Tag Archives: style

SNEAKERS : ARTIST DUMPS USED KICKS ON FLOOR, INSTANTLY CREATES CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED MASTERPIECE

Hey, you! Yes, YOU! You, the savvy reader of this blog. In case you did not know it, you are an artist!

Well, to clarify, if you aren’t, then you can be. Instantly! Yes, INSTANTLY! What if we were to say that you can be an artist within minutes, if not seconds?  

You don’t believe us. Well, let’s a try a little experimental exercise in art production. You have a pair of sneakers, yes? (If you don’t, that’s fine — for this exercise any type of footwear will suffice.) Ok, now grab those sneakers or loafers or mules or flips-flops or whatever, in fact grab a few pairs, as many as you can muster up really. Got ‘em? Great!

Now find some empty floor space, preferably bleached hardwood floor space and pick a spot near a wall, preferably a white wall. Place those pairs of shoes there, and by “place” we mean just dump the shoes on the floor and leave these as they lie when dropped.

And voila, you, savvy ready, have just created a work of art. In fact, it’s a conceptual artwork. It’s kind of like the artwork titled “Skin” by the awesome Moroccan artist Latifa Echakhch pictured in this post. (It’s was recently on view as part of the wonderful and cheeky “Stories of Almost Everyone” exhibition of conceptual art at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.)

You see, you are an artist! (To be more precise, you are conceptual artist!) Great job!

The real artistry here is in the next step: Getting somebody to pay you for this artwork, or at least to devote exhibition space to it.  

Of course, you can always just call the space you dropped those shoes a “gallery” and you’re now an artist with a gallery show. Look at you! You’ve come so far in just a few short minutes.

 

DESIGN WTF: THE RETRO-FUTURE WANTS ITS JUNK BACK!

Hey, the retro-future is calling. We’re guessing from sometime between 1973 and ‘79. It wants its junk back including this car that’s kind of a cross between a Lamborghini and a golf cart. But seriously, this obscure, tangerine-colored, three-wheel vehicle is called the Bond Bug, a “microcar” produced in the early 1970s by Reliant, a U.K. company that had purchased the firm Bond Cars, Ltd. Only about 2,300 Bond Bugs were ever built. We found this one parked next to an art gallery in Solana Beach, near San Diego, California.

BRUTALISTS IN LEGOLAND!

You, savvy reader, are probably a fan of architecture. If not of architecture in and of itself, then perhaps as an extension of being a fan of design. Or at the very least you appreciate architecture, after all, you most likely live in a building. 

Maybe you are an architecture tourist — an “architourist” — who seeks out contemporary, architecturally significant buildings on your globe-spanning travels. Such that when you visit, say, Barcelona, you get excited about going to take a look at the Torre Agbar, designed by Jean Nouvel, whereas the package tourist hordes are bee-lining for the popular cathedrals like Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.

You may have even read a few books about architecture. These books are not just enormously heavy coffee-table tomes filled with beautiful photos of great buildings, but rather books filled with texts, long-form prose about architecture, books with actual chapters that require actual reading. Books like the excellent and amusing  “From Bauhaus to Our House” by Tom Wolfe.  

You may even be a fan of specific architectural design styles and movements: Modernism, International Style, Googie, Mid-Century Modern, Art Deco, the aforementioned Bauhaus, and Brutalism. These mean something to you. Or at least you’ve heard of them.

There’s also a possibility you like Legos.

The person who runs the Instagram account @brutsinlego is a lover of Legos, is a fan of architecture, is a fan (we presume) of Brutalist architecture, in all its minimalist, fortress-like, gray-concrete socialist-tinged glory.

And now we are a fan of him and his Insta account, which is devoted to showcasing the small Lego constructions he and his children make of famous Brutalist buildings around the world.

A small sample of these is posted here for your delight and review.

