Friday, February 28, 2014

Places with Character: Evolution, NYC

Photos by Brittany Natale

Countless times in the city I have passed along places of potential interest - whether it is because I am on my way to work or simply do not have the time to stop. I choose to keep walking instead, mentally making a note of this little gem. However, thanks to my friend I was reminded of a store that I have (sadly) been postponing my visit to for ages. Evolution, a quaint shop that upon a very quick glance I wrote off as some kind of gallery or edgy clothing boutique, completely blew me away. Happily overwhelmed from walls lined with a spectrum of butterfly wings, rarities such as bear skulls and ostrich eggs and copious amounts of fossils, I had seen nothing like it before. Within minutes I was lost among the items that were before me and my experience can be summed up in few words - an amazing sensory overload. 

THE EVOLUTION STORE. 120 Spring Street. NY, NY.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Artist Beth Hoeckel's Dreamy Landscapes and Cosmic Scenes

Indian Summer by Beth Hoeckel
I have been obsessed with collages/collaging for as long as I can remember. Every notebook I had in grade school would become covered in magazine cut outs during the first week of classes and the interior of my high school locker was a whole project within itself (so. much. decoupage.).  So it only makes sense that Beth Hoeckel's collaged pieces are some of my favorite works of art. Ever! 

Moonrise by Beth Hoeckel

I have been a fan of Beth for quite some time now. I first came across her work while coordinating a group show, then serendipitously came across her pieces again while perusing Rookie Mag and as of recently her art always seems to find me while I am on Society 6. Using found images from the pages of (mostly) thrifted vintage books, Baltimore-based Beth Hoeckel creates dreamy landscapes and cosmic scenes that incorporate both the ordinary and unordinary. And now for your viewing pleasure: 

Summer Stars by Beth Hoeckel

Crystal Ball by Beth Hoeckel

Thursday Tunes: "Shelter" by Eisley

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Take a Leap of Faith with Erin Wasson for Free People

Photo via Elle, courtesy of Free People

During this dreary (and snowy and rainy and cold) NYC weather all I have been thinking of is the west coast - California sun, 70 degree weather, being out on the open road, camping, NOT having to wear 17 layers - which is why Erin Wasson's campaign video "The Ride" for Free People could not have come at a better time. Starring 32-year old model Erin Wasson alongside actor Mark Wystrach, the short film tells the story of brokenhearted Wasson who reconnects with Wystrach, a past love, and "takes a leap of faith" (or a hop on the backseat of Wystrach's Harley) - all while wearing dreamy Free People designs. 

Photo via Elle, courtesy of Free People

Music Alert: Flora Cash

Flora Cash's Cole & Shpresa
You know when you are on the search for a piece of music - you don't know what exactly you would like for it to sound like but you know your soul just needs it? I have been getting a lot of this feeling lately, restlessly looking for an album, a cd, something, anything that will help fill the musical void in my life (I sound soo dramatic). However, this problem was solved when I came across Minnesota-based musical duo Flora Cash. They first roped me in with their rendition of Passenger's "Let Her Go" and after a bit on their YouTube channel I was hooked. Their music is reminiscent of when you overhear a very personal conversation between two lovers, and you sit their smiling to yourself because you can relate strongly to their exchange of words. Super dreamy. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Now You See Me, Now You Don't: Emma Hack at Rebecca Hossack Gallery NYC

Photoa via Emma Hack

Australian artist Emma Hack, who previously collaborated with Gotye for his "Somebody That I Used to Know" video, has a solo show going on right now at Rebecca Hossack Gallery in SoHo, NYC from February 19th through March 12th. Using body paint to camouflage her subjects' bodies into patterned backgrounds, it can take Hack between 8-15 hours of painting depending on the intricacy of the design. Hack's work is part disguise but totally wonderful. 

Photo via Emma Hack

Monday, February 24, 2014

Artist 'Catherine Rising' Knows What Dreams Are Made Of

Photo via Free People Blog
Have you ever seen "Uptown Girls" starring Brittany Murphy (RIP) and Dakota Fanning? If so, do you remember main character Molly Gunn's (played by Murphy) bedroom - rich hues, canopy bed, bohemian vibes, the list could go on. I grew up always wanting my bedroom to look like that - Molly Gunn's bedroom crossed with an interior of a road-tripping airstream, complete with antiques and treasures that were collected while out on the road. Throughout the years I have quenched this thirst a bit by thrifting decor at the local Goodwill (expect future stories on this) and grabbing some knick-knack hand-me-downs from my grandmother, but I am always on the lookout for some magical pieces. So it only made sense that when I came across Catherine Rising's handmade dreamcatchers via Free People I fell in love. 

