I am sitting in a very pretty coffee shop called the Yellow Tucan.
The cafe owner decorates the cafe with bright spots of yellow: oranges, tulips, architectural chairs, and truly brightens up the spirits of anyone stopping in.
It’s been 4 days since I’ve arrived in Paris.
Outside of my meetings for work I’ve committing to a practice of solitude as that’s what I have been looking for as I chose to take this trip– to recalibrate and deepen my focus.
After a sprint of work here and finishing this letter, I will go out to meet a friend, Pierre, to do what’s perhaps some much needed socializing. We will be going to the Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature. It will be my first time, and I am so very excited to go as I know the decorative art pieces there are splendid!
It hasn’t been difficult at all to find new friends here. There have been the hiccups of having to ward off men though. …on runs, during walks between meetings. But it’s nothing.
Work is going very well, although I’m shy to share with you the details of the project I have been working on just yet. It takes a lot of preparation, a lot of risk, and sharing sometimes feels scary because it feels like I am putting all my eggs in one basket, when I myself am not absolutely sure where this heading. But this I think is the scared me talking. 🙂
Things are moving very quickly forward though. It’s enough to excite me and frighten me simultaneously.
I hope I have the courage to continue on. And if not, I hope I have the courage to take up something new again. To persevere, and also to be brazen when acting for the good things– the worthy things.
Everyone has probably visited Miami once in their life, if not for Spring Break, or for the lovely beaches. If you’re tired of hanging out in the loud or sheltered parts of Miami, and want to venture out of South Beach and Collins Ave., here are some recommendations for you to explore the blossoming neighborhood culture of Wynwood.
Being the art lover that I am, I made it a mission to visit every mappable gallery in the design district; these are my recommendations for galleries that impressed me with their representation of artists and newness of objects that I would not see if I was in New York:
Art by God : A wonderful store and gallery that I can spend hours in. There was an amazing $4000 Queen of Congo piece I wanted to leave with on my last trip, but I contented myself with buying a small bust of an African boy made of serpentine stone and crafted by an artist from the Shona Tribe (for those interested, the Shona are a people from Zimbabwe, whose ancestors built great stone cities in Southern Africa in days long past!).
To note: It’s a pleasure to hit up art galleries in Miami because they have such a fair representation of Latin American artists, something I haven’t seen much of in concentration in Chelsea or the UES.
Ranivilu Gallery – functions as part gallery, part design store.
There was also Glottman, which was very popular amongst the people there, but it didn’t do much for me. The products it carries look like that of every other design store, but perhaps you might enjoy it.
Dr. Smood: Great interior and awesome cafe concept. Healthy, but with a twist. They offer cashew milk as an option for their drinks, and it’s a great addition to the coffees I’ve drank in New York. I think in New York the extent to our coffee explorations are Nitro brews, grass-fed butter bullets, propolis/bee additive brews, and Australian concept brews.
If anyone knows of a coffee shop in NYC that offers cashew-milk based coffee, I would love to know.
KYU: A modern asian style eatery. Good for drinks.
Coyo Taco: A very popular taco joint. If you are into tacos. Me– not so much.
Plant the Future Wynwood: Recommended by my lovely friend, Thier, and I loved it. I’m not sure if the staff knows what they were doing and I certainly did not think they had a service mindset, but the interior concept of this plant store is cute and fun to walk through. The store has everything from modern potted plants to plants potted in animation characters.
ANTIDOTE: A sustainability focused womenswear concept shop. Owned by a stylish woman who owned a boutique in France and decided to open another concept in Miami.
Up until college, I had grown up with an appreciation for fine art thanks to my parents, but it was never really something I had sought out on my own.
I knew enough “art” to maintain my sense of weird, self-righteous adolescent pride in being cultured and artsy. My interest was driven by nothing else really of nobler substance.
At 18, I moved to New York for college, and I enrolled in an art crit class on a whim during freshman year: the Art of Now course at New York University.
Fast forward to 2013, when I studied abroad in Shanghai. I decided to take on a heavier workload of art classes and immersed myself in contemporary and Asian art. I don’t remember much of the art I saw in detail, but this period of time would leave an indelible mark on me, and it was a catalyst for my passion.
I returned, enrolled in some more art classes.. a studio class in drawing.
During my time as a student, I had more time in the afternoons and between classes to do other things (doing nothing, meeting friends at cafes or for lunch in the West Village, chilling near fountains – damn life from 18-22 was so sweet) and I began exploring gallery spaces and art exhibitions everywhere! pretty intensely.
I started taking random things at home: scissors, a tableweight, a pepper from the kitchen, a rose and draw.
So newly inspired I was by the intricate beauty in all things that held form, line, and shape.
I was falling in love with art then.
I began to accumulate a larger inventory of the things I liked and disliked, formulate stronger opinions backed by a latticework of thoughts and experiences built thanks to the plenitude of art I’ve seen in the years which have since passed post- college.
For example, I prefer minimalism and modernism. I like French impressionism, and abstract expressionism.
Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele works are so luscious and rich. Contemporary movements like pop surrealism, otherwise knowns as “Lowbrow” art are so cool.
I don’t find a lot of photography art to be impressive, but I’m okay with that. Installations with various forms of media are sometimes a hit or miss for me. I like contemporary art, but I’m not particularly fond of Jeff Koons (active from 1977 – ) or Damien Hirst (1988 – , or Jean-Michel Basquiat (1976 – ). But I do love me my Toyin Ojih Odutola (2008 – , Osamu Yokonami, and Chad Wys (2011 – ) :
It’s 2018 and I love art more than ever.
I move and live every week, drinking in all the things I see, from the daily visuals of life to the more curated representations of art at institutions.
And the more I do that, the more I understand this:
Art is an instrument that instructs the way we see and live our lives. Our lives, in turn, are ripe, breeding grounds for art: new expressions and new manifestos… and who’s to say that the act of life and breathing aren’t art in themselves.
They are synonymous with one another– and I cannot see the difference.
My friend Christine and I stopped by the Paul Kasmin Gallery yesterday to check out this LOUD art show, which represents the works of Judith Bernstein, a New York based artist, mainly known for her phallic symbol infused works and her ardent devotion to feminism.
Money Shot is a visual manifesto of some very explicit political commentary (truly, a no holds barred, lacking zero subtly situation). Asides from the strong messaging, the artist used fun and creative mediums like fluorescent paint and light for this exhibit to the delight of myself and the many other art goers that walked into the gallery (Exhibit A: it was fun to see anyone with hair lighter than brown with heads literally lit, and seeing men walk in with their stiff collared shirts noticing in surprise that the collars peeking out of their sweaters were brilliantly highlighted in spacey purple light).
Do I see a Darth Vadar, a skull, and a generic demon here or is it just me?
The Trinity Schlong
While this artist clearly shows her bias for the strong left, I believe this show is worth going to and seeing– regardless of one’s political affiliation, and preferably with an open mind.
It is worth mentioning and acknowledging the creative and intellectual risks this artist has made to voice out some very controversial and sensitive opinions, and the gallery that chose to represent her with this recent installation.