Shepard Fairey Plays Jaded Art Store Clerk on Portlandia


Screenshot from Portlandia


Yes!  Gigi and Phil are back.

There’s nothing more satisfying then seeing IFC’s Portlandia attach yet more humor to the inner crazy pretense of the art world.

Portlandia co-creators, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen are reprising their roles as those hyper diligent ambassadors of bad art.  The last time we saw Gigi (Brownstein) & Phil (Armisen), they were running Bad Art Good Walls, a company whose sole purpose was to supply coffee shops with horrible art.

At one point in the sketch, as Phil gets an order ready, Gigi hilariously suggests they check in with their co-worker Sean (guest star Sean Hayes) for options because “he just got back from an art fair”.

This time around, they run an art supply store called Shocking Art Supplies, and it’s got all those anti-corporate art school project trappings – pre-smashed TVs, upside down flags, doll parts, and mannequins.  Famed street artist, Shepard Fairey puts in an appearance as their jaded sales clerk. Fairey can be seen stocking shelves in the background and demonstrating how to intrinsically use mismatched doll parts.  Mockingly good scene comes in at 0:52 as Fairey uses a stencil to spray a “Riot Cop” onto the chest of a mannequin.

Fairey announced the cameo on his Instagram saying, “The part I play, a jaded art store employee, was set in the exact art store where I bought my art supplies while staying in Portland for a stint a few summers ago. I’m no actor, but this part, along with maybe “jaded art student” or “jaded skate shop employee,” are the closest I’ll ever get to method acting.”

The episode airs on IFC Thursday 1/29 at 10pm.


Bad Art Good Walls


MoMa Björk Retrospective Induces Mini Heart Palps



The first time I heard Björk, I was sitting in the backseat of a friend’s little Toyota.  The car was chugging up a steep road in Stroudsburg, PA, and I thought the voice coming out of the speakers was surely some majestical wispy woodland nymph that only my mountain region friends knew about.

Hearing her voice was like being on colorful glittered flakes of psychedelic drugs I have never done; maybe the heart palps just belong to me (sincerely doubt it).

So excuse me while I scream into my hands, regain composure and then tell you that MoMA is mounting a full-scale retrospective dedicated to the work of the multi-faceted Icelandic Queen, Bjork.  The exhibition, simply titled, Björk will focus on 20 years of the artist’s projects including her seven full-length albums —”to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, costumes (aka. the swan dress), and performance.  The installation will present a narrative, both biographical and imaginatively fictitious, cowritten by Björk and the acclaimed Icelandic writer Sjón. Björk’s collaborations with video directors, photographers, fashion designers, and artists.”  The exhibition will culminate with a newly commissioned, immersive music and film experience conceived and realized with director Andrew Thomas Huang and 3-D design leader Autodesk.

I’m hoping one of the exhibit highlights will be getting to play with her experimental app, Biophilia on a larger platform. Biophilia is the first app to enter MoMA’s collection, and one of the best apps to ever suck up 725MB of my iPhone storage. MoMA’s acquisition of Biophilia (2011), showcases the museum’s leadership in forward-thinking digital cataloging.  The app was a gift of Björk and her record label, One Little Indian.

The hybrid software app was developed by Björk in collaboration with M/M Paris, and Scott Snibbe.  Within the app, users can navigate a three-dimensional constellation made up of 10 separate apps, one for each song from the Biophilia album.  Each app allows for four options – a look at the composition of the song, play the score (can you say Bjork karaoke), colorful song animation created by Stephen Malinowski, and the fourth option shows you the lyrics of the song.

My favorite incarnation of the app can be seen in the Biophilia Educational Program, a project adopted by select Scandinavian Schools “designed to inspire children to explore their own creativity and to learn about music and science through new technologies.”

Björk will be on view at MoMA from March 8 through June 7, 2015.