Photo via One Kings Lane
Catherine Rising (aka Catherine Costanza) is a Brooklyn-based artist who uses materials such as wood, thread and vintage doilies to make custom dreamcatchers. Hung above your bed, grouped on an adjacent wall, placed in a window or even installed from the ceiling, these ethereal dreamcatchers can make any setting magical. If getting your dreamcatcher fix isn't enough (we want more, we want more!), Catherine also makes stitched zodiac pillows, hand painted mystical boxes, and wishing bottles! Check out more here: Catherine Rising. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Music Alert: "Twin Forks"

     As I have mentioned in my previous posts, I have always been a huge HUGE fan of music. I spent my weekends going to shows in the city and when I wasn't at shows I was searching for shows to go to. Commuting around town, via bus, subway or sometimes the occasional car ride, was great fun for me because it meant I could keep my headphones in for a solid hour or so and just listen to the music.

    One of my favorite bands was (and still is) Dashboard Confessional, the band that gave us the emotional "Hands Down" and the powerful "Vindicated" (remember that one from Spiderman? I remember screaming this song on the top of my 16 year old lungs). Lead singer Chris Carrabba's voice was probably one of the most heard voices I listened to during my teenage angst/heartbreak years. So you can only imagine how excited I was to hear that Carrabba  has released some new music with his other band "Twin Forks" which also includes The Narrative's Suzie Zeldin, drummer Ben Homola, and vocalist/bassist Jonathan Clark. The album, which is self-titled, is like listening to the the stories of an old friend you haven't heard from in ages, telling you about their adventures and heartbreak from out on the road. Twin Forks' repetitious choruses and melodious bridges act as mantras to help you get through the day (i.e. "Plans"'s "I got plans for you, I got plans for you" and so forth) and the melodies are still somewhat reminiscent of Carrabba's DC days lullabies. The album, which you are able to stream now here via USA Today, will be available on iTunes February 25. Happy listening <3 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hometown of the Emoji: Dominique Petrin's Screenprinted Spaces

"Hotline", Photo via Dominique Petrin
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live inside a land of digitalized color, aka the hometown of the emoji,  you do not have to wonder any more. Montreal-based artist Dominique Petrin creates vivid installations by making colorful silkscreen prints and then strategically placing them to create totally immersive spaces. Her works may include some geometric patterns, digitalized areas reminiscent of Mario Brothers backgrounds, pixelated palm trees and a "poop" emoji thrown in for good measure. Her decorated spaces remind me of a rendering of the dream house I would have created while obsessed with "The Sims". Check out some of her work below: 

"House of Xtravaganza" Photo via Dominique Petrin
"Hotline",  Photo via Dominique Petrin

"Hotline", Photo by Dominique Petrin 

Salvation Mountain Artist Leonard Knight Dies at Age 82

Photo by Joe Decruyenaere 
Perhaps you have seen it in Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" or the backdrop of British band Hurts' music video "Somebody to Die For". Whether you have gone to see this large art installation covering the hills near Calipatria, California in person or have just viewed  it through the scope of a computer screen, it has probably touched you in some way.

"Salvation Mountain", which was started by Vermont-born artist Leonard Knight nearly decades ago (after much trial and error), is a large scale art installation comprised of bales of straw and adobe covered in a dazzling array of colorful paints, much donated by people passing through. Knight started this art endeavor hoping that this message of love would be able to radiate throughout the world, therefore creating a place of peace and harmony. 

Knight died at a convalescent hospital in San Diego County. RIP Leonard xo May your work live on! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

CRAZE: The High School Paper You Wish You Had

Read the Obsessions Issue of CRAZE here 

Back in high school we had to pick an elective that we thought we would enjoy and benefit the most from. The artsy kids picked Yearbook Committee (because it meant a semester of graphic design and photography), the jocks picked Chorus (because it required no written work) and I…I picked Journalism because I was obsessed with the written word. I mean writing-words-in-the-air-with-my-finger-when-I-did-not-have-a-writing-tool-handy obsessed (some say this is how I got my impeccable cursive handwriting).

While living with my aforementioned grandmother during high school, our house was directly located behind a public library which to me meant an endless supply of books, DVDs and CDs (back then we had those endangered flat round things called compact discs for music). I would go three or four times a week, with my "Queens Public Library" bag in hand, ready to check out stacks of paperbacks, scholastic journals (don't ask), magazines (yes, I was one of those people) and hardcovers. Let's just say I was always a bit too ambitious/indecisive while choosing and ended up having to physically lug home my stash - out of breath by the time I reached my grandmother's back door. When I utilized all of that library location's resources I would take the Q13 bus down to Main Street to hit up the Flushing branch - in simpler terms, I was a word junkie. 

Because my love for words was so big, writing for my high school's newspaper "The Magnificat" was a dream come true. Each month we would anxiously anticipate for that twenty-something page publication to come out - hoping that the rest of the student body liked our articles as much as our Editor-in-chief (aka a teacher) did (or at least pretended to). 

