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