July 28, 2011

Wall art

I am a huge fan of hanging, framed art but there's no way I'm going to afford a Matisse anytime soon. In the meantime, though, these witty prints from the well-curated Keep Calm Gallery will more than suffice. I love the innovative use of typography (Seb Lester incorporated stars into the body of his words [see right below], which is just super brilliant I think [I am easily impressed]) and use of color to pop simple designs.

Can a house smell like leather?

I've been slightly obsessed with wearing brown lately. I think it's because I only have a chocolatey brown cardigan in Singapore (the rest of my extensive Uniqlo cardigan collection is back in Berkeley because I failed to realise that the outside of Singapore is hot but the inside is sub-zero airconditioning. Yes I do get cold very easily. Yes this is primarily the reason why I chose to attend college on the west coast). But the smell of leather.... mhmmm can anything beat the yummy smell of a new leather bag?

Possibly these pictures of creative duo Artemis Russell and Nao Utsumi. They are both creative types, and so have separate sheds in which to engage in their respective artistic pursuits. I just find it really adorable how even though the colour scheme and the use of leather is similar, it is just so obvious who each shed belongs to. The weathered white wood and industrial fittings are just too perfect.


See more inspiring images at Decor8.

July 27, 2011

Mhmm, fashion: Balenciaga

One of the many nice things about the internets is that the exclusive world of fashion no longer seems entirely unreachable or unbridgeable. I was browsing the Balenciaga website (why? I don't know either.) and their Heritage section is a trove of historic fashion treasures. I just spent the morning browsing through their images and remembering some of the outfits from Balenciaga and Spain, the de Young exhibition that I attended during Spring Break. These old couture images are just so gorgeous. What a genius.


Drool over more images at the Balenciaga website.

July 26, 2011

Interesting people doing interesting things: Walter Wong

Walter is one of those people I wished I had hung out more when we were in school together. He's one of those effervescent, enthusiastic people who just make things happen- take for example last year's Proscenium, which Walter wrote, co-produced, and directed because he felt compelled to stage his original work. I met Walter for lunch last Friday and got him to answer some questions about his latest project, staging Neil Simon's California Suite with a loose collective of actors named Visual Monsters.

Tell me about the project
Visual Monsters was born when Mao Hui, Jane Chia, and I wanted to further our passion for theatre. We decided to stage California Suite as it was a fun, light-hearted comedic play. Who doesn't like comedies! We also intended to develop the theatrical abilities of the people working with us, thus most of our cast and production team members are adept multi-taskers! We think that the young, up-and-coming talents who are working with us will benefit from such an experience.

Why the name Visual Monsters?
We're called Visual Monsters because everyone of us is ugly.
[I agree, please see the above picture... ;)]
No, in all seriousness, we think that theatre is a highly visual art form. It also takes a monster of an effort to achieve a respectable quality level. Not to mention that Jane is also as scary as a monster when she gets angry, so the name can also be seen as a homage to her anger. Kidding.

Where do you see yourself &Visual Monsters in 5 years?
Visual Monsters is a company that we really intend to keep alive, even if we manage our own concurrent careers [and live on different continents- Walter will be starting his undergraduate career at the University of Chicago in the fall]. I hope that the core team of Visual Monsters stays together as the years pass and that we work hard to produce plays on an annual or bi-annual basis. This will allow us to continue our mission of developing the talents of pre-professional theatre enthusiasts.

What inspires you?
[Walter is not easily inspired] It really depends... can I say "nothing"? I guess the experiences that I go through everyday form the basis on which I build the work which I do. Being alive is inspiring.

Could you create a How-To manual for anyone wishing to produce a play in Singapore?



California Suite will be staged 28-30 July 2011, 8pm at the Arts House.
Learn more about Visual Monsters here; buy tickets for California Suite here.

Walter is the first to be profiled in (what will hopefully become) a series called Interesting People Doing Interesting Things. This unwiedly name nonetheless belies the many truly interesting things that people my age, on the cusp of adulthood at 21, are doing in Singapore and around the world. If you'd like to be profiled or know someone doing cool stuff, feel free to drop me an email at hello.towit@gmail.com!

July 25, 2011

Tuesday music

Had a much-needed break yesterday after working through the weekend. Some music to tide through the Tuesday blues:

1. Her Spiral Necklace by Bedroom Sanctuary
2. The Way I See by Gabriel Lynch
3. You Make Me Go by Seyra

Calming picture from Carlos Suarez (so gorgeous; I'm thinking of purchasing it for my apartment because I think it's more soothing than any Keep Calm and Carry On repetition) to go with a collection of acoustic music for Tuesday! Support local/ Asia Pacific musicians. Yay.

