Monday, July 30, 2012

Man + Dog + Love of Textiles = Zak + Fox

MAN + DOG + LOVE OF TEXTILES = ZAK + FOX -- It was a very cold February morning in lower Manhattan that day at 7:00 AM -- but then, what February morning in New York wouldn't be? And there was only one diesel-powered heater to share between them, but that didn't deter anyone, for there was a mission at hand.  The historic Temple Court building was the location and it was empty and crumbling away in places, which meant that it was the ideal place. And Shinji the dog (that's him in the bottom photo) was wanting to play rather than be serious -- but such is the life of dogs. The available light pouring in from the windows was taken in consideration and carefully watched by the entire crew as morning turned into afternoon and then into evening.  With a cold, raw, industrial space as a backdrop, Zak Profera (that's him with Shinji) brought generous lengths of fabric with him and proceeded to transform the beautifully decaying Temple Court into a surrealistic textile tableau to make a stylistic point about his Zak + Fox collection of Belgian linens that are subtly and thoughtfully colored with water-based inks right here in the USA, utilizing patterns drawn from global inspirations as diverse as Moroccan to Japanese designs, which fits in perfectly with Profera's love of travel, adventure, and all things romantic and tasteful. There are 10 patterns to choose from and Profera offers custom pillows and finished goods to order, so there are 10 good reasons for you to incorporate these distinctively unique textiles into your world for light upholstery, pillows and drapery -- not to mention as a doggy bed like the one Shinji is sitting upon, fabricated from Volubilis (you remember those Roman ruins in Morocco, near Meknes, among which still can be found some fabulous intricate mosaics? Well, those served as inspiration for this fabric!). At Studio of Style, we love Karun, the kinetic-ray sun motif (shown at upper middle right) with its roots in Matahari trade cloth of India brought to Profera's attention by antique textile collector Karun Thakar.  So what parts of the globe will be rediscovered and what cultural treasures will Profera unearth next?  We'll all have to stay tuned to find out.....
Images courtesy Zak + Fox

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's a Balancing Act with Artist Jonas Jungblut in Santa Barbara

balancing questions and answers from Jonas Jungblut on Vimeo.

IT'S A BALANCING ACT WITH ARTIST JONAS JUNGBLUT IN SANTA BARBARA -- We at Studio of Style were quite intrigued with many things and people at the recent Dwell on Design show held this past June in Los Angeles -- but one of the most intriguing things was seeing artist Jonas Jungblut standing steadfastly at perhaps the most smallest booth at the show, but one with perhaps the biggest impact -- and that stirred our curiosity to learn more...and why. Jungblut was standing alongside "T3-7", a 25" high sculpture in brilliant red and blue (show in bottom photo above) composed of three pieces of granite and marble held in check with a metal rod -- just one of many pieces from his Permanent Negative Stability series that explores the obvious question of balance, among other issues.  Originally hailing from Berlin, Jungblut made his way to the sunny climes of Santa Barbara, California where he creates art in a variety of mediums, such as photography, sculptures in painted stainless steel, paper and furniture, not to mention publishing the Peanut Butter Sandwich Program series of magazines which combine Jungblut's photographs and stories -- all of which can be viewed on his website.  Studio of Style wanted to take a look inside his mind and so we are presenting our first-ever Q & A with this fascinating young man.

Studio of Style: At what age do you recall becoming interested in art?
Jungblut: Around 14 or 15 -- I was interested in Helmut Newton, he was a big presence in Germany.  And also the Young British Artists in the '90s. I was inspired by Hubertus von der Goltz, a German sculptor and stepfather of a then girlfriend of mind.

Studio of Style:  What types of works do you remember creating at that time?
Jungblut: My parents brought home a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood one day and we did a communal painting on it as a family -- and it's still hanging in the house. When I was 16 I did some carving with soapstone and I have always done a lot of collage and work on paper influenced by the graffiti scene. In my teens, I would build skateboards for my downhill races in Austria and locally in Berlin and besides coming up with some rather creative than functional shapes I would always put some kind of design on them.

Studio of Style:  What types of works did you begin creating as an 'artist'?
Jungblut: In the late '90s I became more and more interested in photography and so I ended up leaving Berlin to go to photography school in Santa Barbara. And for a good five years, all I did was photography. I think that would be the medium I started in as a serious artist. I still use photography heavily and exhibit it regularly, most recently at the Texas National 2012, and at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado,  as well at Gallery 27 here in Santa Barbara.

