Monthly Archives: December 2017

CAPITALISM: JEFF KOONS AND LOUIS VUITTON MAKE A BABY BUNNY

The unthinkable has happened. Yes, savvy reader, bona fide post-modern rockstar artist and art-world darling Jeff Koons has collaborated with major, global luxury brand Louis Vuitton, installing his iconic stainless-steel inflatable-bunny “sculptural object” titled “Rabbit” in the brand’s boutique display windows alongside special-made stainless-steel balloon versions of the LV logo. Pictured here is his studio’s handiwork as it currently appears in the display window of a store in Newport Beach, California.

Ahh … And with that we say “Good-bye 2017! Hello, 2018! Happy New Year!”

RETAIL DESIGN: WHEN YOUR “SHOPPING EXPERIENCE” IS A WORKING GARAGE FOR MOTORBIKE REPAIR

The idea is genius, if maybe accidental and gimmicky to the extreme. HWY is a shop on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park, in Los Angeles, that sells vintage clothing and original branded HWY t-shirts with a biker bent. The clothes racks and merch tables occupy much of the front half of the small store, but seem incidental to the grime, grease and general mess of motorcyle parts and tools strewn around the store, especially the back half of the retail space which is more or less a bike repair space. Essentially a shop turned mechanic’s work space turned retail operation.

SHORT VIDEO: “THE ETERNALITY OF GRAFFITI”

The Atlantic magazine produced a cool little video about Studio B and efforts to preserve and exhibit graffiti art from an abandoned New Orleans housing project. The video is done in mini-documentary style and titled the “Eternality of Graffiti.” We love the title, by the way! 

GINGERBREAD HOUSES: IS KITSCHY HOLIDAY CRAFT ON CUSP OF BECOMING LEGIT FORM OF SERIOUS ARTISTIC EXPRESSION?

We are fans of architecture. Even more so we are fans of “architectural design.” However, kitsch and the aesthetics of  the contemporary commercial Xmas holiday experience, we are not fans of. But we were intrigued by a recent contest at our office to design and build a holiday-style gingerbread house. 

The construction and decorative materials were provided to participants (some would be architects, and some legit designers and artists) and included a large gingerbread cookie (of course) in the shape of a pre-fab parts template for the basic house structure, and baggies filled with jellybeans, licorice, gumdrops, pretzels, cookies, marshmellows, candy canes and myriad other sweets of dubious tastes, poor nutritional value and enough sugar to sustain a full-time local dental practice. Continue reading

EPIC : MURAL ATTEMPTS CHEERY POSITIVITY AMID GRIM DEPRESSING VIBE OF WINTRY DOWNTOWN NYC

The current mural at the “Bowery Wall” (a.k.a., the “Deitch Wall”) in downtown New York City is an epic, colorful composition of 3D block letters and abstract 2D graphical shapes.

The massive painting is by the artist Lakwena and its message “Lift you higher” could be describing the artwork itself. It’s a bright, aesthetically cheery artwork that has all the right pleasure-centering amounts of visual flavor crystals added to it.

Continue reading

NOSTALGIA: STREET ART HAS NO SHAME FOR MEMORY LANE

The British jazz-pop singer Sade can be counted in the Pantheon of 1980s music icons. Her music videos for songs like the “The Greatest Taboo” and “Smooth Operator” were a staple of MTV (back when MTV entire programming consisted of music videos). 

She is among several influential 1980s pop-cultural icons depicted in street art portraits by Los Angeles artist Alex Ali Gonzalez. This mural of Sade pictured here is in the Arts District near Downtown Los Angeles.

Continue reading

TROPE-A-DOPE: STREET ART IMAGE OF DOG IN VENICE INSANELY UNORIGINAL (OR STREET-ART TROPES: A PRIMER)

There is street art. There are cliches. And there are street-art cliches (SAC). That said, we think “trope” is the better suited word here rather than the word “cliche.” So, “street-art trope.” (SAT, of course). There are street art tropes! There is, dare we use the term, “tropey” street art. There we said it.

“What are some of these street-art tropes?” you ask, savvy reader? That’s a fair question, if ever there was. There are a few broad categories and types. But the most obvious type, if most flagrant, is the use of cheery pop-cultural icons, often cartoon characters, juxtaposed with some very un-cheery and serious imagery, like a gun.

There’s practically a formula matrix you can follow to create this kind of street art. For example … Continue reading

DECK THE WALLS: SKATEBOARDS AS DECOR – THE HORROR!

There’s really no excuse for this. Unless it’s a college dormitory or your parents’ basement or the living room of a pro skater or the place of business for somebody connected to the skateboarding industry (and by extension the surf industry), skateboards as decorative wall art is no bueno, brah!

You see, savvy reader, once you’re past a certain age and a certain living circumstance (i.e., you’ve moved out of your college dorm room or parents’ basement into your own apartment or one-bedroom condo) your choice of decor and artwork should show that you’re adulting, and we mean adulting hard! Continue reading

ART OF OUR TIME: “MERELY DECORATIVE”? JAPANESE ARTIST YAYOI KUSAMA’S BALLOONS

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s current exhibition at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles is a sensation. It’s a huge bona fide hit. In large part this is due to her super Instagrammable and severely FOMO-inducing art installation known as the “Infinity Room.” Continue reading

OBEY: THE WABI SABI OF OLD SHEPARD FAIREY STREET ART POSTERS

Like a vintage wine, some street art ages remarkably well. Others not so well.

Take for example most wheat-paste street art posters like the one pictured here in Venice, Los Angeles, by artist Shepard Fairey (see all Shepard Fairey posts). It’s classic Fairey. 

But it’s showing its age. It’s worn, fading, and a little tattered from the elements. Although the physical integrity of artwork has degraded, it’s actually made the poster more interesting in a way that’s similar to the way patination on a bronze statue gives it more character or the way a pair of Japanese RPM selvedge denim jeans develop a distinct shape, fade and crease when worn everyday and left unwashed for a year.

Part of street art’s magic is that it’s ephemeral. It comes and goes. It disappears. And part of that ephemerality is seeing it age, bearing witness to its slow destruction.

As Fairey’s Venice Beach poster continues to come apart and fade, it’s takes on a new aesthetic. It becomes more beautiful as it degrades and loses the perfection of it’s original state. The artwork is humbled by the elements and by time. Yet it remains a remarkable image and retains the unconventional nature inherent in art that’s “in the streets.”

Looking at it this way is like the Japanese concept of wabi sabi. And yet the core image persists on the landscape, provoking thought , remaining a subject of appreciation.