July 22, 2011

Highly caffeinated, but still falling asleep.

The title sadly holds true; I just took a 20 minute nap sprawled on my desk, and unfortunately I don't think I'll be getting very much more sleep soon.

One of the things I miss most about California is the yummy coffee- Philz in North Berkeley, and Blue Bottle Coffee at SF MoMA, which is one of the chicest cafes. The floors and walls are completely white, and you sip Blue Bottle's handroasted, deeply flavorful coffee amongst modernist art. Jennifer Causey's photo project, The Makers, beautifully captured the coffee-making process at Blue Bottle's Brooklyn outlet:

Images from The Makers Project, which is absolutely brillant and features some of my favourite designers/ brands, like Lena Corwin and Wiksten.

July 21, 2011

Hello boyfriend, please look here.

Mhmmmm. Menswear done yummily right with pitch-perfect branding and the most charming name. If only boys dressed like this all the time in real life.

July 20, 2011

Strange museums

I am a big fan of museums (my absolute favourite one is the Getty museum in L.A. It is huge and sprawling, very Californian, very white, pristine, open, beautiful) I think there's a sanctity about art in museums, an almost religion about viewing art on white, clean walls where the only sounds you hear are the shuffling of feet and small whispers. So when I read about the Museum of Non-Visible Art, conceptualised by Praxis and [actor] James Franco, it was like a bucket of cold water was thrown on my museum-loving self.

For pledging over $20 on Kickstarter, you will receive an imaginary piece of art.
For pledging $10,000 to this duo, you will receive:
"Fresh Air -This is a unique piece, only this one is for sale. The air you are purchasing is like buying an endless tank of oxygen. No matter where you are, you always have the ability to take a breath of the most delicious, clean-smelling air that the earth can produce. Every breath you take gives you endless peace and health. This artwork is something to carry with you if you own it. Because wherever you are, you can imagine yourself getting the most beautiful taste of air that is from the mountain tops or fields or from the ocean side; it is an endless supply. Naming Rights- You get an entire wing of the museum named in your honor for this purchase. The owner of this artwork will receive a title card with a description of the piece to be mounted on your wall, and used when explaining the work."

It is sold out. And over 97 backers have pledged over $13,000 to this imagined museum with imagined art. Here is space for your mouth to fall open:

I haven't decided what I feel about this yet.

The word "museum"- how is it to be defined? Doesn't a museum need an actual space? [Dare I say this,] actual art? The Museum of Broken Relationships toured Singapore as part of the M1 Fringe Festival in 2007, and I remember viewing it in Jendela, the Esplanade arts space, and being a little confused.

Bras, handcuffs, MP3 players- beyond the question of whether ordinary objects can be art, there's also the question of whether objects can emote, can looking at a collection of bras remind you of heartbreak. And not even of your own heartbreak, but of someone else's, someone else's bra that holds their special memories. Do memories live in objects independent of their owner? I remember looking at the objects and thinking, no not really. They seem like a collection of things, and my mind is imagining the stories that might accompany them, I am making up lives and situations- how is this different from a novel?

The Museum of Craft and Design doesn't even have a physical space anymore, but they now have pop-up museum spaces around the city

These are images of their latest proxy museum in Hayes Valley (cross: Octavia) in San Francisco, and they invite audiences to "make this space a place."

There was a line in the Deathly Hallows Pt.2 where Dumbledore says, "of course it's happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it's not real?" This was the line that struck me the most when I read about MONA, then remembering my experience with the Museum of Broken Relationships, and thinking about how spaces on their own should not have the emotional ties that they do. About how places, even museums, are just spaces, and we're filling it only with what we know and what we bring to it.

Last night I had dinner and ice cream til late with Nat and Kelvin, and in the clutter of the day and the fluorescence of the Prata House light, they reminded me that I am home, now/ that they are part of my home, they are part of my place.

Images from the Etsy blog, a random news site, the Museum of Craft and Design website.

July 19, 2011

Kinfolk

I love the word kinfolk. It reminds me of woodsy LOTR goodness and sun-dappled picnics. This online magazine is all that &more. They have a physical copy (which I'm ordering a subscription for asap), but they are primarily an online magazine, and have leveraged on that platform (sorry, that phrase was quite un-sun dapply) really well. They have videos that you can click through within its online pages, and a music mix that captures the spirit of the magazine- just, an online magazine done beautifully right.

