It all started with a guitar riff! I love this article in the Wall Street Journal, as Jimmy Page reminisces about the creation of that song. Led Zeppelin is reissuing their first three albums on Atlantic Records, and Jimmy tells all about the creation of the classic “Whole Lotta Love”. As Jimmy says about the unforgettable riff,
“I knew it was strong enough to drive the entire song, not just open it. When I played the riff for the band in my living room several weeks later during rehearsals for our first album, the excitement was immediate and collective. We felt the riff was addictive, like a forbidden thing.”
It turns out competition between Robert Plant and Jimmy Page was an important element behind so much of their great sound… Jimmy creating the riffs, Robert echoing the instruments with his voice. I’m not sure if they could know how long-lastingly awesome their music would become! And the photos from the article are retro heaven…
Visit the Wall Street Journal page for a quick link to the song!
A new great reason to go to New York! I really don’t need any, but this gives me a good excuse to hop on a plane. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is having a retrospective of the forgotten fashion designer Charles James through August 10, 2014. I have to admit, after a career in both fashion and art, I was not familiar with him. So sad he has been forgotten because he was a great eccentric, like most artists. An article on the exhibition by Laura Jones states that he was “scathingly articulate, wildly arrogant, probably bipolar” and he once said that “all my seams have meaning.” What is most intersting to me is that Charles thought his dresses to be sculptures, and looking back at them in the era that they were made and photographed (by such luminaries as Cecil Beaton!) makes them spectacularly unique and beautiful. Once again, another reason to celebrate retro ~ and the style, class and taste of the designers, and artists of that era! Oh, to have an occasion to wear these dresses… sigh
“Terry was everywhere in the 60s – he knew everything and everyone that was happening” Keith Richards
Before the annual Academy Awards show each year here in Los Angeles, there are many nostalgia – themed shows and articles remembering stars and icons from previous eras. It’s almost as if the past is more glamorous and impossibly cool than the present, and the stars of today are just waiting for enough time to pass when they too, will immortalized by one or two memorable photographs. Arguably, there is no greater documenter of cool than the amazing Terry O’Neill. His snap of Brigitte Bardot with the wind whipping her hair is one of the most famous shots of one of the most famous icons. There is a new reprint out with hundreds of his mesmerizing photographs, “Terry O’Neill, Introduction by Dylan Jones” published by ACC Editions. I want it! I could look at his photos endlessly. He is 75 years old and still going strong. Oh, the stories he could tell… but he won’t…
“I’ve been repeatedly asked to write my autobiography – I have seen an awful lot of famous people at their best and worst – but I’m not interested in making money trading their secrets or mine. I want my pictures to tell a story not sell a story.” Terry O’Neill
I think it is safe to say that blue is for many, their favorite color… and there is no better shade of it than “Yves Klein International Blue”. The intense and deeply pigmented cobalt blue became synonomous with it’s equally intense and eccentric creator, Yves Klein. I fell in love with Yves after watching a documentary on him. Many of his famous abstract paintings done in “Yves Klein Blue” were made by nude women, who rolled themselves in the heavy cobalt pigment and flung themselves wholeheartedly onto a life-sized canvas (all under Mr. Klein’s strict supervision, of course.) I thought perhaps Andy Warhol was influenced by him, as Andy continued to champion the idea of art being created by the “mind” of the artist, and not the “hand” of the artist. It didn’t matter who made the art, it mattered who thought of the idea. But then I saw the documentary, and I learned that Yves was so classy and well-dressed that he didn’t want his tuxedo to be sullied while painting. You can find many pictures of him dressed for high society while his nude female models act as paintbrushes, eagerly waiting to fling themselves onto his canvas! Tragically, he died too young, and we missed out on all that Yves had in store for us, in all that magical cobalt blue.
I was happy to read that Etnia Barcelona, the hip Spanish eyewear maker, is releasing a “Yves Klein International Blue” sunglass line this spring and summer. Their line of frames and sunglasses are as chic as Mr. Klein himself. Check out their website… wow, racy! And thanks to Mr. Klein for putting his “international blue” on our palette!
