Tag Archives: art

Louise Hill Design – Hong Kong’s a work of art

louise hill hong kong art 1

Proof that Facebook isn’t all bad: I discovered amazing artist Louise Hill through it!

Thanks to a couple of my friends liking Louise’s work, her Facebook Page popped up on my news feed one day, whereupon I immediately fell in love with her vibrant colourful designs – and now I’m showing them here in the knowledge that you will too!

louise hill hong kong art 2

Many of Louise’s pieces are inspired by her time in Hong Kong and I love the richness of detail that goes into each artwork – I’m forever noticing cool new elements and references in there, all of which transport me to certain memories, places and experiences in HK… which is exactly the idea. The Mister Softee van, the yummy dan tat (egg tarts – my favourite!), the old-school wet market red lamps… something new jumps out at you every time you look.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Chic like chocolate – Mathilde Brunelet’s beautiful Parisian artwork

Mathilde Brunelet comptoir du cacao chocolate

I’m a sucker for desserts… and a sucker for pretty packaging. Add the two together and you have Rach dropping hundreds of dollars on chocolate she never even wanted or needed in the first place!

Mathilde Brunelet champs elysee

So say hello to these uber pretty chocolate bars from French brand Comptoir du Cacao. They were about $50 each (*wince*) so I have to stick them on here to claim that as a blog investment, right?!

Continue reading

I spy with my little eye… the gorgeous artwork of Miss Magpie Fashion Spy

miss magpie fashion spy chanel paul smith

Ever since joining Instagram, a whole new world of pretty things has been opened up before me – and one of my favourite discoveries has been the work of Miss Magpie Fashion Spy, aka UK fashion illustrator Niki Groom.

This type of drawing is everything that is totally up my street – my trademark favourite watercolour-esque sketchy style (see here… and here!), cute girls, gorgeous dresses and beautiful details peeking out of every corner.

Continue reading

I Know That Feel Bro!

Got problems? I know that feel bro!

But no one illustrates shared problems quite as awesomely as artist Chris Gerringer.

Gerringer’s I Know That Feel Bro quirky series of illustrations takes fictional pop culture characters and draws them side-by-side, consoling each other in their shared misery.  A problem shared is a problem halved, right? And judging by his drawings, a lot more cute too!

Continue reading

Forgotten Fine Art: The Cityplaza Copper Suite

In Hong Kong, you can often find pretty things in the strangest places… which often means discovering fine art in the most mundane of anonymous corporate offices.

Such was the case with this stunning series of plaques entitled The Cityplaza Copper Suite by Australian sculptors Joan Walsh Smith and Charles Smith in Tai Koo’s Cityplaza complex of buildings.

I was taken aback by the level of detail in these – you could spend ages poring over these still find even more interesting and clever little vignettes revealing themselves in the copper artwork. The style reminds me a little of Jan Pieńkowski’s silhouette illustrations for the Joan Aiken books I used to read when I was little. Click on each photograph to enlarge and zoom in  and you can check out some of the detail for yourselves!

Each ‘Rondo-Progression’ has a different theme (unfortunately, I forgot to note them down, bad blogger, slaps wrist!) but I believe they were The Arts, Food, Leisure and Work. My favourite is probably The Arts with its striking centre-piece of the two Chinese theatre masks and loads of other dynamic pictures surrounding it – it’s almost like it’s alive with movement!

You can’t really tell from the pictures (which have distorted the light reflections weirdly) but these are made from copper, which is even more stunning and vivid in real life – and I loved the way the light reflected and bounced off these pieces, making them even more vibrant.

It seems a shame that these are tucked away in a place most people wouldn’t even notice so hopefully this post does its bit to show them off to the rest of the world!

I wish all atlases looked like this!

One of my favourite Pretty Things posts on here is still my blog on the gorgeous travel posters by Brazilian illustrator, Fernando Volken Togni – the colour, the detail, the style, everything! (And I updated it to feature his most recent additions to the series so do check it out!)

Inspired by these, and also the somewhat similar Scandinavian postcards I featured from Ikea, I wanted to share with you these lovely pictorial maps by Canadian artist, Marisa Seguin that I discovered via Design Work Life – and just as I wanted Togni’s work on my walls, I want Seguin’s right up there with it!

What sets these apart for me are the strict but stunning colour palettes she has used for each piece. Again, it’s hard to pick a favourite – the icy cool blues and purples of Vancouver, the strikingly vibrant pinks and turquoise of Venice, the dreamy romantic pastels of Paris, the vivid riot of brights that makes up San Francisco or the dusty sepia tones of Seguin’s current base, Milwaukee.