Björk Website

* Photo Credit: Björk, Debut, 1993. Credit: Photography by Jean Baptiste Mondino. Image courtesy of Wellhart Ltd & One Little Indian; Björk, Biophilia, 2011. Credit: By M/M (Paris) Photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin. Image courtesy of Wellhart Ltd & One Little Indian


Art Smart on the Sly



Since you never know what crowd you’ll be falling into –we’ve compiled a non-threatening mix of books to get your Art Smart on. Some cover the hype of a few well-known art stars, and others take you into current art movements. There are a few biographies and “text” book like works on our list, but that’s because it makes it easier to appreciate the new when you know what influences the artist drew from. We’re not promising to turn you into art aficionados, but we can help you load your bookshelf down with a couple of gems.  The oldies but goodies you should already own.

  1. History of Art by HW Janson – The seminal art history textbook. The one to which all others pale in comparison. I used this when I took my first Art History class, and it totally changed the way I looked at art and gave me a basis with which to view art that I still call upon today.
  2. 501 Great Artists:   A Comprehensive Guide to the Giants of the Art World by Susie Hodge – Another basic text for art lovers, easy to read and very educational.  It’s a very good “primer” on who makes up the bedrock of the art world.
  3. Lust for Life by Irving Stone – Irving Stone is a wonderful writer and this account of Van Gogh’s life is quite amazing.  This book gives you an idea of what a tortured soul he was, and how hard he tried to find his place in life.
  4. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone – This time Stone writes about Michelangelo’s life. He was so clearly a genius since youth. It takes you through his time painting for sponsors, and then his grand patrons, the Medici’s. His relationship with the Pope was a complex one as well, and Stone brings this all to the book. A must-read.
  5. Going Postal by Martha Cooper – Because stickers from the US Postal Service, UPS, DHL and FEDEX are so readily available, it became the perfect canvas for the graffiti culture. Graffiti photography Martha Cooper showcases a collection of more than 200 photographs of some of her favorite handmade postal stickers from around the world.
  6. Jean -Michel Basquiat: 1960-1988 by Leonhard Emmerling  – This is an amazing bio of Basquiat, who in less than a decade became an international art star. His genius trapped in a burgeoning art movement set on ‘crazed’ did nothing to help slow down the excesses he became eventually became a victim of.
  7. Provenance:   How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury & Aly Sujo – This is the story of John Drewe, an alleged physicist and avid art collector, who began passing off copies of famous art pieces as genuine, and then forging their provenance.  A real page-turner about a con artist and how he got away with it for so long.
  8. Hiding in the Light:  On Images and Things (Comedia) by Dick Hebdige – A wonderful back to the basics book about the meaning of Post-Modernism.
  9. The Philosophy of Andy Warhol:  A to B and Back Again by Andy Warhol – Andy writes about himself, no holds barred. A great book from the Master’s own mind.
  10. Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton – This is an incredible book about the in’s and out’s of the art world.  We get a great ride ‘behind the scenes’, a detailed look at how a painting is brought to auction, and the intricate hierarchy that exists between the collector and buyer. I didn’t think it would be interesting, but I was into it from the first page.
  11. Subway Art by Martha Cooper – Yet another must-have book from photographer Martha Cooper. This book covers the epitome of classic NYC graffiti, a veritable Bible for this subculture.
  12. Steve Powers: A Love Letter for You by Steve Powers – Graffiti Artist, Steve Powers started painting his “ESPO” alias across the walls and rooftops of Philadelphia in 1984, just as the city’s Anti-Graffiti Network was launched. Twenty-five years later, in the summer of 2009, he returned to Philly, armed with 1,200 cans of spray paint, 800 gallons of bucket paint and 20 of the finest spray painters in America, to inscribe an epic love letter on the rooftops facing the Market-Frankford line, as a public art project. Powers consulted the community in West Philly and collaborated with The Mural Arts Program and the Pew Center, and with their help, transformed this 20-block stretch of buildings into visual and architectural Valentine poems.
  13. Training Days: The Subway Artists Then and Now by HenryChalfant and Sacha Jenkins – Throw some old school B&W photos of break dancers at Coney Island (is that the Cyclone I see in the background), a table of contents designed to look like an NYC Subway stop, interviews with graffiti legends like Lady Pink, andSkeme, and I’m all ready to meet the mailman at my door on the regular until my Amazon package shows up.Seriously though, Training Days: The Subway Artists Then and Now promises authentic first–person accounts from the graffiti artists whose creative genius fueled the movement from its beginning in late 1970s and early 1980s New York.