All images from their Facebook page; check out their exquisite promotional video here.

July 18, 2011

PLACE

I usually don't remember much of my weekend because I'm usually concussed on my bed from the work week, but this weekend was slightly different (and excessively active, mostly because I was working 3pm-late Friday-Sunday)- and I attended PLACE, an art exhibition held by some old RJ art students.

I REALLY enjoyed myself, and I'm not saying this just because I know that Yongfeng, one of the artists featured in PLACE, reads this blog. I was really blown away by the quality of the work and the thoughtfulness with which they engaged the theme-

"PLACE brings together a group of friends on the cusp of adulthood in an attempt to recreate and relive collective art-making. The project is an examination not only of overlapping physical, mental, and emotional spaces, but also the complex geographical, personal, and artistic spaces that have developed since they last worked together. PLACE becomes more than just where their bodies are; it is where their minds choose to wander, the distances their relationships can cross, and even the sharing of a virtual platform for the exchange of ideas. The exhibition is as much about remembrance as it is about discovery. It is as much about the process as it is about the product, and the knowledge that art is as much about getting there as it is about being there. It represents the struggle to find their Place as artists and individuals, and the reminder that this Place can only truly exist in a state of flux."

This resonated in me, a lot, especially coming back after over a year abroad. The places, the people, it's changed (or maybe I've changed)- the places that I long for no longer exist even though I can remember them in my bones. It's been 7 years since we sold my grandparents' old home, but I sometimes still take tours of it in my head- there's the little den where my grandfather used to nap in the afternoons, there's the little window-way where my grandmother used to stand to call to us for dinner, outside, there's the papaya tree we planted together when it was so hot out, and I whined. And I think that there's a lot of the nostalgia, and a playfulness about engaging with the audience, that lies within the exhibition.

These are some images of the works-in-progress of the ones that I enjoyed the most:

My friend Yongfeng is one of the most talented people I know. The completed piece is actually quite different from this image, but still in this multi-layered, quiet blue. I think the piece is very much like Yongfeng, actually. He layered a photograph of present-day Marshall Road over several other maps, other images, and then hand-drew people, lines, and signs, and it was like some treasure hunt to identify all the little hidden signs and people.

Berny's work is absolutely gorgeous in person. It is 2 large panels of tracing paper hung in front of 2 windows, and the work changes as the light shifts. She stabbed (sorry, no better word) little holes in the tracing paper and used a variety of printing techniques to create this textured, ephemeral piece that just completely elevates its original inspiration of peeling paint.

Teng Yen Lin's paper sculpture frames the entrance when you first step into the space, and I immediately loved it because it is a collection of browned paper strung up and left falling. And then Yongfeng pointed out the teensy people, ladders, and objects that she cut out from the pages and I seriously fell hard. It is whimsical and playful and interesting, which are the same qualities present in the books I love, so really, I feel a little obvious listing this piece as one of my favourites.

I also really enjoyed Queenie's digital art portraits along the staircase, and Zixin's soundscape in the cupboard under the stairs- it was all extremely interesting comparing their H2 art project work (which I saw 3 years ago in RJ) to their current PLACE project.

Their posters are some of the most innovative and creative that I've seen in a while-

It's also near Katong laksa and some seriously good Peranakan food, so it's definitely worth a trip down!

All images from the PLACE Art Show website.

July 13, 2011

Long day

Today was a really hectic day at work and I found myself messing up (sending emails without subject titles, not alphabetizing lists) a lot towards the end of the day. I'm trying not to beat myself up about it and feel like the worst intern in the world (yes, I am very melodramatic this way, and yes, I know I have too high expectations of myself because alphabetizing all lists is bordering on the OCD), but I pride myself on being detail-oriented and giving my best work everytime so I kick myself quite hard everytime I slip up even a little.

Which should change, I know. Hence the photographic reminder via Design Love Fest. Isn't that an adorable font? I love it. Maybe even more than the message, haha.

July 11, 2011

Pop of pink

I'm REALLY not a pink person, but I've been drawn to all kinds of pink lately- bright neon pops (the image of the Jil Sander neon pink maxi skirt- it haunts me, sometimes. Seriously. I've never wanted a skirt as much as I covet that pink skirt), soft dusky roses. I stumbled upon these lovely images yesterday that run the gamut of my pink obsession-

[2] dress by Ivy and Aster -SO gorgeous. Perfect for the hot fall months in SF/ perennially summer days in Singapore

[3] DSquared2 Resort 2010 collection- I'm usually not a huge fan of DSquared, but the coral-capped shoes! Causually slung camel cardigan! Bedhead hair! Yum.