I also love the level of detail that’s gone into illustrating each of the landmarks; sadly, I haven’t visited any of the cities in question (apart from Paris, which I honestly think looks far more charming here than it does in real life!) but if I do, I’ll be toting one of these and navigating my way in style!

Hope you enjoy these as much as I did – and you can check out more of Seguin’s work on her website or buy these as prints from her Etsy shop.

And I loved the Jellyfish one so much, I couldn’t resist sticking it on here too!

The Beauty of Lillian Bassman

I hadn’t previously heard of a fashion photographer called Lillian Bassman, yet when I came across some of her images in a Saturday Times Magazine a few months back, I wondered – why the hell not?! (Shown above: Anne Saint-Marie, Chanel advert, 1958)

Her work is simply exquisite. When I think of the golden age of fashion photography, I think of names like Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton and Lord Snowdon. Now I’ll also think of Lillian Bassman.

More Fashion Mileage Per Dress, Barbara Vaughn, 1956

Her photographs manage to feel both of their period, yet timelessly classic, yet also startlingly modern; it’s almost impossible to distinguish some of her earliest work from some of her latest. Working mostly in black and white, some have a noir-ish feel to them, others feel like they could be stills from an old movie or as if you’re intruding on an (immaculately-attired) personal moment.

It’s A Cinch,  Carmen, 1951

The underwear series is breathtakingly erotic, and you can barely even see the models’ faces; there’s something unbelievably wraith-like, ethereal and sensual about how the lines have been softened and blurred. And all this without distracting from the stunning beauty of the couture outfits photographed in her work, especially from the 50s (cue obligatory Mad Men reference), which are simply stunning.

Barbara Mullen, 1950

Bassman achieved many of the effects in her photographs by post-procesing manipulation in the dark room, blurring, burning and bleaching them, adding some details by hand later on (as in the photo above, hand-painting all the polka dots back in!). The use of shade and light is just phenomenal – after all, it has to be to get noticed and raved about by an art novice like me!

‘There are things that I think are marvellous and there are also pictures where I look at a particular crop and think “How awful. I couldn’t have done that. It’s mediocre”. But are you ever completely happy? No, thank goodness, or you’d stop. I think I’ll go on for ever’.

Incredibly, Bassman trashed many of her negatives in bin bags in the 1970s; they re-surfaced in the 90s, along with a greater appreciation of Bassman’s art. Even now, in her 90s, she continues to work, using digital technology and Photoshop to manipulate and make something new out of her old photographs.

Fantasy On The Dance Floor, Barbara Mullen, 1949

I love how she combines art with fashion – ‘For me, it was about the gesture, the neck, the throat, the arch of the back’. Here are just a few of my favourites (remember to click for enlargements) and hopefully now a few more of you will discover the beauty of Lillian Bassman!

Lingerie, 1951

Olga

The Line Lengthens, 1955

The Dressing Room

Wonders of Water, 1959

Paris: Dinner At Nine, Barbara Mullen, 1949

Barbara Mullen wearing Jean Patou, 1949

Across The Restaurant, Barbara Mullen wearing Jacques Fath, 1949

Barbara Mullen Blowing A Kiss, c.1950

The V-Back Evenings, Suzy Parker, 1955

Black And White, Mary Jane Russell, 1950

Golden Fox, Blue Fox, Marilyn Ambrose, 1954

Eve L Tripp Las Vegas, 1948

Dovima, 1954

Night Bloom, Annaliese Seubert, top gown Givenchy by Galliano, bottom by Christian Dior, 1996 (can’t believe these are so new, they’d fit right in with the rest, right?)

Silk Organdie, Embroidered And Printed, Barbara Mullen, gown by Irene, 1955

Untitled, Model in Gloves and Pearl Earrings, 1950

Betty Threat, 1957

Mary Jane Russell, 1950

Outtake, Harper’s Bazaar, November 1948

Polka Dots On The Run, 1960 (love the expression in the model’s eyes)

Back, Barbara Mullen, 1950

Touch Of Dew, Lisa Fonssagrives, 1961

Chanel advert, 1963 (despite the manipulation, there’s no mistaking that jacket!)

Untitled, 2008

And ending with one of my favourites… just captures a mood and movement so perfectly…Untitled, Model with Raincoat and Umbrella, 1950

For more of Bassman’s work, check out: http://f56.net/kuenstler/lillian-bassman/lillian-bassman/, http://blog.daum.net/sooy0098/7706383 (which makes my Antivirus have a fit but doesn’t seem to do any harm), this Lillian Bassman Flickr album and this Lillian Bassman Facebook fan page, from where many of these photos were taken from.

Quotes taken from Saturday Times Magazine, 17 May 2011.