Salvatore Fiume Italian Ceramicist

Meet the Late Italian Ceramicist Inspiring Today’s Coolest Artists

As trend scouts, avid social media consumers, and Google Image Search addicts, we often happen across works, names, and images that cause our internal YES bells to go off. Starting today, we've decided to give them the airtime they deserve in our new Current Obsession column, the first of which is devoted to Salvatore Fiume — the late Italian artist whose lumpy, curvaceous sculptures seem to somehow be having a resurgence in the work of designers like Sigve Knutson, Thomas Barger, and Carl Emil Jacobsen.
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For Brooklyn Artist Landon Metz, Painting Takes on a New Dimension

Surprising elements — from a Duchamp readymade and postmodern tables to avant-garde music and architecture — are the seedlings with which 30-year-old Landon Metz sows his artistic philosophy. For Metz, whose studio resides in Bushwick, these are all materials that belong to the same creative ecosystem. They also provide fertile ground for his spare, lighter-than-air paintings, which tend toward the biomorphic and richly hued repeating patterns. His latest exhibition, open now through April 9th at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York, centers around Metz’s affinity for the work of Color Field painter Morris Louis, one of the movement’s central figures.
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7 Design Insiders On Their 2015 Faves … And What’s Coming Up Next

We come here every day to tell you about our favorite things — so for our last round-up of 2015, it seemed only fair that we spread the love! We asked seven of our favorite design insiders to reflect on their best design moments of the past year — an experience they had, an exhibition they saw, a discovery they made, an interior they fell in love with — as well as offer the one thing they're most looking forward to in 2016. Enjoy, and see you back here next Monday!
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Set Designer Robert Storey

Robert Storey, Set Designer for Kenzo, Nike, and More

What really interests Storey is creating immersive environments. “A spatial design work can exist in an image and it’s great for people to experience it that way,” but it’s not the same as being there. The temporariness is an essential part of the experience. Here are 8 of the London set designer's most lasting inspirations.
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Peter D. Cole, Sculptor

Let's be honest for a second: The internet is wonderful. It's a fantastic platform for research, and it enables creatives all over the globe to gather inspiration. It allows for artists and designers to see what exists, what's missing, and to create accordingly. It's hard to imagine a world without it. But what if you were a young artist trying to make it in 1960s Australia? Where did one find insight and inspiration? If you were artist Peter D. Cole, you probably looked to your art-history textbooks and the latest imported magazines from that hotbed of modernism, New York. Perusing his work, you begin to see patterns, and his influences become ever more apparent. There's the very basic color palette of fire-engine reds, cool sky blues, and bright sun yellows, reminiscent of a Mondrian palette. There's the tilted shapes, which could be a nod to the fathers of abstraction, the Russian Suprematists. Further still, you begin to see a pattern of grids and cubes, an obvious allusion to Sol LeWitt, one of the most famous artists practicing when Cole graduated in 1968. Mobiles similar to Calder's, colorful forms attached by thin black lines reminiscent of Miró — we could go on but we'll stop ourselves there. It's through this weird, sometimes obvious amalgamation of influences that Cole is able to create original, inspired work that's evocative yet far enough removed to be his own style.
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5H x 5W x 7.5D, in.
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Ron Nagle, Ceramicist

One of the best things about ceramics' recent ascent in the art world is that a brighter light has been shone on designers who were practicing in the medium long before "urban claymaking" was ever a thing. The latest artist to experience a massive upswing in attention is Ron Nagle, the San Francisco–based postwar ceramicist who, in his 70s, still adds to his already massive body of work at an amazing clip. Shown at the last art Biennale in Venice, Nagle is currently the subject of both an exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art and a lovely feature in the new issue of PIN-UP Magazine, who writes of Nagle's process: "Each [piece] boasts the presence of a monument covered in variations of fine stucco textures sprayed with layers of pastel, blush fields often overtaken by thick glazed pools and electric pinstripes. The pieces begin as collections of hand sculpted elements, and are slip cast, carved and fitted to each other, gaining their deep beds of color from multiple firings that are finished with chinapaint. The forms have shifted in theme through his career: from lean green tendrils hailing from ikebana to diorama scenes housing pulsing red cubes." We're particularly fond of a recurring trope in Nagle's work that resembles glassy spears of asparagus, so we've rounded up a few of our favorite examples here.
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2014, Part V

This week we announced the 2014 American Design Hot List, Sight Unseen's unapologetically subjective annual editorial award for the 25 names to know now in American design. We're devoting an entire week to interviews with this year's honorees — get to know the next five Hot List designers here.
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2014, Part IV

This week we announced the 2014 American Design Hot List, Sight Unseen's unapologetically subjective annual editorial award for the 25 names to know now in American design. We're devoting an entire week to interviews with this year's honorees — get to know the next five Hot List designers here.
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2014, Part III

This week we announced the 2014 American Design Hot List, Sight Unseen's unapologetically subjective annual editorial award for the 25 names to know now in American design. We're devoting an entire week to interviews with this year's honorees — get to know the next five Hot List designers here.
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And this one, night night, from 2014. These are found, painted metal pipes that Coolquitt wired up and riveted.

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.
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"I've been making these desert tumblers since last winter, and the color palatte is inspired by the 
Southwest, which is a place I've romanticized and wanted to visit since I was in high school. I drove around New Mexico for a week on my trip and pulled over whenever I saw that red earth 
I had in mind when I made this cup. I took this one in Abiquiu."

Helen Levi in the American Southwest

Sometime in the past year, Brooklyn potter Helen Levi began making her popular Desert Tumblers, which evoke a kind of faded, windswept, Southwestern landscape by marbling white porcelain with sandy red clay. But the funny thing is, until this summer, New York–born Levi had never even been to the desert. "I’d been wanting to go to New Mexico since high school," she says. "That landscape has always been kind of a dreamy thought, but my tumblers were based on my imagination of a place I'd never seen." This summer, Levi decided to bite the bullet, taking a month off from work to road trip 7,000 miles — all the way to Albuquerque and back — making sure to stop along the way at places like the Pittsburgh factory where her clay is made and leaving enough time to simply wander off the road in search of this country's vast natural beauty.
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Creative Women at Work: Bec Brittain

It's amazing what a difference five years makes. When we first profiled New York lighting Bec Brittain in 2009, she was an artist and creative director at Lindsey Adelman's studio, but her own design portfolio was so slim we featured only one of her creations: a chandelier she'd made for her own home out of off-the-shelf parts from McMaster-Carr. Fast forward five years and Brittain, who left Adelman's studio to form a solo practice in 2011, is now one of the most exciting, in-demand lighting designers on the American design scene.
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