Coney Art Walls 2016: A Different View

Coney Art Walls 2016 Signage
All Photos By Gail

Geoffrey and I went out to Coney Island equipped with a minor agenda that included eating at Wahlburgers (disappointing), attending a concert at the new amphitheater (nice venue, underwhelming artist) and visiting the new-for-2016 Coney Art Walls. We saw the Art Walls Last Summer and they were amazing! Unfortunately, when we tried to enter the space this past weekend, we were told that they were closed for a private party, and that we could pay $15 if we wanted to gain admittance to see them, and also be subjected to what sounded like the worst music ever in the universe of all time. We declined. “Come back tomorrow,” we were told, but that wasn’t going to happen when a 90-minmute subway ride is involved.

Marie Roberts
Art By Marie Roberts

So, what I decided to do was take some photos of the walls that surround the exterior border of the Art Wall Pavilion (or whatever they call it) and also shove my camera between gaps in the chain link fence to get some other crappy shots. Because it was overcast and rainy out, so not great picture-taking weather anyway. You’re welcome.

John Ahearn, Haze Tribute to MCA
Foreground by John Ahearn, Background, A Tribute to MCA By Haze

New artists participating in the 2016 Art Walls include Nina Chanel Abney, John Ahearn, Timothy Curtis, D*Face, Jessica Diamond, Tristan Eaton, Gaia, Eric Haze, Icy & Sot, London Police, Nychos, Pose, Stephen Powers, Tats Cru, and Sam Vernon. Returning artists who created new works are Lady Aiko, Mister Cartoon, Crash, Daze, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and Marie Roberts.

D*Face
Art By D*Face

Tristan Eaton
Art By Tristan Eaton

A few of the 2015 Walls are still on display, including those by Buff Monster, Eine, Ron English, How & Nosm, IRAK, Kashink, Lady Pink, Miss Van, RETNA, eL Seed and Sheryo & Yok. You can see some of those in last year’s post at This Link! There are also three community walls.

Nychos
Nychos After Dark: Dissected Ronald McDonald

The Coney Art Walls are located at on Stillwell Avenue (right behind Nathan’s) at Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY 11224.

Cyclops Mermaid

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Eye on Design: Graphic Designer and Art Director Robin Hercia

Love the One Your with Poster
Love the One You’re With Poster By Robin Hercia (All Images Courtesy of the Artist)

To build a livelihood at the juncture where fine art and design merge, Robin Hercia drew on her experience as a multidisciplinary artist, tapped into her intuitive sense of how to individually serve each client, and sought to infuse appropriate projects with an essence of earth-based and eastern spiritual practices to establish a truly unique, bespoke approach to brand identity, graphic design and art direction. Based in Los Angeles, AWMYL is Hercia’s design studio, where she creates exciting graphic, surface, and printed product design specializing in, but not limited to, brand identities and products for clients working in the arenas of wellness, healing, yoga and mysticism.

Coming from a fine art background, the talented designer has an extensive resume of diverse works that include painting, screen-printing and installation. Her artwork (created under the name Robin Redd) has been exhibited in Canada, Europe and the US, including events such as 2009’s Aqua Art Fair in Miami, and Scope Miami Beach in 2013.

Collaboration with Jon Todd
El Campeon Grande (Collaboration with Jon Todd, Aqua Art Fair Miami 2009)

Message In a Bottle
Installation series for Message in a Bottle Exhibition Curated by Lori Zimmer (Scope Miami Beach 2013)

Air14 Multi-use Geodesic Dome
AIR14 Installation (Wynwood at Art Basel 2014)

Her project AIR14, a multi-use Geodesic Dome, was also featured in The Art of Cardboard: Big Ideas for Creativity, Collaboration, Storytelling, and Reuse by Lori Zimmer.

Screen Print with Eyes and Rabbits
Above and Below, Havemeyer, Spray Paint, Screen Print, and Hand Embellished, SMASH Toronto

Screen Print with Rabbits

In 2012, Hercia relocated from Toronto to Southern California, opening AWMYL in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles in the spring of 2015. She initially works with imagery and materials that are analog and tangible in origin, and later transitions artwork for further manipulation digitally. The same personal interest in spirituality that inspires her fine artwork also informs her design practice at AWMYL. “I’ve spent years studying alternative or earth-based spiritual practices, such as Wicca, paganism, voodou, Golden Dawn, Theosophy, Buddhism, and Native American traditions, among others,” Hercia explains.