Studio of Style:  Why Santa Barbara instead of the art mecca of Los Angeles?
Jungblut:  Having grown up in Berlin in the '80s and '90s, it was 'contrasty', chaotic, dynamic, rich and overwhelming. I love Berlin. But after spending some years in Santa Barbara at photography school, I appreciated it as a home base. I travel a lot and get a lot of input from those voyages. Santa Barbara has become a nice base where I can focus on work and not be distracted. I like to visit L.A. but I never considered living there because I had my share of city for twenty years like I said earlier and it's hard for me as a Berliner to move to another city and have the same love for it -- I guess I'm a little snobby like that. Santa Barbara doesn't rival Berlin -- it's a gem of its own kind.

Studio of Style:  When did you begin exploring negative, positive, balance and tension?
Jungblut: I started 'balancing' in 2005 and it really was a switch that changed my approach to art. Before that I had been mostly all photography. But 2005 marked my return to creating art that wasn't 2D.  And then I started working with 'tension' in 2011.

Studio of Style:  Why 'balance & tension' and why 'negative & positive'?
Jungblut: Hubertus von der Goltz works with balance and, like I said, he was an early influence. Then I started balancing stones in random places and it moved forward from that. I realized that balance was important in many aspects of life because there is a lot of tension, we get pushed and pulled in all kinds of directions. When I talk about 'negative stability' it has nothing to do with negativity in emotion. Negative stability is a mathematical term and a perfect description of my balance work. Negative stability is an occurrence that is mostly found in aviation. The idea is that a system is balanced (think a needle on its tip) but the smallest outside force will throw it out of balance and the motion created thus would increase until it rests in positive stability (think a cube sitting on its side which will return to its stable state if moved). This is a perfect description for my stones in balance. They are in negative stability until vibration, wind, a bird or any other force makes them lose balance and fall. In physics, negative stability can never be permanent. Permanent negative stability is not a scientific term --  it's a philosophical and conceptual description of what I do. Moving along in my career and life, tension became more prevalent as well, so I needed to channel that in my art. 

Studio of Style:  What do you want the world to understand about Jonas Jungblut?
Jungblut: Mostly I want there to be questions. I don't want to deliver answers. The artist's intent is to spur thought and to make those synapses fire up there between the ears. Critical thinking is important, it is progressive.  I want to make people have thoughts that might be foreign to them, like a training exercise. Control is an illusion and I can steer people into thoughts, but ultimately I have no control over what comes to them when they look at my work. And it doesn't matter, as long as something comes.

Studio of Style:  What explorations are you working on now?
Jungblut:  I'm working on balancing a crashed 1973 Porsche 911S Targa -- I cut the car in half along its width right behind the front seats and the two pieces will then be balanced on top of each other similarly to my work with stone. Currently I am looking for a venue to display it. It is mostly ready to go, just missing a place to put it.  And I'm also doing more temporary installation work now in which I balance objects in random places.
Images courtesy the artist

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Eternal Objects of Desire, Style and Elegance: Murano Glass

ETERNAL OBJECTS OF DESIRE, STYLE AND ELEGANCE: MURANO GLASS -- We at Studio of Style love everything romantic -- and we can't think of anything that exudes the romance of the islands of Venetian Lagoon better than the sheer beauty of Murano glass and the important place it has enjoyed in the history of Italian and European royalty, the rich, the powerful and the wealth of the Venetian empire that dominated the Mediterranean region for centuries.  The luscious red and gold colors so predominant in Venetian culture are equally expressed in the goblets shown here from Seguso Gianni, just one of the many amazing glass masters on the island of Murano that are found on YourMurano -- a website where vases, centerpieces, goblets, mirrors, sculpture, lighting, jewelry and gift items are all gathered under one roof so that all you "armchair travelers" out there can savor the best of Venice anytime of year -- wherever you live. There's so much to say about Venice, Murano and YourMurano, we hardly know where to begin -- but let's start with YourMurano.  Did you know that the company's headquarters are located inside a classic Benedictine monastery dating back to 1481 that has been meticulously restored, including its beautiful frescoes? And that the company brings together the authentic, one-of-a-kind glass products from Murano that are certified as the best of the best and created an e-commerce site to showcase them? And did you know that the glass furnaces on Murano have been continually burning since 1291?  That's more than 700 years of creating glass in the same place (the sparkling "aventurine" glass -- also known as "goldstone" was invented on Murano -- and the glass beads and mirrors from Murano became world famous from the very beginning of their export).  In looking closer at the creations from Seguso Gianni (shown above), you'll see the dolphin -- the maritime symbol of Venice --  rendered into lyrical stems for these goblets (and we love dolphins and the enchantment they bring throughout the Mediterranean!). Not only is Seguso Gianni represented at YourMurano, but also: DIPI; Ercole Moretti; Formia International; Fratelli Tosi; Futura T&B; Gambaro & Poggi; La Perla Veneziana; Pitau; Polychromy; Ragazzi & C; Simone Cenedese; Tiozzo Sergio; and Yalos Murano. If contemporary is your style, then you'll find it here in a wide range of colors and shapes (we love the Uranus "battuto" red glass vase from Gambora & Poggi with its fascinating application of glass canes and other decorative techniques; and the simple, but elegant Atollo centerpiece vase from Formia International that incorporates a spiral design for a unique optical effect!) -- and keep in mind that every piece is unique unto itself, as there are no two Murano glass pieces that are ever alike. And let's not forget the jewelry: we fell head over heels for the magnificent Contarini red and gold necklace from La Perla Veneziana -- you'll feel like the queen of the sea wearing this one, for sure (it's one of our favorites!).  If you can't hop aboard a boat and head to the island of Murano, you at least owe it to yourself to find a glass treasure from this very special place that you can have for your very own, agreed?
Goblet images courtesy YourMurano

