gcse art exhibition

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My niece’s GCSE art class held an exhibition today showing their coursework and the piece they submitted for their exam. They’re marked throughout the year as well as on their exam piece. They’re given a theme, this year it’s Fragments and they have to complete their pieces in 8hrs.

I like the simplicity and clean lines of her exam piece. Seems like just cardboard cutouts, but there’s more to it.

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Other students had different pieces. Some are larger, one included burned charcoal. Some of the students included their notebooks in the exhibit, and those really showed their thought process, practice pieces, and how they came up with their ideas.

I’m very blown away at the sophistication of their work, it’s very advanced and more than what I could have done at 16 years old. Well, more than what I could have done at any age.

flickr set: https://www.flickr.com/photos/invisiblecompany/albums/72157667895910337

ice cream sculpture

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It’s really hot already and it’s not even June. Perhap a typhoon is coming but not according to the weather forecast. Sun, sun, sun.

Hot means ice cream. The guardian had an article about artist Jourdan Joly who makes ice cream sculptures. They do look realistic except the cones look fake. Reminds me of Japanese plastic food.

On real ice cream, he mentions miso cherry ice cream from a place in New York, and that his normal favourite is green tea. He actually is reported as calling it “green tea matcha” but that falls into the same trap as American Ninja Warriors calling the final obstacle Mount Midoriyama.

the book under the wall

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image ©Jorge Méndez Blake

I find this image fascinating. This is a project by Mexican artist Jorge Méndez Blake called The Castle which is intended to subtly examine the impact of a single outside force on the bigger picture. He built a brick wall but somewhere in the middle there is a copy of Kafka’s The Castle which gets in the way of the neat line of the bricks. Colossal describes it:

This minimal, yet poignant presence is reflected in the brick work—Kafka’s novel showcasing how a small idea can have a monumental presence.

For some odd reason it reminds me of the princess and the pea fairy tale although the pea was never the disruptive influence the book was meant to be. The similarity is purely along visual lines. I’ve never thought about the moral behind the princess and the pea story. May be don’t take anything on face value, because the princess didn’t appear to look like one?

rock stacks, leaf circles

via colossal, a series of amazing rock stacks and other nature art.

My niece and I play with stacking rocks whenever we visit middle island, but our efforts are small fry compared with these work by James Brunt, a Yorkshire-based artist who uses materials found on a beach or in the woods–rocks, leaves, twigs and such like–and arranges them in complex geometrical patterns. Images ©James Brunt.

Rocks:
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Leaves:
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Twigs:
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More on twitter and prints are available on etsy.

He also talks about how he works, with particular care about the environment. He doesn’t take materials like stones or leaves away from their habitat and if necessary he will get permission first. His installations tend not to last more than a few hours, and in terms of damage to the environment, probably has the same impact as kids making sandcastles on a beach.

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There has been some controversy about people stacking rocks and such like. Opponents call these rock stacks, aka cairns, graffiti, vandalism. They have a point, especially when they seem to be everywhere, like this riverside littered with them at Zion National Park. If people take rocks from one place to another, or dig them up from the ground, or remove them from rivers or lakes or seas, then it’s the opposite of the mantra of leave no trace.

Perhaps the trick, like many things in life, is a little care and moderation. Do as James Brunt does, only take materials from where they are found. Knock the stacks over or scatter the leaves when finished. Return nature the way we found it.

microwave media festival

I was reading about this arts and media festival called microwave. Or are the organisers called microwave? I have no idea. The website is reminiscent of loud flash ad banners and unpleasant to look at. From what I can gather, it’s a bunch of performances and exhibitions that are connected via the loose theme of live art conducted through technology.

As media and technology progress at lightening speed, Microwave explores the idea of “live.” Everything can be live – it is not exclusive to describing performances. Technology has granted us the “right” to broadcast in real-time, i.e. “live”, on social media, and on live streaming platforms. But given the circumstances, how do we define “live”?

This description is either intended to be obscure or badly written.

Forget about words, the performances are interesting. This one is called Unconference. The main exhibition will take place 13-20 October. If I’m in the city hall area and have time, may be worth a short visit.

one sky

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A cool collaborative project from women who draw: 90 artists looked up into the sky at precisely 12:00 US Eastern Time on 13 August 2017 and drew the sky. The artists come from all over the world so what they saw was as different as night and day; winter and summer; clear and overcast. The resultant artworks combine to form a work called one sky.

Reminds me somehow of the early days of the mirror project. Seemingly random and spontaneous collaboration. Individual elements making a whole tapestry.

(via kottke)

illustrated marathon maps

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Went running the other day, did 5k around the reservoir park. Extremely slow and there is no doubt I’ve lost 100% of my fitness, probably more since I need to lose weight too. It’s been a year since my last serious run. I still follow Paris Marathon on social media but I don’t dare think about any of it. I wonder when I’ll be ready to go back to running.

