Tag Archives: Art

  1. 09.08.14
    Invitation
    Join Us At The Last Weekend September 19-21!

    Normally our “Invitation” column is all about inviting designers and artists to make custom works for publication on Sight Unseen, but today we’re using it in a more straightforward way: We’d like to invite all of our readers to join us at a weekend-long workshop series we’ve helped curate, taking place in upstate New York September 19-21. Founded in 2012 by Peter Coffin and Jon Santos, The Last Weekend is like summer camp for adults, with a three-day agenda full of art, music, food, and activities; we’ve attended since the very beginning, so we were honored when, this summer, the organizing team tapped us to become a curatorial partner and invite some of our favorite makers to take part. We’re previewing their contributions after the jump, but you can see the full event lineup — and purchase tickets for $215 per person, including all meals and activities — by following this link. We hope to see you there!

  2. 09.05.14
    Q&A
    Ricky Swallow vs. Matt Paweski, for Herald St London

    As much fun as it is, as journalists, to the pick the brains of the artists and designers who inspire us every day, there’s something we enjoy even more: being a fly on the wall as two of our favorite creatives spar back and forth about their craft. It’s something we’ll never understand as intimately as those who are makers themselves, and when those makers are as thoughtful about their work as Los Angeles artists Ricky Swallow and Matt Paweski are, it makes for a most excellent Friday read. Swallow interviewed Paweski in advance of the latter’s solo exhibition, opening tomorrow at Herald St gallery in London, and we were lucky enough to nab a transcription of that Q&A. Read on to find out what makes a Matt Paweski, which direction his work is going in, and what the heck a “kerf” actually is.

  3. 09.04.14
    8 Things
    Andy Coolquitt, Artist

    “It was a weird thing for a kid growing up in a Baptist family to collect,” says Andy Coolquitt of the whiskey bottles that formed his earliest stockpile. “I was interested in the beautiful, sculptural shapes of the bottles and the graphic design of the labels. It was something we didn’t have in our house, so it was a bit exotic. I had them displayed in this little cave-like space off the garage.” The now Austin-based artist was raised in Mesquite, Texas, in what he describes as a “bland, boring suburban existence,” with little “interest in visual culture.” Rebellion came in the form of “having a whole lot of stuff around me and letting that stuff dictate my aesthetic.” Since then, Coolquitt has literally turned obsessive scavenging into an art form. Metal pipes and tubing, plastic lighters, aluminum cans — these are just a few of the found materials he repurposes and transforms, setting them up in conversation with each other and giving them a life-like, almost human quality.

  4. 09.03.14
    Eye Candy
    Inka Järvinen, graphic designer and printmaker

    Finnish graphic artist and designer Inka Järvinen began her career with a degree in fashion from Helsinki University of Art and Design in 2005. But after graduating, she quickly discovered she preferred designing in two dimensions to three. So what do you do when you hold a diploma in something that doesn’t suit your true passion? You follow those dreams back to school and get yourself a second degree! Armed with a BA in graphic design, Järvinen went on to co-found Tsto, a design agency whose hotshot clients include Artek, Levi’s, and Nokia, and she continues to work on solo projects in her spare time. We especially love her graphic prints, controlled yet unpredictable. They’re clean, and perfectly executed by someone that clearly understands the principles of balance, line, and pattern. We’ve excerpted some of our favorites after the jump.

  5. 08.30.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of August 25, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: shockingly beautiful interiors, sophisticated student work, and a surprising new (Canadian!) design hub.

  6. 08.23.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of August 18, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week had a very geometric vibe, from our favorite picks from the NYNOW gift fair, to a lamp inspired by ’80s virtual reality, to a photography series showcasing the nature of shadows.

  7. 08.22.14
    Eye Candy
    KONTO, Installation and Product Designers

    KONTO is a collaborative installation, interior, and product design project by two Danish creatives, artist Morten Bencke and textile designer Elizabeth Kiss. The pair make things like lamps and trivets, but our favorite projects of theirs are more abstract, like the pastel totem pictured below, created for a friend’s music video, or the experimental sculptural series Montage 1, featured in the rest of this post. The pair describe their work as “based on light, balance, curiosity and colors” — check out more of it after the jump.