ARCHITORTURE: WHEN DESIGN WENT GOOGIE-EYED

Architectural styles are subject to the tastes, fashion and trends of a given era. Some architecture stands the test of time. Some age less gracefully and can quickly, embarassingly look dated. Sometimes these become the targets of aesthetic derision, only to become “re-discovered” and re-appreciated decades later and once again deemed “cool.”

The futuristic “Googie” architecture of the 1960s is one example. It is both loved and loathed, but its historical significance cannot be overlooked, especially as time passes and surviving examples of it become scarcer and more fondly familiar landmarks. 

Many examples of Googie can be found throughout Los Angeles and Southern California in the form of homes, diners, motels, gas stations, and car washes, like the one pictured here in Santa Monica. The car wash, that essential feature of L.A. car culture, was especially prone to expressions of Googie style.

Googie originated in Southern California, where it was influenced by the emerging space age, jet travel and ever more reliance on the car in the American post-War era. The style is a modern architectural offshoot of Futurism and part of the American Mid-Century Modern style.

 

PRINTED MATTER: THE RETURN OF THE AWESOME CRAPPY ‘ZINE

“Can’t Steal Our Vibe” is a lo-fi, black-and-white ‘zine published by Lone Wolfs (sic) Objets de Surf, a surf brand and shop in Venice, Los Angeles, as well as a music production company and studio.

CSOV is more of an art zine than a surf mag and has virtually nothing intrinsically to do with the act of surfing itself or the “sport.” It’s more a mirror reflection and by-product of surf culture and Venice Beach, with endearing surf illustrations and photos and a brief Q&A with former surf-pro and Venice resident Brad Gerlach. 

It has no real articles or substantive text in the usual sense, but instead relies more on images and artwork. The overall effect is one of an aesthetic and a vibe, which makes its title all the more apt.

“Can’t Steal Our Vibe” comes off as a vapid, hasty and lazy throw-away of a magazine produced with tongue-firmly-in-cheek, great if inscrutable style, and zero fucks given. Its got the intellectual nutrition value of a Twizzler. But it’s a Twizzler we want to keep chewing over and over and over again. 

APPROPRIATION: CLOTHING STORE MINES ‘80s L.A. SURF CULTURE TO HELP SELL DENIM

Junk Food Clothing and Levi’s, the iconic purveyor of denim jeans, had collaborated on a pop-up concept store in Venice, Los Angeles.

The store is located on fashionable Abbot Kinney Blvd. and is called Tees & Jeans. It offers customers personalization of the brands’ clothing, which is  growing fashion-and-style trend.

In the service of the selling of these clothes, and adding edge to the shop’s collabo idea, is a retail design concept and interior decor that rips from a specific era of Los Angeles’s pop cultural history: Gritty 1980s Venice and the SoCal surf and music scenes as epitomized by an obscure local band called the Surf Punks.

The clothing is sparsely displayed a minimalist space that feels raw, under-decorated and under-produced. But it is very much produced and every detail has been thought through.

These details include the vintage framed black-and-white promotional photos of the Surf Punks, founds objects like  traffic road signs, and used surfboards covered in dirty wax and scrawled with graffiti, deftly propped up in a corner of the store. (Yet another example of the over-employed cliche of a surfboard as decorative object in a shop or restaurant, as also seen here.)

STYLE: ALL THE OTHER KIDS WITH THE PUMPED-UP KICKS

It’s not news that a pair or two or three or 50 of fresh sneakers is an essential part of the contemporary wardrobe of the working creative-professional (WCP). These can run the gamut of old-school classic Adidas Gazelles or New Balance 574 running shoes ( that — God forbid — you’d actually go running in) to luxxy $700 Rick Owens / Givenchy / Gucci / Dior leather kicks to $50 checkerboard Van’s Slip-Ons to, as pictured here, Nike cross-training kicks (that — God forbid — you’d actually go cross-training in). These Nikes belong to colleague at an agency we work for. The pair are beautifully designed, and, aside from the red swoosh, understated at a glance. On closer scrutiny, there are few details that make these shoes sing: The red pull tabs, beige suede accents, and rounded laces.

