I have been at Kamers vol Geskenke (Rooms filled with gifts) this week and mostly bought art prints. It was the best Kamers in a few years and it felt more personable and less commercialized. I really enjoyed the artists I met there. Today I met Ed Suter. I have seen his products – placemats, coasters etc. at markets and Design Indaba before and thought it quite original.
This year however he had a book on sale. I picked it up and started paging through it and immediately exclaimed: “Ah the Sowetan Sartorialist!”. After reading the book tonight I decided he must be the “Sharp Sharp Sartorialist”
It is a lovely book and whether you are South African or not you should consider acquiring. It is an accurate and colorful celebration of indigenous street style, art and culture.
I have often wished that the photographs take during the hay day of Sophiatown by people like Jürgen Schadeberg and Constance Stuart Larrabee were in color. I love the black and white photographs but black culture in South Africa is the very essence of color.
Without making vast generalizations it is amazing how much color can be found in the poorer communities of the world. Whether you are in India, Brazil or Africa, it is color that seems to lift the spirit and encourage creativity and unity. An it is usually the most colorful people that are the most interesting. Color is like music, it has such a huge influence on the participants, it incites emotion, passion, endorphins and often creativity. I spoke to Ed about my own photography and we agreed that if you cannot connect with your subject on some deeper level your photograph will not succeed. I take beautiful photographs of children because I get them and they get me. Ed has an eye for the richness of culture available to everyone but overlooked by so many.
Next: Back to Pop Surrealism
In the Most Serene Republic of San Marino
But do not be fooled. This is a poisonous butterfly, it draws you in with soft colors, and pretty young girls but underneath it digs its heels into your subconscious and a more ominous undertone is revealed. I love her paintings because the girls she paints and draws encapsulate the mysterious femminine. The light and the dark, the loss of innocence, the discovery of femminine power, Ms. Ceccoli has been illustrating children’s books since 1995 and since I discovered this fact my wish-list has gained a few pounds. Here are just a few, available at Amazon.com:.
All copyright on all images belong to Nicoletta and are not to be copied or sold without her permission. I only use these beautiful examples for editorial purposes. Visit her website for much more: Nicoletta Ceccoli
I tried my very best to find a photo of the artist but to no avail, then I found something better. A video on YouTube. In appearance she is exactly as I imagined, in demeanor and person exactly as her art portrays. Enjoy!
Next: Yosuke Ueno….
I have long been in love with the relatively new genre of pop surrealism, quirky, whimsical and sometimes dark art of Mark Ryden. He has been referred to as “the god-father of pop surrealism”. As an artist you do not fall into this category if you do not your own bibliography of symbolism. Figuring out the symbolism or attributing it to you own world of dreams and weird reality is what makes this art so deep, meaningful and fascinating. Every time you look at an image you see something that you did not notice before and you fall into the painting and start exploring anew. I own one of Mark Ryden’s books – FUSHIGI CIRCUS and it is a much treasured possession. I think his art resonates so strongly with me because like him I collect old, vintage and broken toys, loads of ephemera and other things that seem like junk to others but have a deeper meaning to the owner. He uses his collection as inspiration for his work. His work is meticulous. It is deeply intricate. You will either love it or be freaked out by it. At first I wanted to choose just one example of his work but it is impossible. There are so many pieces I just love so much, I will share a few. Mark Ryden owns all copyright to the work and I share only images I have found on the internet. Please don’t publish or copy them for any reason but editorial. I think if I really had to choose only one I would choose “The Creatrix” as far as I know his largest piece of art. It took him a year to create it and it must be an awesome experience seeing it in real life.
Here are a few more of my favorites. It really is unfair to say they are fav’s as I love all his work.
Tomorrow Nicoletta Ceccoli
Mel Kadel is an artist living in Los Angeles with her artist/boyfriend/frequent collaborator Travis Millard. In Echo Park the idyllic surroundings of nature is near enough too the hustle and bustle of busy city, living here is a pretty perfect set up. Mel has worked hard to become a recognized artist. Growing up in Pennsylvania she did not aspire to being an artist, it was later when her extremely talented brother Greg started exploring his experience of art through pop culture that the world of art started appealing. Playing around with photography and even acting she gravitated towards drawing.
After a short stint (one semester) at Mass Art Boston she returned to school in Philadelphia and attended Moore College of art and design for woman
After Moore she headed for New York. Never getting rooted in art and working in restaurants did not satisfy and she even stopped drawing for a period of time. She visited a friend in Los Angeles and decided to stay. When you are new in town it is difficult to find your niche but, with patience and determination she surrounded herself with like minded people and started working as a disciplined illustrator.
Quote from http://eclectic-society.com/: “Drawing with an eyelash” is the technique currently popularized by artist Mel Kadel whose drawings are mix all together of dropped and stripped patterns, florals, ink washes and little characters; together she creates a visual narrative that communicates the idea we are all part of this system whether we recognize it or not. In addition to drawing with tiny pens, she also works with ancient papers, glue, cotton swabs, and is known for using coffee to stain her paper, although all of her materials are very basic it is very refreshing to see artists using their hands and raw materials to make collages in the age of technology.
