  This site is so cool I’ve been reduced to speaking in shallow colloquialisms because I can’t even express my excitement right now.  OMG people!

It’s always been a (very) secret ambition of mine to pose for a remake of a classic piece of art, whether as a photograph or a painting.  It must be a popular desire because BOOOOOOOM has gotten a ton of submissions for their incredible Remake project, which does just that.

I’m so impressed by people’s creativity and ingenuity with this project.  The submissions range from literal, down-to-the-exact-detail remakes:

To more loose interpretations and approximations of the works:

(Photos, from top: Remake of Draper’s “Pot Pourri” by Tania Brassesco and Lazlo Passi Norberto, and original; remake of Mondrian’s “Composition in Red, Blue and Yellow” by Katie Jackson, and original; remake of Velasquez’s “Las Meninas” by Natalie Pereira, and original.)

I think it’d be really interesting to find out why people chose to recreate the pieces they did.  Do they have an affinity for the piece or the artist?  Do they identify with the subject?  Maybe it just seemed like the easiest one to stage.  I love that people from all over have reimagined these pieces and, in the most literal sense of the term, inserted themselves into the art.  I respect the time and effort put into the literal recreations, and I’m fascinated by how people have reinterpreted the approximations.  They’re all beautifully done and I applaud the participants.

As for me, modeling for an art project IS on my 24 before 25 list.  I’ve always secretly wanted to do a Manet…maybe “Bar at the Folies-Bergere.”  So who wants to get to work??

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Animal-Figure Art

Did you know there’s a show called Project Accessory?  It’s like Project Runway, but instead of designing clothes the contestants design jewelry and other accessories.  I can’t tell if I hate the idea or not…

Speaking of accessories, though, as I was cruising my favorite art sites on the web I came across these peacock sculptures, which were mentioned on both Etsy’s News from the Craft and Style Blogosphere and This is Colossal (one of my very favorite art blogs).

Artist Laurel Roth created these sculptures using very unconventional materials – fake fingernails, hair barrettes, jewelry and false eyelashes, among other things.

She says she wanted to “examine mankind’s  drive to modify itself as well as its environment [and]…question the social constructions of need, design and individual desire.”

I really love her use of nontraditional materials to create a sort of classically-inspired sculpture (I, at least, am reminded both of folk art and Chinese sculpture) – it lights a fire under my butt to re-examine objects in my own life within an artistic context.  Transformation and resourcefulness are always inspiring.  I also really love her concept; by juxtaposing these artificial beauty elements with a natural object – which exemplifies the need for attention and beauty in itself – really accomplishes her goal of making an interesting point about desire, aesthetics and our need for…what’s the word I want?  Social victory?  Acceptance?  The only word that (aptly) keeps popping into my mind is “peacocking,” which is an obvious choice but so accurately describes the whole idea in both a human and animal context.

The next bit of animal art that caught my attention also came from Colossal, and is a series of taxidermied animals wrapped in layers of intricately strung beadwork by French artist Julien Salaud.

The series is called Les Animaux Stellaires (the Stellar Animals) and you really must visit his website to look at the scroll of Flash images that I can’t download here.  Salaud says he wants to tell the stories of the changing loves of animals, people and the stars, and like Roth, the works juxtapose the aesthetics of nature with a sort of artificiality of man-made beauty.

The deer images are a bit tense and overwhelming with the beadwork, but some of Salaud’s other animals are adorned in delicate, flowing strands of glittering beads and sequins, giving them an almost royal appeal.  I suppose what attracts me to this work most is that, a) I think it’s a truly NEW idea – I’ve never seen anything quite like this before; and  b) it’s a bit macabre, with the dead taxidermy animals, but there’s also a distinct element of romance and beauty that brings the natural and human worlds together.  A nice partner for Roth’s peacocks – similar goals, but a completely different starting point and end result.


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Happy September!

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am that it’s finally September.  Well, I guess I can begin to tell you…I just did…you know what I mean. I love autumn more than ice cream and at least as much as kittens.  Autumn means wearing scarves and boots, baking pumpkin cookies (baking anything, really), reading outside while sipping a spiced latte, watching the trees turn lovely shades of warm, cramming in the last baseball games of the season…I’m getting giddy just thinking about it.  Most importantly, it means the start of cooler weather and the reinvigoration of my desire to create.  Art projects, come to me now!