  8. 08.18.14
    Eye Candy
    Erin O’Keefe, Artist

    Erin O’Keefe is an artist and architect based in New York and New Brunswick, Canada. Having studied architecture at Columbia’s grad program, O’Keefe took her interest in spatial perception back to her art career, in which she creates sculptures and models and landscapes out of paper, plywood, and foil, which she then photographs. As she describes it: “I’m interested in the layer of distortion and misapprehension introduced by the camera as it translates three-dimensional form and space into a two-dimensional image. In architecture, there is a similar dissonance … The representation of the building and the building itself are two radically different things, as is the photograph and its subject. This inevitable and often fruitful misalignment is the central issue in my practice.” Check out our favorite examples of her work after the jump.

  9. 08.16.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of August 11, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week was all about next-level workplace decor: colorful benches for happy waiting rooms, amazing ceramics for air-freshening plants, and the coolest Christmas-colored desk we’ve ever seen.

  10. 08.15.14
    Up and Coming
    Workaday Handmade

    Like many creatives we’ve interviewed before, Forrest Lewinger began his Workaday Handmade ceramics label while in the employ of someone else. Having studied ceramics in college and promptly dropped it to focus on more video-based, site-specific work, the Virginia-born designer found himself a year or so ago back behind the potter’s wheel, working as a studio assistant to a ceramicist in New York City. “A lot of times, artists think of their day job as an obstructive force,” laughs Lewinger. “I started to think of it as something more generative.”

  11. 08.11.14
    Excerpt: Book
    Strange Plants by Zio Baritaux

    We’ve all been thinking it, but the Los Angeles writer and publisher Zio Baritaux finally did it — put together a project capturing the prevalence of plants in contemporary art these days. Her new book Strange Plants contains interviews with ten artists of varying mediums who focus on flora in their work — three of which we’ve excerpted below — plus selections from the portfolios of 15 more, including an interlude featuring tattoo artists. Baritaux says she was inspired to create the book not necessarily by the trend she was witnessing in the art world, but by the elaborate gardens full of koi ponds and topiaries that her mother grew when she was a child. “I didn’t really appreciate these gardens until I was an adult, living in an apartment in L.A. with no outdoor space or plants to call my own,” Baritaux says. “There were plants throughout the neighborhood, like night-blooming jasmine and overgrown bougainvillea, but it wasn’t the same. I wanted to experience them. So I brought plants inside my apartment — a hanging terrarium, a potted cactus, and so on. These plants brought back memories and inspired me, just like the art I had hanging on the walls. So it seemed natural to create a book that combined the two.”

  12. 08.09.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of August 4, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: vases made from plastic bags, lamps made from plant pots, art made from police tactics, and three new emerging designers we discovered via Instagram.

  13. 08.07.14
    From the Library Of
    Ellen Van Dusen

    If there’s anyone who knows a little something about calibrating the perfect pattern, it’s Ellen Van Dusen. The D.C.-born fashion designer is Brooklyn’s reigning queen of prints, with nine seasons under her belt as Dusen Dusen, the line for which she creates flattering basics marked by colorful fruits, stripes, curves, dots, geometrics, and the like. So it made sense when we recently learned two things about Van Dusen: one, that she studied in college the psychology of design and the brain’s reaction to visual stimuli; and two, that she has a pretty incredible resource library to back that major up. On a recent visit to her Williamsburg studio, we perused her stacks, which included the massive, Todd Oldham–designed Alexander Girard monograph from a few years back and some amazing old Esprit books that we already had planned to excerpt in the coming weeks. But it was this book on Yaacov Agam, an Israeli sculptor and experimental artist known for his optical and kinetic work, that seemed to best represent Van Dusen’s joyful spirit. “As a textile designer, this is a huge source of inspiration,” Van Dusen admits. “I have named more than one print after Agam!” Here she tells the story of how she discovered Agam’s body of work and the long-lasting effect it has had on her own.

