Tuesday, May 31, 2011


This is my new FABULOUS ring from A.Costa Atelier in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. (Dating a jeweler does have its advantages!) This one of a kind, custom piece included three "gray" tourmalines, which is where the clear crystal and black onyx meet in nature, resulting in a gray stone. It is mounted in white gold and surrounded by little diamonds. A real show-piece to be sure! And although it may sound elaborate, or excessive, in actuality jewelry is one  of the best investments you can make. It is one of the only accessories included in estates and wills, passed down from generation to generation, it is the symbol of eternal love for every happily married couple, it is a show of wealth, class, status, and style, it is make from all natural materials which are completely reusable and recyclable, it is cast from gold which is one of the highest rising commodities on the open market, and it is an artistic expression.

Really what more could you ask for?

Well, it also lasts forever, a fact proven recently when I was visiting the Metropolitan Museum in NYC with the creator of the above cocktail ring. As we made our way through the antiquities section, guess what we saw? Jewelery dating back thousands of years, including one of clear crystal, which seemed quite contemporary considering it is dated back to the 100 BC! (See image below.)  Actually, jewelry is considered to be one of the oldest purely decorative objects known to have been made my the human race. In London, at the British Museum, we saw pieces dating back even further!
To see more of A. Costa Atelier Jewelry visit their website at http://www.acostaatelier.com.br/,
or check out the showroom in Copacabana next time you are in Rio. A Costa Atelier is also on Facebook. or to order contact Andre@acostaatelier.com

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Note Cards"

I try to send 10 letters or cards per month, to friends and family, near and far. Just a little something to remind people that I'm still here flexing my creative muscle, and that I am thinking of them wherever they may be. Normally I do a theme of the month, and put together 10 pieces of poste that are all in the same collection. Above are some of my most recent note cards with matching envelope liners.

By using a blank note-card and envelope, I recycle scraps of wrapping paper or other decorative paper to make the envelope liners. Then I isolate and cut out one of the design elements of the paper, say a flower, and glue that to the note card. It makes a nice matching set, if I do say so myself!

For more great tips on paper projects and do-it-yourself ideas check out my new course PAPER ARTS on craftsy.com


Friday, May 27, 2011

"Paper Arts"

Hey friends, family and fans: My Paper Arts Course on craftsy.com goes live today! That's right, live and in action, and guaranteed to be a good time! Sign up now to learn the ins and outs, the ups and the downs, the hits and the highlights of paper.

The course covers the basics to the beautiful, the cultured to the complex, from gift wrapping to paper decor, custom made stationery to letter writing, and how to incorporate the paper arts into your entertaining and celebrating. Really, something for everybody.

So what are you waiting for? Go to craftsy.com and sign up today.


And while you are at it, sign up to be a follower on my blog! It is free and it makes me look popular!

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Hand Written"

Never underestimate the power of a hand-written note. It is perhaps one of the most personal ways to express yourself, and shows that you took a little extra time to put pen to paper and share your thoughts.

This image is from Tiffany's on 5th Avenue in NYC. It is a simple, understated window design, featuring a post-it, some keys, and a heartwarming message. (Oh, and a HUGE diamond ring, which also says a lot!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Seeing Double"

Same model, same pose, same place, same time. Fascinating how each of us see things differently.
(And not just in drawing studio.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"The Andy Monument"

On view this summer only in NYC's Union Square is "The Andy Monument", dedicated to the King of Pop Art, Andy Warhol. The shinning silver statue, as reflective as the inside of the fabled Factory, and as superficially appealing as much of the work created by the late showman, makes a great statement among the sidewalk tables on what used to be Broadway, and now is a pedestrian area. Viewing the piece form a distance, it almost looks like a ghost, mingling among the crowds, only a few steps from his studio where some of the most infamous moments in NYC art played out, including Warhol being shot by Valerie Solanas.

The artist behind this work is Rob Pruitt, a Pop artist himself, who has added another noteworthy monument to the streets of the city, so that aspiring artists can look and remember that it happened here.

I think Andy Warhol would be proud of his gleaming likeness, slightly elevated, and carrying proof of one of his favorite past-times - the shopping bag. As tourists stop to have there photograph made in front of the sculpture, I notice Andy's omnipresent camera hanging around his neck, ready to document when inspiration strikes, and for a second I think I see him smile.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"In the Spotlight"

Friends in High Places. That's at least what I thought when I strolled by The Future Perfect on Great Jones Way. I looked up to see LA friend, architect and designer Matt Gagnon (with his wife, the fabulous Katrina documenting the genius at work), in the window creating his signature designs. Matt Gagnon Studios, now based in Los Angeles, has an impressive portfolio of products and services, but perhaps what Matt is best known for is his lamps. His latest design, featured in the NY storefront, is a customizable pendant created by wrapping an adjustable metal frame with various materials, from ball chain to leather chord to nylon banding. In the showroom, groups of then are clustered in a variety of shapes, colors and dimensions, creating an impressive statement.
He's there all weekend, working away, and his one-of-a-kind pieces can be purchased to brighten your world. (Side note: Matt and Katrina both looked pretty cute in their aprons too!)
To see more of Matt's creations, check out his website at http://www.mattstudio.com/
To buy one, swing by The Future Perfect or visit http://www.thefutureperfect.com

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"Money To Burn"

When I first saw the work of Scott Campbell, I appreciated his illustrative style and suspected something of a tattoo-aesthetic. Not along the lines of Sailor Jerry, but rather someone who just really knew the importance of line. Upon further research I discovered that the Brooklyn-Based artist expresses his creativity on many surfaces, from graphite on eggshells to tattoos on Marc Jacob, to good old American dollars.
The artist currently has an exhibit at the Marc Jancou Contemporary Gallery in NYC. In it, he takes huge sheets of currency, (mostly from Texas - I noted, being Texan myself!) and then laser cuts them into interesting and iconic shapes and patterns, like skulls, words, and in this case, flames.

