Italian Artist Gehard Demetz, my modern day Geppetto.

Formally trained in religious sculpture, Italian artist Gehard Demetz has progressed to become one of the most talented artists of our century. He wields his art technique and experience to create works, many with children as subject, that explore the dichotomies and marriages of contradiction… between that which is evocative and whimsical – provocative and contemporary. His sculptures often carry an energy verging on the socio-political.

He relies on mediums like wood and bronze and certainly knows how to make dry wood come alive.

These are my favorite works of Demetz throughout his career as a sculptor:

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Introjection. 2017, Wood

 

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Life Without Christmas. 2017, Wood

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Dirt on my Shoulders. 2016, Wood

 

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Restoring My Blisses. 2015, Wood.

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My Parents’ Stories Sound Different. 2015, Wood.

 

Personally, I would say his best works were made in 2013.

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Stones In My Pocket. 2013, Wood.

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Mom’s hands and daddy’s nose. 2013, wood.

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Complement these visuals with a contemplative rendition of Bach’s Christus, Der Uns Selig Macht, BWV 245, arranged by one of my favorite composers and pianists, Chad Lawson.

Osamu Yokonami: Is it About the Journey or the Destination?

Osamu Yokonami is a Japanese artist and photographer based in Tokyo who devotes his lenses to the development of photographs contemplating homogeneity. His group portraitures are regarded for invoking notions about identity, the collective, naturality, and youth.

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Could be wrong, but pretty sure this is the photo that first pulled me to Yokanami.

I first became acquainted with Yokonami’s works at De Soto Gallery’s exhibition at the 2015 PULSE Art Fair in New York. His “Assembly” series was on display that day, and it most piqued my interest out of the swarms of art set out for many an art viewer’s purveyance. I ended up finding myself walking back to that booth section multiple times that Saturday afternoon, and since then, I’ve been  following Yokonami’s activities for nearly two years now (that’s what good art does to you peeps).

I find pleasure  in the idyllic qualities and the strange calm surrounding the odd  symmetries of his photographs- unsettling, a little disconcerting, and also very beautiful.

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I don’t really know what exactly I feel when I see his photographs, it doesn’t remove me and it doesn’t forcefully push me to a place where I’m aggressively thinking about an issue, a topic, or a stance.

Yokonami invites us to dwell on the journey for truth rather than the desination, I think. Or that’s what I feel.

The closest description I could put in regards to Yokonami’s effect on me is that his works put me in a deliberate state of an “in between” (As I see it, my mind occupies at this moment of seeing a super charged space with elements ie. high stimulation + calm + little sparkly little things firing everywhere in harmonious and  purposeful direction, but I can’t really determine the end of where they’re going (not sure there’s supposed to be one, or if that’s the even the point/goal)). I feel curiosity seeing his works and pondering on them is an experience beatific.

Scroll through his series of 100×2 photos of female children posed with fruits (apples and oranges) on their shoulders– and you’ll feel something too I bet.

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Personalities and energies of the children I found myself gravitating towards –felt increasingly in this descending order.

Bises,

Soo

Trying to Abstain from Social Media, 2016

This is my second week of trying to abstain from all social media, and I have been failing gloriously.

I can’t seem to take my hands away from clicking that app icon.

I have uninstalled apps only to reinstall them. I am finding reasons to go back to Facebook or Instagram, because my mind tells me I have to share this one insight or reach out to this one person, or share this one thing, the message or communication of which [I apparently believe] can only be served through the means of “x” Messenger chat device.

I’ve turned off notifications, giving myself what I thought an acceptable and reasonable amount of distance and constraint.

I am a victim of connectivity.

How have I, along with potentially many of my peers found ourselves to be this way?

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A month ago, I finished reading a book called Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, written by Cal Newport. It unpacks the professor’s studies on deep work and deep work’s place in our modern world of connectivity.

As Newport shares mind-opening insights in regards to facilitating deliberate practice and deep work, he questions whether social media and its perceived benefits are truly beneficial to one’s life and proceeds to ask us all to contemplate on whether it actually inhibits our ability to do significant and qualitative work.

In my support for his argument on social media not being beneficial, I am not claiming that one must do everything and justify it solely for its industriousness, its productivity level, or its potential for adding value to our society (That’s where the case for pleasure comes in, for pleasure’s sake.). However, his arguments were compelling enough to give me pause and think deeper about this waves arms around situation.

So, inspired as I was, I decided to embark on a personal project to apply the claims and suggestions I found to be relevant for my life.

For October, I set for myself the goal of abstaining from using all modes of social media for a month. I haven’t not tried this out before, but the cool thing this time in re-embarking on a [Social] Media diet was that Cal Newport’s proposal for  quitting social media suggests we mentally approach this trial period as a means for observation, rather than see it as a time in which we make the drastic decision to quit forever and live a Luddite life for the rest of our lives.

I’ve outlined for you some salient notes that I found key to embarking on this low-commitment period of self-exploration—it’s already yielded some valuable personal insights for me and hopefully you will find this helpful to you too:

Allez vous!

