Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Steven Patrick Morrissey

Morrissey came to LA this past week, playing a last minute show at the small Music Box, plus a sold-out Shrine, and Fox Theatre in Pomona. Luckily I got to see two shows - nine years after seeing him play my hometown in Australia. I know in the meantime things have been a bit "off" with Morrissey's performances - cancellations, collapses and the like. But 2011 sees a fit, rejuvenated 50-something-year-old idol, hitting the stage with the aplomb and swagger we love him for. Morrissey's voice is in fine form today, and treats the fans on this tour to a few Smiths' songs - "I Want The One I Can't Have", "Meat Is Murder", "Still Ill", and sometimes "I Know It's Over". He played the latter at The Shrine on Saturday night, and with the crowd singing along to one of the most beautifully sad songs ever written, it was one of those gig moments you cherish forever.

The encore of "Still Ill" brought a mini-flood of devotees scrambling up on stage to hug Morrissey - just like nearly 30 years ago. Aaaaah, pretty hard to wipe the smile of the face after that.

His visit also sadly coincided with last week's passing of Shelagh Delaney, writer and major inspiration on Morrissey's work and on others who came from difficult lives in Manchester, England. An image of Shelagh acted as a backdrop for these shows, and the pre-show clips of footage included a brief snippet of an interview with the playwright (filmed by the great Ken Russell, also now recently departed). In it she talks of her reluctance to leave her home, Salford, despite it's problems and constant shroud of industrial gloom. She died of cancer at the age of 71, and was best known for her 1958 play "A Taste of Honey" which she penned as a teenager.

 It's so easy to laugh
It's so easy to hate
It takes strength to be gentle and kind
Over, over, over, over
It's so easy to laugh
It's so easy to hate
It takes guts to be gentle and kind
Over, over
Love is Natural and Real
But not for you, my love
Not tonight, my love
Love is Natural and Real
But not for such as you and I, my love

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Ron English

Saturday November 19th saw the opening of another Ron English show in LA, this time of 18 new paintings, at the Corey Helford Gallery. "Seasons in Supurbia" continues to draw on his fascination with the notion of the "superhero", beings of his own creation, painted in his characteristically hyper realist style. In this show they mingle with Camo Deer in the diorama-like compositions he builds, as well as more natural landscapes. These paintings are just technically stunning, rendering the surreal as corporeal.

It was a busy opening, so I could only get details of some of the works. But that's where you get lost in English's work anyway. The show is on view until December 10th, and a good excuse to head to Culver City's gallery row.

"The Fourth Wall", detail.

"The Artist's House", detail.


"Comic House Block Party", detail.

"Mousemask Graveyard"

"Mousemask Graveyard", detail.

"Blend in the River"

"Blend in the River", detail.

Visit the gallery website to view more images of the show.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Studio Malota, Spain

Spanish illustrator Mar Hernandez works under the name "Malota", and is having a nice little career, thank you very much. For a young designer she has a grand list of clients. She builds her images using geometric shapes and bold colours, with many based on strict symmetrical composition. Malota also paints for private collectors, including cute wooden kokeshis, and her artworks are available from her online store. To see her impressive portfolio (and nicely built website) visit her here. Malota also has a flickr stream, full of photos of her artworks, revealing more of her creative process and newer pieces.

What a great use of colour - burnt orange reminds me so much of the 1970's, but Malota makes it compellingly sophisticated when paired with the teal and greys she favours.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ding dong, the witch is (almost) dead...

Anyone interested in world politics would have acknowledged the announcement this past weekend that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's 17 year scandal-marred political career had ended. While Italians celebrated in the streets of downtown Rome, he still remains a business man of some power, and has vowed that "it's not over". In the interim, an economist with very little political history has been appointed to salvage what's left of Italy's economic standing within the eurozone. Mario Monti makes a dramatic contrast to his predecessor - he is described as "boring" by a former student. Reportedly a member of a Bilderberg steering committee and international adviser to discredited US banking giant Goldman Sachs - seen by many people as the embodiment of Wall Street's worst excesses - Monti's appointment could be seen as further evidence of the growing power of technocrats on world governments.  Watch this space...

MUNK ONE provided a magnificently appropriate illustration of Berlusconi for Juxtapoz Magazine in August. It popped back up on the internet today - it's brilliant it its pink fleshy glory.
Sanctimonious Silvio.....

While Italy's misfortunes will be front page news for quite a while, MUNK ONE will continue producing great illustrations for bands and editorial. Check out his work here, I'm sure there will be something you'll fancy.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Obey Giant - Shepard Fairey, La Brea District 11/11/11

I have no interest in these superstitions about dates and times. I am interested though in the flurry of creative activity that seems to be happening around town and the world this week. One such accomplishment was unveiled yesterday in the District La Brea area, a new Shepard Fairey mural. We headed down there this morning, and the team was still working on it, on the alley side of the carpark they are painting. Nice to see Shepard there himself, spraying and chatting away in the LA chill. They were planning on finishing today, and with rain on the way, they'll be keen to get out of the elements.

There is also a group art show to coincide with the event, hanging at 161 S. La Brea Ave for 2 weeks only. For more info, read here.

There were lots of Orthodox locals out and about on their Saturday morning walks while we were watching the work. I loved the contradiction of cultures interacting in this space, and caught these two little boys as they cut through the alley.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Squirrel season.

Strolling through the leafy streets of Beverly Hills the other day, we noticed a great abundance of restless squirrels. They were definitely out and about, running frantically across the roads and up trees, collecting their acorns for winter storage. We even saw one give a crow a talking to for getting in his way. They are feisty and funny animals!

There has been plenty of "forest-oriented" design over recent years...enough with the woodland aesthetic already! Still, it's hard to pass by a cute squirrel object, and I'm the first to admit I love to draw animals too. Here are a few good ones that others have created.

Charley Harper, commercial illustrator and wildlife artist, drew his creatures with a modernist flair.

Illustration by German Andreas Krapf. See his stuff at www.behance.net/akrapf.

"Scrabble" campaign by Ogilvy and Mather, in Mumbai.

"New Apron", painting by Amber Alexander. Visit www.amberalexander.typepad.com to see more of her work.

Work from another German, this time from master artist Albrecht Durer.

Contemporary digital illustrator Jamey Christoph works in a distinctive vintage style. This Octoberfest squirrel is so cheery and cheeky! Look at more of his work here: www.redpaintbox.com/search/christoph.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

West Hollywood Halloween Carnavale 2011

Queens, princesses, lots of Wilfreds, tons of Black Swans.....and a texting jellyfish?