Tarot Poster
Poster for Redondo Beach Tarot Card Reader Joseph Lennon McCord (a.k.a. Joe Daddy)

“These studies are referenced in my work in obvious ways via graphics and imagery,” she continues, “but also subtly, in regards to what materials are used to create the image. I make a lot of my own dyes, pigments and inks from natural sources, which correspond, via assorted spiritual practices, to what the piece is about. For example, the indigo plant produces a blue color that is associated with Saturn, and it’s used to conjure protection, discipline, organization, and focus. In practice, if I’m creating a piece of art that reflects these qualities, or working on a design for a client who is, say, a healer or energy worker, then I’ll use an ink made from indigo to create that work. In the end, it means that the ink I’m dipping my pen into was designed to energetically attract the objective of that business.

Tony G Yoga Elemental Cards
Elemental Cards for Yoga Instructor, Tony G

AWMYL’s brand identity products include custom fabric and wallpaper design, signage, print materials (business cards, letterhead, posters) and anything else that the client requests. She’s even designed a set of divination cards for an international yoga instructor. “I work with graphic design, and that’s mostly what people see me doing right now, but behind the scenes I’m working with textiles, metal, and interior design. I have an upcoming contract with a new school, Dev Mason, which is a totally cool web development school. I’ll be creating not only their brand identity, but also working on custom elements for the interiors of their five campuses, and designing the entire space. It’s my first time acting as Art Director at this scale and I’m really thrilled about it!”

Love the One Youre With Postcards

Hercia also follows her own muse to create original projects just for the joy of it – her Love The One You’re With posters and postcards being an example. Hercia’s attraction to creating letterforms and fonts began in early childhood, while playing with Letraset transfer-sheet lettering, and 1970s-era design books. “I creatively re-drew the letters I saw in different variations,” she remembers. “When all you have to work with are letters and images, type is a very important component of graphic design. Creating custom letters, or altering letters to suit the application, is an integral technique in creating a feel and look. It’s a primary part of what I have to work with as a designer.”

Love The One You’re With is an original typeface that I designed using ancient calligraphic tools and techniques, modeled after a traditional, hand-tooled font,” Hercia explains. While adhering to a general set of rules, each letter of the series contains a characteristic that is unique. Love The One Your With is an exploration in mark making – with a calligraphic foundation, it combines decorative elements in both practical and non-practical application, based on a set of rules, depending on the geometry and construction of individual letters. The letterforms also explore the juxtaposition between extreme thick and thin strokes within the construct of each particular letter, as well as in relation to neighboring units.

The result is a typeface whose ornamentation isn’t necessarily obvious, but which alludes to mythological symbolism and alchemy, and maintains unexpected organic elements with some intrigue and surprise – encouraging the viewer to take time to observe each letter on its own as it is expressly unique from each of the others, in addition to seeing the written text as a whole. Curator and author Lori Zimmer recently commented that her impression of Hercia’s typeface work is that “it evokes a vintage tarot feel” – so the intention definitely translates to the end product.

Created with calligraphy pens and India ink on a Didot typeface foundation, the Love The One You’re With posters are printed digitally, while the postcards are printed using a Risograph printer, yielding very similar results to that of screen-printing. “I’m hoping to get those letters into a format that can be purchased and used by anyone,” says Hercia. “I’ve used it on a few client projects, and while it’s a highly decorative typeface, it certainly works well on particular applications.”

Design is a multifaceted discipline, and Hercia is extremely hands-on. “I’ve had extensive experience with all types of design, including textiles, screen printing, weaving, embroidery, ceramics, wood working, knitting/crochet, calligraphy, marbling, macrame, woven beadwork, photography, etc. I grasp new skills easily, so if I can visualize something for a particular client, I can physically make it. For example, in the outdoor portion of my studio, I create my own gritty textures that get scanned and used digitally in graphic projects using plants and dirt placed on photosensitive papers and films.”

