its all about form

Ad agencies are forever trying to integrate client content with marketing strategies and eye catching art design. Designer Andrew Miller, with Carbone Smolan Agency, is doing an about-face with his Brand Spirit Project. Before you read the titles, can you guess the item?

Andrew MillerItem #12, Red Stripe

Every day for 100 days, Miller paints a branded object white, reducing the object to its purest form.

Brand Spirit, Andrew MillerItem #8, White Out

He has set the rule for himself that the item must be purchased for under $10, something he owns already, something given to him, or something he has found.

Andrew MillerItem #7, Sharpie

Did you ever realize how recognizable the shape of certain things are?  And take a good look at one of my favorite items, the ubiquitous Sharpie marker. Did you ever notice the beautiful way the marker tapers down at the tip end?  How smooth and rounded the form is in your hand? (Well, I am partial to nice writing instruments.)

I like this project, and the way it really makes me look at the design of the things around me, in my home and at my desk.  Watch his progress as he continues with Brand Spirit:

time for tools

Oh, the beautiful Midwest weather these days!  Spring has us out in the garden already, and it is tool time.

ahnjoonggeunRake:  Reverse for Rebirth, designed by Ahnjoonggeun

With many design awards and several patents to his name, Ahnjoonggeum now brings art to the zen task of raking leaves.  I look at this rake and wonder why every tool or functional item we use every day can’t be a beautiful work of art.  Now you can get your yard work done and have a wall display too! Go to his website for a view of the lovely rake in several colors – wow.

Cal Lane5 Shovels, Cal Lane

So the rake was functional, but the shovels not so much.  They are beautiful though, plasma cut creations by sculptor Cal Lane. She uses contradiction in her work, pulling together contrasting ideas and materials.

claes oldenburgTrowel 1, Claes Oldenburg

Oldenburg’s sculptures take the ordinary and blow it up to a playful, gigantic size.  Visit his website to view more enormous works, including things from our theme today (saw, hammer, pickaxe), and also some other miscellaneous (some of my favorites: a spoon & cherry, shuttlecock, and a button).

pop-ups for grown ups

Pop-up books are most commonly thought of as books for children, although I think most adults must enjoy them as much.  Andreas Johansson has a new exhibit that puts a new spin on the pop-up.

Andreas JohanssonThree-Dimensional set piece landscape, Paper, Andreas Johansson

Swedish artist Johansson’s first solo exhibit, From Where the Sun Now Stands, is at the Galleri Flach in Stockholm. The landscape sets he creates are set up in pop-up books with six pages each, showing different perspectives of a vacant lot.

Andreas JohannsonThree-Dimensional set piece landscape, Paper, Andreas Johansson

The artist spent a lot of time skateboarding in his youth, drawn to desolate industrial lots where boarders have space to ride. He cuts photographs to build these paper environments, giving us a sense of escape and exploration.

Andreas JohanssonThree-Dimensional set piece landscape detail, Paper, Andreas Johansson

“For me, deserted places have a great symbolic value. They represent society’s backside, but also freedom beyond control and regulations. As a child, it was the funniest playground imaginable.” -Andreas Johansson, from the Volta Show in New York

look around on the ride

There is a lot of art to be seen from the New York subway, and there is an Apple App to help you find it.

New York Subway Art4 Seasons Seasoned, Robert Kushner
found on the IRT East SIde Line, 77th St.
Photo by Robbie Rosenfeld

Sandra Bloodworth, director of the MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design, believes that New York’s transit system is the largest museum in the world.  The new app can guide you to find it all, and you can also view it online on the Subway Art Guide.

Duke RileyBe Good or Be Gone, Duke Riley
on the IND Rockaway Line, Beach 98th Street
photo by Robbie Rosenfeld

The Subway Art Guide can be found on a site dedicated to the history of the New York City Subway system. The site,, has many volunteers that help to create the wealth of information to be found there. They are not affiliated with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and began in 1995 as a photo essay site.

Dan SinclairFast Track & Speed Wheels, Dan Sinclair
on the IRT Times Square-Grand Central Shuttle
Photo by Robbie Rosenfeld

Click on the links in the paragraphs above and check it out.  There is an abundance of glass art, which I can really appreciate, but a lot of other things to see as well.  It is a really interesting site to visit, giving you bits of history, maps, and miscellaneous subway facts.


enamored with enamel

Christie’s auction house is featuring cloisonné enamel amidst the sale of Russian works of art on Monday, April 16. The pre-sale estimate is $3 – $4.3 million.

