This cool Koi Fish stencil art is one of the better-known images in the ouvre of California-based Street Artist/Activist Jeremy Novy. There was a larger Koi Fish piece in Freeman Alley a while back but it got obliterated by foot-traffic before I had the chance to see it, so it was a nice surprise to find this when I was walking home from Pearl River Mart this past November. See more of Novy’s art by following him on Instagram.
Photographed on Walker Street, Just East of Broadway, in Chinatown, NYC.
Designs inspired by nature form the largest group of more than 10,000 wallpapers in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. Often, a wallpaper theme would tie-in with the room’s use: designs of food were popular for dining rooms and water motifs dominated in bathrooms. The modern bathroom. with a designated space indoors, running water and flush toilets, had been developed by the late nineteenth century. Given the concerns for hygiene and running water, ceramic tiles were the preferred wall-covering because of their durability and sanitary nature. For those on a budget, early wallpapers imitated this look with varnished tile patterns.
Around 1910, bathrooms shifted away from this sterile, hygienic look to become a more pleasant, decorative room that was harmonious with the home’s decor. Some moisture-resistant coverings were introduced in the early 1900‘s, but general-use wallpapers at this time were printed with water-soluble pigments and thus were unsuitable for use in bathrooms.
By 1934, the development of washable wallpapers coincided with a new array of decorative papers that had no hint of their sanitary past; rather, scenic designs featuring more panoramic views, as seen here, became popular, appealing to decorators and homeowners who wanted to bring the outdoors inside.
Sea Beauties Scenic Wallpaper (1920 – 35, Ideal Wall Decoration) seen here in this three-panel set, contains a lively underwater view of fish, shells, coral and plant life in their natural habitat. Multiple sets could be used to wrap around the bathroom, creating an immersive environment.
This early water-resistant design is printed in oil colors, so it could withstand the moisture and occasional splash from the tub, giving the wallpaper both a practical and decorative purpose.
Photographed in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Upper Manhattan.
Even though I grew up in Southern California, there are a lot of tourist attractions I never had a chance to see when I lived there. These days, when I go back to visit my family and friends I try to check out some of the places that especially showcase what a naturally beautiful area California is (which of course I never appreciated until I moved to the concrete jungle of NYC).
On my most recent visit at Christmas, I had a fun time with my friend Sue at the Japanese Garden, located in Balboa Park in the city of Van Nuys. If you’re a fan of the fun Tattoo Artist reality competition series Best Ink, then you might recall the Japanese Garden from this season’s episode where the Best Ink contestants visited it to get inspiration and sketch during the “Design an Asian Tattoo” challenge.
While the Japanese Garden is an ideal place to spend some quiet time enjoying nature, it has a constructive purpose as well as being beautiful to look at. The Garden is actually built on the site of the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, which was designed to produce reclaimed water that will meet the requirements of the California Department of Health Services and the County Health Department. The filtration process takes a total of about 11.5 hours, producing reclaimed water can be made available for specific reuse, with any excess being discharged to the Los Angeles River.
These photos were all taken in December, just a few days before Christmas (during the spell of 75 degree, sunny days that Californians refer to as “Winter”), so you can imagine how much more lush and floral this place looks when things start to grow again in the spring.
In the uncropped version of the above photo, you can clearly see the reclamation plant in the background.
The Garden is also an ideal spot to practice your amateur nature photography skills!
This photo was taken from inside the on site Tea House.
The Japanese Garden is Located at 6100 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys, California, 91406. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM, and Sunday from 10:00AM until 4:00PM (the last gate entry each day is at 3:15PM). The Garden is closed to the public on Friday and Saturday, on all LA County Holidays and if it rains within 24 hours of opening time and during open hours. It is suggested that you call (818)756-8166 on the day you wish to visit to make sure the Garden is open. Admission to the Garden is only $3.00 per person, $2.00 for Seniors 62+ and Children under 10. Exact change is appreciated.
This Koi Fish Mural is painted across the walls inside the Visitors Center.