Andy Warhol x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Collection (Good Luck Getting a Pair)



The buzz is Converse is dropping an Andy Warhol All Star Collection this January.  There’s going to be a limited edition run of only 200 pairs sold within the US.

I’m excited …for now.  But I know what’s coming, most of these Converses will end up in plexiglass boxes in collector’s houses. The only stores that will actually carry a pair, will be in Manhattan, NY.  I will continue to dream of owning a pair only to be driven to Ebay where the disappointment will continue as the opening bid is a whopping $800.00 dollars or more.

All the other collaborations were just as thrilling; the Lichtenstein, Hirst.  There was even a Nate Lowman collaboration; he had Converses cut from his actual canvas reinterpretations of abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning’s “Marilyn Monroe” (1954). I understood the $2500 price tag for those – I mean, it took 10 hours to construct each pair.


I just prefer the PR around these Converse artist collaborations to be a little more forthcoming. How about:

Converse will launch a new limited-edition series of sneakers, the Chuck Taylor All Star Andy Warhol, featuring a selection of beloved Warhol prints – Good Luck Getting a Pair.

The new Andy Warhol x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Collection kicks are for looking at and sighing; you will never actually wear a pair.

Converse…please just be like the Pop Shop and mass produce wearable art that people actually have a chance at owning.

That is all – my rant is over.



Top 5 Art Shows of 2014

Kara Walker sphinx

There was no polling of art aficionados, no pouring over magazines or newspaper reviews, and there’s definitely no big ballin’ art plays for likability listed below.  These shows made the list because I visited them more than once (that rarely ever happens) or my sensibilities were totally confounded by the creativity.  Shows that make that kind of impression can provide a year’s worth of conversational tidbits and a measure to which you might hold all others.  Aw, enough with that…these shows rocked my 2014.

Spring Break Art Show

It’s fun, fresh, and daring like newly graduated art school minds before they get crushed and compromised. This curator driven show, gets set up in an old schoolhouse during Armory Arts Week in New York. Yes, we know it’s technically an art fair. But the 2014 show, PublicPrivate won us over with installations that we talked up all-year-long.

Kara Walker: A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby

Kara Walker’s Installation at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn was a “homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant.” The exhibit was mind-blowing – from the overwhelmingly beautiful conceptual execution of the sugar-coated sphinx-like woman, to the very unexpected nauseating smell of burnt sugar permeating the hot factory.

A photo posted by @hahamag on

Swoon: Submerged Motherlands

Swoon’s intricate wheat-paste portraits normally grace New York buildings, but for Motherlands she went large-scale, telling landscaped stories against a backdrop of dramatically blue washed walls in the Brooklyn Museum rotunda. The star of the show was the massive sculptural tree that nearly kissed the rotunda’s 72 foot high glass domed ceiling.

David Lynch: The Unified Field

Lynch’s grime aesthetics found solace at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (PAFA), where he studied as an advanced painting student in 1967. The exhibit explored Lynch’s hybrid collection of works, displaying a delicate balance from disturbing narratives to richly descriptive lithographs. Unified Field is his world of opposites that he wanders in and out of at will.

Interhaven: The Works of Caitlin McCormack

McCormack’s sorted things in shadowboxes lay posed and gracefully still as if they once knew air – their layers of articulated overlapping crocheted beige string bones resembled the things they never were. The show’s curio layout carried a pleasantly haunting tone, but it was the lingering of McCormack’s stored memories seen through these tangible manifestations of contained dreams and nightmares that left me feeling domed under her bell jars.

*thank you to paperclips215 & Paradigm Gallery for the use of their Instagram Photos

Blacklight Pop Art Makeup Video Tutorial [Sponsored]

Blacklight Pop Art

The folks over at want to show you how to have some fun with this Blacklight Pop Art Makeup Video Tutorial.

The “pop art” art movement emerged during the 50’s which paved way to a very unique and enticing kind of art and design. Surely, it would look good as a face paint design for Halloween!

Blacklight Pop Art


We recommend Graftobian ProPaint Metallic/Neon Palette for this design.