Ming dish

Cloisonné is a technique that dates back to Byzantine times, and has also been traced to ancient China. Compartments are created on a metal object, usually using silver or gold wire strips,which are filled with enamel powder. The piece is then kiln-fired.
Sheila Beatty
The ability to do this craft is within our reach at Rowanberry Studio, but we have yet to delve into this process.  It is incredibly intricate. The artist paints one coat of enamel at a time, firing after each layer.  As many as 25 layers can be added to a single piece of jewelry to attain the deep, vibrant colors. After multiple firings, the final piece is polished, and can be placed into a gold or silver jewelry setting.
Click on the links below each picture to read more about the artists and pieces.  Patsy Croft has a pretty nice site with information and pictures showing the process with step-by-step illustrations.

pulling from other cultures

I have blogged about aboriginal art before, as it is one of my favorite inspirations.  Artist Terry Hays creates beautiful painted works that also are inspired by other cultures and countries such as Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea and China.

Terry HaysSwimming to salvation, escape from the water demons, Terry Hays

Hays painted sets for stage production for many years, his art career starting then stopping as his life went on, eventually returning to painting his own artwork.

Terry HaysTrees #1 & #2, Terry Hays

Some of his work (I am guessing this includes the pieces featured above), is made with tree roots from his back yard that he transforms with paint.

Terry HaysGrass Fire! Terry Hays

Hays speaks of finding a “new voice” as he continued to explore his art.  The statements that he makes about his art strongly resonate with me:

“… what art should be or should not be

…trying to create the extraordinary or phenomenal versus following the path of least resistance



…what we think we are communicating versus what people see”

(from Ro2 Art)

See more of his work:

Visit his Tumblr blog:



Fly Freeman is not what I expected.  When I first saw her sculptures, some of them quite large, and carved from wood or stone, I assumed Fly was a man.  I looked at her website and found wonderful images, but not a lot about Fry herself.  Then I found an interview on You Tube, and was impressed by her views on transforming and caring for a community by beautifying it.

fly freemanGrasses, Fly Freeman

Freeman trained at the Edinburgh College of Art. Her sculptures can be seen in Scotland, England, France, and in private collections.

fly freemanA Public Commission by Fly Freeman

Not only do I love her sculptures, she also works in collaboration with a glass artist. Francis Muscat works with Fly, and joins in her passion for public art that can transform the feeling of a place.

muscat freemanColoured-glass-in-river, Francis Muscat and Fly Freeman

With their shared passions for art, and shared desire to impact the community in a positive way, the two artists bring something special.  See more of their work: and

peering into tomorrow

French artist Mathieu Lehanneur’s sculpture allows the viewer to be a day ahead of time.

LehanneurTomorrow is Another Day, Mathieu Lehanneur

He originally created the piece with the intention of displaying it in the Palliative Care Unit of the Croix-Saint-Simon Hospital Group. Weather information is gathered in real time online, then the image of the sky is diffused through a honeycomb structure.

LehanneurTomorrow is Another Day, Mathieu Lehanneur

As he explains on his public talk on TED, Lehanneur is inspired by science and its ability to deeply investigate the human being — our ways of working, and our ways of feeling.

LehanneurTomorrow is Another Day, Mathieu Lehanneur

His background is in Industrial Design, and when he opened his first studio in 2001 it was dedicated to industrial design and interior architecture.  Soon after, he developed a passion for interactions between people and their environment; living systems and the scientific world.

Check out his website for some amazing interior designs:

spectacular web over King’s Cross

King’s Cross is a London railway station built when Queen Victoria was in the early years of reigning her country. It is currently in the finishing stages of an eight year, almost $800 million dollar restoration. Architectural firm John McAslan & Partners has transformed the space, and it is breathtaking.

King's Cross renovationKing’s Cross Renovation

The new station will be complete in time for the 2012 Olympics, providing a super-hub with new infrastructure and improved interchange links with other public transportation.

King's CrossKing’s Cross

The old King’s Cross station has been the setting of several major films, including Harry Potter, The Ladykillers, Mona Lisa, and Friday the 13th.
King's CrossKing’s Cross

Design Boom featured King’s Cross last Friday, and they have some exclusive photos that are lovely – picture this network of line bathed in bright purple, or soft, deep blue.  Their photos are copyrighted, so I can’t share them here, but you can click over to Design Boom and see all the photos.


dead drawings come alive

Grateful Dead musician Jerry Garcia passed away in 1995, but as Dead-Heads all over the world can testify, his music and legacy lives on. Leaving a legacy of music is one thing, but Garcia also left a few artworks behind.

Jerry GarciaFlamenco Dancer, Jerry Garcia

Garcia was a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, and though he went on to become famous for his music, he also painted as often as possible. There is a wild and interesting mix in the things he left behind, but undeniably there was talent there.

Jerry Garcia:  MixmasterMixmaster, Jerry Garcia

In his lifetime, he produced over 2,000 original works. He used quality materials in his work – the best Schmincke watercolors, and Prismacolor pencils, and as a result, most of the work is fully archival.

Jerry GarciaVolcano, Jerry Garcia

Garcia painted strictly for his own pleasure and amusement.  Now, galleries are benefiting with prices as much as $100,000 for a single piece from the deceased artist. See more of his original work at the Weir Gallery online.