Friday, November 26, 2010

Affordable Art: The Ultimate Luxury?

“Art is the ultimate luxury.” I don't know where I found this quote but for me this is an untruth. "Like many of you, true one-of-a-kind art is a little bit out of my reach right now but I do not want my walls to be bare". This is another quote I found by a blogger that I take issue with! Art is like food for me, I MUST have it around me, this is my truth. I can't imagine thinking of art as a luxury. Sure, I don't own a Picasso, Dali, Jim Dine painting or an Arbus or Lebovitz photo. I do own a lot of amazing pieces from painters, print-makers, sculptors and photographers whose names remain anonymous and a collection of rare and disappearing folk art from around the world. All of these were purchased on a budget, traded for or found in markets here and abroad. One-of-a-kind art is everywhere and affordable. Apartment Therapy recently published a piece written by Sarah Coffey on this very subject. The piece below is from The Loaded Trunk, which was included in a group of affordable art work. The additional work is also from The Loaded Trunk and is From $25.00 to $200.00.
Miniatures from Rajasthan are intricate, small sized, colorful handmade folk paintings, executed with detail with very delicate brushwork The themes range from events, court life scenes, hunting scenes and wild life. $58.00

During the late nineteenth century, India established a printing Industry devoted to producing images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. These kitschy posters are all over India, except these 3-D embellished gems were a special find! $75.00

These wonderful and amusing prints are all bicycles. I did not meet this artist, but was taken by these whimsical prints while in one of my favorite galleries in Hanoi. In a city that was once safe to use a bicycle you hardly see any now! $45.00
The hill tribes in the northern areas of Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Burma use these divination masks during Taoist ceremonies. These vintage ceremonial masks worn by the village Shaman are best-fit when framed with contemporary flare. $200.00
High quality reproduction of Vietnam War era Propaganda poster. Collectible, unique and affordable art from Hanoi; they are great pieces added to a unique office wall of art. $60.00

Vintage Mexican movie posters add cinematic scope to any entertainment area with movie melodrama.

Often framing is more expensive then the art. The artwork above was all framed by yours truly. Using reduced priced frames from local framers, glass cut to fit from an inexpensive glass vendor and mat board professionally cut or by yourself.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The NYC!

My daughter just moved to NYC! This is very exciting for her, but for me, well I have East Coast genes and have always loved Manhattan; its energy, eccentricities, and constant stimuli make it one of the greatest cities in the world.  I don't see myself living there full time, I have been spoiled by the ease of living in the Midwest for too long. Which is why I am delighted that she has moved there: this means lots of visits, buying trips, and discovering of new trends, designs, and styles. Last year in NYC we scoured the local markets and found some great African beads and attended a Tibetan Buddhist ceremony at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church. I incorporated the beads into multicultural necklaces with beads from Turkey, Thailand, and Mexico and the beautiful Tibetan thangkas that we saw reminded me of the Vietnamese Yao ceremonial masks on The Loaded Trunk.

An array of colorful African beads in the markets of NYC.

necklace on the loaded trunk using all African beads.

necklace combining African glass beads and a Thai Buddhist amulet.

A Tibetan thangka on display at St. John the Divine.

A beautiful Tibetan sculpture which reminds me of my Burmese golden Buddhas.

While my daughter felt like the guy on the left after her move, she giggled at the eccentricities of the city.
I'd love to hear from you if you'd like to share your favorite NYC moments or give some tips on the best markets, restaurants, and hidden gems of the city that pop up as quickly as they fade into the next trend.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Diwali: Festival of Lights

Diwali, or Deepavali is the most important festival of the year in India and Sri Lanka. A 5 day Hindu festival, The Festival of Lights celebrates the triumph of good over evil and the triumphant return of Lord Rama. Upon his return the people of Ayodhya (the capital of Rama) celebrated Lord Rama's return by illuminating the countryside with clay oil lamps. This tradition is still practiced today.

A traditional oil lamp.
A coconut lantern from the loaded trunk.

I was recently in India with my daughter on a rather crazy and intense 2 month jaunt through the northern region of this fascinating country. Unfortunately, our trip did not coincide with Diwali but we were fortunate enough to experience many holy rituals throughout the holy sites and cities that we visited. One that stays with me is our time spent in the city of Varanasi. Considered to be the holiest of Hindu cities in the world, the literal center of the earth in Hindu cosmology, Varanasi is filled with holy people, celebrations, and temples. 
The nightly ritual honoring the Mother Ganga. 

A local Varanasi boy lighting candles in remembrance of the deceased.
(photos taken by the loaded trunk)
 As I was sitting here writing this I opened my inbox to find this lovely Diwali greeting that I leave you with:

Dear All,
May the Divine Light of Diwali Spread into your Life Peace, Prosperity, Happiness and Good Health
Happy Diwali to you & and your family.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dia de los Muertos

As many of us are recovering from candy gluttony and costumed frenzies many Mexicans are preparing for the Day of the Dead. This beautiful holiday is celebrated throughout Mexico tomorrow, November 2, to honor those loved ones who have passed on. While many may think this is a macabre and strange holiday filled with sugar skulls, dancing skeletons, and hours passed at graveyards, the Day of the Dead is a compassionate, mindful celebration of those missed. Mexicans prepare for All Souls Day by preparing the favorite foods and drinks of those who have passed and spending the day with family and friends at the graveside of the departed. My daughter, the obsessive collector of dolls, has many Day of the Dead dolls that I have on display throughout my house. As I was admiring these beautifully crafted ceramic and papier mache skeletons I decided to blog about this often misunderstood holiday and to share some photos of these enigmatic figures.     

Papier mache dolls with some spooky fall gourds.
A fraction of my daughter's ceramic collection.
Some papier mache figures more on the spooky side.

A doll I spotted on my recent buying trip to MX at the Museum in Morelia.

 And, finally, if you wish to introduce some Day of the Dead into your home, I have a number of handmade jewelry boxes that I picked up recently in MX.

So tomorrow, if you happen to think of those who have passed, think of them fondly and perhaps cook their favorite meal for dinner.