I’ve always been a Led Zeppelin fan, they were something special, unique and never heard before … and never to be heard again. So thanks to YouTube, I’ve been watching all these old Zeppelin concerts, and I’ve grown to appreciate their unique genius in a new and more mature way. Of course, my retro love of the early 1970’s keeps me entralled, but especially the most absolutely gorgeous, sexy, blond God that was Young Robert Plant.
I still love Robert Plant, but I never really appreciated him fully until now. Of course, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham match him in genius, yet I think it’s his bare chest and curly locks that do it. Not to mention they are the greatest Rock and Roll band ever! Long live the Queen; the Brits surely have brought us much musical joy (influenced by solid American roots!
Watch Led Zeppelin in their prime!
Check out my etsy store here for a couple of 1970s inspired prints.
Today I came across two different items related to the iconic Gustav Klimt. Having been to Vienna, which I love (where I swear his spirit lives on!) one is often caught by surprise when suddenly, looming around any corner, is an Art Deco architectural wonder. Of course it is a modern, bustling city, but it literally sings with music and art. I can’t help but love Klimt; of course I love his lyrical line and sense of the decorative, and gold leaf is always special to me (anything that is glittery works for me!) But also, he was a true lover of women and their sensuality, and he always messed and annoyed the establishment of his day, a character trait I admire. No shrinking violet was Gustav! And he produced some seriously beautiful art.
There is a review in The Wall Street Journal “Forever Between Two Worlds” for an exhibition at the Neue Gallery in New York, in honor of the 150th aniversary of his birth. And at the Getty Museum here in Los Angeles, we have “Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line” which will showcase his drawings. An excerpt:
Discover the beautiful and evocative drawings of Gustav Klimt in this major retrospective, which explores the stylistic evolution of his drawings as well as their centrality to his work. Klimt’s drawings are characterized by an unsurpassed mastery of line, from his earliest days as a student to his maturity as an avant-garde master.
I am lucky enough to be able to see both, as I will soon be in New York (YAY!!) so I will get to absorb some Gustav magic.
Here is a Photo illustration collage I did that includes an image on Klimts very famous “The Kiss”. I no longer sell this image, but maybe I should revisit it! I love being inspired from other artist’s and incorporating them in my work.
It’s been long time between posts lately … you know, the holidays and all that. I’ve been enjoying my downtime and reading my iPad, watching movies (loved loved “The Artist”!), filling orders for my stores and generally being lazy! I recently have been perusing the Life Magazine app, which is just beautiful. They have organized their incredible iconic photos into slideshow-based themes and I discovered Françoise Sagan, (under the “romantic-drunken-mad-literary-artist category”) who by all accounts was a hard living, larger than life, precocious artist. Her first, and most famous book, “Bonjour Tristesse” was published when she was 18 years old. She was an eccentric, and I love her for that!
Here she is with some of her more famous quotes:
“To jealousy, nothing is more frightful than laughter.”
When asked if she believed in love: “Are you joking? I believe in passion. Nothing else. Two years, no more. All right, then: three.”
“A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you.”
“I have loved to the point of madness, that which is called madness, that which to me is the only sensible way to love.”
“One can never speak enough of the virtues, the dangers, the power of shared laughter.”
“Art must take reality by surprise.”
I know it appears I am in love with all things French …and I am! Only the French would make the new silent movie “The Artist”, and possess the effortless style of everyday Parisiens, speak the lovely language that I now master fairly well, not to mention the great bread, the butter, and Brigitte Bardot.
If you have ever studied another language, one of the first things you need to grasp completely is that you CANNOT translate phrases word for word from your language. That is not learning the language! Which is why the phrase “I miss Paris” never rolls off my tongue quickly enough. To miss Paris, or anyone, they must be “missed to you.” Last night I saw a House Hunters International on apartment hunting in Paris (a daunting task, of course) and today I saw a wonderful article about a new exhibition of Gertrude and The Brother’s Stein’s art collection. (If you saw “Midnight in Paris” you were probably amused by Kathy Bates’ portrayal of Gertrude and that fabulous copy of Picasso’s painting he did of her!) The exhibition, “The Stein’s Collect” is at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, then travels to New York, and finally Paris, where it all began. From the Wall Street Journal article:
For several years, almost the only places in Paris where one could go to see collections of works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse were Gertrude and Leo’s (and later Alice’s) weekly Saturday-evening salons on rue de Fleurus, and Sarah and Michael’s the same evening on the rue Madame. Eventually, “everybody” came—writers, musicians, cafe society and the gay demimonde, foreign searchers after the new, and the artists the Steins collected.
