Saturday, September 28, 2013

Doubt and certainty

Recently, I came across an old journal of mine. To read my thoughts from 15 years ago had its own sort of reckoning.  Journals are so often full of doubt, but maybe that's a good thing.

Doubt is Better Than Certainty
Milton Glaser
Everyone always talks about confidence in believing what you do. I remember once going to a class in yoga where the teacher said that, spirituality speaking, if you believed that you had achieved enlightenment you have merely arrived at your limitation. I think that is also true in a practical sense. Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. It makes me nervous when someone believes too deeply or too much. I think that being skeptical and questioning all deeply held beliefs is essential. Of course we must know the difference between skepticism and cynicism because cynicism is as much a restriction of one’s openness to the world as passionate belief is. They are sort of twins. And then in a very real way, solving any problem is more important than being right. There is a significant sense of self-righteousness in both the art and design world. Perhaps it begins at school. Art school often begins with the Ayn Rand model of the single personality resisting the ideas of the surrounding culture. The theory of the avant-garde is that as an individual you can transform the world, which is true up to a point. One of the signs of a damaged ego is absolute certainty. Schools encourage the idea of not compromising and defending your work at all costs. Well, the issue at work is usually all about the nature of compromise. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The bang of fireworks

Vintage Standard Fireworks label

A company name like 'Standard' might limit the imagination for creating great labels and ads for fireworks. Dubbing each type of firework with a name, 'Revolver' for example, opens up a myriad of possibilities.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A love that lasts

Herb and Dorothy Vogel shared a vision and passion for art and collecting.
Their 5000 piece collection was donated to the National Gallery of Art and
to galleries in all 50 of the United States.

Herb passed away in 2012. I have to watch the Megumi Sasaki
documentary of the Vogels, Herb and Dorothy.

Friday, September 20, 2013


I'd like to get to know you.
Here's my card.

Vintage acquaintance cards, for the dating challenged.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Two cities

Smile-inducing images from Paris Versus New York by Vahram Muratyan.

Monday, September 16, 2013

When we're together

Striking collage by John Stezaker

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Head case

Belle Helmets protect your noggin.

Colorblind test

 Earth from space

 Diagram of the Water Cycle

The Solar System

Friday, September 13, 2013


In art school, I somehow managed to have life drawing as my first class of the day for several years. This, before I had taken to drinking coffee, was met with bleary-eyed angst.  The human body is a complex form full of unique details and markers. Starting at 8 AM and lasting 3 hours, I wasn't always up for the task of studying flesh.  Sometimes, not consistently, there was drapery available. 

  (Attributed to) Leonardo da Vinci, Study for a Seated Figure c.1470-1484

 Domenico Ghirlandaio, Study of Garments c.1491

Albrecht Durer, Study on the Garment of God the Father c. 1508

Imogen Cunningham, The Unmade Bed c. 1957

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Utilitarian, only better

Amazing metal work by Denice Bizot.
Yes, those are shovel heads!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Perpetual student

A classic Victorian school converted to modern housing.  The arched ceiling of the living area is a reminder of its former double life as the gym/assembly hall. This beauty is located in London, UK.

I love it!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night

If you've listened to stories of people who have survived the horrors of war, or famine or
politically charged, catastrophic, life-changing conflict, there is usually no lack of dastardly characters, near-death feats and high-intrigue romance. Still, none of those stories, no matter how fantastically heroic or operatic in its drama, can compare to the storytelling facility of Wong Kar-wai.

In his film, The Grandmaster, he chronicles the life of  martial artist, Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man,  from his humble beginnings in Foshan, China in the 1930's, to his death in 1972. From the very first seconds of the film, the viewer is transported to an ethereal level of visual spectacle. So much so, when the characters speak, if only to explain Ip Man's journey, the year, the city he has traveled to, his various tests and challenges by other grandmasters, they disrupt the mesmerizing incandescence Wong Kar-wai has created. Every frame of film seems as rich, dense and magically lit as a Renaissance painting. Was the writing crisp? Sure. Were the fighting sequences exciting? Absolutely. It's rare to recommend a film purely for astounding cinematography and visual effects, but wow, The Grandmaster is a feast.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A wall of Saul has posted every movie poster created by Saul Bass.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A room of one's own (with view)

Creatives can be very particular about their workspaces: order, disorder, high ceilings, muted colors, diffused light, reference materials, and for some, a view.

 E.B. White

Virginia Woolf

Paul Cezanne

Ruth Reichl

Rene Magritte

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cozy currency

Vintage coin roll wrappers