Saw the reddit thread by an artist who produced illustrated marathon maps. He’s done maps for Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, MCM, New York, Pittsburg, San Francisco, and Tokyo. All the drawings are fantastic, my favourites are London and Tokyo mainly because these are two cities I know and love. Definitely worth checking out the full gallery.

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The prints are available for sale. $28 isn’t too bad though I wish they sold postcard sized too so I can get the whole set. If they did a Paris map I’ll consider getting the print; it’s the one that got away, innit.

fearless girl

fearlessgirl
photo credit: Federica Valabrega

Advertising firm McCann New York placed a statue of a girl opposite the Wall Street charging bull on behalf of their client State Street Global Advisors. The statue, called Fearless Girl, was by sculptor Kristen Visbal and will be there for a week. The purpose is to bring attention, on International Women’s Day, to diversity and gender equality issues. She starts down the bull and plaque at her feet says

Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.

State Street is refreshingly unusual in having 3 women on its 11-member board. Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Tisdalle:

She’s not angry at the bull — she’s confident, she knows what she’s capable of, and she’s wanting the bull to take note.

If only the rest of Wall Street is as enlightened as State Street. More than 80% of FAs are men and 25% of Russell 3000 index firms have no women on their board. I mean, has anyone been to the pit that is a trading desk? Sigh.

Come to think of it, I think my friend Larry went to State Street. I think he’s still there, global head of mobility.

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And another thing, they must have roped off the statues for photographers or the photographers got there early. When I was there last year, there were so many people taking selfies with the bull I could not get a proper pic at all.

surreal life

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My life is surreal. Yesterday I spent the afternoon at #occupycentral with thousands of students and protesters calling for democracy. Today I spent the late afternoon at a 5-star hotel within walking distance from the protest site, sipping red wine at an invitation-only contemporary art show.

The show was unusual in its location. They rented 4 floors of the hotel and each room was occupied by a different gallery. The art was displayed cleverly on the beds, the walls, propped on top of the tv cabinet and even in the bathroom. There were some really great pieces, even an art idiot like me appreciated it. I chatted with an Aussie artist who lived in Holland and really really loved her piece with a beautiful night sky, a bike and grassland. I was too busy talking with her that I forgot to take a picture. It was for sale at the equivalent to £1,000.

Another interesting work were these of Audrey Hepburn and a mashup of a dollar bill and a RMB bill. I was only at the show for about an hour, managed to see about a third of the exhibits.

Surrealness #2 was going to dinner with King’s friends. This is my group of friends, as opposed to joint friends with mm. We used to me very tight when we were undergraduates and some of them I hadn’t seen in 20+ years. But it was really great to see them and yes, we’re all much older, but nobody had changed too much.
 

#6 visit an art exhibition: chihuly garden & glass

As soon as I read about Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle as part of our cruise research, I knew it was a must visit. Situated next to the iconic Space Needle, the museum is a showcase for the works of glass artist Dale Chihuly. I remember seeing the glass ceiling at the Bellagio in Vegas and thought it was brilliant.

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The museum is organised into separate galleries that holds pieces that are colourful, intricate and breath-taking in detail. The first gallery has an early piece, Glass Forest, with vertical blown glass lit by neon. Just beyond features a room with an American Indian feel, of large glass bowls/ baskets and a tapestry made from blankets.

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Then it’s the sealife room with a huge tower of blue seaweed and golden sea creatures hidden in the swirling mass.

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The Persian Ceiling gallery had flowers in all colours suspended from the ceiling. Lighting effect brings the colour to the walls and floor of the room. This was the first room where I felt a big wow.

The next gallery was even more wow-worthy. Called Mille Fiori, Italian for a thousand flowers, it was like a big garden where everywhere you looked there was something new, something to study and discover. Many different shapes including spheres and stalks and leaves. There was just enough messiness for it to feel like it was based on a real garden.

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Talking about spheres the next gallery was all about them. The Ikebana and float boat had perfectly formed glass spheres apparently inspired by blowing glass into a river in Finland. After the large hectic garden, this felt more peaceful as if the rowing boats were really floating on a river.

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The small room next had chandeliers, and it brought us to the Macchia Forest. The pieces shaped like bowls were actually very technical in terms of colour. Instead of simple solid colours or patterns, there were unexpected specks scattered in the glass made by rolling the molten glass in other pieces of coloured shards before blowing. Truly great.

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The second part of the museum was the outside garden. The Glasshouse, the centrepiece of the museum, dominated the garden. A 40-foot tall conservatory with a 100-foot long piece in autumn colours. Seen from the right, the Space Needle loomed over it through the glass panels of the glasshouse.

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And then we reached the garden, with a mixture of real plants and glass plants. A new vista at every angle and every perspective. Many of the spheres reflected the Space Needle in the background, giving a different backdrop.