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dwell on Design Report #3: The Time is Right for Timeline!

DWELL ON DESIGN REPORT #3: THE TIME IS RIGHT FOR TIMELINE!  We at Studio of Style almost couldn't believe our eyes when we came upon the Timeline booth at the Dwell on Design exhibition held this past June in downtown Los Angeles -- it was as if we'd finally found a dream come true for anyone who absolutely loves the look of reclaimed wood but without the usual encounters one has in trying to obtain large quantities and the right colors of actual reclaimed wood (more about that in a minute). We immediately had to know more! Was it real wood? Could it be used indoors or out? Was it going to fade, peel or chip?  Company principals Matt Stroud and Shelby Keyser have combined their furniture crafting experience (his) and fashion industry experience (hers) for a product that is now its own new category of lumber products -- who knew? Using their signature color application process obtained through years of extensive experimentation with actual paints that results in nuanced hues and textures (containing low-VOC and water-based materials) on sustainable new wood from Forest Stewardship Council-certified mills in the U.S., the end results meet LEEDS certification and offers a green peace of mind for creating new or rejuvenating existing interiors or exteriors.  What you avoid is having to use old wood that might be harboring lead paint, rot or pests -- but not so with Timeline's floor and wall products available in a choice of 11 custom hues (we love the New Orange shown in the top photo) and in multiple plank widths with three edge choices. Not only that, but Timeline's planks are of unlimited supply (unlike wood reclaimed from old buildings), doesn't split when cut or nailed, stands up to durable cleaning and is shipped nationwide in usually three to five weeks -- wow, you can't beat that! "We draw our inspiration for the colors and finishes from Bauhaus color theorists, such as Josef Albers and Johannes Itten," notes Keyser, "plus contemporary artists like Charles Ray and minimalists Donald Judd and Ellsworth Kelly."    Which means that artistic interiors and exteriors await those who want to go back to the future with new old wood and do it in style with these fabulous new products from Timeline -- yes, it's possible!
Dwell on Design:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Moshé Elimelech: Master of Illusion, Master of Possibilities

MOSHE ELIMELECH: MASTER OF ILLUSION, MASTER OF POSSIBILITIES:  In the world of Iraeli-born -- and now Los Angeles-based -- artist Moshé Elimelech, nothing is what it seems. For at any moment it can change and everything shifts: colors, shapes, perceptions. And the possibilities within those make you think just a little bit different too, stretching the envelope of what is possible in a work of art that starts out in Elimelech's mind and in his control of color and shapes, but ends up in the hands and in the imagination of the viewer to become whatever that viewer wants to perceive it as -- and there's not much artwork out there that has such a relationship.  Which is why we at Studio of Style were totally intrigued by this unique conceptual art -- but we certainly weren't surprised to learn that Elimelech has spent his life exploring a variety of mediums, including drawing, gouache, oil, watercolor and acrylic paints in his investigation of "formal" elements as his foundation in design, or that he is a recipient of the Windsor Newton award bestowed by  the Watercolor West Society, or that he once was assistant to internationally renowned artist Yaakov Agam -- such is Elimelech's immense energy, talent and that most precious of all artistic commodities: passion. His current body of work is broken out into the categories of arrangements, watercolors and installations. Having just come off of two exhibitions in January and February of this year ("Arrangements" at LA Artcore; and "Geometric Geographics" at L2Kontemporary) and now just having released a 60-page monograph Reflections and Arrangements (shown above, lower right), Elimelech is currently at work on a new watercolor series inspired by Runyon Canyon, one of L.A.'s best and beloved sites for running, walking and viewing nature -- as well as organizing exhibitions of his work in Europe.  Visitors to Elimelech's colorful, multi-layered website can actually experience his movable cube arrangement by creating arrangements of their own -- how cool is that? Perhaps there is something that we can learn from Elimelech's work and apply to our lives right now: be colorful, ever-changing and open to possibilities! We love it!
Images courtesy the artist

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pola Negri: The Most Famous Forgotten Silent Film Star?