I, for one, am a fan of using alternative materials, and also of re-purposing materials, taking something familiar and everyday, and reinterpreting it into "art". The question does arise, does working with materials with intrinsic value automatically add to the worth or legitimacy of an art work? 
Now, back to the tattoos. On a few occasions I entertained the idea of getting a tattoo myself. My first interest came very young, to which my mother replied along the lines of "Not as long as you live here, you won't!" Then, another time I designed a Sun illustration for a friend's shoulder, and we all went to Houston to get inked up. But when the tattoo "artist" came out he looked eerily like Charles Manson, so I passed, though my friend Dennis got his, and to my knowledge is still running around out there with my drawing on his shoulder. My last effort was while touring with the Bindlestiff Family Circus (long story). We were in Athens, Georgia, and a friend of the circus had offered us all free tattoos. I dutifully took my place at the end of the line, only to be snatched out by my friend Una, (the only one of us with any sense), who reasoned that if I had gone this long without one I could go a little longer. And thus, to this day, I am ink-free. 
But enough about me.
For more of Scott Campbell, including some amazing tattoos, see www.scottcampbelltattoo.com .

"A Place to Sit"

ICFF in full swing in NYC, with all the decor shops promoting the latest and greatest on the design front. Being something of a furniture fanatic, I have a particular affinity for the tried and true chair. Making my rounds last night in SOHO, I rested my weary feet a few times, by perching on various and sundry thrones, some fit for kings, others for queens. One of my favorites, was an exaggerated high back number in crimson from Cassina on Wooster Street, of which a photo is included here for your viewing pleasure.

Next stop was over at Bobby Berk  on Crosby Street. Bobby Berk Home is a cute little interiors boutique, where I bought my own sofa and and matching chair after months of agonized searching. The place was hopping last night, in full furniture festivities, with the grand prize being an oversize indoor/outdoor baroque work of art, which I have had my eye on for months, thinking it would be great for my country house in Texas.

Turns out to be a small world. Found out Bobby Berk is from Texas. Then met the nice people form "Queen Of Love" who product the playful polyethylene chair, (shout out to my girl Danae!), and guess what, they are also from Texas. As was my date for the evening, fellow-Texan, friend and colleague - Erin Dougherty. 

Now, let me remind you, sure I went to this party partly for the free booze, and yes partly to see and vote on the new designs, but MAINLY to win this chair. Well, when the host pulled the name out of the hat, it was Erin's name called and not mine! I did celebrate her victory with another glass of bubbly, even though not-so-secretly I was wishing it was me.

Consolation prize: Erin says I can sit in it anytime I visit her in Brooklyn.

For more of the great furniture at Bobby Berk, visit  http://www.bobbyberkhome.com
And to see more of the fantastical pieces from Queen of Love: http://www.linvin.com/

Texas in the house!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Solid Gold"

Out last night to events in conjunction with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, as designers and decor aficionados circulate to see the cutting edge and wash it down with free champagne. Much to see, but what struck me most was the video installation on the side of Salon 94 Gallery on the Bowery. Artist Lorna Simpson really put the soul in solid gold, in her Beyonce-meets-Dazzle Dancers recreation of a performance the artist viewed at Lincoln Center years before. Inside her paintings were equally inspiring. With true artistic economy, gold pigmented brush strokes brought to life various feminine silhouettes, with suggestive hairstyles nearly as flamboyant as the afro-clad dancers, male and female, who were stopping traffic outside the relatively new, and pristine gallery. 
Visit www.Salon94.com to see more.

"New Young City"

Exploring the Chelsea Gallery District with a friend from LA this week, we were both equally impressed with the art we found on the street as what we were seeing in the galleries. I walked by a motorcycle/auto-mechanic shop that had a number of paintings, including some very provocative ones, hanging throughout the garage. 
"Hey, this is Chelsea afterall!", the bearded proprietor declared. "And if you think this is racy, you should check out the gallery across the street," he added, referring to the Robert Maplethorp exhibit at the Sean Kelly Gallery.
We did.
Then we stumbled upon this mural in front of another auto-repair shop, "New Young City", which I later discovered is the work of Jordan Betten, who has a studio just around the corner from where I live in NY.

(For more of his work check out www.bettenart.com)

This particular wall hosts a constantly changing roster of artists. Here is a shot I did during the winter right after a snow storm, of the same wall.

"Thinking Man"

What's on your mind? Well, join me as I share what's on mine. This is an illustration from the weekly drawing studio I attend in SOHO, NYC. It is the first "art class" I have ever attended where all pretense is dropped and everyone, model included, admit to a pure appreciation of beauty, beyond message, beyond statement, and sometimes even beyond style. (NOT a self portrait!) I am a big proponent of that - art for the pure adoration and enlightenment of beauty. For after all, isn't there enough glorified ugly in the world? Why not embrace the attractive?