A great find, a great museum, so happy we visited.

cruise alaska day 02: seattle

Breakfast at the hotel, ham steak, scrambled eggs, waffle made from machine. They also have english breakfast tea so I could save my pg stash. By the time we were ready to had out it was already 10am. Sigh.

It was raining a little. Short walk to Seattle Center to take the monorail downtown. $2.25 for me and $1 for mum, the trip was around 1 mile, there were only 2 stops and took all of 2 minutes. Kinda fun, especially when the driver took one curve at a fast speed.

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First stop after we got off the monorail? Gap, Old Navy, A&F so mum could look for…I don’t know what she was looking for. It was boring. We finally made it out of the shops and walked towards the seafront. Found a nice shop that sold chocolate and wine, they had a wine and truffle tasting for $20, with great-looking local wines, but it was too early in the day. I wanted to go back later, but never got the chance.

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We spent a long time at Pike Place Market, for good reason. Great place, with stalls for fresh seafood, fruit & veg, flowers, snacks, nuts, souvenirs and trinkets. Bought apple chips and mum bought nuts. Opposite the market itself were specialist food stores including salmon, oil & vinegar, desserts plus the original Starbucks with a long, long queue. Apparently they still make coffee the original way, whatever that means. We obviously didn’t join the queue, but we did join the queue for piroshky piroshky bakery, a Russian bakery selling sweet and savoury pastries made onsite. We bought a salmon pât&233; pastry and a cardamom apple cinnamon roll.

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We went back into the market to buy 2 portions of ready-to-eat alaskan king crab legs and apple cider. The area just behind the market at the sort of park/promenade was an uneasy mix of tourists and homeless; we found a table, ignored the people around us and enjoyed our lunch.

Underneath the market in post alley was the gum wall where people stuck pieces of chewing gum on the wall. Pretty disgusting. We left the market and walked up Pike. No hard rock shirt, it was a repeat. We found a Target and mum went to town buying vitamins and stuff. I bought a shower curtain liner. We carried our loot quite a few blocks uptown to the cheesecake factory. Shared our favourite red velvet cheesecake and I got a glass of an oregon pinot noir at $4 happy hour price. Happy.

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Took the monorail back to our hotel to drop our shopping. I went to the lobby to print a combo ticket for space needle and chihuly garden to take advantage of the online discount. It was great to have our hotel so close to Seattle Center. By then the day had turned into a glorious blue sky evening. Even though our Space Needle slot was 6pm, it was still very much light outside and we took our time going around the observation deck. Great views.

We saw that part of the park had a bunch of stalls in what looked like a pop-up market so when we came back to ground level we walked over to explore the folklife festival. We heard music and saw a bunch of people dancing on stage to what turned out to be the anzanga marimba ensemble. Nice. There were stalls selling folksy clothing; the food stalls in contrast were all about deep fried food, hahaha.

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The visit to Chihuly garden and glass was higher on my to-do list (if the weather wasn’t nice, we wouldn’t have even bothered with space needle). The entire museum was a showcase for the studio art work of Dale Chihuly. There were separate galleries for different projects and works of art. So skilful, so intricate, every piece was interesting and fascinating.

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Great timing as we came to the outdoor garden part of the museum it was almost sunset. The highlight of the museum was the glasshouse with an intricate piece from the ceiling that allowed the space needle to act as background. Outside were many other pieces that reflected the space needle, very clever. We sat for a bit, visited the gift shop and wandered out.

By the time we left it was around 9pm, still a little light. Didn’t feel like eating but we went to walgreens again to get coke and I bought a beer from Pike Brewing company from the gas station around the corner. Interesting label, a tripel ale.

flickr set: seattle 251 photos, 6 videos

mondrian cake

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This beautiful mondrian cake is enough to make me want to go to SF MOMA already. Made by pastry chef Caitlin Williams Freeman who is part artist, part chef:

she bakes a big oblong white cake and smaller yellow, red and blue cakes, and cuts them into long thin shapes. She coats each of the pieces in ganache – a thick, rich covering of cream and dark chocolate – reassembles it all in a long loaf pan, lets it chill overnight, then ganaches the whole thing

Not hard technically, just takes time. And oodles of creativity and inspiration.

day 16: origami paper dolls

I found a Japanese kimono dolls origami kit at the bottom of a drawer. This must be at least 10 years old, the way they look so at home at the very bottom of the drawer.

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So I thought I’d give it a go, knowing full well I’ll make a mess and it’ll look like crap. No shred of artistic creativity. Just as well that the instructions are illustrated cos I couldn’t make heads or tails of the Japanese. Also, very nice of them to enclose a sample. Took me forever to get it done, including looking for glue in my rarely opened stationery drawer.

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The one on the left is my attempt; the one on the right is what it should look like.