Watch It: Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo Qiang, Sky Ladder (2015). Courtesy of Cai Studio/Netflix.



Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang challenges the confines of the art world with boundary pushing questions that materialize as blazing temporary art that leave behind seeds of dreaming in waking moments of colorful smoke.  He is best-known to the general public for the spectacular fireworks show during the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.  In the contemporary art world, his explosive works gunpowder works are memorable, as massive gunpowder laced sculptures ignite and flicker as if they were the pulse of his imagination burning free.

On June 15, 2015 Guo-Qiang’s piece, Sky Ladder became the largest single installation ever commissioned.  A huge white balloon filled with 6,200 cubic meters of helium was attached to a 500-meter long ladder coated completely with quick burning fuses and gold fireworks.  As it ascended into the heavens above Huiyu Island Harbor, in Quanzhou, China, it burned brightly into the early morning for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. 

This was Guo-Qiang’s fourth attempt to realize the performance. Previous attempts in Bath (1994), Shanghai (2001), and in Los Angeles (2012), were stymied.

Netflix has released a documentary film detailing Guo-Qiang’s ground breaking artistic efforts to symbolically connect the earth to the universe with Sky Ladder; all captured by Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King Of Scotland).  Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang takes you behind the scenes of the largest single installation ever commissioned. 


Read Our Previous Articles on Qiang:






James Franco’s weird new performance art video, entitled “James Franco reimagined the Della Robbia,” is a  four-minute goo-drenched ode to renaissance sculpture, where people posed as sculptures, are doused in dripping clear gloss. 

Franco released the video in response to Italian Renaissance ceramics as a part of Sotheby’s Artist Response series for their show, Glazed: The Legacy of the Della Robbia.  For it, Franco reimagined the works of famous Italian Renaissance artist family, the Della Robbia, to create living icons.

Franco said: “For centuries, sculpture has been used decoratively and as iconography. The Della Robbia family created sculptures that take on both of those roles.”

“I was immediately struck by the vibrancy and shine of the glaze of the Della Robbia sculptures in this show, especially the human forms frozen in time as icons. To mimic and modernise these sculptures, I wanted to create living icons emphasising the glazing process,” he added. “I filmed them in slow motion so the viewer relishes in the passage of time and can imagine the tangible feeling of the liquid covering each living sculpture.

The show is on view at Sotheby’s New York through November 18th.


via [PAPER]

What?! Geode Wedding Cakes


We’re totally feeling these amethyst-inspired cake created by Rachel Teufel of Intricate Icings’.  The sweet geodes are made with rock candy accents that make the cakes look pretty bad ass.

Not to mention that seeing it automatically reminded us of the geode work of Los Angeles based artist, A Common Name.

Below are cakes created by Intricate Icings and the sweet desserts that they inspired.
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via Bored Panda



VAN x Nintendo


I was never a big Vans fan but things change and that might have something to do with their recent Nintendo collaboration.  These new sneakers feature iconic 8-bit characters like Mario™, Donkey Kong™, and Link™.

I’m all about this celebration and apparently so is everyone else.  As soon as I hit the Vans website I was greeted by that familiar Super Mario Brothers start screen.  That all consuming screen that tore through time and laid waste to entire weekends.  When I finally stopped reminiscing, I noticed the prompt to enter my email address to be informed when the line drops in June.  Something tells me these editions might cost as much as the game systems.

Images that have been released so far: Link and Princess Zelda; Goombas, Super Mushrooms, Fireflowers, and Starman from Super Mario Bros.; Princess Peach/Princess Toadstool; Donkey Kong; the Laughing Dog from Duck Hunt; blocks from Tetris; the original Nintendo controller.


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5 Podcasts You Might Be Missing Out On


Star Talk

Star Talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson

The world’s coolest Astrophysicist, Neil de Grasse Tyson hosts an hour chat with various guests, often on the principles of science and how it correlates with pop culture. His easy to comprehend explanations of complicated science theories and principles will make you believe you’d gotten better grades in science had Tyson been your teacher.

In no time flat, he’ll have you mastering an understanding of dwarf planets and the Boson Higgs, but chances are, no one will be asking you to teach an astrophysics class anytime soon. Why, you say? Because fan enthusiasm doesn’t equate to having the goods to back up the well…the goods.
Can’t Miss Episode: Big Bang Theory – Neil sits down with the show’s co-creator Bill Prady & David Saltzberg science advisor to the show, and professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA. The boys talk about how they use science to shine a light on society and those fun Easter eggs hidden throughout the show’s set.

Cosmic Cuisine – Astronaut Food – Neil talks to Dr. Charles Bourland – Co-author of “The Astronaut’s Cookbook” – who has developed food for astronauts for 30 years, since the days of the NASA consultant and food scientist. A fun discussion ensues on why skittles aren’t allowed in space and why everyone thinks NASA invented Tang (spoiler, they didn’t).



