Wednesday, February 3, 2016

IN THE HILLS


Well, this just made my day.
I've been thinking about mothers and daughters working together creatively, and here is another joint effort: this time at the Chrysler Museum of Art (my old stomping grounds!).

Caroline and her daughter Willoughby are perfectly placed with Leon Kroll's In The Hills (1920-21) and I couldn't help but notice how Willoughby's dress even echoes the plaid of the skirt in the painting.  Not only do they echo the pose of the ladies in the work - they both also look surprisingly like the subjects.

My own mother used to take me to the Chrysler Museum, and I always dreamed of being in this painting - perhaps my own concept for Artfully Awear began in those halls!

Thank you to Caroline and Willoughby Trudell for sharing this photo.

Friday, January 29, 2016

ONE IN A MILJAN












The beauty of nature is not perfection, but harmony. 
--Miljan Suknovic

Earlier this week, on a chilly afternoon, I trudged downtown to meet Miljan Suknovic in his studio.  Miljan is a Serbian artist who lives and works in NYC.  We became acquainted through Artfully Awear, and he invited me to his studio because he said, "I have a feeling that you might like it."

Those words ended up being an understatement, because as soon as I entered his studio, I gasped with delight.  Actually, I gasped well before walking through the door because his exuberant, large scale paintings were lined up to greet me as soon as I exited the elevator.  Not only were the works all-encompassing, but the temperature in his studio was so warm and the fast-paced music so intoxicating that I actually felt as though I were on an island somewhere very far away from post-snowpocalypse NYC.

Upon meeting him, I was not surprised to find that Miljan is energetic and lively, just like his paintings.  He spent the next hour giving me an overview of his career and showing me works from various periods; from living and working in Serbia, Italy, Florence, Germany, and the Czech Republic, to his seven year residence in NYC.

Miljan's pervading style is that of dramatic, lyrical abstraction, but there is also an element of mathematics to his process.  He does not believe that painting should be seen as separate from the architecture in which it is placed, and this has lead him to create some very interesting juxtapositions with his work.  Though his recent works (pictured here) were some of my favorites, Miljan has experimented with almost every style and medium you can imagine.  

If he could sum up his work as a whole, it is about discovery through experimentation.

Interestingly enough, this is something I've been thinking about recently in my own life and work - about how it is important to take time to try things and not worry about whether or not they are successful.  That the importance of creating is what you learn along the way, not necessarily the finished product.

However, in Miljan's case, the finished products are quite brilliant.


Thank you, Miljan, for the stunning introduction to your work and for hosting me at your downtown resort!

Photos by Miljan Suknovic and myself.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

MOTHER | DAUGHTER






When I started Artfully Awear six years ago, I had recently lost my mother to cancer.  Her creativity was my biggest inspiration, and dressing up like artwork became a means of recording her influence in my life; a project that helped me to channel my grief into colorful expression.

Yesterday, I received an email from Rina Flatau, a follower I've never met, who wanted to share some photos of her daughter Abby and her friend that were inspired by Artfully Awear.  In the photos, Abby is dressed beautifully in vintage dresses matching the artwork in their local museum, perfectly encapsulating the message of AA: to either be a work of art or dress like one.  When I saw the photos inspired by my six-year project, I realized that Artfully Awear has come full circle: from my mother teaching me about creative expression, to my endeavor to keep that inspiration alive through my blog, to this poignant record of another mother-daughter collaboration that exquisitely captures the brilliance of dressing like a work of art.

I'm eternally grateful to my mother for nurturing my creativity and teaching me about inspiration through art, and I couldn't be more fulfilled to know that her masterpiece lives on not only in me, but now also in others.



Thank you to Rina Flatau for sharing these photos and for her daughter Abby Flatau for modeling.

Photos by Rina Flatau at the Everson Museum of Art.  Artwork by Morris Louis, William T. Williams, Helen Frankenthaler, and Robert Motherwell.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

JARDIN MAJORELLE











Happy New Year!
Morocco had been on my list of places to visit for a long time, and I finally had the chance to make the trip over the holiday.  It. Was. Everything.
The colors, smells, shouts of people in the street coupled with quiet courtyard oases in Marrakech
The fresh, serene, contemplative feeling of the Atlas Mountains;
The golden ripples of the sand dunes in the Sahara Desert;
The medieval intrigue of Fes,
and the salty air of Casablanca all contributed to one of the most amazing trips of my lifetime.

