Monday, August 13, 2012

Wish list

Photo by Bjorn Wallander, from "Country Living" magazine.

These hot days....trying to draw on paper with sweaty's been the perfect time to pull out the Neko Case records and sing while working! And then I found this on the intertron....from Neko's own house in Vermont, the Flow Tante Wera Wingchair by AK-LH, a French design company. VERY limited edition (supposedly only 7 in production!!), all signed and numbered. Abode NYC has them...I wish I had one. The circulatory system never looked so comfy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Arkiv "The Aftermath" show @ TAG

Arkiv "Marvellous Dream (The Fallen Empire)", acrylic and ink on canvas, 2012
Indonesian artist Arkiv Vilmansa has new works on display at TAG in Los Angeles in a show titled "The Aftermath: A Journey to Wounderland". The former architecture graduate favours working in a style bound by sweeping calligraphic line work reminiscent of hotrod pinstriping, combined with fields of saturated colour. Within the paintings are his own dreamlike characters, imagined "species" of animals that inhabit the new ecosystem that might evolve from the aftermath of global warming. In "Wounderland" these cartoon-like animals display their plumage and fur in intense gradations of colour - in fact, they positively vibrate off the canvas. But all are offset by a new depth in Arkiv's work, a dark background insinuating the bleakness of environmental disaster.

Alongside the paintings at "The Aftermath" are Arkiv's figurines, limited edition prints, shirts, custom VANS shoes, skateboards, and a really neat tote bag, available for sale at the gallery (some stuff is on the website too.)

Arkiv "Midnight Massacre (Spirituality Unfolds)", acrylic on canvas, 2012.

Arkiv "Luminarium (Turquoise, Yellow, Magenta)", acrylic and ink on canvas, 2012.

Acrylic paintings clockwise from left "Luminaire (Magenta)", "Conformity", "Force of Nature", "Black Flys (The Edge of the Deep Green Sea", "Rise of the Pigeon (Gravity Keeper)", 2012. In the window is "Libertine", fiberglass sculpture.

Acrylic paintings from left "Midnight Massacre", "Automata (Battle for the Sun)", "Genomonic Paw", "Cast a Ribbon", 2012.

Arkiv designed VANS prototypes with other goodies.

Arkiv's "Sumo" vinyl figurine in the foreground with "Empire Strikes Back (A Certain Romance)", acrylic and ink on canvas, 2012.

"Cast a Ribbon", detail.

"Genomonic Paw", detail.
Arkiv will continue to show throughout Asia for the rest of the year, but next year will hold his first European show in Paris at Seven Gallery. Follow him through his website,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lughnasadh inspiration

This month's full moon fell on Lughnasadh, and while looking for artwork to inspire I discovered Jacek Yerka, a contemporary surrealist from Poland. Working in acrylics, he paints these fantastical compositions full of mystery, also with an incredible eye for detail. His landscape settings draw on his life in the Polish countryside, and they are heavy in dreamlike atmosphere, while his topsy-turvy representations of interior spaces display a reverence for the everyday objects that occupy our lives.

Jacek Yerka, "Amok Harvest"

Jacek Yerka, "Bathyscaphe"

Jacek Yerka, "Brontosaurus Civitas"

Jacek Yerka, "Cloubreaker"
It's worth looking at Yerka's website to appreciate how accomplished he is as an artist. Plus his own explanation of his working process shows a great sense of humour. Limited edition prints of his paintings are also available through the site.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The last of a breed

Gore Vidal, a man of letters, 1925-2012.

"As the Greeks sensibly believed, should you get to know yourself, you will have penetrated as much of the human mystery as anyone need ever know."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Woof Woof!

"Wolfie" tattoo by Sara Lou, 2012.

For those who remember "The Munsters", Eddie, son of Lily and Herman, loved his doll, "Wolfie". I recently tattooed a representation of the prop for a client who loves "horror" characters and is building a collection of permanent tributes to Dracula, and the Frankenstein story. I worked from a photo of a modern reproduction of the doll, and wanted to inject more realism into the tattoo, as if the doll character has "come to life!" There are a few versions of "Wolfie" on the market, but apparently Butch Patrick, who played "Eddie" has the original and sells remakes via his website.

"The Munsters" was only in production for 2 years (72 episodes), but over the following decades became a cult staple. Re-runs screened heavily in Australia when I was a kid, and for some reason, I actually preferred it to its rival "The Addams Family", which to me seemed too "clean" looking. I know as I got older and heavily into the goth scene, Lily's "look" seemed more authentic than Morticia's - the heavier, sexier make-up, the eyebrows, the hair with the me she was television's Goth Queen!! And Yvonne De Carlo's amazing bone structure carried off the image so brilliantly. She was already in her early forties when Yvonne took up the role, after a none-too-shabby Hollywood career, including a role in Cecil B. DeMille's epic "The Ten Commandments". With a face so beautiful AND expressive - those eyes and those lips - "Lily Munster" probably has ended up being De Carlo's most memorable role.


From Yvonne De Carlo's imdb page.


A few years ago, a good friend of mine and fan of Yvonne, commissioned me to tattoo a portrait of the actress on her shoulder. Here she is in "beach girl" mode....far removed from the setting of "The Munsters"!!

Yvonne De Carlo tattoo by Sara Lou 2008
(The contours of the shoulder make it hard to photograph and there is some distortion.)

Portraits like this are still so much fun to do. But to do a cool Lily? Oh, now we're talking!! I'd be in seventh-heaven....

"If there's anything I can't stand, it's weird people." Lily Munster

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Downtown LA bees makin' sweet honey

During a coffee pit stop the other day, I spied this basket, filled with wax-sealed vials of golden honey.

