Up Close and All Around

With my new job (more details coming soon!) I have been very busy and have had little time to relax. When I do get the time to slow down I find myself enjoying walks, hikes, sunsets, and the natural beauty of New England in the Fall. I have felt inspired by expansive views and tiny details. I am noticing the changes in the season and all the colors that come with it. I have also been enjoying my Samsung Galaxy camera and taking tons of photos. This camera is amazing, whether you are shooting close ups or panoramas. (I think I am also missing my job at the photo studio). I hope you will enjoy some of my favorite photos from September and October.

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Maudslay State Park- Newburyport, MA

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Mount Major- Alton, NH

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Salem Harbor- Salem, MA

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Salem Common- Salem, MA

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Old Town Hill- Newbury, MA

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Take me back to the Blanton Museum

Today I am remembering the Blanton Museum of Art, at the University of Texas in Austin. As you have probably heard, everything is bigger in Texas, and the Blanton Museum is a fine example of that. It is one of the largest university art museums in the United States and it has the largest and most comprehensive collection of art in central Texas. It is as impressive as it sounds. 

While I was visiting I saw a temporary exhibit: Through the Eyes of Texas: Masterworks from Alumni Collections. The exhibit featured over 200 diverse artworks- ancient, modern, and contemporary all intermingled. The mix of time periods, techniques, and subjects could have been awkward, but the show was expertly curated, and each piece felt as though it belonged. These were privately owned pieces, so it was a treat to see them in a museum setting. 

The permanent collection was striking and inspiring. The lighting and the layout of the museum was incredibly thoughtful. Because the museum is so large the artworks have room to breath. The ceilings were tall and the walls were wide. The paintings felt appreciated and special simply because of the careful placement and lighting. The sculptures did not shrink in the large space but were easily accessible from all angles. It is rare for me to love the building and the museum itself, just as much, if not more, than the art.

One thing that made this museum experience even better is that it was free. The museum is free for all on Thursdays. Another plus is that photography is allowed- so check out these great pics! My visit to the Blanton Museum was one of the highlights of my trip to Austin!

 

Father's Day in Dogtown

For Father's Day this year my family went for a hike in Dogtown Park in Gloucester. The park is 3600 acres of woodsy trails and abandoned roads that used to be the Commons Settlement, a prosperous part of Gloucester in 1642. There are no signs of old houses, inhabitants, or daily life, but there are over 20 Babson Boulders scattered throughout the park with carved inscriptions. Millionaire philanthropist Roger W. Babson hired immigrant stone cutters to inscribe the boulders in Dogtown with words of inspiration during the Great Depression. We felt like we were on a scavenger hunt looking for these marked boulders. The words on the rocks are timeless values and advice- very fitting for Father's Day. Babson said, "I am really trying to write a simple book with words carved in stone instead of printed paper." Carved rocks give the words and phrases such a sense of permanency and stability. The natural setting makes the typography even more poetic. We really enjoyed our day at Dogtown, and got some awesome photos!


Inspired by Austin

I wanted to go to Austin since sixth grade. In sixth grade I watched the movie True Stories and dreamed of visiting Texas to see David Byrne in a cowboy hat, a parade of accordion players, gospel singers, wide open roads, and the "color of white paper". I wanted to celebrate the "special-ness" of Austin. I wanted to see why Austin was so weird. True Stories became my favorite movie and I wanted to go to Austin more than anywhere else.

It is inspiring to be in a city that is filled with creative minds. The young musicians and artists are the essence of cool in their cowboy boots and vintage dresses. The foodies and entrepreneurs are trendy with their beards and fedoras. The coolness is approachable, warm, and humble. The vibe is confident but casual. The air is warm, so everyone is out, and everyone is a potential friend. 

Art is ingrained in the city of Austin. The streets are marked with hand painted signs, chalk drawings, graffiti, graphic architecture, and murals. Every detail of the city oozes with good artistic taste- the stainless steel chairs, the wrap around porches, the dog with a red bandana, the unidentified cactus, the neon signs, the wide sidewalks, and the scent of tacos. I felt inspired by the unexpected artistic moments.

A vintage store that felt more like a museum-

 

A bar that used to be a house-

 

A "Cathedral of junk" in a guy's back yard-

 

A mural on the side of a building-

 

Layers of graffiti on the walls of old foundations-

 

A candid expression at Art City Austin-

In Austin I soaked up every moment, every detail, every font, tree, traffic light, sculpture, and song. Austin has inspired me to open my eyes wider to the art, design, and people all around me, no matter where I may be. 

"I really enjoy forgetting. When I first come to a place, I notice all the little details. I notice the way the sky looks. The color of white paper. The way people walk. Doorknobs. Everything. Then I get used to the place and I don't notice those things anymore. So only by forgetting can I see the place again as it really is."

- True Stories

 

date days at the ICA

Going to a museum is one of my favorite date activities. We can see and experience something new together, take our time, talk or just look, hold hands or kiss in front of something extraordinary. I love going to a museum with someone I love.

I recently visited the ICA on a double date. The four of us went to see "This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s". Many artists were represented, with a variety of paintings, photography, sculpture, ads, and textiles. It was reassuring to see so many people in the galleries, taking the time to admire and appreciate the contemporary artwork. My favorite piece in the show, to no surprise, was a Basquiat painting. Ever since senior year of high school I have been crushing admiring obsessing in love with Basquiat. I felt like I was seeing an old friend and I couldn't stop smiling. Joe secretly took a photo of me  in front of the masterpiece, while I pretended not to pose.