Beautiful Pattern Illustration
Mel Kadel collaborates on a lot of art projects check out her website to see more, here are some images of a collaboration she did with her brother Greg Kadel for a 9 page story with model Abbey Lee Kershaw – May issue (#133) of NUMERO Magazine.
Conclusion – Even though art does run in the genes or memes of family members it is the wonderful diversity of what they offer that makes it their own unique expression.
This weekend I am focussing on two very diverse artist that are also brother and sister. The curiosity of traits that run in families is infinitely fascinating. When I work with twins it is always the ways in which they are different that is more interesting that the things that are the same. I also believe that order of birth plays a big part in how people see themselves and often determines their success. In one interview Mel Kadel shares an anecdote of how her brother inspired her art by looking at the world differently.The brother and sister team featured is Mel and Greg Kadel. Greg is a fabulous fashion photographer that has worked for all the major fashion publications. He takes photos that absolutely sizzle. He has the ability to extract in the moment the shutter opens and closes the most sensual aspect of his model. I love the rock star creative that he has going on, it’s all glam and I don’t give a …. but so beautifully put together you can’t stop looking
Unfortunately I could not find out much about his life or many interviews. This is his short but powerful bio:
Greg Kadel is a US born fashion photographer and filmmaker based in New York. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kadel moved to NY to study marine biology and fine art. Upon completion of his studies, he discovered his passion for photography and film making and for nearly a decade, Greg has been creating influential images that have graced the pages of Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, i-D, Italian Vogue, Japanese Vogue, L’uomo Vogue, Numero, Visionaire and Vogue China. He has also been an image maker for the likes of Biotherm, Diane Von Furstenburg, Elie Tahari, Hermes, H&M, Lancome, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, L’Oreal, Max Mara, Oscar de la Renta, Shiseido, Valentino, Victoria’s Secret, and Salvatore Ferragamo.
Here is some of his work: Please follow the links to see more of his beautiful work, there are heaps of his photos on the web and it is difficult to choose but these appealed to me the most:
Tomorrow I will focus on Mel Kadel and her beautiful soulful illustrations
Umberto Brunelleschi was born in 1879 in Montemurio, near Pistoia, Italy. After completing his studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti, in Florence, he moved to Paris in 1900 where he worked as a caricaturist and illustrator, often under the name Harun-al-Rashid. He used this pen-name because the drawings he enjoyed doing were oriental in style, with brilliant jewel-like colours, influenced by Leon Bakst and Erte. There he quickly became part of a circle of young poets in the Latin Quarter and found work as a caricaturist and illustrator with a Modernist style. During the latter decades of his life he concentrated on book illustrations, including numbered editions of erotica. By 1912, he was illustrating books, designing posters and working for the Journal de Dames et des Modes as well as Femina magazine. In his early years, his work was clearly recognizable by it’s delicate lines, fanciful flourishes and exquisite execution. He used brilliant jewel-like colours, that brought a fairy-tale world to life. He also designed stage costumes, creating many outfits for black American stage star Josephine Baker’s revues. He was both a designer and an illustrator. Between the two World Wars, Brunelleschi mostly worked on theatre sets, including La Scala in Milan and the Folies Bergere in Paris. He also painted sets for the Roxy Theatre in New York. His style was strong and colourful, orientalism and art deco. Towards the end of his life, he illustrated only books, in particular numbered editions of erotica. He died in Paris in 1949 at the age of 70.
Somehow the whole rhythmic gymnastics thing got me thinking about things girls can do that boys can’t. Most of the sports in the olympics can be played by both sexes. There are very few things left that is purely the domain of a woman or a girl. Having babies is definitely still the domain of the woman. Rhythmic gymnastics is the other, it is so girly, playing, running, jumping and dancing with skipping ropes, hola hoops, balls, and ribbons. I was going to run off on a rant about gender equality, diversity and the glory of it all but perhaps I’ll just appreciate the beauty and grace these very hard working girls bring to their sport.
It took me forever to prepare this blog, but I am sure you will agree it is worth the wait. I love the Olympics, and I am not a sport lover. There is is so much beauty and grace, determination and hard work, so many lovely moments of humanity I think it keeps everybody riveted. My favorite is the rhythmic gymnastics. I like the team efforts but it is the individual events that I adore. I am fascinated by ambition an competition. When I was first told to run a race I asked “Why?”. I was told it was to win. My answer was that it was ok, I am happy to let someone else win if it was that important to them. I think that was the end of my sports career. Anyway, a big part of loving the rhythmic gymnastics is the lovely costumes. It took me a while to get good pictures of the costumes and hopefully in future photographers will make a greater effort to capture the girls in their beautiful leotards. Here are the results for best costumes this year.
Tomorrow part 2 …