Category Archives: Art

Top Colorful Art Links of the Week

Since I’m living in Morehead, Kentucky for the next four months, the majority of my artistic explorations have to take place online. The internet is such a lovely tool for preliminary exploration and vicarious living.

Since we are quickly approaching January 24th, the worst day of the year, and cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder (and general grouchiness) are reaching their yearly peak, this week’s post is about color and joy! Let’s get to it!

Image: Getty

On Tuesday, Phillips de Pury and Company opened a new exhibit (curated by Hervé Mikaeloff), Fly to Baku, in their London art gallery. Twenty-one contemporary artists collaborated on the project to produce light-and-plexiglass ‘paintings’ of Azerbaijan. The installation is striking and joyful, and a stunning exemplar of collaboration. You can read more about the exhibition here and view highlights here.

Image: Matthew Brodie

Madame Magazine featured the work of Matthew Brodie in a 2011 edition. Brodie creates fashion out of paper and other media that are not conducive to draping or shaping on a human body. View more images of Brodie’s work here.

Image: Alyse Nicole Dunn

Contemporary pop artist Alyse Nicole Dunn works in the medium of paint to explore alternative views of race and skin color. The resulting works are bold, distinctive, and original. View more of Dunn’s work here.

Image: Mark Mawson

Digital Photographer Mark Mawson is inspired by the “vibrant colors that brighten up everyday life.” He captures vibrant, fluid images of natural phenomenon: water, smoke. View Mawson’s work on his personal website here.

Image: Yayoi Kusama

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama created “The Obliteration Room” by installing an entirely white domestic living space and inviting young visitors to ‘obliterate’ the room with thousands of colorful stickers. I love the simplicity and whimsy of this project! View images of the installation here.

Viewing art, looking at bright colors, and enjoying the creativity of others are all steps that can help combat depression and SAD. If you suffer from SAD or need a pick-me-up on the worst day of the year, you can read about holistic treatment options here.


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How Americans View North America (Game of Thrones Edition)

The first big snow-storm of the season is hitting the Midwest!

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Terrible Song Lyrics (In Pictures)

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Awkward new building in Seoul looks a lot like the twin towers on September 11, 2001

Does this look familiar to you? It looks familiar to me, too. And the association is not a good one.

This building was drafted by the Dutch firm MVRDV, and is slated for completion in 2015.

I definitely think art and architecture should be progressive and thought-provoking, but these buildings still struck me as “wrong” in a 850-foot-high-fashion-faux-pas kind of way.

Take, as a parallel example, early Americana artwork. For instance:

Early Americana art pieces are considered valuable collectibles (mostly in the South) and were highly sought-after when they were first produced.

Should this art exist? I guess, since it’s “part of American history” and represents an important (again, largely Southern) spirit of the times. Should the artists have been more sensitive? Probably, but they weren’t. Would I display this art in my home or make a racist caricature of a black man into an apartment building? No. A thousand times, no.

Part of me suspects the Dutch firm that designed this 9-11-reminiscent building was not innocently ignorant of the evocative design they proposed and that they were trying to garner attention for their design company. But if this was meant as a serious proposal, they underestimated Koreans.

Many Koreans value the US as a dear ally and know 9-11 is a sensitive landmark in our history. They would likely be humiliated if a creepy memorial of this attack were erected in the heart of Seoul.

View this and other images of the drafted building on

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Lesser-known Art

Image: Christine White

What I love about photography is the way it makes the photographer view the world. Art allows us to see things comprehensively, to see the beauty in the mundane, and to communicate universally. Photography can be funny and light (as in this intricate Barbie and Ken wedding photo-shoot), or evocative and thought-provoking (45 Most Powerful Images of 2011).

Inspiration for art is everywhere. And people are making art out of everything (The human body, Toothpicks, Street art, Underwater ink, and brown paper bags). I remember playing with beautiful interactive wood sculptures at the Technorama in Zurich, Switerzland when I was little.

Fashion is a source of inspiration and a creative outlet for many, although the art of the fashion industry is often sadly obscured by the many scandals in selling and producing garments. Alexander McQueen is an artist. Garance Dore, the famous fashion photographer and illustrator has been sharing her beautiful work in her blog since 2006. There are thousands of women who are devoting their lives to making other women look more beautiful with makeup art.

