Sunday, August 30, 2009

Calling All Typophiles!

A fine number from LA-based Brazilian Douglas Alves for the BBC:

And one of his personal works

. . .both are sweet examples of representational typography—finely illustrated, and not cheesy in the least.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Latest Crush

Okay, this is the body of work that I’ve been obsessed with lately. Oksaka-born illustrator Toshiyuki Fukuda has a herculeun handle on his craft. And, his talents extend across many mediums: textile, book covers, cards, dolls, wallets, to name a few. What crazy, perfect balance in composition and contrast—this guy really knows how to handle a blank canvas. xxoo, Toshiyuki-san!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Voices Collide in the Abyss

The Voices from the Abyss column began with the intention of celebrating those earnest folks who sing into the depths of the world wide web hoping for a reply—an ode to being scrappy enough to insert your voice into the performing arts despite any marketability issues. I imagine that it’s wonderful when these seekers do get a response, there’s many a comment on YouTube. But even better, sometimes an artist actually gets a volunteer from the audience, someone so moved, she sings along. . .and a duet is born.

Voices*: ccendana
(aka Chris Candaña) is from Pennsylvania. tonjesmi (aka Meghan Tonjes) is from Michigan. Song written by OneRepublic.

Note: Yeah, there are a few pitch issues, they’re never perfect (is anyone?), perhaps that's part of the beauty—no retouching. The collaboration is nonetheless poignant, a pretty meaningful statement, especially for those who feel that the internet is making us less human. I’ll feature the female singer again, on her own. She’s pretty talented.

Previously featured Voices from the Abyss:

Sunday, August 16, 2009


This is what happens when you match the brilliant hand-lettering of Retna. . .

. . .with the larger-than-life portraits of el Mac:

. . .poetry.

The final exhibit that we are sharing from the SF Lower Haight Art Walk last week is a collaboration: Alianza, a new book featuring the work of el Mac and Retna as individuals and co-conspirators in cities all over the world. El Mac was on-site celebrating his latest collection, and adding a new mural to Haight Street—though he was kind enough to take a break to sign our book.

El Mac is also known for this fingerprint-like texture in his work (1st image). Retna is also known for adding his dynamic illustration style to fashion photos (2nd image)

. . .and this one really shows el Mac's skill as a fine draftsman.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Estevan Oriol’s Thug Beauties & Beasts

A special treat for all of you this week: Last Friday, we participated in the Lower Hater Art Walk, met some very cool people, and saw some great art. On Saturday, Melissa shared with you the first artist we saw, Kristine Reano. The second artist who grabbed our attention was Estevan Oriol. (Please imagine the photo below at 5 feet long by 3 feet high).

Yeah, I know.

While we didn’t have 5G’s to drop down on it, we were able to walk away with a deck of playing cards, 52 images, for a mere 15 bucks. These cards feed the inner cholo in me—without the risk of gunshot wound. Now, I can dream of a thug life, while playing Go Fish. Here’s some of our favorites. . .enjoy.

Estevan Oriol is a Mexican-American photographer based (guess where) in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured in dozens of magazines worldwide including Mass Appeal, The Source, Details, Vibe, and Rolling Stone. He is affiliated with Soul Assassins, and has directed music videos for groups including Eminem, Cypress Hill, D12, Linkin Park, Blink 182, Paul Wall, P.O.D., and Xzibit. Click here to see more of his work.

Please stay tuned this week as we are saving the best for last! One artist was spray painting his piece outside a gallery wall during the walk. His work is incredible. . .

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Quiet Grace

San Francisco resident and art exhibition newbie, Kristine Reano, offers some fluent renderings of the interconnectedness between humans and nature. She does a pretty fine job of splicing lace, wood, ink and watercolor into single cohesive pieces, each one precious in its own right. The found objects are allowed to retain their identities as well as complement and be complemented by the drawings. Collaging is not an easy task, and though I might tweak the poses of some of the animals (the last two here are a bit stiff considering the organic nature of the subject), I’d say that the overall exhibit is successful, and the artistic vision and draftsmanship: inspiring. These works are from Whispering World, currently showing at Edo Salon in SF.

In the show, Reano doesn’t stop short in the presentation. All works are perfectly framed in this raw wood (below). If you’re in town, stop in. The pieces make a great in-person impression, and they are pretty affordable ranging from $150–$550.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Kokeshi Reborn

If you like wood-crafted Japanese toys and lowbrow art, scamper on over to the Japanese American National Museum in LA by October 4, 2009. Artists offer some great contemporary takes on the simple Japanese classic toy: the Kokeshi doll, originally created during the Edo Period (1600–1868). What is so appropriate about the blending of these two genres is that they both posses adult-themed content encapsulated in child-like packaging. Legend has it that Kokeshi dolls reference the practice of killing unwanted babies just after birth. The characters for this toy are: 子消し, translated as “extinguish the child.” (Yeah, spooooky.)

The show exhibits a collection of traditional and custom dolls, also offering some Kokeshi for sale by over 100 well-known international contemporary artists.

Design your own digital Kokeshi here.