POLA NEGRI: THE MOST FAMOUS FORGOTTEN SILENT FILM STAR?  Once upon a time, in the long-lost Kingdom of Poland -- in Vistula Land to be precise -- a baby named Apolonia Chalupec was born in 1897 to a mother of impoverished Polish royalty and to a father who would later be exiled to the dreaded Russian Siberia for his revolutionary activities against the Czar.  But who knew that this infant would be destined for greatness in another faraway land -- one filled with glamour, bright lights, excitement and love trysts with some of Hollywood's greatest actors?  Such is the stuff that fairy tales are made of -- and this fairy tale of ours actually came true!  And who knew that Apolonia would become the femme fatale Pola Negri (named after the Italian novelist and poetess Alda Negri)-- and the first Continental European actress to be exported to Hollywood (ahead of Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich) along with her director, the renowned Ernst Lubitsch??  Yes, kids, she was the first "exotic" star to come to the golden land of silent films -- and awaiting her was a new kind of stardom the likes the world had never known before.  Prior to this, Negri was already starring in hit Lubitsch films in Germany (the center of European film making) and from 1918 to 1922, she had appeared in 24 films of which six were with Lubitsch.  So powerful were these films that Hollywood actually felt threatened and sat up and took notice of this dynamic duo of actress and director -- and that was when contracts were signed to bring the both of them to California.  A staggering twenty-one films starring Negri where made at Paramount Studios from 1923 to 1928 (how many film stars today could match that record in just five short years, huh?). And it didn't take long for this alluring-looking lady to start making headlines and appearing in gossip columns -- among her lovers were Hollywood's top dog Charlie Chaplin and the leading lover of the day Rudolph Valentino (Negri is shown in the top photo above with another of her conquests Rod La Rocque!).  Did you know that Negri and Valentino were introduced by Marion Davies and her millionaire lover William Randolph Hearst at a costume party at the famed Hearst Castle -- and that she would remain Valentino's lover until his death in 1926?  Negri would say at the time -- and forever after -- that Valentino was the love of her life (he probably would be ours too!!).  Another bit of Hollywood trivia is that famed director Billy Wilder approached Negri in 1948 to play the part of Norma Desmond in the now-cult-classic film Hollywood Boulevard -- but she declined it for several reasons (for its undeveloped script and because the love interest -- originally Montgomery Clift -- wasn't her taste in lovers).  Her last role in 1964 was as Madame Habib in Walt Disney's The Moonspinners -- marking the official end of a career that began in poverty in a faraway Polish kingdom.  Though later overshadowed by Garbo and Dietrich in the days when silent films turned into sound features, we at Studio of Style want to salute Pola Negri for leading the way for others to seek their artistic destinies and fortunes in the celluloid kingdom of Hollywood!
On Amazon: 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tiki Madness Hits Tinseltown! The Art of Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker...and more!

TIKI MADNESS HITS TINSELTOWN! THE ART OF BRAD "TIKI SHARK" PARKER -- At Studio of Style, we're crazy for anything tiki...and you can't get any more crazy or tiki than the amazing, colorful and over-the-top Polynesian Pop Surrealistic art of Brad Parker -- that lovable character from Hawaii whose imagination has run amok to create a world that combines all things tiki with comic-book styling, all done with a timeless sense of humor.  On Friday evening, July 6, 2012, Parker invades the Mainland with his unique brand of artwork (many of which has already been pre-sold) and a grand opening at the famed La Luz de Jesus gallery in the heart of Hollywood.  As Parker puts it, "My art is my personal celebration of a foolish misinterpretation of an ancient mythology that sought to solve the mystery of 'the breath of life' that eternally and precariously surfs the complete expanse between the bottomless sea and the floating shadow land of preexistence in the inconceivable heights of the sky, not just to live, but to live 'aloha'."  We couldn't have said it any better, Mr. Parker!  At the gallery opening, you'll be able to say "aloha" not only to Parker, but also to native Hollywood artist Miles Thompson who shares the bill with Parker with his new body of gouache-on-illustration-board works "Warm Fuzzies, Cold Prickles" which is an "epitaph for the oceans and forests" rendered in very small but highly detailed imagery. And should you happen to miss the July 6 opening, you're very much welcomed to attend the closing reception on Sunday July 29 where you'll be treated to a live performance by the Martini Kings (that jazzy-retro-exotica-bossa nova-cocktail lounge music combo) who'll be performing selections from their newest vinyl LP release "Palm Springs Serenade" (with its cool cover art by the famed Shag!!) -- wow, you can't miss that!  That's why you gotta stick with Studio of Style to find out the really fun happening things in Hollywood, okay?  So hang loose, dig out your Hawaiian shirt and knock back some cool Mai-Tai drinks in the meanwhile!!
Images courtesy La Luz de Jesus Gallery