You may also get all the face paint colors used in this tutorial in one kit. Choose from either the Graftobian Makeup Kit or the Diamond FX Makeup Kit.


Tips: Always start with a clean face. Make sure that all paints, tools and the work area are all clean. Prepare everything you need before you start.

Let’s paint! 

Step 1. Create the base. Load your sponge with Electric Yellow and apply generously on the whole face.

Blacklight Pop Art_1

Step 2. Put on the lipstick. Paint the lips with Shocking Pink with your #6 round brush.
Blacklight Pop Art_2
Step 3. Create eye shadows. With your sponge, cover the eyelids with Radioactive Green.
Blacklight Pop Art_3
Step 4. Draw eyeliners. Draw eyeliners along the lower eyelids with the same paint, Radioactive Green, and with your #6 round brush.

Blacklight Pop Art_4

Step 5.  Paint the polkadots. Dip a cotton swab on Atomic Orange and use it as a “brush” to put dots all over the yellow base. This will give it that Pop Art feel to the design.

Blacklight Pop Art_5

Step 6. Draw the details. Using your #1 round brush and Raven Black paint, draw the various details on the design such as eyelashes, eyebrows and shadowing on the nose, cheekbones and chin.

Blacklight Pop Art_6

Step 7. Outline the hairline. To outline the hairline, use your #6 round brush and some Raven Black paint.

Blacklight Pop Art_7

Step 8. Highlight the hair. Put some highlights to the hair by using a sponge with some Shocking Pink.

Blacklight Pop Art_8

Step 9. More highlights to the hair. Add more highlights to the hair. This time with Electric Yellow.

Blacklight Pop Art_9

Step 10. Outline the hair streak. Paint the hair streak with Raven Black. Use a #6 round brush.

Blacklight Pop Art_10


The finished product! 

Under Normal Lighting

Blacklight Pop Art_Final

Under the Blacklight

Blacklight Pop Art_Final Blacklight



YouTube Preview Image



There’s nothing I like more than good old fashioned folk-lore storytelling meant for children – mean enough and creepy enough to scare adults. Pair that up with a craft as delicate as weaving a story from threads and you have gold. Book gold, that is…

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm has a fresh translation and enchanting new illustrations created by Romanian-born visual artist Andrea Dezsöto.  Her delicate ink drawings mimic monochromatic, delicate black and white paper layered cutouts – a great play on the light and dark elements in Grimm stories.

When asked how she chose which fairy tales and which particular scenes to illustrate? Dezsöto explained,  “I chose tales to illustrate that gave me immediate, strong, clear mental images as I read them,” explained Dezsö. “The scenes to be illustrated popped into my mind, often fully formed—like the whale rearing from the water with a man sitting in a tiny boat in front of it. I love tales that feature the devil or other nonhuman creatures, so that influenced my choices, too.”

I’m looking forward to tunneling through the stories in between the spaces of Dezsöto illustrations.


Take the time and pour through this wonderful interview with artist, Andrea Dezsöto here at Brain Pickings.

via MyModernMet


‘The Twelve Brothers’


‘The Frog King, or Iron Henry’


‘The Singing Bone’


‘The Golden Key’


‘Herr Fix-It-Up’


‘The Godfather’


‘The Devil in the Green Coat’

Things We Love – Long Overdue Edition


Upperplayground X Dennis McNett

It’s been out since early summer, but I figure I’ve still got a few months till the weather freezes me out of my t-shirts.  So I’m still trying to make the HAITI Wolfbat purchase. Only every time I hit that ‘add to cart’ button – it keeps giving me that 404: Error ‘Sucka you too late screen’.  So I guess I’m on an eBay hunt. But it’s sweet right?



Reminds me of my earlier summer find




I’m completely obsessed with the storytelling creativity of Rumisu scarves. Their limited edition runs are a playground of hand-drawn illustrations transferred to silk scarves, while playful hand crocheted accessories (paying tribute to the traditional Turkish art of ‘oya’) dangle from a scarf corner. The scarves appeal to men and women alike with a flair for having trinkets with ‘must have’ names like: Moby Dick, Troy…War because of an apple, Chicken Pox and Car Theives.  Rumisu is run by two sisters in Istanbul whose Instagram I check on the regular to see who they’re collaborating with next.






