Outside The Lines, Too

Since the launch of her first publication in 2013, earning her the title of New York Times bestselling author, LA-based art enthusiast Souris Hong has been busy rallying yet another stellar line-up of creative masterminds for the sequel of her celebrated colouring book Outside The Lines (October 2013). 

Dig out your crayons and markers again – though shame on you for ever putting them away – because Outside The Lines, Too drops with over 100 fresh line drawings commissioned by international contemporary talent, ranging from artists, graphic designers and illustrators to photographers, street artists and filmmakers. CLAW MONEY, devngosha, Jack Black, Kevin Lyons, Charles and Ray Eames, POKETO and ThankYouX are a handful of innovative new contributors that make up the diverse scope of styles and context in this alternative colouring book. 
These Are the Ways We Stay Connected (detail) - Seonna Hong

Whether it's Dalek’s optical lines or the playful doodles of NIARK1, there is something for everyone and anyone with a mission to rid all 256 pages from its monochrome state. Evolving from the original title, the latest publication now features individually perforated pages for when you want to exhibit your very own unique artwork collaboration - not to mention useful for those times when kids of all ages just don’t want to share. 
MANY - Ryan Seslow

Young and old(er) will unite over this uber hip paperback bursting with potential technicolour and conceptual imagination as well as thrive on an unconscious education in the exploration of art and design from emerging and established artists from around the world – a critical ingredient to Hong’s success to date and vision for the accessibility of contemporary art beyond conventional audiences to a greater, more unassuming readership. 
Ollie & Grind, Part 3 - Leonardo Bravo

Outside The Lines Too will mark a West coast book launch at MOCA Los Angeles this weekend, Saturday 3 rd October at 3pm – visit MOCA Stores for full details.

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Projection: Los Angeles

Big, brash and attention seeking are adjectives commonly used to describe hoardings, let alone a city that is reflected in the very make-up of its landscape. The Los Angeles skyline is famously known for its billboard culture across its sprawling topography with a rich history of roadside temptations aimed at residents and transients alike. Nowhere is this vie for attention more prolific in the city than on Sunset Boulevard, which cuts through L.A. from East Downtown to the Pacific Ocean on the Westside.
Artist impression: 'Projection', 2015
On a stretch of the boulevard running through the neighbourhood of Silver Lake, French artist Vincent Lamouroux will transform the skyline this April and May with a unique site-specific intervention at the former Sunset Pacific Motel. The site, located on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Bates Avenue, has been the scene of much unrest in the community for over a decade. Having earned the unfortunate moniker of the ‘Bates Motel’– less for its address and more for its reputation à la Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ during its neglected course – the three-storey building has been boarded up and fenced off since 2002. With all of its shortcomings however, there remains much nostalgia for the motel, which retains its original futurist sign topped with decorative antenna globes. Development is rife across L.A. and the residents of Silver Lake are no different to other neighbourhoods who are voicing concern when applications for new development tread on community conservation. Demolition of the motel was granted in 2009 and the future of the site is in its final stages. In the meantime, Lamouroux will shroud the motel and its adjoining accoutrements of billboard, vegetation and palm trees in a lime whitewash, in what will be his most ambitious work of art to date: Projection.

The Paris-based artist has known the site for nearly fourteen years, witnessing its dilapidation year after year. He began to think about creating an artwork in L.A. inspired by his minimalist practice that used the ecologically-safe and biodegradable solution of a limewash, previously applied in several public artworks in France, such as in a forest with ‘Aire 23’ in 2010 as well as interior interventions in ‘Attenuate’ and ‘Passage’ in 2014. “This particular site was the best place to conceive the ideas that encapsulated everything that interested me: this city and its landscape; the idea of space and driving your car; these elements in conjunction with the building, the palm trees, Sunset Boulevard and the Sunset Pacific Motel sign”, explains Lamouroux. Familiarity, perception and ephemerality are key elements to the work. He continues, “we are constantly looking for symmetry and something we can connect with in the past: something we already know”. The action of whitewashing is a conceptual means for the artist to, “free the landscape in time and space… to make something appear in the middle of the urban landscape”. ‘Projection’ will be the first time he will work with an exterior architectural space – “when I’m working in an interior space, there is a frame: the walls, the floor and the ceiling. On this project I am outdoors but the concept of the frame remains: the horizontality of L.A., the fence around the motel. The frame is something that I will define myself by playing with these physical properties”.
Lamouroux believes the palm trees on the site, which line this entire section of the boulevard, will draw the eye of drivers and passersby down to ground level to reveal not only the extraordinary matte white covering in full but of a building that has lost its power to engage since its all too familiar, neglected state. The platinum palm trees against the famously blue L.A. sky will interrupt the horizon and create an impressive visual amongst their natural counterparts. While the whitewash invites a revaluation of our surroundings, it also performs a negative gesture of erasing the appearance of the familiar. Nicolas Libert, co-founder of curated space Please Do Not Enter in Downtown L.A., who is producing the installation with the support of Creative Migration, illustrates how ‘Projection’ represents the story of Sunset Boulevard: “all the businesses try to catch your eye with huge signs, billboards, neons – Vincent’s simple manipulation on the appearance of the building with this whitewash will result in generating a greater statement than all the other distractions on Sunset. It’s more powerful than any advertising strategy. This negative gesture will celebrate the architecture and the old way of life in the city of L.A.”

