Monday, December 29, 2008

Abelardo Morell

I first came across Abelardo Morell's work about six years ago at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego's Balboa Park. I immediately fell in love with his camera obscura work. It's hard not to. Now that I have had the pleasure of visiting the Camara Oscura in Habana's Plaza Vieja, I wonder if he was inspired by it as a child. Though originally from Cuba, Morell now resides in Boston, where he is a Professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

In a camera obscura, light passes through a hole and projects an image from the outside onto a surface within the "dark chamber". The image, however, is upside-down. The use of a mirror can turn the image right-side up but what's the fun in that? That's what cameras are for. The first two images above are of the Paris Pantheon and Manhattan. The two below are seasonal images of Central Park in New York.

Though well known for his images of upside-down urban scapes in lonely rooms, Morell also has a vast portfolio of more traditional photography. Perhaps my favorite theme of his is books. He plays extensively with texture, scale and of course, shadows to create rather arresting images.
Morell has even created an illustrated version of Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. I can't conceive of more apt images to depict a trip down the rabbit hole.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Paper art

As a letterpress artist, paper constitutes a rather important part of my livelihood. While I value its weight and texture, it is still merely a canvas for my creations. I find it rather interesting that the artists below have used the paper itself as their media, with rather awe-inspiring results.

British artist Richard Sweeney revels in the hands-on manipulation of everyday materials. Handling them, he can find new ways of interpreting the media while taking advantage of their intrinsic properties. While his explorations range widely in scale, they are all beautifully architectural.

Peter Callesen of Denmark is best known for creating paper art out of single A4 sheets, though he sometimes uses larger media. Callesen believes that the frailty of the paper underlines the tragic nature of the pieces, as does the fact that the sculptures are able to inhabit the space around them but without the possibility of escape from the sheet they have been cut.

Russian graphic designer Yulia Brodskaya constantly pushes herself to try new styles and media. Her passion however, remains constant, typography.

British artist, Su Blackwell creates eerily beautiful and delicate scenes out of book pages. Like Peter Callesen above, she explores the idea of her characters and scenes being bound to the books they have been cut out of. She instills a sense of urgency and fragility to the pieces, which is underlined by the destructive process by which the scenes are created.

Pratt alum, Kako Ueda has been "cutting paper" for the past five years. Her painstakingly elaborate pieces are simply breathtaking. She mainly deals with organic imagery: insects, animals and human bodies. Simultaneously morbid and beautiful, these large installations are an extrapolation from the kimono stencils of her native Japan.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cake toppers

I chose to forego a cake topper for my own wedding mainly, because I didn't think I would be able to find anything cool. Consider me wrong. These toppers are freaking awesome for your wedding, you birthday or your "I'm awesome cupcakes!"

Ann Wood of Brooklyn creates these gorgeous bird cake toppers out of vintage dresses. All birds are handmade and hence, unique. Most importantly, she names them! Above, you can see "the Blue Roses" and "Greta & Marshal".

Rain's End makes some of the cutest pottery and felted stuff I have ever seen. She has a virtual parade of birds, eggs, penguins and chickens that just melts your heart.

Fancy Flours offers the most amazing collection of vintage toppers all the way back to the '20s.

Tamra Kohl of Clay Lindo creates awesome polymer clay pieces celebrating "El Dia de los Muertos". She also does jewelry and all sorts of animals and daily life vignettes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

2009 letterpress calendars

You would think that being a letterpress artist, I would have no problem sending out gorgeous holiday cards on time or printing my own beautiful calendar for the coming year. No such luck. Those will have to remain as New Year's resolutions for now. In the meantime, I can at least recommend other shops' calendar offerings. Even if you're irrevocably attached to your iphone's calendar, who's to say you can't grace your wall with one of these beauties.

Chicago based Snow & Graham has been turning out amazing letterpress work since 1998. Now a household name, their stationery sets and wrapping papers can be found far and wide at mom and pop shops and national chains such as Anthropologie. You can find their wall calendar here.

INK + WIT's Tara Hogan is known for her adorable yet modern graphics seen on everything from invitations to notecards and linen towels. Make sure to check out her art prints while shopping for her calendar on the website.

Liz Coulson of New York is the design talent behind Linda & Harriett. She has produced a gorgeous specimen in her first foray into calendar design. She also offers notecards, notepads, gift tags and wedding invitations.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Diana Sudyka

I met Chicago artist Diana Sudyka several years ago at Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival. At the time, she was still sharing a booth with husband and talented artist, Jay Ryan, as part of The Bird Machine Studio. She has since graduated to her own booth, website and blog, and it's easy to see why.