All hail comedian and King of Nerds, Chris Hardwick, a cutie with an equally adorable appetite for all the things you were previously harassed for in high school. Hardwick and his buds (Matt Mira and Jonah Ray) interview their celeb guests with fanboy enthusiasm. The charm is in their laidback demeanor that sets the tone for a ‘we’re just friends sitting in a bar having a drink’ type of conversations that’s expertly dashed with moments of comedic wit.

Can’t Miss Episode: It’s fun to hear the celebrity interviews (Sir Paul McCartney, Robert Kirkman, Wil Wheaton are listed among my favorite sit-downs) but the ‘Hostful’ episodes are the best. It’s just the boys sitting around talking about what they’ve been up to and kicking around some outrageous stories. Oh, and don’t miss the shows live from SDCC. You can live vicariously through Hardwick as he hosts panel discussions with the cast of The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, amongst others.


X FilesKumail Nanjiani’s The X-Files Files

The X-Files Files I recently introduced this one into my growing podcast app. Come on, most of us are still sleeping in our old “The truth is out there” tee and occasionally think of annoying things Scully said to Mulder. So why wouldn’t you want to jump into the Sci-fi time machine and rehash it all before the redo of the show happens? Nanjiani is re-watching the series and talking out all the nuances of the show from the perspective of a writer, actor and fan. If this is your second time around as well, you’ll probably get siked along with Kumail discovering redo’s are chock full of nostalgia.

Can’t Miss Episode: Kumail covers at least 2 – 3 episodes a show, so find your favorite episodes and dig right in.


Stuff You MissedStuff You Missed in History Class

There’s rarely a topic that I don’t want to hear more about on this podcast. Your hosts Tracey Wilson & Holly Frey delve into topics that you either snoozed through in school or your lazy school district felt was an unnecessary waste of time – because teaching complicated and interesting history events can be such a drag. Trust me, you don’t have to be a history buff to get into this podcast. Surfing through the archives will peek your curiosity – you’ll be hooked in no time.

Let me put you iPhone over its memory capacity by mentioning the brother show to this one, Stuff You Should Know – Another great podcast for everyone who needs to know a little something about everything.

Can’t miss Episode: There’s so much information to wade through. My suggestion would be to start with the Unearthed episodes. The Unearthed episodes are done annually, taking you through the top historical finds of the year.


Pop CulturePop Culture Happy Hour Podcast

NPR has a great lineup of podcasts, but Pop Culture Happy Hour gives my geeky heart palps. Host, Linda Holmes, editor of NPR’s pop culture blog Monkey See is joined by friends and other pop culture NPR writers in a roundtable discussion of the week had to offer in pop culture news.
For an hour, you get to not be your boring friends’ version of the three-headed freak that geeks out debating over what comics to grab on Free Comic Book day or why Bo Jack Horseman isn’t binge-worthy (that’s not true).

Can’t miss Episode: The nature of pop culture is ever changing and so is the show’s format. Every week is a new venture down a rabbit hole of what will absorb your life next. Going back on these episodes might feel like rehashing old news. So step into the current episode and don’t look back.

Insomnia: Drew Mcleod — Flux


A video posted by David McLeod (@david_mcleod) on

3D artist David McLeod plays with motion — trippy art experiments that explore flocking behavior. Mesmerizing is how I’ll describe the state of these objects in flux crashing over his website. Slow movements that crash into and pull away from each other in a seductive play that gives me further proof of my attraction to art.

That is all. Press play on the Instagram posts…I want you to fall into this rabbit hole with me.

David McLeod
Website / Instagram / Facebook

A photo posted by David McLeod (@david_mcleod) on

Insomnia: Great Art in Ugly Rooms


The following images have been culled from the nightmares of gallery owners and artists.  Or at least that’s what I wanted this hilarious Tumblr to secretly be about.  All this museum grade art cast in a sarcastic drama of really ugly rooms is from a fun blog, Great Art in Ugly Rooms.


Cindy Sherman

We keep saying art is subjective and this Tumblr takes that concept to the extreme, editing images of masterpieces into rooms that are decorated in poor taste or simply disastrous locales.  The flip side of this is pretty funny as well, too often I find myself in elaborately decorated rooms surrounded by ugly ridiculous art. You’ll find hilariously smart examples of this scrolling through the blog created by Paul Kremer.

The Rothko perfectly matched with a girly room of cotton candy painted tones, a Modigliani sitting above a white toilet in a graffiti laced bathroom, Whistlers mother in a dentist office waiting room.  My personal favorite – Damien Hirst sitting in a nursery like a baby shower gift from a over-enthused taxidermist.

*Easter Eggs: A few of these contain art within art and one painting is at an actual location – notice it yet?

I have to admit, I wish those Nan Goldin’s were exhibited with this kind of gritty intention in art institutions – it kinda all fits together doesn’t it?

Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade


Mark Rothko

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Leonardo Da Vinci

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Norman Rockwell

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James McNeill Whistler

Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger


Martin Creed

Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin




Beautifully Creepy Bonsai Skulls


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It’s a rare sight – a traditional bonsai garden and a graveyard perched atop a skull, cherry blossom trees cradling eye sockets, there’s something so fragile about the delicate balance of life and death they maintain.

Each skull by handmade by Australian artist, Andrew Firth.  The skulls are cast in PVC plastic and molded from a real human skull.  Firth’s company, Jack of the Dust gets its name of an obsolete United States Navy occupational designation. The term has its origin in the royal navy of the early 1800’s when ship’s stewards were known as “Jack-of-the-dust”, referring to the dusty atmosphere created by issuing quantities of flour and dried biscuit.

It’s a rather unique take on “Momento Mori,”(which means “remember that you can die” in Latin).

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Insomnia: Illustrator, Jasjyot Singh Hans


You know how this works. I wait till I have my typical bout of insomnia, lay in bed and troll through the internet looking for something special I can share with the rest of you sleep challenged zombies.

Tonight, who am I kidding… this morning I happily remembered to check in on Delhi based illustrator, @jasjyotjasjyot.

Jasjyot Singh Hans has been on my watch list for over a year now. Every so often I ping him a brief hello so he knows I’m still following his work, waiting for a juicy project to crop up so we can collaborate. I don’t remember how I first came in contact with his work, but I know what’s kept me hooked.

On his downtime, Jasjyot takes breaks at coffee houses, drinks Chai, Instagrams and sketches.

He draws strong, women of color, full of attitude in his sketchbooks, and on delicate paper doilies – accentuating them with tints of blush. Drawn in a stylized blend of fashion and comic influences, Jasjyot’s sketches articulate his beautifully bold assumptions on women’s emotionally nuanced ways.

I’m giddy because he’s temporarily moved to the States and that makes my calendar itch for impending projects. I’m excited because he’s showing up on lists of ‘illustrators to watch’ and it’s thrilling when other people acknowledge good talent. I’m relieved because the sketches didn’t stop – they just happen in classier places. Now I follow Jasjyot when he steps out for dinner and leaves behind tables loaded with full-bodied women brandishing fierce looks.

Explore more on his Instagram & Tumblr

Embroidered Vintage Rackets

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Well, our old tennis rackets are simply hanging out in boxes, pushed away into dark corners of our basement closets. Meanwhile, Cape Town-based designer and embroidery artist, Danielle Clough uses them to frame off vibrant embroidered flowers.   Her series, What a Racket features brightly colored wool flowers weaved between the delicate threading of old badminton and tennis rackets.

Rackets aren’t the only things she’s been embroidering, check out her website to see her other fiber art projects.

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Danielle Clough_racket

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Insomnia: Our Mild Obsession with Colombian Artist Omar Castaneda


Last year at the Pinta Art Fair in Miami, I walked away mildly obsessed with the work of Colombian artist, Omar Castaneda.  His imagery is so ‘in your face’.

Castaneda is committed to the local culture of Columbia – exposing their socio-political issues with concepts and materials related to food and animals, since according to him, that is the basis of the people, the culture and their habits.  Using these common elements, he dissects the past of towns and regions, tells personal stories and recreates armed conflicts, both current and past.

As his art delivers this message with what could fairly be described as disturbing imagery, it delves into the explorations of subjects and materials related to his native South America.  Castaneda’s inspiration and resource is food – A basic human necessity, food is loaded with cultural, social and political implications with regard to its value, production, source, and consumption. Food effectively dissolves most preconceived distinctions between nature and culture, production and consumption, morals and markets, family and society, the individual and the collective, body and mind.

Explore below, pieces from his exhibition, ANIMAL GENERATION. Or do some digging of your own over at

Omar Castaneda

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boom-art & UWL Go Culturally Stylish with Limited-Edition Surf & Skateboards


Flowers Triptych Surfboards/ Limited Edition by Jan Davidz de Heen 1606-1684

Leave it up to the French to make surfing and skateboarding a culturally stylish event.  That’s not sarcasm, more like a nod of approval (not that they need it, but I’m giving it).

This special edition line of surf & skateboards from french skateboard company boom-art and European surf giant UWL will never see the water and rightfully so.  The limited editions feature lush and richly colorful works by artistic masters like Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-1684) and Gustav Klimt (1862-1918).   Each edition is handmade and limited to 10 individually numbered by UWL in France. 

If you were thinking about taking them to a salty death or a vert ramp – each piece comes with a mounting kit – use it, don’t abuse it.

J BOSH 1 SURFBOARD Limited edition 1 Surfboard Bosh The Garden of Earthly Delights 1510

Limited edition 1 Surfboard Bosh The Garden of Earthly Delights 1510



Klimt Surfboards


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Flowers Triptych & Diptych Skateboards Limited Edition by Jan Davidz de Heen 1606-1684


all images courtesy of boom-art

via DesignBoom