art

Happy Friday

sydney harbor duck

Isn’t this image perfect for a Friday? I stumbled across it a few days ago and couldn’t stop smiling at it. This giant rubber duck is actually an inflatable sculpture by DutchВ artist Florentijn Hofman. It’s five stories tall andВ will be chillin’ in Sydney’s Darling Harbour through January 23.

I think the duck’s adorable—and I love how this piece is so simple, yet has such universal appeal. Apparently, that’s what Hofman was going for when he created it. As he explained:

We are living on a planet, we are one family, and the global waters are our bathtub, so it joins people…Its purpose is to do no more than amaze.

And I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for the weekend! I have very little on my agenda and am pretty happy about that—being the new kid at work is super-exciting but also a tad tiring!

What are your plans?

(Image via Metro UK)

A Great Quote to Describe Traveling (and Life, in General)

Back in April, I posted about Obvious State, an Etsy shop, run by writer/illustrator Evan Robertson,В that sells gorgeous illustrations of classic literature quotations. It’s been a while since I’d visited the site, but the other day, My Modern Met ran a post showcasing several prints. This one stuck in my mind:

Original Illustration, Charles Dickens quotation

I thought that was such a great way to describe travel. I’ve definitely found that no matter how bad a situation I’ve been in, I’ve never looked back on a trip—or a place—and decided that it was just worthless. In fact, overall, I have nothing but positive memories about pretty much everywhere I’ve been. And so many of my trips were far from perfect: I’ve gotten seasick (or just sick, in general) in more places than I can count, feared for my safety on several occasions (like the time I thought we were being kidnapped in Costa Rica…or when we visited Nicaragua’s Corn Islands during a spate of violent attacks on tourists), nearly froze to death on a few occasions (in the Bolivian desert…and in freakishly cold weather in Hawaii!). And so on.

But it’s those stressful/annoying/uncomfortable situations that make the best stories once you’re back home. They’re often the ones that define a place for you. They’re also usually the ones where you can look back and laugh at how ridiculous you were—and how you’re so much smarter now. 😉 (And yes, I know, I’m lucky that nothing really bad has ever happened to me while traveling.)

Robertson, himself, was thinking of his own travels when he designed the print. Here’s how he describes it:

A traveler fades to black, leaving behind winding paths of cobblestones in the street. Inspired by one of my favorite places to visit and to leave and to revisit in Paris.

And, on a deeper level (cue the dramatic music), that Dickens quote applies to life, in general, as well. I’ve found that once you truly let something go and leave it behind, then you can start to forgive and move on. And that’s definitely something to remember!

(The quotation, by the way, is from the Dickens novel Little Dorrit. I hadn’t heard of it before!)

(Image via Obvious State)

Shadow Monsters

shadow monsters

I hadn’t been to MOMAВ in years, but on Saturday, I spent an afternoon making up for lost time. While exploring the museum from top to bottom, I came across lots of cool or iconic works—including an original version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”. But one that I found especially awesome was an interactive installation in the second floor atrium.

The concept behind Philip Worthington’s “Shadow Monsters” is delightfully simple: Bring shadow puppets to life. Museum-goers stand in front of a light box that projects their shadows onto two walls. While they move around, crazy hair-dos appear on their heads, hands become roaring dinosaurs and birds chirp and land on outstretched arms. You can’t help but grin when you see your shadow take on a life of its own!

shadow monsters

shadow monsters

The photos definitely don’t do it justice, but if you happen to be at the museum in the next few weeks, check it out. The installation runs through December 31.

(Top image via MOMA)

Beijing NYC

beijing nyc

I recently stumbled across a blog post whose intriguing photos caught my eye. They were the work of John Clang, a Chinese artist from Singapore who splits his time between there and NYC. In his project “Beijing NYC,”В Clang took photos of ordinary Beijing citizens, printed and cut them out, then taped the tiny figures onto different locations around NYC. The juxtapositions are striking.

According to Clang:

For me, the actual Chinese citizens being used [in the photographs] demonstrate a dream yet to be fulfilled.

As the granddaughter of Chinese immigrants who came to NYC many years ago, I think that’s what drew me to these photos and made them feel so poignant. Plus, there’s something both wistful and whimsical about them that really depict feeling like a stranger in a new place.

beijing nyc

beijing nyc

beijing nyc

(Photos by John Clang via Open City)

A Special Discount on Illustrated Music Cards

Back in August, I posted about Foreign Spell, an Etsy card shop that I’m a big fan of. It’s run by San Francisco-based artist Niki Baker, who creates gorgeous rubber stamps to illustrate song lyrics—like this one, of Phil Phillip’s “Sea of Love.”

Now, in a very nice offer to my blog readers,В Foreign SpellВ is offering 10% off purchases with the codeВ GC0612!

If you’re the type who plans ahead, check out their holiday options—I especially love the designs for “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Mele Kalikimaka.” (The latter has a special place in my heart: Back in elementary school, my class performedВ the song in the annual Christmas pageant, with girls in leis and hula skirts and guys dressed up as palm trees. Gotta love Catholic school traditions!)

baby it's cold outside

mele kalikimaka

(Image via Foreign Spell’s Etsy shop; and thank you, Niki, for the offer!)

I’ll Be Seeing You

This afternoon, I came across the coolest cards:В San Francisco print maker Niki Baker illustrates song lyrics, carves them onto rubber stamps and emblazons them onto paper.

I love the cards depicting Cat PowerPhil Phillip*’s “Sea of Love”В and The Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror.”В (It doesn’t hurt that I’m big fans of both of those songs!)

But my favorite design is of Billie Holiday’s “I’ll Be Seeing You.” The outside of the card says, “I’ll be looking at the moon” and the inside says, “but I’ll be seeing you.” SoВ forlornВ and sweet!

i'll be looking at the moon

P.S.

(Image via Foreign Spell’s Etsy shop; found via Scoutmob)

Out My Window

I feel like New Yorkers can’t help but be voyeurs.

No matter where you are in the city, you always have the opportunity to peek into other peoples’ lives. At work, I can wave to office workers in other buildings and look longingly uponВ outdoor roofdeck terraces. While walking, I can peep enviously into stately brownstones or check out the decor in glassy, ultra-modern apartments. A few times at ballet, I’ve been momentarily distracted (or almost knocked off balance) from catching a glimpse of someone’s TV in an apartment across the way.

And I wonder if my neighbors across the way know my habits–like coming home late most nights, eating dinner on my living room floor, then spending an hour or so on my laptop. (Although close proximity can be a good thing. I once locked myself in my bathroom and had to scream out my window until a very nice woman in another building heard, spoke to me from her window and got my super to rescue me.)

So I love the concept of the gorgeous book,В “Out My Window.”В PhotographerВ Gail Albert Halaban shot New Yorkers through various windows around the city. It’s a beautiful collection of what we New Yorkers do every day. As Halaban so nicely describes it on her blog:

I have found that many New Yorkers spend much of their window gazing time looking into their neighbor’s apartments. Through this voyeurism, form a sense of community. We are never alone here in New York.

out my window

out my window

out my window

out my window

Are you also guilty of peering into your neighbors’ windows?

(Photos via Out My Window)