Cal Newport suggests the following guidelines for measuring the value of our connectivity:

“Set a 30 day goal for self-imposed network isolation. After those 30 days, “ask yourself the following two questions about each of the services you temporarily quit:

  1. Would the last thirty days have been notably better if I had been able to use this service?
  2. Did people care that I wasn’t using this service? (p. 205)”

“The Any-benefit Approach to Network Tool Selection: You’re justified in using a network tool if you can identify any possible benefit to its use, or anything you might possibly miss out on if you don’t use it.” How do you perceive the value of the tools in your life in relation to this?

After two weeks of following his suggestions, I came to certain, undeniable revelations about myself. I determined I have a very dependent relationship with certain media devices. I also apparently have more of a lack of self-control than I had previously thought (whether this characteristic is exacerbated from being a millennial or being genetically pre-disposed, I do not know). And most importantly, I’ve realized just how distracted I could be as opposed to seeing how focused or not distracted I was. This project was intriguing to me because although I’ve long developed a wariness towards the effects of technology and its byproducts, I was seeing things in a whole new light thanks to Newport’s tips & tweaks.

Ending notes: 

Sometimes, social media tools are very necessary to me, and I find Instagram in particular as a very enjoyable way to spend some portions of my day. But is the amount of time I dedicate to these platforms truly necessary, and ultimately even healthy for me et mon existence as a huuuman?

That is something for me to continue thinking about.

For more, hit up Cal Newport’s post on September 21 on quitting.

Chad Wys on the Value of Retrospection

Last week, I had the chance to go to the opening reception for a show representing a favorite contemporary artist of mine, Chad Wys.

Chad Wys is a young artist and graduate of Illinois State University, whose passion for art and art history is affirmed by his burgeoning client list, which ranges from Vice Magazine to Harvard Business Review and Penguin Press.

Wys deals with mixed media, dabbling with ready made art and re-appropriating thrift finds and historical artworks, and marries realism and impressionsim with abstraction in revealing his unique ethos.

He gives commentary where it’s due: Take this clever piece of his of a burka masked over a realist oil painting copy of a young lady:

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Beautiful and poignant, isn’t it?

Je joins aux présentes, à titre de rappel, un aide-mémoire présentant les engagements de Wys:

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“Untitled”, my favorite. It’s tiny! The size of a letter page– an example of art best viewed digitally, at least for one lady.

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Thrift Store Landscape w/ Large Bars, 2013. If you’d like to purchase a fashion product parallel to this, visit: Ghurka.

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Trending Recent works

If you have the chance, hit up his ongoing exhibition (showing until October 1, 2016) “Not the Sum of Its Parts, Just the Parts” at Joseph Gross Gallery in Chelsea.

Instagram is also a fantastic way to get caught up on the work of this young talent: https://www.instagram.com/chadwys/

Happy perusal!

Bises,

Soo

Jean Jullien, I dub thee my Houdini of Illustrations

I’m an avid supporter of the arts, and for illustrations, Jean Jullien is my favorite artist for them by far.

The French artist’s claim to fame would arguably be at least for most public records, his impromptu illustration of the Eiffel Tower peace symbol in response to the terror attacks in France in 2015; This symbol was subsequently appropriated and propagated by every major and minor media outlet.

Might I also add that I had the pleasure of meeting him in New York that same year at a JUXTAPOZ Newstand Booth in the middle of Times Square? My right hand got to shake with his right hand. It was wonderful, although I regret to say that said hand has since been washed.
Jean Jullien manages to seamlessly blend light humor with real, and sometimes hard life truths, bringing light into the doldrums of life — the happenstances and practical things we get used to seeing and experiencing. He is quickly becoming a veritable influencer, a modern-day wizard, who injects lots of hope and much needed truths into the world.

Here’s a recent work of his depicting the #realreal of city life, specially selected for my fellow New Yorkers:

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“I’ve always thought that the race to reach/build/own the tallest building in the city had something of a “male organ” contest. It’s all about erecting the furthest into the air. I can’t draw a male erection so instead I’ll draw a proud & symbolic NASAL ERECTION.”

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(Left to right) Window Pane #1: “This is a very king of the castle kind of view. The one you want to wake up with every morning. For some reason doing it naked seems appropriate. Sort of like ‘I’m so powerful that i don’t have to wear pants…’ But you’d probably have to on the off chance that you have a less ambitious/more old-fashioned/prude/underaged/not as physically gifted neighbor who’d want to report you for indecency.                                                           Window Pane #2: “But it’s also a very ‘Movie Villain” kind of view, a typical Lex Luthoresque kind of view (if such a term exists– if not it should). Whenever I stumble in a room with such a baller view, I automatically walk to the window and put my hands behind my back & mumble something mischievous like “this is my city and soon they will understand and pay for their price of disobedience…’ but my rise to power pretty much stop there…”        Window Pane #3: “More realistically I feel that this is a more appropriate picture of what I’d look like if I ever end up living in a room with a view like that…An old disgruntled curmudgeon, bittered by a laborious life of hard work to get to the top of the world to only realize that you’re too old and saggy to pull that performance described two windows to your left.”

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Bises,

Soo