The artist’s intentions are honestly declared in the artwork’s title. Inspiration, aspiration and hope are all concepts to be projected onto the blank architectural canvas. Lamouroux cites society’s unease with change or transformation as a means of positively reengaging with the greater public – “most of the time we don’t want to see transformation, but it’s always happening. Looking at the motel today, it’s definitely not the same as it was fourteen years ago. It’s degraded in time. I’m trying to beautify this site – to inspire what is now a lost site”. On why the site is lost to begin with and its future as a redevelopment, the installation is decidedly apolitical in motive and any symbolism linked to an all-white surrender, truce or silent statement around the long-term cultural context of the motel is not to be misinterpreted. “When Vincent talks about how transformation and change is hard to accept, this is what is happening now, especially in the Silver Lake community as well as across many communities of L.A.” Libert explains. “The work is able to be read in so many ways. Vincent is not taking a position on these issues, but he is pointing out the idea of appearance and disappearance. ‘Projection’ implies a screen that one can project what is on one’s mind: one’s dreams, expectations, nostalgia – it is inevitable that viewers who are struggling with the change in the community will project a political layer on the artwork”.
For Lamouroux, ’Projection’ is about “something you carry in your mind”, whether it be passing in your car for a brief moment or walking and experiencing the building head-on. After two weeks the lime whitewash will gradually fade, leaving a limited window for visitors to project onto the motel’s all-white surface. Until then, the site will unquestionably emit a curiosity never before seen along Sunset Boulevard under the bright Californian light, casting crisp silhouettes. When the sun sets on Sunset, the artist recognises his artwork’s vitality, avoiding any spectacle come nightfall – “Sunset Boulevard is saturated with signs in this 24/7 commercial landscape. I like the idea that the building has to sleep in order to dream. It’s the same for us; in order to dream we need to rest and this is very much how I want the building to function”. Little separates entertainment and escapism apart. As 'Projection' wakes from its daily slumber, Lamouroux will take comfort in the fact his work will have plenty of day dreamers in the land where dreams come true. 

‘Projection’ will run at 4301 Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, Los Angeles from 26th April to 10th May – viewing is available around the perimeter of the fenced site on Sunset Boulevard and Bates Avenue.

Follow the hashtag #ProjectionLA on social media for the duration of the installation for the latest information and images.

I will be live tweeting from the press view this Sunday 26th April @jmvelardi and on Instagram @jonathanvelardi.com 

Top image courtesy of Please Do Not Enter


Soho Journal Launch

A new quarterly magazine hits the streets of London and I’m very happy to announce my involvement in the inaugural issue that launched earlier this week in the capital. Soho Journal is a well curated lifestyle publication that will feature people, business and editorial articles focused in and around the area of Soho.
Issue 1 covers a range of character profiles and destination reviews in the famed hedonistic quarter and includes my business profile on the Photographers’ Gallery, devoted to its namesake medium for over four decades. From its founding in 1971 in Covent Garden to embedding itself in the ‘world’s most creative square mile’, according to the gallery’s Director, Brett Rogers, OBE, with its ambitious relocation in 2012 on Ramillies Street, I also investigate the art world’s return to the West End with a host of native and international commercial galleries favouring an address in the area over one in the now-gentrified East End.
Read an online preview of my article here or grab a copy of Soho Journal - featuring bespoke tailor and cover boy Mark Powell - for free in a number of hotels, galleries, coffee shops, eateries and retail locations in the W1 area.

For more on Art, Culture & Lifestyle 

Image courtesy of Kirk Truman 


The Curators: Please Do Not Enter

My interview with Nicolas Libert and Emmanuel Renoird, founders of Downtown LA’s enticing concept store – Please Do Not Enter – has dropped at New York-based wanderlust guide Melting Butter. ‘The Curators’ is a collection of interviews with vanguards from around the world who share their insight about their city and creative environs. After visiting the curated space of Please Do Not Enter last year, Nicolas and Emmanuel kindly shared their cultural and culinary hotspots of Downtown LA with me.
Nicolas Libert & Emmanuel Renoird
As well as staging an ambitious programme of events at their Pershing Square headquarters alongside the collection of unique and limited edition luxury products, their personal guide proves Downtown LA is one of the of the most enterprising neighbourhoods in the city worthy of exploration – the stylish duo recently swapped the cultural capital of Paris for the City of Angels after all.
Curated Space: Please Do Not Enter
Discover the full interview with Please Do Not Enter at Melting Butter as well as their curated guide of hotspots from daylight to nightlife across Downtown LA.
OHWOW in West Hollywood

My favourite art and design hotspots spanning from London to Europe are now available at my ever-expanding guide on Melting Butter here - happy exploring culture vultures!