Since I’m feeling so warm and fuzzy right now thinking about things I love, I thought I’d do a mini-blog roll and share some of my favorite sources of inspiration on the web.  Stumble Upon is a fantastic resource for new material, so if you don’t have an account you should get one.  Do it.  Other than Stumble Upon, there’s…


Joy the Baker

Possibly my inspiration for starting this blog, Joy is probably the girl we all want to be.  She’s funny and quirky and tells it like it is…in the sweetest way possible.  Plus she’s a dang good cook, and I am still trying to cram in all the cookie, bread and crumble recipes of hers I want to try.  Recipes like zucchini sweet potato bread, which I’ve tried and loved, and vegan cherry carrot cookies, which I am dying to bake.  She also has a great podcast where she talks about things like boys and leggings and dessert with Tracy, who writes my next blog…



Shutterbean is another lovely food blog, with a wider range than just baking.  Tracy is a lot like Joy (which makes sense, right?), with a great voice, awesome photographs and yummy recipes like Vietnamese noodle salad.



Design*Sponge covers the gamut of food, fashion, craft a decor.  It’s a good source of inspiration, though not always the very most relatable.  Still, who doesn’t like to look at pretty things?


So Much to Tell You

So Much to Tell You is a fashion-oriented blog by two girls from New Zealand.  I just started reading it, and while it’s not always my taste I am always inspired by the offbeat, beautiful and random things that they curate.  I like the idiosyncrasies in people’s tastes (which is why I liked Tavi Gevinson’s Style Rookie until she became less eccentric fashion maven and more angsty teenage girl…not that I hold it against her).  I guess I like random curatorial blogs in general (i.e. Delightfully Tacky or This is Colossal)…


A Beautiful Mess

Fashion + craft + design.  What more could you want?


Not Martha

This one is craft + food + travel + helpful and interesting links collected from the internet.  Also a win.  And I love the title.


Home, Made

Duh.  It’s Christine’s blog.  As if you had to ask.


So…is that all?  No.  I did say mini-blog roll though, so now at least you know a few of my favorites.  I love spending lazy mornings eating scones and drinking coffee and reading art and design blogs, there’s no way I could list them all.  Now I get to make maple scones and cinnamon coffee and actually DO the projects I want, in addition to reveling in the inspiration.  Onward, autumn!

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Ursus Wehrli Cleans Up

I’ve been thinking about art lately.  A lot.  Naturally this has made me blissfully happy, and I’m itching to create as soon as this GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING HEAT LETS UP.

Sorry.  I’m alright.  Where was I?

Art.  I recently discovered the Swiss artist/comedian Ursus Wehrli, and I must say I’m a bit smitten.  Essentially what he does is take works of art by modern masters and “tidies them up,” showcasing the improved paintings in his book Tidying Up Art.  His work is hilarious, but not snarky, which is refreshing.  It’s playful, and Wherli isn’t trying to make any serious critical commentaries on art or aesthetics (although to be fair I can’t read Swiss German, so maybe his website has more insight).

Even though his work has given me some things to think about, and certainly could spawn a whole lot of serious discussions, I prefer its lightheartedness.  Watch Wehrli’s TED speech and you’ll get a better idea of what he’s after – no pedantry, just humor (with the exception of his bit on Keith Haring’s “spare parts shop” and how it can be used to study art, which flippantly pokes fun at how some art critics get mired in trivial details and unfounded arguments of their own creation).  At one point he decides he can’t clean up a work by Pollock and simply returns the paint to the cans.

Now he’s turned his attention from correcting the hurried mistakes in works of art to organizing the chaos of everyday life with his new book The Art of Clean Up, which comes out in September.  I, for one, am mighty excited.  This is also exclusively how I will eat my soup from now on:

Actually that last image reminds me of the photos in IKEA’s new cookbook.  They’re not meant to be funny; it’s actually a really innovative and intriguing approach to food photography, and yet another thing I’m loving right now.

The geometry of the photographs is such a contrast to traditional cookbook images, and such a unique way to conceptualize food at all.  It has that same sort of clean, distillative effect of Wehrli’s photos, but for entirely different reasons.  IKEA is being cool, Wehrli is being funny…although if I had to choose, I’d go with the one that makes me laugh.  That’s just a little wisdom from me to you.  Free of charge.

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