Now the times are a bit different - students who are a part of their school newspaper committee do not need to wait anxiously for the local printing press to publish their paper nor is their audience limited to just their classmates. Websites, like, allow students (and anyone for that matter) to digitally (and quickly) publish their writings, making it available for many more to take a peek - and thank God for it! 

I came across Craze Magazine, a version of a high school paper written and published by the students of Westside High School in Omaha, NE (not to be confused with the racy ATL/NYC based publication of the same moniker). Reminiscent of Rookie Mag (which I am also a big fan of), Craze is the perfect combination of anything and everything you wish you had as a teenager - including the answers to those questions you had but were always afraid to ask. The only complaint I have is "why couldn't this be around when I was in high school?!" 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Black Milk Clothing x Batman

Saturday mornings used to be for early morning cartoons, (insert your favorite sugary cereal here) and footie pajamas. Saturday afternoons were spent lounging on the living room couch, finally moving only after your mother (with much persistence) persuaded you to take a shower so you could finally start the day as a "real person". Ah, those were the good old days. But good news - Black Milk Clothing (Brisbane's funky clothing company that is known for their printed leggings, swimsuits, tops and skirts) is going super hero on us and debuting their "Black Milk Clothing x Batman" line this coming Tuesday February 11th (I know my roommate will be ecstatic). Even though we can't stay in all day and watch cartoons about our favorite superheroes any more (or can we?) we can at least dress like one. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Juxtapoz Gets Psychedelic

I love Ram Dass. I love his Be Here Now books. I love art and color and reading about Aldous Huxley and his findings. So it makes sense that my heart skipped a little beat when I found out that Juxtapoz (Art & Culture magazine) has come out with "Juxtapoz Pscyhedelic" hardcover, which includes 240 pages celebrating psychedelic art. Check out the excerpt from Juxtapoz's website below:

2014 Festival Wishlist

It is a bit hard to believe that in just a few short weeks festival season will be upon us. If you are in NYC you are probably also enduring the cold temperatures and maybe you have been living in your "snow uniform" as well (this is what I have grown to call my weird outfit I put on every time the temperature dips below 30 degrees - please tell me I am not the only one wearing a pair of leggings underneath my jeans?). This less than wonderful weather makes the outdoors quite unappealing and the thought of hopping up and down while listening to a band play outside :shudder: is a turn off mine right now.  However, I know that once the mercury starts rising and the sun starts shining again all I will want to do is be in the outdoors.

Growing up my friends and I would go to concerts every week - it didn't matter how big or small the venue was or how popular or emerging the musicians were - if there was music we were there. So without further ado here is my 2014 Festival Wishlist:

SXSW Eco Light Garden at SXSW 2013/Photo by Aaron Rogosin, from SXSW website
If my mind had taste buds they would be watering while I read the upcoming schedule of events for South by Southwest. Besides the conferences, the panels, the expos, and (of course) the live performances, there will also be some interactive art installations that should not be missed. 

Where?: Austin, Texas 
When?: March 7-16
Who?: See the full schedule of events here 

Lineup of Coachella 

2. Coachella 

Ohmygosh, I can picture it like was just yesterday. I was casually surfing the inter-web when I came across a picture of model Alessandra Ambrosio at the 2011 Coachella Festival in Indio, California. Her outfit - all boho fringe and wonderfulness, is still engrained in my mind (so happy that I can remember an outfit from 3+ years ago but still  can't get my Social Security ID# straight half the time). Coachella, which is the annual two-weekend/3 day music festival that takes place in Indio's Inland Empire Valley, looks to be even more awesome this year (the lineup looks like it was extracted from a very random, but very wonderful, musical dream). If you were lucky enough to get tickets this year, in addition to the music you should also expect some campground yoga and a bunch of different meal options  (gluten-free, paleo, kosher, etc.)  

When?: April 11-13 & April 20-21
Where?: Indio, California
Who?: OutKast, Ellie Goulding, Pharrell Williams, Muse, Arcade Fire, Lana Del Rey, the 1975, HAIM + more

Sasquatch! Pond by Tom Lamb/Photo: Sasquatch! 

3. Sasquatch!

If you first think of Big Foot when hearing the word "sasquatch" don't worry, you are not the only one (guilty!). Even though the thought of actually seeing Big Foot is somewhat exciting (slightly terrifying) I am sad to say there will be no (to my knowledge) Big Foot at this festival. Sasquatch is also the name of a festival that takes place twice a year (twice the opportunity to go) during Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends that was founded in 2002 by concert promoter Adam Zacks (there is your music festival trivia of the day). 