For more on Art, Culture & Lifestyle 

Images courtesy of Please Do Not Enter, Huffington Post, WSJ, OH WOW and La Cita Bar


Foot Werk

You don’t need Google to tell you anything goes on the internet. Add a hashtag to that anything and you find yourself sympathising with a global online community hungry for expression in as few and witty characters as possible. So to the recent buzz this week that has been reported by the likes of Dazed & Confused, i-D and PAPER Magazine on the curious hashtag that is #heelconcept. Punch this meme into Instagram and behold a collection of arched feet, precariously balancing atop resolutely lo-fi objects from the sublime to the ridiculous to create the illusion of a high heel shoe.

First recorded by the grammer @m.sty in December of last year, who stood on a bronze figure performing autofellatio against the backdrop of a cutting mat, the hashtag has since inspired hundreds of avant-garde prototypes as a means of alternative self-portraiture. 

High fashion, contemporary art and a generous helping of irony at its most fabulous come together in an amalgamation of DIY beauty and anti-aesthetic style, which has left trend forecasters head over heels. Perhaps because on closer inspection #heelconcept has been attracting both sexes with fashion journal WWD headlining ‘Ladies step aside: The men are coming up with their own #heelconcept’, with their respective hairy limbs en pointe, including that of my own. Having come across the phenomenon on my feed last week I couldn't resist raiding the kitchen cupboards to channel the lexicon of none other than pop culture supreme Mr Warhol, by putting my toes to werk.
#heelconcept by @jonathanvelardi

From running water to ‘walking on water’ and even the edible, here are a few of my favourite vertiginous creations…

by @m.sty


There are 764 images tagged #heelconcept on Instagram at the time of writing this post.

#heelconcept by @jonathanvelardi has been featured on:
- Dazed & Confused ('What the hell is #heelconcept?')

Follow my Twitter @jmvelardi and Instagram @jonathanvelardi 
for more on Arts, Culture and Lifestyle from the www and beyond


Arcana: Books on the Arts

For the avid art explorer no visit to Los Angeles is complete without a few hours page-turning in arguably one of the world’s finest bookstores. Arcana: Books on the Arts has been the go-to purveyors for specialist, out of print and collectible publications on twentieth-century visual art, architecture, design, photography, film and fashion since 1984.
In 2012, Arcana founder Lee Kaplan relocated from Santa Monica to Culver City’s landmark Art Deco complex at Helms Bakery - a former bread bakery from the 1930s, now transformed into LA’s interior design district.

There is no hint of the Deco on entering the 5000 sq ft space. Bright, white lines welcome visitors into this extensive emporium of over 100,000 items collected by Kaplan himself. A kaleidoscope of covers and spines colour the minimal, monochrome space from floor to ceiling on banks of custom metal shelving. Curated by theme and alphabetised, lowfi subject dividers on upcycled cardboard slot between catalogue raisonnés and monographs of international artists and designers as well as statement tomes on iconic aesthetics, architecture or actors. Elusive publications are designated cabinet space akin to artworks in miniature white cube displays.
If book shops are for bookworms, Arcana is for butterflies. The atmosphere is elegant and serene yet electric with every book unleashed from its plastic sleeve, revealing high-quality imagery produced by the world's leading publishing houses. From little and large to minimal and extravagant, Arcana’s vast range of visual page candy is unparalleled to the bookshelves of even the grandest of museum gift shops and is a testament to its strong client base from the creative worlds of entertainment, design and fashion who visit the shop for inspiration, guided by Kaplan’s comprehensive expertise on the old, the new and the beautiful.
Arcana: Books on the Arts is open Tuesday-Sunday 11am – 7pm
The Historic Helms Bakery

8675 Washington Boulevard

Culver City, Los Angeles CA 

Look out for more for future posts reporting on my visit to LA earlier this year where I explored the alternative art and design scenes across the city here on the blog, my Twitter and Instagram


10 Ideas

Ding-dong December is here and my Christmas gift guide drops for another year with ten ideas that will guarantee culture points under the tree this Holiday season. Inspired from the worlds of art and design that have caught my eye on my travels or have been featured here on the blog and on my Twitter throughout the course of the year, follow my curated countdown of discerning gifts for the naughty and nice…