Diana has been producing beautiful work for over twelve years. She's a full time illustrator creating fine art, book covers, album artwork and rock show posters. Most of her work is done as screen prints, watercolor and etchings.

Though all of her work is simply beautiful, her most interesting is perhaps the Tiny Aviary blog. As if her illustrations weren't enough to keep her creative appetite in check, Diana volunteers for the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. She does taxidermy on birds "that for the most part, have met their ends colliding with downtown buildings". She then posts watercolors of the species she has worked on in her blog. You can purchase Diana's work through her website or her Etsy shop.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I came across Ghostpatrol while perusing the Tiny Showcase print gallery. I was mesmerized by the breadth of his work, not just in his use of different media, but in the way his pieces manage to be eerily beautiful, delicate, dark and adorable all at once.

Wolvien Shadow

A self-taught illustrator, Ghostpatrol's work ranges from ink drawings to graffiti, commissioned murals and plush dolls of the cast of characters that so often appear throughout his drawings. He has a rather extensive photostream of his work on Flickr.

Bear in Socks and Gloves

Originally from Hobart, Australia, Ghospatrol resides and works in Melbourne. His work has been shown all over his home country and in cities throughout the world, including, Vienna, LA, Berlin, Manchester, Prague and Tokyo. Metro5 Gallery of Melbourne recently released Book Format, featuring recent and previously unseen works by Ghostpatrol and his frequent collaborator, Miso.

Wind Spirit pencil set

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bradley Hanson Photography

I did all of my wedding planning online. I would sit down with my little library of Seattle Brides and Martha Stewart magazines and visit every single link to any vendor that looked even remotely interesting. I would then systematically and unmercifully narrow down the choices down to two or three per market, who I would then contact. When looking for photographers, only one survived my cut-throat attack: Bradley Hanson.

Luckily, he turned out to be as charming in person as he did online. We first met with Bradley at Torrefazione in Pioneer Square, now Cafe Umbria. He immediately brought out albums from previous weddings and proceeded to essentially turn into an overly excited child. His eyes turned into saucers as he flipped through the photos and explained why he had taken each one. His elation was contagious and extremely refreshing. With just one wordless look, we agreed he was the one. We told him we were hoping for an August wedding since it was to take place outdoors. Though a full year in advance, he mentioned only having one Saturday open, the 14th. Our date was set.

Bradley showed up bright and early on our wedding day and took pictures of anything and everything. You wouldn't have known it though, for he was amazingly inconspicuous. He was also pretty wily when it came to getting candid photos. At one point, he told us that he needed to get some more film from his car, before disappearing. As soon as we tried to steal a kiss, he jumped out of a tree to catch us in the act. Perhaps the most compelling evidence of his professional nature is the fact that he turned down a dance with Emily, one of the very attractive single ladies at our wedding. Since 2004, three of my friends and colleagues have had Bradley photograph their weddings. I will never get tired of recommending him. Here's a link to some of our favorite wedding photos by Bradley.

As if it weren't enough, Bradley has been featured numerous times on Seattle Bride and other publications, such as The Stranger and Rolling Stone, for his rock and editorial imagery.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Akiko Taniguchi

Occurrence on the Surface, 2006

Back in 2004, when Matt and I both used to work in Pioneer Square in Seattle, we made it a habit to explore the numerous art galleries in the area after a quick lunch. Our favorite was Davidson Galleries. A few months before our August wedding, we came across the work of print artist Akiko Taniguchi while on one of said walks. We promptly fell in love with it and promised to "think about it", then proceeded to forget about it, or at least I did. When two weeks before the wedding Matt boasted of having the perfect present for me, I wracked my brains for what he could have found that would have him feeling so confident. With a sneaking suspicion, I walked to Davidson at lunchtime. I saw Cara (now the Director of Contemporary Prints at the gallery) marched over and started: "I don't know if you remember me but...". The guilty expression on her face said it all. I just told her I was going to pick out another print and that she need not betray my fiance's confidence. I just wanted her to to steer me in another direction if I happened to select the same one as him. She nodded reluctantly with her eyes locked on the floor. I didn't mind knowing, but found it rather funny instead. It wasn't her fault I know my husband so well.

This is the piece he got for me. It's an etching and collagraph called Mother Earth from an edition of 20. It reminded me of mitosis when I first saw it.