. . . . .

私たちの同僚の同僚がこの素晴らしいナイキスニーカーを手に入れました。スニーカーは、現代の「働くクリエイティブ・プロフェッショナル」(または「WCP」)の必須のワードローブアイテムです。 ;)


POLITICAL FASHION: “OBA MAO” T-SHIRT IN CHINA

The graphic on this t-shirt is a cute mashup of one of modern China’s greatest political leaders Mao Zedong (sometimes written as “Tse-Dong”), a.k.a., “Chairman Mao,” and one of America’s most popular modern presidents, Barack Obama. Thus “Oba Mao.”

We imagine a lot of American tourists snap these shirts up. The shirt’s iconic and heroic visual treatment of Obama and inherent Maoist-Marxist symbolism are reminiscent of those t-shirts with Che Guevara’s face that were globally popular back in the early 2000s.

Our friend and contributor Richard took this quickly snapped pic a few days ago while traveling in China. Thanks, Richard!

Photo: Richard Haase. All rights reserved.

HAIRY: WHEN YOUR PERSONAL MODE OF TRANSPORT NEEDS A HAIRCUT

You are looking at this photo and you’re thinking “WTF?” Maybe you’re even mouthing the letters as you think them, a just barely audible sound escaping between your lips.

Maybe you’re vocalizing the question with the actual words instead of the initialism: “What the F*ck?!?!” with an emphasis on the last word. (Assuming you’re at work, your co-workers are glancing towards you for a half-second after you utter this.)

All of these are proper, reasonable responses to the subject of the photo pictured here: A hairy, furry beach-cruisey bicycle parked at the bike rack at the popular Superba restaurant in Venice, Los Angeles.

This hirsute bicycle is either a large fashion accessory, a sartorial lifestyle statement piece extended to one’s transport and/or an art project. Perhaps there’s some functionality — the ride is somehow “softer” (?).  Perhaps it’s all these things. In any case, it looks as if Chewbacca took the form of bike and sprayed Sun In all over his over-follicled body. Amaze.

CULTURE: DOES WATCHING SURF FILM “FREE JAZZ VEIN” UP YOUR OH-SO-RETRO STREET CRED?

The answer, savvy reader, is “No, no it won’t.”  Whatever level of individual street cred one has will not be intrinsically changed by watching an awesome, super cool, retro-style surf video. But if there is a surf video that might move the needle slightly to and fro for a hot nano-second before it goes back to its original compass position, it would be this one. “Free Jazz Vein” is the second feature surf film by Argentine filmmaker-surfer Tin Ojeda. (His first was titled “Expencive Porno Movie” (sic), and it’s a classic for  the ages.) It’s as beautiful as his first film. We love it.

CITY LIFE: BIRD MURAL RUINS OTHERWISE COLD, SLEEK, OVERPRICED MINIMALIST CONDO & PERFECTIONIST LIFESTYLE

Text by Van Corsa

Imagine. You’ve made it. Went to school. Got a job in a tech start-up. Paid off your student debt. Moved to Los Angeles. L.A. Then you got a tech job at another start-up. In Venice, a.k.a., “Silicon Beach.”

That start-up made an app and it got big real fast. You made a shitload of money. Then you MOVED to Venice. Rents insane. Then you BOUGHT in Venice. You found a condo around the corner from fashionable, beautiful and gentrified Abbot Kinney Blvd. Prime real estate. Primo location, bro! Expensive.

This condo, it wasn’t just any condo. Because you’re not just any Silicon Beach scrote. You’re not just another sartorially-challenged techie slacking in basic, comfortable fashion. You are more than just a dude with a closet full of hoodies and New Balance sneakers and the full quiver of video game consoles.