  14. 07.26.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of July 21, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: ceramic vessels with Dimetapp-like drips (above), lamps in geometric stone, and a color chain reaction on Instagram that was the highlight of our week.

  15. 07.22.14
    From the Library Of
    Joanna Williams of Kneeland Co

    Last summer, we ran one of our favorite stories to date: a glimpse inside an 1980s-era Scandinavian design book that Seattle designers Ladies & Gentlemen Studio had unearthed while cleaning house. We’d intended to keep going with the column — ostensibly a place where people could show off the strange, beautiful, and mostly out-of-print volumes that populated their libraries — but somehow it fizzled out. We’d been talking this summer about resurrecting it, when at the same time we found out that Joanna Williams, the LA-based owner of the Kneeland textile studio and online marketplace was opening a third branch of her multi-faceted business: a research library, where clients could comb through the curated images Williams has amassed over the years or search through books or magazines focused on graphics, textiles, decorating, and more. We’d found our first subject.

  16. 07.21.14
    Eye Candy
    Ben Sanders, Artist

    L.A. artist Ben Sanders was already making paintings, drawings, illustrations, and sculptures when he co-founded a collaborative art direction and photography studio, Those People, not too long ago. As if all those mediums weren’t enough, though, the 25-year-old Art Center College of Design graduate recently started making objects, too, in the form of ceramic pots that he finds and uses as 3-D canvases, for paintings of wildly colorful air-brushed faces compiled from playful ’80s-style shapes.

  17. 07.19.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of July 14, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: experimental materials made from chalk and coal (above), a new Book/Shop annex in New York, and our first-ever radio show interview, with Design Sponge’s Grace Bonney.

  18. 07.18.14
    Up and Coming
    Chad Kouri, artist

    Chad Kouri took his first freelance design gig at the tender age of just 15, but like most creatives, Kouri had trouble at first striking a balance between paying the bills and pursuing his passions. “I moved to Chicago after high school to study design, but knew I didn’t have enough money to finish a four-year program. So I took as many classes as I could and then jumped out to work for a marketing firm, which was not at all fulfilling. I was basically designing junk mail for five years. After hours, I’d work on editorial illustrations or custom typography, but I quickly realized I didn’t enjoy being on a computer 16 hours a day. I started doing collage as a way to break away from screen time. I used to reference a lot of old ads and typography from the ’50s and ’60s, and I wanted to work larger but the pieces could only be as big as a magazine page. That’s how I transitioned to using flat shape and color, and that’s pretty much where I’m at in this experiment of an art career that I have.”

  19. 07.14.14
    Eye Candy
    Suzanne Antonelli, print designer

    On her Tumblr, Suzanne Antonelli self-identifies as a printed textile designer. But in truth, the Norwich, UK–based designer’s graphics have taken on such a life of their own that Antonelli has begun to be more widely known for the patterns themselves. In her webshop, those patterns are applied to vegetable ink–printed recycled paper notebooks, or, more simply, to giclee A1 posters — the better for adorning the walls of your house, which you’re going to want to do in spades after perusing these images. Of her interest in print-making — and particularly of the repetitive geometries that have become her signature — Antonelli has said: “I first became interested in pattern when I was doing my foundation in Brighton. There was hardly any room in the studio and desks were on a first come first serve basis; I think that the lack of space made me focus more and I produced a lot of really small detailed work on graph paper using tiny dots to make up different blocks of pattern.”

  20. 06.30.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Morgan Peck at Jancar Jones Gallery

    When we first took notice of Los Angeles ceramicist Morgan Peck in 2012, it was because she had suddenly become ubiquitous in the concept-shop scene, with her vessels and abstract mini-sculptures popping up at all of our favorite places (Mociun, Totokaelo, Iko Iko). Now that she’s moved into an entirely new territory — the art world — with the opening of her solo show at LA’s Jancar Jones Gallery last week, we figured it was the perfect time to revisit her work. We asked Peck for her thoughts on her change of scenery, and how her sculptures have made the transition from shelf to plinth. “When Ava and Eric offered me the opportunity to have a show at Jancar Jones last February the first thing I thought was: Are you sure?” she says.