The piece I gifted Matt is Universe (or the Orange as we normally call it). It uses the same media and is also from an edition of 20.

Akiko uses quite a few different printing techniques, sometimes up to four on the same print. Aside from collagraph and etching, she also uses mezzotint, chine colle, dry point, and lithography, among others. Her editions are fairly small, from 10 to 30 prints. Her print sizes also range from about 4" x 4" to 24" x 36". Akiko doesn't seem to have a website but her work can be seen on quite a few online galleries, Davidson being one of the best. They have quite a selection of her work, ranging in price from $150 to $1000. Other galleries carrying her work are the LeVall Art Gallery in Novosibirsk, Russia, the Herringer Kiss Gallery in Calgary, and the Scott Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta where she currently resides.

Satellite, 2000

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Kelly Tunstall

Back in 2002, my husband (boyfriend back then) and I took a little weekend trip to Portland, Oregon. Of course, no Portland visit is complete without a jaunt to Powell's City of Books. While browsing this bibliophile's paradise, we fell in love with an art piece at the Basil Hallward Art Gallery, located in the Pearl Room of the bookstore. It ended up being the first piece of art we ever purchased. Her name is Nipellina and she was painted by San Francisco artist, Kelly Tunstall. Perhaps our favorite aspect of the entire piece is the signature, which the artist saw fit to follow with the line, Age 23.

Ever since then, I have made it a point to visit Kelly's website on a somewhat regular basis to see what she's up to. Now Age 28, Kelly is still painting her ladies and recording her age with each one. I guess the signature makes sense when you learn that she uses her pieces as a sort of diary.

You can also see her work at the Hotel des Arts in San Franciso which features a number of "painted rooms" designed by San Francisco artists. Do keep in mind that reservations for these rooms have to be made over the phone, rather than online.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Arts and Architecture Vintage Magazine Covers

So I was sitting at the dentist's office yesterday, where I picked up the December issue of Vanity Fair magazine. I was flipping through it when a really cool image (not Kate Winslet's fannie) caught my eye. There on the "Hot Type" page were a couple of, clearly vintage, Arts and Architecture magazine covers. They were just beautiful, in their obviously mid-century, yet oh- so-relevant grandeur, or shall I say, simplicity.

I didn't even have time to read the column but I did manage to write "arts and architecture vintage covers" down before getting my teeth drilled on for half an hour. I remembered the incident as I was ruminating on what to post today and decided to Google the magazine. As it turns out, Arts and Architecture magazine was published from 1945 to 1967. It mainly dealt with residential design but also considered culture, politics, architecture, art and music.

It turns out that the reason why is was covered on "Hot Type" is the Taschen reprint that spans 10 years of the magazine, 1945-1954. If you don't happen to have the $700 to purchase 10 years' worth of Arts and Architecture, you can still purchase reprints of the covers or view pdfs of some of the articles on the magazine's website.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Seattle * Tehran Poster Show

Back in April, my husband Matt and I were in Habana for the Seattle*Havana Poster Show. (Havana is spelled with a "b" in Spanish). That show, as well as the Seattle*Tehran Show are the brainchild of local graphic designer Daniel Smith. He has taken it upon himself to set up and curate gallery shows of screenprinted posters designed by local artists as compared to those of designers from "controversial" cities such as Havana and Tehran. I believe he's still in the search for the third tine of his triumvirate, though everyone keeps mentioning Pyongyang.

While we had a scare getting out of Cuba, or I should say that I had a scare getting out of Cuba because my Spanish is perfect, we had an amazing time. We met with several Havana artists, including Eduardo Marin and Pepe Menendez and visited the Rene Portocarrero printshop.

The Seattle*Tehran Show is currently under way in Seattle at Verite Coffee. Visit Verite in Ballard, Madrona and West Seattle to view the Seattle*Tehran show before it heads off to Tehran.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The new Inkfancy Website is finally up!

Inkfancy's new website made its debut today and I couldn't be happier. While the photography and most of the design credit belongs to my own blood, sweat and tears, my web programmer/art director/loving husband deserves my undying devotion for his work on it. (I'll make sure to repay him some other way since he already had my undying devotion simply for being awesome.)

Here's a screenshot to whet your appetite. Don't stop there though, make sure to visit.

Not only does the website showcase a lot of newer work but it also offers improved navigability and graphics. I have also restructured pricing to accommodate more budget-conscious couples.

In case you managed to somehow navigate the minefield above without visiting the site, here's another gratuitous link. Visit . Seriously, it rocks.