Her creative input doesn’t stop once the design is completed. Hercia goes as far as making custom calligraphy pens from various found materials, used along with her homemade inks and pigments, to channel the spirit of the project. She’ll create a texture that makes a surface look antique, rather than downloading a pattern online that could be accessed and used anybody. “These might be elements that people will miss visually,” she says, “but I know it’s there.” Ultimately, AMWYL’s approach creates work that stands out in a sea of computer-designed graphics.

With interests in so many aspects of design, Hercia is building a design empire. AWMYL has an expanding clientele in the wellness industry including yoga teachers and tarot readers, and she is currently creating the identity for Mindful Mamas (mindfulmamas.com), an online source for everything from yoga and meditation to education and community support; all content relating to healthy, happy mothers.

Robin Hercia’s intuitive and informed, personalized art direction makes AWYML a go-to resource for a company’s brand identity and graphic design requirements. “Often, graphic design is created with the Helvetica font and lots of white space,” she concludes. “I wanted to make decorative objects, but with a completely different feel. I’ve been drawing letters since I was 5 or 6 and I’ve accumulated eight years of design education. My professional experience includes commercial textile design, operating my own screen printing studio, designing a line of knitwear, and working in fashion for Betsey Johnson. After 36 years of creative observation and involvement, I know that I look at things in a very different way than most people.”

Like AWMYL on FaceBook at This Link. Visit the website at AWMYL Dot Com.

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Modern Art Monday: Robert Bechtle, ’61 Pontiac

'61 Pontiac
Photo By Gail

With their Photorealism, Robert Bechtle’s works capture the essence of modern, postwar American culture. The manicured lawns bathed in sunlight, the well-kept houses, the kids, the cars…all of suburbia’s manifestations are explored and exploited in his works. He elevates the mundane and commonplace to something more, an anonymous yet intimate view of ourselves. It is important to remember that his works are not photographs. They are masterfully painted pieces that are touched by the artist’s ideas, vision, hand, and point of view. A photograph captures what is there before us. Bechtle takes that moment and paints it as he sees it, not merely as the camera saw it. Like the Impressionists, he shows a fleeting glimpse of daily life, touched by transient light. Painting from photographs allows Bechtle to fully examine and capture that single moment in all its infinite detail. He then interprets the moment by selecting the details that he will paint. The overall flatness of many of his pieces creates a feeling of loneliness and emptiness amidst the picture-perfect settings.

In Bechtle’s oil painting ’61 Pontiac (1968-69) the family at the center of the image is the artist’s own. Standing beside his wife, with their two small children, they are the picture of familial complacency. They fully inhabit their own world, which is visible from where they stand. The house, the yard, the station wagon – this is their domain. Their pose amidst this seems almost uncomfortable, as if they want to move but are plagued with inertia. The field of view is devoid of anything other than the family and its possessions. The painting has a flatness accentuated by the fact that all fields of the painting are in focus, unlike with a photograph where depth of field creates some areas that are more crisp than others. It is as if there is no delineation or value given to any subject in the painting—the lawn is as much a star of this work as is the car or the blonde children.

Robert Bechtle plays on American desires and dreams, poking dead-pan fun at the ultimate banality and emptiness of achieving those dreams. The stark reality of his work is that it says as much about Americans’ feelings of alienation as it does about the ongoing quest for the American Dream.

Photographed in the Whitney Museum in NYC.

Video Clip of The Week: Big Eyes, “Stake My Claim”



“Big Eyes” is the name of one of my favorite Cheap Trick songs, and it’s probably no accident that the Brooklyn based rock quartet also known by that name harnesses the same power pop sensibility accompanied by a hard rock edge — which is a proven formula for nearly-flawless music. Active since 2009, through various line-up shifts, Big Eyes is the project of Kaitlyn (Kait) Eldridge, a singer/songwriter/guitarist who fronts her band with the same self-possession that Joan Jett fronts The Blackhearts. In other words, she’s badass.

Aurally, “Stake My Claim” is instantly contagious, with its razor-sharp lead guitar and circular rhythm that move the body instinctively. It feels fresh and modern while drawing on the power of classic rock. Lyrically, Eldridge explores a heavy groove with the lyrics “‘Cause nothing stays the same / stake my claim,” and a theme centered around dissatisfaction and a need for change. Visually, the kick ass performance shots mixed with urban street scenes makes this song an ideal summer anthem!