All images via This is Glamorous, a beautiful blog thatI've been obsessively clicking through for the past few days. Yes I have serious internet stalking issues.

These people make me wish that I was a dancer

The Nederlands Dans Theatre is an amazing contemporary ballet company- I had the privilege of meeting Stefan ┼╗eromski, NDT's ballet master on Saturday morning when he taught a master class at the Singapore Dance Theatre and I've never felt so bitter about not having the chance to have done ballet as a child ): ): He taught them Whereabouts Unknown, which was really beautiful even in its rough, unfinished form, and I later found out that NDT had performed this at Cal in March earlier this year

!!!! Cry of anger. I have dutifully stalked the Cal Performances' website and have already marked out all the performances I want to go for (Cal students get 50% off and I haven't watched a single show in my 2 years at Cal- I am really ashamed).

But anyway, he was the sweetest man and so very talented; here's the Youtube video of the second piece, Sehnsucht, by Lightfoot and Leon. It absolutely caught my heart- the piece in full is STUNNING. When the guy left the room through the door, I almost cried.


Something that I've realized is that I haven't watched as many shows as I'd like to since leaving for Berkeley- I've always thought that I would rather spend my money on clothes or food rather than on performances, and that is sadly the prevailing mindset of most Singaporeans. If anything, the one major thing I'm taking away from my internship is that I need to go back and start attending theatre and music performances more regularly because [and this may sound a little melodramatic] a small part of me wasn't really living when I concentrated more on the management rather than the art of the arts.

One thing that Paul Lightfoot said in the post-performance talk was that beauty "is not in the things that you do well but in what you can't do"; that Sehnsucht was an untranslatable German word that meant nostalgia, yearning, the memory of loss and what you cannot get back- this is how I feel sometimes, when I think about singing again. I don't think I will do much of it ever again, but the memory of it haunts me occasionally, like when I stand on the Esplanade concert hall stage (for other things, now) and remember singing my memories of practice and yes, tears and exhaustion and frustration, to the audience; like throwing your heart out and losing it somewhere within slivers of chords.

July 10, 2011

In love with this house

Immediately fell in love with this house when I first saw it- it's so light and airy (such an opposite from my old apartment, but so reminiscient of my new one! Yay!) The light pine, white, cheery yellow- such a pretty space; definitely a color scheme I'd like to have in my living room space.

I really think that one of the best things about living alone/ away from your parents is being able to decorate your own space on your own terms. Maybe this is a purely Asian thing, but I've never really chosen anything, my bedding, curtains, wall colour, without some input from my mother. So this is all very liberating, being able to choose my own coffee table.

Isn't the mini bunting absolutely precious? And the large panels of noticeboard- I'm definitely scheming of ways to get that in my apartment!

July 7, 2011

Friday!!

Even though it's Friday, it's technically not the end of the work week for me because I'm still coming in for work tomorrow- I'm sitting in on one of the Nederlands Dans Theatre's masterclasses and then watching their performance (!) tomorrow night. But I'm starting to gather pretty bits and pieces for my desk- these flowers were from the Berkeley girls and some of my colleagues for my birthday, and they're sitting happily in my teh ping cup vase. My mother is proud that I am learning to recycle.

Hope everyone is having a great Friday! xx

July 4, 2011

I miss you-

Miles Away
Carol Ann Duffy

I want you and you are not here. I pause
in this garden, breathing the colour thought is
before language into still air. Even your name
is a pale ghost and, though I exhale it again
and again, it will not stay with me. Tonight
I make you up, imagine you, your movements clearer
than the words I have you say you said before.

Whereever you are now, inside my head you fix me
with a look, standing here whilst cool late light
dissolves into the earth. I have got your mouth wrong,
but still it smiles. I hold you closer, miles away,
inventing love, until the calls of nightjars
interrupt and turn what was to come, was certain,
into memory. The stars are filming us for no one.

21st!- sneak peek

Too excited not to start sharing some polaroids from the party (:

[1] Eaten up by my giant gold 21 balloons (yes, we went back to the balloon store and got another 2 to replace the one that exploded in the hot car!)
[2] My family! And we all match!
[3] My dress and I ;)
[4] Flowers in tin cans (taken from the coffee shop near my house!); handwritten placemat; cutlery wrapped in a doily, raffia bow, and little daisy tucked in; handmade chocolate cupcake door gifts = how my tables got dressed up.