  21. 06.28.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of June 23, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week we indulge our inner shopaholics with a new Norwegian emerging-design purveyor, three designer pop-ups in New York and LA, and a mini online shopping guide that includes a little something for the guys, too — chic Op-Art pocket squares.

  22. 06.26.14
    What We Saw
    At Design Miami/Basel and Art Basel 2014

    If you’ve never been to the Swiss version of Art Basel and Design Miami/Basel, what they say about it is pretty much true: If Miami’s overall vibe seems to put partying, relaxation, and hedonism first and serious business second, Basel is decidedly the other way around. Yes, people like Dasha Zhukova and Craig Robbins throw fancy dinners, and spending at least one night out until 4AM at certain local bars is a required rite, and the sales numbers are probably quite similar for both events, but being in Basel just feels different. For one, there’s no offsite scene to speak of, so you spend almost the whole time in massive halls that are jam-packed full of people, leaving no room to forget that you’re basically inside a shopping mall for the filthy rich. And the banks of the Rhine, pretty as they may be, are no South Beach. People wear more clothes in Basel. Everything is twice as expensive. If there’s one obvious advantage — for a journalist or casual observer — to attending Basel over Miami, it’s that you’re far less likely to be distracted by hangovers, pool parties, boozy brunches, and beach FOMO. You spend the entire day scrutinizing the actual work, and if you’re lucky, like we were, you come home with a camera full of satisfying discoveries.

  23. 06.24.14
    What We Saw
    In Norway

    If anyone needed proof this year that Scandinavia had quietly usurped London’s status as the world’s hottest contemporary design scene, it could be found at the Salone del Mobile in April, where the presentation that Danish brand Hay put on, complete with a pop-up shop and an utter madhouse of a cocktail party, was pretty much the talk of the town. It’s entirely thanks to the rise, in the past few years, of not just Hay but brands like Menu, Ferm Living, One Nordic, Muuto, Gubi, and Design House Stockholm, all of whom are working with emerging talents across the region. As we’ve watched the Nordic scene grow, we’ve managed to pay visits to Sweden (three times), Denmark (twice), and Finland (once, in the dead of winter, natch) — even to Iceland, for its DesignMarch festival three years ago. That left Norway as our personal holy grail, made doubly intimidating because of its famed reputation for being outrageously expensive. Two weeks ago, as you may have noticed on Instagram, we finally took the plunge.

  24. 06.21.14
    Saturday Selects
    Week of June 16, 2014

    A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week was all about color treatments: chemically chromated mirrors, ombre lampshades, colored smoke, brushstrokes, glazes, and good old-fashioned paint daubs.

  25. 06.18.14
    Excerpt: Exhibition
    Platform at Almine Rech Gallery

    File under so simple it’s genius: This month, the Brussels gallery Almine Rech launched an exhibition, curated by Parisian art critic Nicolas Trembley, that mostly repurposes work from the gallery’s own collection. Called Platform, its primary conceit is a single, 55-foot-long white plinth running the length of the exhibition space, where all of the works on view joust for space, including Gavin Turk’s vinyl-painted Turkey Foil Box, Alex Israel’s marble and Styrofoam fro-yo cup, Andy Warhol’s Brillo box, Ettore Sottsass’s Casablanca bookshelf, and an array of Steuler vases we’re guessing might have come from Trembley’s own collection. Besides highlighting the three-dimensional aspect of the pieces — and making viewers reconsider items they might have passed over if displayed alone — Platform also “establishes a dialogue between the notions of design and contemporary art, objects of consumption, mass culture and subjects of contemplation” and asks the question: “What is an art object and what is the place of the object in art?” We’ve excerpted a few of our favorite images here.

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