Mostly, Big Eyes‘ energetic and engaging sound reminds me very fondly of Damone, a long-defunct but utterly fantastic rock band from the Boston area (also female fronted) that embraced a fierce power pop edge. Big Eyes includes Paul Ridenour on guitar and backup vocals, Malcolm Donaldson on bass, and Griffin Harrison on drums. “Stake My Claim” is taken from the upcoming album of the same title, due to be released on August 19th, 2016 via Don Giovanni Records. Catch Big Eyes on tour this August (see dates below). Enjoy!

Big Eyes on Tour This Summer:
8/16 – Brooklyn NY @ Alphaville
8/17 – Pittsburgh PA @ Howlers
8/18 – Chicago IL @ Empty Bottle
8/19 – Milwaukee WI @ Company Brewing
8/20 – Madison WI @ Mickey’s Tavern
8/21 – Fargo ND @ The Aquarium
8/22 – Minneapolis MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
8/23 – Iowa City IA @ The Mill
8/24 – Ft. Wayne IN @ Brass Rail
8/25 – Cleveland OH @ Now That’s Class
8/26 – Cincinatti OH @ Northside Yacht Club
8/27 – Columbus OH @ Rumba
8/28 – Buffalo NY @ Mohawk Place
8/29 – Boston MA @ Great Scott
8/30 – Kingston NY @ BSP
9/18 – Asbury Park NJ @ New Alternative Music Festival (Convention Hall)

Big Eyes Kaitlyn

Let’s Go: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at MOMA!

MOMA Sculpture Garden
All Photos By Gail

Summer doesn’t last forever, especially in NYC, so why not plan to enjoy the nice weather while we have it by spending as much time outside in beautiful places as possible? Just do it!

Moma Sculpture Garden Fountain

Maybe you are already a huge fan of Art, but weren’t aware that the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) has a gorgeous, landscaped sculpture garden that provides a relaxing oasis in the center of Manhattan. It’s only open when the weather is nice, so you need to go now.

Skyscraper Vertical View
This is Your Vertical View While Seated Near the Fountain Pictured Directly Above

The Sculpture Garden is named for Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, an American socialite and philanthropist who was the wife of financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. Mrs. Rockefeller was known for being the driving force behind MOMA’s creation. It is nice that they named the sculpture garden for her.

IMG_2274
The Garden Has a Few Bubbling Fountains Like This One

There is lots of seating and shady areas, and they even have a bar where you can buy a coffee or a drink. Here is some of the art that you can see in the garden right now.

Alexander Calder Sandys Butterfly

This sculpture by Alexander Calder is called Sandy’s Butterfly, and it has a mobile feature at the top. Calder, who went by the nickname Sandy, was most famous for his mobiles.

Alexander Calder Sandys Butterfly

Anthony Caro Midday

This one is called Midday and is by British sculptor Anthony Caro, who passed away in 2013.

Anthony Caro Midday

As you can imagine, children are very attracted to these brightly colored objects, although climbing on the art is not allowed — both for the safety of the children and the preservation of the art.

Ellsworth Kelly Green Blue
Green Blue

Ellsworth Kelly’s work is associated with hard-edge painting, Color Field painting, and Minimalism, and he was one of the most famous American artists of all time when he passed away on December 27, 2015 at the age of 92. I love his work.

Signage

 

Pink Thing of The Day: Couture Skirt and Top By Giambattista Valli

Couture Skirt and Top By Giambattista Valli
All Photos By Gail

Giambattista Valli (Italian, b. 1966) embodies contemporary couture. His collections blend fantasy with simple, clean lines in garments that are inherently wearable and intensely romantic. Each piece is meticulously crafted, with decadent fabrics and impeccable tailoring. Voluminous, indulgent and chromatically rich, his gowns, such as the feathery tulle ball-gown skirt with piped pajama top (2014) are both extravagant and modern.

Couture Skirt and Top By Giambattista Valli
Installation View

Couture Skirt Fabric Detail
Couture Skirt Fabric Detail

Photographed as part of the Beauty: Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial Exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in Upper Manhattan