When?: Memorial Day weekend (May 23-25) & Fourth of July weekend (July 4-6) 
Where?: The Gorge Amphitheater, Quincy, Washington 
Who?: May weekend - OutKast, M.I.A., Die Antwood, Tyler the Creator, First Aid Kit, City and Colour, Ryan Hemsworth + more, July weekend - Soundgarden (my mom is cheering somewhere right now), Frank Ocean, Neutral Milk Hotel, Tegan & Sara, Of Montreal, Action Bronson + more

Now the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word "Bonnaroo" is when I was 17 and had the chance to go to Bonnaroo last minute but decided not to (regret, regret I tell you!) The second thing that comes to mind when I hear the word "Bonnaroo" is the spacious 700-acre Great Stage Park farm in Manchester, Tennessee where it takes place. I've obviously never been to this farm but I am picturing it to be some Woodstock-reincarnated, green paradise :fade into dream sequence:… 

When?: June 12-15
Where?: Manchester, Tennessee
Who?: TBA February 19

Photo/ Governors Ball website
I have been to Governors Island but I cannot remember when or why. Oh! It was for the Polo Classic a few years back. My friend (Terence) and I all fresh faced and out of high school thought it would be a good idea to get dressed in our Sunday best and brave the waters of the East River (dramatizing right now) - and it was! Which makes me super excited that Governors Ball also takes place on, you guessed it, Governors Island! This will be Governors Ball's third year. 

When?: June 6-8
Where?: Governors Island, NYC 
Who?: OutKast (this feels like dejavu), Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Empire of the Sun, Bastille, Jenny Lewis + more

Photo/ Firefly Music Festival website
Firefly is a festival that was created just a couple of years ago and, much like Bonnaroo, provides a great combination of camping and live music. Besides the musical acts, in the past Firefly offered guests additional daily activities - including an arcade tent, a Toms Shoes design tent and the Hammock Hangout (self-explanatory). In 2012 they even offered hot air balloon rides over festival grounds (imagining myself as Dorothy right now). 

When?: June 19-22
Where?: Dover, Delaware
Who?: Foo Fighters, OutKast, Jack Johnson, Weezer, the Lumineers, Arctic Monkeys, Imagine Dragons, Third Eye Blind, Ziggy Marley, A-Trak, Band of Horses, Childish Gambino + more

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Katharina Grosse Installation Brings Some Tye-Dye Terrain to Brooklyn

(Photo from Public Art Fund: Courtesy of the artist and Johann Konig, Photo by James Ewing) 
I am a sucker for adventures - it does not matter how big or small they are, if it looks to be interesting (even in the slightest bit) I will strap up my boots and journey on into the horizon. Okay, so I live in New York City so it is not like I am climbing mountaintops or kayaking the rapids on the daily, but nonetheless there is nothing like a great/teensy adventure to keep the day interesting.

I recently learned about the Public Art Fund, which is a wonderful non-profit organization that works to bring contemporary art installations to the wonderful people of New York City (for free). Maybe you recognize them from their July-December 2013 City Hall Park installation "Lightness of Being" or their installation of Rob Pruitt's "The Andy Monument" in Union Square a few years back. When I read that their current installation, Katharina Grosse's "Just Two of Us", had been installed in my home-borough of Brooklyn I had to see it. Capital H.A.D. because once I decide I am doing something I have to do it (oh the stories I have of all the things I just had to do). So to MetroTech Center I went….okay, more like ran.

Although I saw the installation while it was surrounded by third-day slush/snow combo (you can see my pic here: Instagram ), it was still quite nice seeing some tye-dye in the midst of concrete and all things grey.

The installation will be around through September 14, 2014 so you have some time to catch it!

The Art of Ballet


At the age of 14, I went from living with my art-student-rocker-mother to instead moving in with a grandmother who sweared by Tchaikovsky and ONLY ever used fine china (cue the wire hanger scene from Mommy Dearest except substitute the metal hangers with disposable plates, okay not that bad). The evening background noise usually included the volume from PBS 13's showing of "The Nutcracker"  mixed with my grandmother practicing scales on the upright piano in the living room. From a young age, I was exposed to the world of dance, most specifically ballet, and even had it as an after school hobby for a good 10 years of my life. I still remember excitedly bouncing around the dance shop after my dance teachers broke the wonderful news to me: "You are now strong enough to join pointe!" I even once wore my Capezio ballet slippers as actual shoes (why why why?!) while in the city taking a Theater class during Sophomore year. I can still almost feel the grainy NYC sidewalk beneath my soles. 

So you can only imagine my excitement upon reading that French graffiti artist and 2011 TED prize winner JR was invited by the New York City Ballet not too long ago to create a very large scale art installation as part of the New York City Ballet's 2014 Art Series. Although the JR/NYCB collaborative "Art Series" performance tickets are currently not available online any more, the large art installation installed on the promenade's floor will be open free to the public Feb 2-9. A huge vinyl photograph of the dancers will adorn the promenade floor - inviting all to literally step into the art. Street artist meets ballet - the surprisingly perfect combination.