Sunday, January 29, 2012

How's the serenity?

A mini-hike in Solstice Canyon, Malibu today...we don't know this area well yet, so just had a quick stroll to check out the trails. We'll be back to do a more strenuous walk, but just getting 40 minutes of peace and space was therapeutic. Plus we saw a woodpecker pecking, a hawk hovering magnificently while searching for a tidbit, and heard frogs in the canyon creek.

Some parts of the trails look out to the Pacific Ocean, and meander through land that has been used by Chumash people and by ranchers for grazing, and inhabited in previous decades before continuous fires destroyed the man made structures. The canyon land was eventually handed over to the public in 1988 and is currently managed by the National Park Service. It's not far at all from the bustle of Malibu and the PCH, so it's not the most immersive natural experience, but if you go far enough into the park it is quiet enough to stop and hear nothing but the scratchings of the little forest birds in the under-brush. And that will do for me!

My next task is to learn more about the native plants and birds I should look for. I have a habit of brushing my hand on a shrub to smell the oils of the leaves - if I do THAT on poison oak, I'll be in trouble.

The holes in this tree's limb are left by the woodpecker.

Leaving the park, here's the view of the ocean across the Pacific Coast Highway.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Wham Blam Blamo" @ TAG, Hollywood, 7th January 2012.

We have the best work neighbours on Melrose Avenue. Last year Toy Art Gallery moved their showroom to come join us next door for some fun and to expose the Hollywood rock crowd to the world of contemporary toy collecting. They regularly have shows promoting artists from this world - some of them have been packed to the rafters!! It's all very new to me - I had no idea this scene was so big, and I am enjoying being exposed to a whole new aesthetic and art form. Plus the team of gentlemen who work there are all awesome.

The current show at TAG is actually not entirely unknown to us...we have known the Blamo kids for some time now as we stock some of their jewellery and have a couple of their handmade toys. But it was really exciting to see the new collection launched in one unified space, and even though it is produced by different artists singularly or as a team, there is an obviously strong cohesive drive to produce work from natural materials of such a strong quality. Whether it's wood carving, printing, painting, leather and brass work, the Blamo collective produce objects of such soul that they go beyond just "toys". As creatives they are all actually highly skilled artisans, and their otherworldly creatures invite us into a loving adventureland.

Blamo Wood Mask.

Swampy, Nimbus and Wood Robot.

Hand carved Hip Hop Billy, complete with visor, bandana and movable ghetto blaster.

One of a kind pair of lovers, Duncan and Matilda, my favourites.

My other favourite, Dr Who, incredibly carved and finished with a painted wall body. His head measures 32"x18".

One of the pair of Totem Paintings on display, with Big Ludovico in the foreground.

One of the centerpieces, Whooly, carved by Aleph Geddis and Spencer Hansen. A timelapse film was shown on the night of the entire carving process for Whooly. Much like Dr Who, and Frog Dog there is an influence from North-West American Indian art in this piece, particularly in Whooly's face.

Detail from Whooly's face.

Totem Painting in blue, with Big Hug Denim in the background, with a Frog Dog and Knuckles in the foreground.

The smaller Blamo toys, including Hug, Billy, and Micha Bear, and the TAG show exclusive, Panda Fuzzie Bear.

Blamo leader "Solo", watching over Whooly and greeting friends...Solo has been on this blog before. He's so cute I have to put up another photo of him....

....and my little Blamo acquisition, a mini white hug to add to my white collection, looking so loving on my mantlepiece next to the bulldog, calling out for hugs. I named him "Henry" after Henry's a long story.
There are also t-shirts and their famous monkey and bunny jumpsuits available at the show, along with some rad underpants, bandanas and jewellery featuring some of the Blamo characters. All are on display until the 28th of January - some items have already sold, so get to 7571 Melrose Ave in Hollywood to take a look, or jump on the TAG website to see the show and purchase items.

Blamo are really good people, so check out more of what they do at their website, and join the "hug revolution."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Welcome to 2012...

The end of December came in a huge flurry this season. And now we are already looking at the first weekend of January! The blog needs some attention, and while I haven't done anything amazingly spectacular to report from the last 3 weeks, it still has had some drama. Let's see....gas leaking from the oven in the days leading up to Solstice/Christmas, Dimebash and Camp Freddy up on Sunset Strip, the (noisy) removal of 14 years of detritus from the hoarder in the apartment below us, and a little bit of arson. All that inbetween a couple of catch-ups with friends (par for the course at this time of year). 

One of my favourite moments from December though was finally seeing Mr Peter Murphy, singer of Bauhaus but also an accomplished solo artist of many years. He was spectacular to see - in amazingly full voice, dandyish stage movements and good humour. We were treated to some old Bauhaus gems and a good sized set, and we all left smiling.

Pete Murphy, Club Nokia, December 7th 2010.
Amazing tiramisu at Terroni - a dessert I usually hate but this has converted me.

Our pagan/athiest/black metal decorations....winter green man from our friends at Pan Pipes in Hollywood, black tinsel (AWESOME!!!) from, of all places, Target, and purple fairy lights.

These took me back...found them at one of the design stores on 3rd St here in LA. I distinctly remember one of these Japanese ladies being in my family in the 1970's, and I think she was at my grandparents house. I will have to find out...funny how things come around again and are "cool".

Presents for the tattoo studio library.

Emergency Tim Tams and the Boxing Day Test streaming on the can take the lady out of Australia, but you can't quite take Australia out of the lady.


Young Jose got the California tattoo a couple of months ago (his concept and I dig it), and came back for a bigger project on his ribs. Some shading is still to come. I feel like I've been doing a lot of type tattoos lately....
Speaking of which, love these screen printed maps from Best Made Company. They utilize old geographical survey maps, are handmade and numbered, and are available via their website, along with a lot of other beautiful handmade goods, all designed to inspire our connection to the outside. The company is based in New York and was founded in 2009 by Peter Buchanan-Smith, and their motto is "tools to empower and inspire." They emblazon the handles of the axes they produce with the words "courage", "compassion, "grace", and "fortitude" as an expression of the virtues they hold dear, in the hope of influencing their customer's relationship to the world around them. Pretty noble, I think, and the "Everything Here Is Wonderful" slogan on this map is a sentiment I am carrying into 2012. 
Let's live in beauty.