These bees seriously have some view! Their hives sit atop a building in downtown LA, and are tended by Corey Brill and friends. Coffee Commissary in West Hollywood (801 N Fairfax Ave) is selling the honey to the public. I don't think you could get much more local than this.

For more info on the Old Bank District Bees, visit their facebook page, or watch the video to see the bees and their surrounds.

In light of recent news that the United States EPA has denied a petition to cease sales of clothianidin, a neonicotinoids class of pesticide that is suspected of being harmful to honeybees, now is as good a time as any to be reminded of the importance of bees to our agriculture industries. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been widely reported amongst apiarists, and scientists are looking at all possible causes, chemical influence included. To begin to understand the potential stress that CCD has on our food sources, and on the chain of food supply, you could start by watching the documentary "Colony: The Endangered World of Bees" (2009). Equal parts informative and alarming, the documentary follows a group of beekeepers over 18 months as they struggle with the collapse of hives and the economy. 

It's no surprise that a growing number of "everyday" people are getting involved in trying to save bees and managing their own hives, as perhaps we are finally acknowledging how vital to our own survival these fellows are. And they work hard for us - did you know a single bee visits around 2 million flowers to produce 450g/1 pound of honey? Bless the bees!

This is an oldy I pulled from the archive (it's at least several years old) but I am still fond of this tattoo I did - a sacred beehive right on Sarah's sternum. Painful for her, but a cute bee tribute all the same. I do love those tattoos inspired by the nature around us.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sunset Blvd T-bird

Always parked in our neighbourhood! And looks like a 1955 model with the '56 porthole windows.

The 1955 Ford Thunderbird was the world's first "personal" car, designed to compete with the Corvette. The first generation 2-passenger T-birds were considered instant classics, and became cultural icons. Not quite a true "sportscar" but marketed to the individual driver with its luxurious detailing, the model was tweaked quite a bit from this period into 1957, and in 1958 T-birds were available with air-conditioning. To me it's still such a beautiful mid-century car - sleek, minimal and modern, and stylish.

Illustration from Thunderbird sales brochure.

Dealer ad for the Ford Thunderbird (top car)

The Thunderbird unveiled at Detroit Auto Show 1954.

Frank Sinatra's 1955.

Advertising shot from the time -  the suburban dream life of the 1950's.

John Samsen worked for Ford as a designer at the time this new car was being developed, and tells the story of how the distinctive shape was modeled. He shares some of the original concept sketches and photos of the clay models in this article posted on Dean's Garage blog. His recollections are pretty fascinating. Imagine playing a part in the making of an icon?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Feathered community

White-breasted woodswallows snuggle together on a branch of a Myall tree on a cold morning in Roxby Downs, South Australia, July 2012. Posted on the ABC News website from reader Morgan Dunn.

Friday, July 13, 2012

From Detroit to LA....

Amazing 1980's....I recently found this hanging on the wall in the corner of Amoeba Music. 
Man, oh man.......Madam X.

A wall of type - Eat.Drink.Americano.

A recent jaunt in the Arts District (boy oh boy, I want to live there) found us stumbling onto this new space (formerly Cafe Metropol). As we were peering through the windows, "oooh-ing and aaah-ing" at the interior, a lady associated with the business kindly let us in to have a peak even though they were closed. I LOVED the HUGE "chalk" wall of super-neat type, by Arts District resident and Art Center College of Design instructor, Peter Greco.

This is a really charming space and definitely styled as a "gastropub" - the menu is tailored towards those who like a bit of meat, and the kitchen is locally sourcing its produce. But the list of craft beers and the ambience is enough to get me to go back during open hours!!

Here's there Facebook page for more info, photos and reviews:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Good morning, Higgs Boson!!

Quantum physics meets illustration/animation meets current news = brain explosion. Enjoy this over your cup of coffee and toast...(go "full screen" with this.)

Nice to see a "good news" story as world-wide headline today!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Levitated Mass - Michael Heizer's new work at LACMA

From a concept originally formulated in 1969, in 2012 Angelenos have recently been celebrating the unveiling of an epic sculpture - Michael Heizer's "Levitated Mass" has finally been realised as a 340-ton boulder suspended above a 456-foot-long concrete channel. Quarried in Riverside and transported to the grounds of LACMA, the boulder was worked on for a further 4 weeks to engineer the giant into its new position - above a walkway, where it hangs in seemingly effortless suspension, defying gravity.

There's a strong invitation to engage with the piece, as the long and gentle walkway directs you to a place beneath the monolith. Looking up above you at all of that mass perched on two little steel shelves at the deepest point of the walk is probably going to be the "Kodak moment" for some. But if you descend slowly from ground level, looking towards the boulder, there is a spot half way down the slope where the relationship between mass and void is most powerful, and there is a visual illusion that the boulder sits precariously on the edges of the concrete channel. The eye is tricked and I can say I definitely had a moment of the "heeby-jeebies" and theories of visual perception were challenged.

The stone itself has many faces as you walk around it, and in different light it changes colour. No doubt it will bare the effects of weathering in the LA climate and the impact of human interaction. Visitors are already seen to be keen on touching the boulder - I know, I couldn't resist the physical connection and it seems Heizer too understands how people are drawn to it in an almost "religious" way.

So, is this merely the beginning of a love/hate affair with a new piece of modern art? "Levitated Mass" already has its critics. Or something even deeper, a contemporary statement about spatial relations and the human connection (or disconnection) to the planet's geology? Is this art, scientific specimen, or a giant spiritual monument? Heizer gives very little away for those who want to know "what does it mean?" The piece is free to hunker-down in the grounds of LACMA for centuries, if not millennia, to come, and no doubt will outlive most of us...we are also free to derive whatever meaning we want from it.