The last time we were on a date at the ICA it was my 24th birthday. We went to see "The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl". We held headphones to our ears and talked about our favorite songs. We watched the other visitors, families, students, and other couples on other dates. I found my favorite piece.  We snagged a photo infront of  an original Talking Heads album, collaged out of polaroids. 

At the time, these photos were taken as proof that we were there and as a way to remember impressive works of art. They have become more like reminders of a happy goose bump moment and a loving date day with my photographer. These two photos have become precious to me. 

Maudslay Outdoor Sculpture show

On Saturday afternoon I attended a sculpture show opening at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport. The show consists of 30 artists who have created site-specific sculptures. The outdoor sculptures will be on display throughout the park for 3 weeks. The theme of the show this year is "Inside-out". 

At the opening on Saturday, every artist had the opportunity to talk about their work and answer questions. We learned about their inspiration - totem poles, a blueberry bush, breast feeding. Materials were revealed- fishing line, pieces of a wooden boat, metal bowls. The crowd smiled as they got to hit a sculpture with mallets. Children laughed at a helmet made of gourds that came with a fart button. Women bowed their heads to receive blessed scarves. The day was interactive and engaging, and I would expect nothing less.

I am no stranger to this show. I have participated as an artist many different years, starting way back in Elementary school. Last year, I helped pick the theme "play", and created a sculpture out of free and found objects. The sculpture was called "Free Time."

 

This year I did not make a sculpture, but was very proud of my fathers piece. My dad created a surreal and playful sculpture called "Who's There?", made of wooden doors and frames. The doors are placed around trees with careful and clean execution. My dad's sculpture is so clever in its simplicity- thought provoking but not too serious. I feel like my dad has really developed an artistic style over the last few years, and this sculpture is a great example of what that style is.

 

Favorite Finds

Saturday mornings in the Summer I often find myself at yard sales. Some days it is planned- I'll wake up at 7:30 and be out of the house an hour later. I'll look on craigslist to see what is around. Some days I just follow the signs. I'll drive aimlessly and see if any thing catches my eye.

I am not looking for something increadibly rare or unusual. I look for a good deal, books, jars, vases, craft supplies, things that will look good in my room, records, 8 tracks that work, board games, something I will love. I have had some amazing finds over the years- including 2 vintage white and pink bowling pins, a red 8-track player shaped like a purse, an entire pack of color-aid paper, and numerous picture books.

One of my favorite finds this summer was a book about bird dogs. The drawing on the cover looks a lot like my dog Oliver, and to my surprise I found his name written on the inside! My other favorite find was a fortune telling box full of little colorful scrolls. I love the scale and graphic design of it.

 

Last day of summer

Summer is the time of year that is filled with those fleeting moments. Running in a rain shower, a whiff of a neighbors BBQ, a hug that is quick and sweaty, a firework in a friends backyard, a beautiful and bittersweet sunset. Memories can happen in a second. I try to absorb the sun, as if I’m trying to absorb those moments, make them linger, maybe the sunlight will make the memories brighter.  Burn those moments into my mind. Like a chalk drawing or a sand mandala, summer too is ephemeral and can not last. I will not be sad to say goodbye to summer because I understand that this is the nature of summer. All I can do is  savor this last day and soak up every drop that summer can offer. 

 

MOMA- Probably my favorite museum

It is hard for me to pick a favorite museum. Last year, I may have said the City Museum in St. Louis. Before that, probably the Pompidou in Paris. At one time it was definitely Washington D.C.’ s Spy Museum. But right now, the MOMA in New York is probably my favorite museum.

 Last week I had the opportunity to visit the MOMA with my mom and dad. I’ve been once before but not recently. The museum is incredible, and we were thrilled to see so many “big-hits” of the art world- Picasso, Van Gogh, Dali, Matisse, Gaugin, Warhol, Pollock, Duchamp, and the list goes on. I was star struck. The museum is 6 huge floors of stunning and recognizable art. It felt  special  and comforting to see so many crowds of people enjoying the art together on a Monday afternoon.

 I was especially excited to see some recognizable posters hanging in the design room. I remembered learning about these in my History of Graphic Design class from Sophomore year, and have had a fondness for them ever since.

These posters were created by Lester Beall, who is an American graphic designer, most popular in the late 1930s. This poster series was for the United States Government’s Rural Electrification Administration, trying to promote the idea of bringing electricity to rural parts of the country. I think the posters have a current look to them because they are so bold and bright. 

I was also very pleased giddy over the museums special exhibit: Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language.  The show combines historical and contemporary works that focus on language- sometimes as a system of communicating, other times as an art form, or as a material that can be manipulated and played with. The historical section is mostly works on paper from Da Da artists, Fluxist artists, and visual poets (all my favorites!).  I appreciate the concept and simplicity in many of the pieces.

In my opinion, Paul Elliman was the star of this show with his contemporary work. His “Found Founts” are vast collections of font-like items: scissor handles, cardboard pieces, plastic lids, metal rings, etc. I love the repetition, the organization, and the typography associations. I also think I just love collections.