Sunday, December 22, 2013

New York City's Annual Christmas Window Display Extravaganza

If you haven't been to see New York's Christmas windows, there's still time. I'll start off with Bergdorf's since they are always a treat. I work a block away, and even put off taking a sneak peek at these beauties until I had my camera in tow. Never disappointing, this year's theme was "Holidays on Ice" translating a few notable days on the calendar throughout the year into visual theatrics.
My favorite was the spectacular Halloween corner window featuring a custom made feather dress by Naeem Khan and entirely Alice in Wonderland in scale. The mannequin's stretched limbs popped through the windows of a replica of the original mansion of Cornelius Vanderbilt which stood on that very corner from 1883 to 1928. 
April Fool's Day - inverted here for ease of viewing

In a stark contrast to the Gothic pageantry, Valentine's Day brought sweet pink treats; the 4th of July, a regal and stylish parade marshal; and April Fool's Day defied gravity in a fully upside down window. Lesser-celebrated Arbor Day showed us an underground cross-section revealing tree roots and all. 
The larger-than-life diamond wrap-around snake necklace sparkles at Bulgari
Tiffany's voyeuristic city vignettes displayed their baubles dangling like Christmas decorations. An enormous outside building wrap gave us a glimpse of silhouetted families enjoying the season mimicking the smaller shadowy and glowing windows within the windows - all offset with that little blue box, strategically placed, of course.
Gucci's mid-century modern star bursts
Bendel's salutes illustrator, Al Hirschfeld with three-dimensional celebrity caricatures
Midtown decadence at The Peninsula
Anthropologie in Rockefeller Center never disappoints either. Known for clever installations using common objects throughout the year, this Christmas season, passersby were lured by spools of thread and 1970s string art that were transformed into a Russian Fairy-tale Forest. Gigantic colorful Matryoshka dolls, sleeping wolves and bears all nestled among the latest on the clothing racks. The mammoth tree in Rockefeller Center was brought to us by the residents of Sandy Hook in CT in a memorial to last year's December tragedy.

Oh, Barneys.....Huh? Why would you take a chance on subjecting an unsuspecting public to a seizure? For sure, this store is off on some sort of bizarre tangent. I didn't really get anything suggesting "holiday" or "Christmas" out of the flashing and radiating Star Wars-style windows (or large metallic angular entryway either).
And in the corner ring....some pom-pom bedecked elf (?) who will take photos with anyone willing to wait in line and venture into a side door. The photos are then digitally posted on a screen just outside on the street for all to see. I'm not sure who she's supposed to be exactly, but the whole setup appears to be Barney's answer to "an outer-space convertible too".
Not to be outdone, Grand Central Terminal has its own modern light show that silently changes in a grid formation in the rear windows of the main terminal. It's not particularly Christmas-y in theme, but can certainly help grumpy commuters lessen their stress-levels nonetheless.
Finally, there's Saks with its friendly snow yeti as the star of its windows and a short video display on the side of the building. 


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Paint the Town Vinaceous

Art and wine often go hand in hand, but not synthesized and fused together in this way. I frequently enjoy a glass of wine after a long day, but find that the reds aren't easy to preserve over a couple of days. 
For a recent textile project, I wanted to work with an antique look from the outset, and aged the appearance of the paper by making a natural dye from tea. As I was letting the paper soak, I looked over at a yet another Cabernet that had turned into an unpleasant vinegary slurry, and got an idea for an experiment. With every new project, artists often face the fear of a blank page. Tinted paper offers great possibilities as an inspired base. Here are the results with my new paintings!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

And Then There Were Two- My New Etsy Shop, Introducing Jeunesse Dorée

jeu·nesse do·rée  \zhœ-nes-dȯ-ˈrā\ n. gilded youth; wealthy, stylish, sophisticated young people.
I have a peculiar side interest. I enjoy learning unusual, nerdy words and then trying to use them in a sentence. I delight in seeing the reaction I get, if any, by testing the obscurity. Next to my desk you can find the “word of the day” vocabulary calendar, and in my inbox you would see email subscriptions to several word-a-day dictionary lists.
I recall two words from many years ago that symbolized both the elegance and rowdiness of Gatsby – jeunesse dorée, or gilded youth. The combination conjured images of socialites, world travel, fashion, frivolity, and decadent parties with a laissez faire approach to experiencing the pleasure of all the gifts life has to give. It represented a freedom I knew nothing about but have tasted maybe once or twice as a student with all of the free time in the world (even without being anywhere near financially prosperous).
I started selling on Etsy back in 2007 where I originally sold a few handmade note cards and small, random works of art. That first shop, KIPI, has undergone many transformations and renovations over the years. It has become much more cohesive overall with unique works of art created on old science and history books along with prints that have been made from those originals.
I always knew that I had other interests too – fashion, photography, and jewelry – so I created a new shop with the intent of keeping my paintings and prints separate while moving forward with products that would embody an essence of style. With this second shop, I’m coming back to my original online selling roots with my hand-assembled photography note cards once again. In the future, I will also be bringing you inspired home goods and wearable items. With this new venture, I expect it will bring more changes and modifications. In the meantime, welcome to Jeunesse Dorée! Correspond fashionably - and with flair.