The Steins were such influential and astute art collectors that they managed to have owned some of the most beautiful and important paintings ever created, such as these two glorious Matisse portraits. They are breathtaking!
So I’m sure you can understand why I have learned to say correctly “Paris me manque” whilst my head is thinking: “Paris is missed to me!”
When I was much younger and practicing my oil painting skills, I painted a picture from a photograph of David Hockney. I’m innately attracted to bright and audacious color, so I loved him not only for his personal style- his bleached yellow orange hair, heavy round black rimmed spectacles, loud striped rugby shirts, his trademark miss-matched socks. I am enamored with his blazing color palette and his subject matter, ranging from southern california architecture (and their swimming pools), portraits of his friends, and his later giant landscapes painted “en plein air” in his native England.
He has always been innovative and embraced new tecnology; mediums both high and low were just another means to document his abundant creativity. One of my favorite Hockney eras was his 4 x 6 inch photographs taken with a drugstore camera, then developed at the one-hour photo stop. He them pieced them together creating giant collages, the most famous being “Pear Blossom Highway.”
So I have been happy to discover that since 2008 he has been painting on his iphone, and most recently on his ipad. His recent show in Paris of his ipad creations are changing the rules (again) for what a work of art can be. At the show titled “Fleurs Fraiches,” his drawings are displayed on ipads mounted to the gallery walls, and he emails new creations to the show daily. He has even evolved his eclectic personal style by having suits made for him with pockets large enough to hold ipads, thus, technology influences fashion! He loves the immediacy of the medium. He states, “You can make a drawing of the sunrise at 6am and send it out to people by 7am.”
Hockney’s ipad drawing raise larger questions about the aesthetic and monetary value of art. For earlier shows, he had his paintings printed out, mounted and priced. At the Paris show, the work is not for sale, merely displayed. He loves the democracy of the medium; anyone can download an app and get to work creating masterpieces and perfecting their finger dexterity. Not to mention there are no paint stained hands or fingernails, and nothing to clean up! Yet all the pieces are quite distinctly Hockney-esque. I wonder about the value of Hockney’s pieces if he decides to sell the ipads that he created them on. I suppose one could purchase the ipad and just delete it, and thus create the 21st century version of Robert Raushcheberg’s famous “Erased DeKooning.” Every art student is familiar with the story of how the upstart young artist Rauschenberg nagged the mega-famous elder statesman deKooing to give him a drawing. After finally succeeding, he promply almost completedly erased it, and then signed his name. Ahh, I love art!
I recently read a wonderful article in the Wall Street Journal about the artist Christo, and his life after the death of his true love and life-long artistic partner, Jeanne Claude.
I only became aware of him after he was long established for “wrapping” monumental, site-specific works. Christo, if you are not familiar with him, is the artist famous for wrapping iconic structures, both natural and man made, including the Reichstag in Berlin, which took 24 years to be approved, and one million square feet of rugged Australian coastline in Little Bay, Australia.
I love his use of “reveal and conceal” as a medium to create new meaning and new ways of perceiving. When Christo wrapped something, suddenly it was what it was- and something else, too.
But more than any of his works, I was moved by the story of his enduring love for Jeanne Claude. They met in Paris when they were both 23 years old; she a chic bohemian Parisienne and he a penniless Bulgarian immigrant. Their unlikely partnership was to be broken only by her death. One of his earliest “wrapped” works is a 1963 portrait of her; raven-haired and sultry, exotic and untouchable, with her ruby red lips peeking thru plastic and twine.
This wonderful photo of them late in life says it all. Her hair is now the color of her lips and they look youthfully and eternally in love. He is quoted saying “she cannot be substituted…cannot be reinvented.”
It is a deeply moving story of what is at the soul of the art and artist.
Read more on Jeanne Claude and Christo here.