Swatch Caramellissima Watch

Swatch Watches are like Lisa Frank for me – two companies that remind me of my childhood – they possesses buying power I have yet to outgrow.  And now I discovered a Swatch that won’t leave rainbow rings on my wrist or give me a communicable disease from sharing.



Swatch Pastry Chefs Collection Caramellissima


Skateboard Chairs

What other reason do I possibly need other than ‘these are some seriously rad chairs’.


Skateboard chairs



Sticky Paper Tape Wrapping Paper

Design: Nina von Wahlberg

I suppose it’s like the laziest thing ever, but having to expertly gift wrap presents I can’t wait to give immediately bores me to tears.  Then I saw this and immediately starting looking for things to gift.  To my dear friends – everything I give you this year will be wrapped with this… Surprise ruined.





Real Rosewood Macbook Wook Keyboard Skin

I’ve been a bit obsessed with wood design lately, so I’d jump at the chance to turn my working pal into a rustic feeling. And yeah, this is real wood (NOT vinyl). It’s made from real Rosewood veneer with a 3M™ pressure sensitive adhesive backing.  Fancy, Fancy…



Rosewood Macbook Skin




I bet a lot of these Andy Warhol Bugaboo strollers will start cropping up in the parks this summer – where the cool babies meet for even cooler play dates.

It’s not the first artist inspired baby accessory Bugaboo has put out, but the 1966 Velvet Underground album cover design is their latest collaboration with the Andy Warhol foundation and slickest one yet.

via lostateminorandy-warhol-bugaboo-banana-3-IIHIH-650x615 andy-warhol-bugaboo-banana-4-IIHIH-650x630

Kate Shepherd Wrapping Paper


Looking for the perfect way to wrap your Valentine’s Lorenzo Buffa watch? Look no further than Kate Shepherd‘s New York Times inspired, hand-printed wrapping paper. Designed by the New York artist internationally recognized for her use of enamel that produces an elegant, clean aesthetic, each sheet of wrapping paper is one-of-a-kind.

Kate Shepherd Wrapping Paper is available on Artware Editions.




Cassette Tape Bookmark



I simply love this bookmark. It gives me waves of nostalgia – makes me want to dig underneath my bed and find that old dusty box of cassette tapes and play all the old songs I waited to come on the radio for hours with my fingers poised over the record button.

Now all I need is a copy of a Rob Sheffield book and the transformation back to my youth will be complete…preferably ‘Love is a Mixtape‘.

You can buy your set here.

*fffound with the help of SweetStation




squarespacefront (1)

tumblr_mvwmz5ev8M1qa6dtuo1_500founder_lorenzo_buffa (1)

Lorenzo Buffa, founder of the Analog Watch Co. has designed what we’re now referring to as a hipster trapping… how could it not be?  It’s got all the markings of things we self-confessed hipsters love about a design and its designer.

His Carpenter Collection features four timepieces each with a strikingly different combination of woods: Makore & Red Sanders, Silverheart & Maple, Teak and Bamboo and Leather & Blackwood. These androgynous timepieces are sleek and light in their seemingly impossible combination of wood & leather. Their flexible soft leather straps are covered in the wood veneers making for a clean seamless look – lets not forget to mention the watches are 90% biodegradable. No small feat, that is unless you hold a degree in Industrial Design from the University of The Arts in Philadelphia – which Buffa does.

But in all seriousness…we love it for its pull on a natural aesthetic. There’s no in your face branding, no clunky numbers on the face. It’s the kind of watch that garners attention for it’s simplicity & sustainability – that makes it our must have accessory.


*Analog is running a Kickstarter campaign right now to help them manufacture the Carpenter Collection.  Last time I checked they’d reached their goal. But supporters still have a great opportunity to get one of first watches off the production line at a much cheaper cost than they’ll be retailing for later on. Plus, according to Buffa, the extra donations will go towards a higher quality package and the ability to start development on a new line.

watch_prototypes_wood_Analog_Watch_Co (1)

blackwoodleather_Analog_Watch_Co (1)

squarespacefront (1)