These photos are from French painter Jacques Majorelle's garden in Marrakech, formerly owned by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge.  Though Majorelle (1886-1962) was a painter, his most well-known work of art is his garden, which he created during a time of convalescence in Marrakech. 

One of my most anticipated aspects of visiting Marrakech, Majorelle's Garden did not rival the sensory overload of the Djemaa El-Fna souks or the winding streets of the medina.  Still, the relatively quiet oasis, beautiful colors, and thousands of exotic plants made the garden a welcome retreat along the journey.

The exact shade of blue used in the garden is named after Majorelle, but is a common hue found in Berber accessories and tiles.  Luckily, I was able to bring home a can of official Majorelle Blue paint, so I can recreate a bit of Marrakech in Brooklyn.

Jacques Majorelle
Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo

Photos by William Sealy; Majorelle painting: dnliving.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

WYNWOOD WALLS









After three rainy days in South Beach at Art Basel, sloshing from one art fair to the next in the neverending downpour of rain, the weather finally cleared up for an afternoon spent in my favorite Miami neighborhood: Wynwood. Wynwood Walls, the ever-changing epicenter of Miami street art, draws guests from all over the world looking to hobnob with "cool kids" of the art and skate culture, drink beer from the local breweries, and pose in front of the epic photo ops.

After a few meetings with friends fell through, I was forced to take these photos myself, just like in the early days of AA.  I forgot how funny it feels to pose for a timed "selfie" while other people are around - though no one seemed to mind, and a few folks even offered to take my photo.

Thanks for welcoming me back, Wynwood!

Top and pants: Milly
Shoes: United Nude

Photos by me.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

BEATRIZ MILHAZES, REVISITED











For at least a few years now, Brazil has been hovering near the top of my list of places to go.  Part of this is because I discovered Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes in 2011 and have been transfixed on her work and its relation to Brazil (and, specifically, Rio de Janeiro) ever since.

At her recent exhibition at James Cohan Gallery in New York, Milhazes referenced Marola, or ripples in the water, and this natural phenomenon is evidenced as imagery in her work and as an effect her artwork has had on Brazilian culture.  Some of her inspiration includes Henri Matisse's Cutouts, as well as the work of Sonia Delaunay.  However, her bright colors and playful imagery have become a part of the Brazilian cultural conscience, and allude to the vibrancy of Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, and the visual and spiritual energy of Milhazes' home country.

Milhazes' work is easy for me to love, and compounds my need to experience the vivacity of Brazil firsthand.

Tights: Uniqlo

Photos by William Sealy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

OFF THE CHARTRES







One of my mother's chosen artistic mediums was stained glass.  She learned the art from my grandmother, whose intricate Tiffany-inspired lampshades brought color to every room in the house.  I remember them staying up late, cutting, grinding, soldering, making beautiful beveled-glass windows, pyramids, and even a rendition of Monet's Waterlilies in glass.

One Christmas, I decided to make a stained glass ornament for my Dad.  I chose a sailboat design, toiled over choosing the glass, cutting and grinding it, wrapping the edges with foil, and soldering the pieces together.  It was a far more labor-intensive process than I'd anticipated and the finished product was far from window-worthy!

However, watching my mother and grandmother create masterpieces, and then attempting one of my own, gave me a deep appreciation for the art of glass.  Traditionally, stained glass in churches was meant to give the worshipper a feeling of being closer to God.  Not only does the beauty of stained glass in a place of worship provide an elevated sense of holiness and acknowledgement of beauty, it also gives me a renewed appreciation of the extraordinary craftsmanship of a work of art, such as the Rose Window at Chartres Cathedral, outside of Paris.

An early example of French Gothic architecture, Chartres Cathedral is extremely well preserved.  One of the most interesting things about the design is that the architectural style was actually adapted in order to allow more space for stained glass!  Instead of a mixture of different types of glass in the windows, which was the standard in a church during that time period, the windows of Chartres were all full color.

I would have liked to visit Chartres with my grandmother and mother because I know how much it would have meant to them to see and experience such a masterpiece.  Truly, though, I was able to build a deep appreciation of the artistry and beauty of stained glass right at home, surrounded by their very own versions of church windows.  And I continue to experience it every day, when I turn on my bedside lamp.  And I continue to experience it every day, when I turn on my bedside lamp.

Boots: Balenciaga

Photos by Kathy Paciello.