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BROMANCE: THAT TIME WHEN MICHAEL AND BUBBLES WERE BESTIES

In 1988, the artist Jeff Koons created the  brilliant porcelain sculptural object “Michael and Bubbles,” a kitschy, super-sized 3D depiction of late man-child and mega-pop-star Michael Jackson and Bubbles, his famous chimpanzee pet-as-sidekick.

Michael and Bubbles were kind of like best friends for a while. Human and chimp as pals. Cross-species buds. Besties. BFFs way before BFF was even a term that would be abbreviated. Continue reading

LUST: A VISIT TO “LONE WOLFS’” LOS ANGELES MUSIC STUDIO

The hyper-aesthetically single-minded and stylistically dialed-in guys who started Lone Wolfs (sic), a surf shop and brand in Los Angeles, are also musical creative types with bona fide pedigrees in music composition and production for big-brand advertising campaigns.

Behind their Venice surf shop, there’s a full-blown recording studio. It’s called Wolf at the Door. And it is sick, dope, boss, fire, Bible, lit AF, etc.

We recently got a private tour and chance to spend some quality time appreciating the studio spaces filled with musical instruments, mixing boards, gadgetry, gear and good lighting. We were enraptured in the presence of such a cool and fun space.

We won’t lie, savvy reader, we did indeed experience many emotions upon feasting our eyes on this studio.

One feeling welled up most strongly: Lust. We were wholly possessed by a powerful urge to just pick up guitars, turn on amps and start making sounds, leaning hard into indulgent audiofile ecstasy.

Just look at these pictures we posted here (below)! LOOK! Don’t these just make you want to start a band right now?!?!?

“I don’t play a musical instrument and I can’t sing,” you plead.

What? Are you kidding?!?! That’s no excuse. It doesn’t matter. Start that fucking band right now! Do it!

LOST & FOUND: TOY FIGURES OF ANGRY EDM DJs

During our annual Mew Year’s House-cleaning ritual we uncovered these two toy mini-figures of DJs. We love (and are slightly disconcerted by) how angry one of them looks. The headphones and eyeglasses are a nice touch. The look reminds us of early 2000s and the late “electronic” era. We bought these years ago at Toy Tokyo, a specialty toy and model shops in the East Village of New York.

GRAPHIC DESIGN X MATCHES — LIT AF!!!

Our annual New Year’s ritual of doing some house cleaning and organizing, throwing things out and making room for all the stuff we got as Xmas gifts, yielded this small trove of matchbooks and matchboxes. We must have picked up these from various restaurants and shops because the designs struck us in some way at the moment we saw them. Each design is distinct and an exercise in branding. These matches are from the New York City outpost of the restaurant Mission Chinese; James Beach, a restaurant in Venice Beach; Esquelito, a jewelry store in Echo Park, Los Angeles and the Spanish word for “skeleton”; the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo, New York; and Love Adorned, another jewelry shop with branches in NYC and LA.

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.

CAPITALISM 101: STRANGER THINGS APPAREL SPOTTED IN THE WILD

Have you binge watched season two of Stranger Things? If you have then you know how good it is. Some are saying it’s better than season one. Go figure.

We admit we’ve already seen all of season two of the Netflix original series. It lives up to the hype. Yes, that’s right, savvy reader, it’s still “critically acclaimed”! 

Given its critical and popular success, there’s probably going to be a third season. (Netflix doesn’t share viewer numbers and the show is commercial-free so in audience and dollars terms we don’t really know how successful it is.)

But no matter. As long as current subscribers don’t cancel there Netflix accounts, it’s as a good as a hit. Continue reading

CONFUSION: “ART-NOT-ART” STREET ART

A funny thing about “art.” Sometimes the happiest of aesthetic accidents happen as a consequence of totally non-artistic impulses.

Take as prima facie example the case of the roller-shutter pictured above. It’s on a warehouse-factory building in the rapidly gentrifying Downtown Los Angeles neighborhood dubbed the Arts District. It’s a beautiful building, a grand structure standing as testament to L.A.’s glorious former industrial past.

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