Artists live to share their creative gifts with the world. They are creating things that will educate and inspire for many years to come.

What has inspired you today?

Let Meryl Streep school you if you still think fashion is silly:

“‘This… stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.” -Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) in the film The Devil Wears Prada

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The Perfect Body

Dr. David Teplica—plastic surgeon, photographer, and philosopher—is in the business of beauty. He is living the dream, not just because he is pursuing two of his life-long passions (medicine and photography), but also because he is so damned likeable.

Dr. Teplica is unexpectedly tall. He emanates happiness and peace. He is funny. He absolutely does not fulfill the overworked, emotionally-immune doctor stereotype.

His clientele do not fulfill stereotypes, either. Dr. Teplica’s photography business draws in monoygotic twins, who have allowed him to develop a mirroring theory of dermatological development. In his plastic surgery practice, Dr. Teplica welcomes patients who are shunned by other plastic surgeons: HIV-positive clients on whom many surgeons are unwilling to operate, transsexuals seeking acceptance and understanding.

So why do people want to change themselves? Dr. Teplica posits that patients are often driven by a desire to align with their gender identity. Women want to be “smoother, leaner, more feminine.” Men often seek “definition, angular contours; they want to eliminate femininity. Pleasure, gender identity, gender preference all play a role in shape.”

Dr. Teplica also stresses the tremendous power that plastic surgeons possess. “Plastic surgeons are the only people who can cause positive permanent change,” he says in describing people’s post-surgical experiences.  Dr. Teplica’s passion is helping people match minds with bodies. If a transsexual man wants modest breast implants, he makes the effort to give the patient what he wants: “I’m not going to put bigger breasts in him and say ‘revel in breasts!’ My role is to fulfill wishes.”

His views on why people seek plastic surgeon present a gentle alternative to the common perception that those who have plastic surgery procedures have a shallow self-concept or that surgeries are driven by a need to feel desired or loved by others.

Almost all the time, Dr. Teplica’s expertise is employed in “trying to align what’s in [the patient’s] head with [his or her] body.” Plastic surgery seeking, then, is driven by a desire to align a person’s self-image or self-schema with what people see. With plastic surgery you “don’t make the body central; you put the body away so you can focus on other things in your life.”

This desire—to align our internal world with our external world—is a pull that finds parallels in many aspects of our lives. Fashion is an industry driven by our collective desire to present on the outside some small part of who we are. Cognitive dissonance is a much-studied psychological principle denoting our drive to maintain consistency in our mental world. Hypothetical Adam doesn’t want to be a hypocrite, even if the only person who knows Adam is a hypocrite is Adam.

In the computer age, what we are discovering is that we will use, often indiscriminately, platforms for exhibitionism to project an image of our internal world. Vacation photographs, our relationships with others, personal information that was previously closely guarded, are now publicly accessible for the approximately 500 million active users of The popularity of reality television has proved that exhibitionism is accepted, a quality to be tolerated, valued even, in others. If you have nothing to hide, why not disclose indiscriminately?

Many popular news outlets have derided this exhibitionism as low-brow, the lowest common denominator, low. But the exhibitionism continues unabated. Just as research has produced a more forgiving view of plastic surgery, there is a similarly kind explanation for our obsession with beauty and compulsive disclosure.

Aligning our internal and external worlds, matching our private thoughts with what other see, lessens feelings of loneliness and separation. Loneliness goes beyond the absence of romantic relationships and friendships. Our drive to disclose, to be known, is often not fulfilled by presenting our internal world through verbal communication. This drive exists in all of us, whether we were born into the ‘right’ body or not.

Our internal worlds—our minds—are so endlessly complex, that we are ultimately alone.

Beauty is compelling not only because it reflects what is beneath the surface, but because it is, inherently, on the surface. Beauty can be understood and known completely. Other people can appreciate the way we look more fully than they can appreciate anything else about us.

This doesn’t need to be depressing. It excuses our obsession with physical appearances to some degree. It means our appreciation of physical beauty extends beyond base tendencies and small-scale eugenics. Projecting and absorbing beauty closes the gap. And if you weren’t born into the perfect body, you can always go to the experts.

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