1. Butt of the joke
Paris was the setting (and crime scene) for Paul McCarthy’s provocative public art work, Tree, erected in conjunction with his Chocolate Factory exhibition at La Monnaie de Paris this year. A souvenir of the work is being produced by the artist and French chocolatier Mademoiselle Chocolat during the exhibition.
2. Tribal Instinct
Discover society’s unconscious universality in photographer and flâneur extraordinaire, Hans Eijkelboom’s anti-sartorial publication People of the Twenty-First Century published by Phaidon

3. Desk sculpture
Haute-stationery from Japanese papermaker ITO Bindery for the aspiring curator – the recycled Memo Block is available at Please Do Not Enter

4. Adult Entertainment
Forgo the wood fire and turn up the heat over Robert Lazzarini’s distorted Puzzle series featuring images from 1970s porn - the limited edition of 50 jigsaw puzzles per design are produced by Brooklyn-based creative platform Grey Area

5. Child’s Play
Matt Austin Studio transforms our long-lost ephemera in the bottom of the junk drawer into a witty 8-piece collection of Chalk Ware for use or decoration - from Marc Jacobs Bookmarc

6. Stick your neck out
Be anything but square with this UNIQLO SPRZ NY X Keith Haring art bandana – available at UNIQLO stores worldwide

7. Light on your feet
ICNY defy the no-socks-for-Christmas code with these ‘Original Dot’ 3M reflective performance pair ideal for the urban athlete – available at ICNY Sport

8. Design Digit
For those who couldn’t give a festive f**k this holiday season, Maurizio Cattelan’s L.O.V.E Snow Globe is on (finger) point – available at MoMA Store

9. Model breakfast
Mark 2015’s highly anticipated return of designer John Galliano at the helm of cult fashion house Maison Martin Margiela with these alternative Fortune Eggs for a prosperous and stylish new year – by Maison Martin Margiela
10. Tea-total
Give the gift of wellness with this irresistible blend of loose leaf maté, green tea and lemongrass from the Detox collection at tea emporium Kusmi Tea

Images courtesy of Paul McCarthy, Phaidon, Please Do Not Enter, Grey Area, Marc Jacobs Bookmarc, UNIQLO, ICNY Sport, MoMA Store, Maison Martin Margiela and Kusmi Tea


Downtown Discovery

Earlier this month I ventured to Los Angeles to explore the city’s burgeoning creative scenes setting up in neighbourhoods from East to West across the city. Contemporary art and design activity have been attracting much attention in recent years with artists and designers relocating to LA’s expansive environment of not only matter, but of mind.
Before swapping London’s bitter chill for standard Californian fare of blue skies and November highs in the sun-kissed 80s, I made an appointment to visit a new retail destination located in the city’s urban quarter that is Downtown.  
Please Do Not Enter is a new-level concept store whose name would have been fitting only a few years ago when little life could be found in Downtown after working hours, let alone life-style. Riding the wave of the district’s renaissance, French founders Nicolas Libert and Emmanuel Renoird established their boutique-cum-gallery earlier this year and have been tempting customers to its penthouse headquarters filled with unique and exclusive contemporary art, design and fashion by international artisans and designers ever since.

As part of my continuing contributions of hotspots from the worlds of art and design, my visit to Please Do Not Enter is now available to discover on Melting Butter.

Look out for a more in-depth interview with Nicolas and Emmanuel who will feature on Melting Butter’s Curator’s Guide profile where they will discuss their meticulous collection and curation of art and lifestyle goods as well as their personal take on the cultural highlights of the city they now call home.
Follow my Twitter @jmvealrdi and Instagram @jonathanvelardi 
for more on Arts, Culture and Lifestyle from the www and beyond.

I Am Packed

The conceptually pragmatic blog for travellers and OCD-ers alike, I Am Packed recently featured the contents of my luggage before I headed to Los Angeles earlier this month. The site features an array of global travellers represented by their effortless compositions of belongings. From the monochrome to the multicoloured, I Am Packed is more methodical beauty rather than last-minute packing madness. Not to mention a little shameless display of one's wares - yes, that is a Jeff Koons beach towel. 
Find out what’s inside my luggage between LHR and LAX at I Am Packed and look out for future posts reporting on my visit to LA where I explored the alternative art and design scenes across the city here on the blog, my Twitter and Instagram 


Frank Bowling In Conversation

Amidst the Frieze furore of last week that reverberated across all corners of the capital, the stylish tranquillity of The Keeper’s House at the Royal Academy played host to an intimate evening in conversation with the artist and Royal Academician, Frank Bowling, OBE. Ahead of the abstract painter’s major exhibition opening this week at the Spritmuseum, Stockholm – home of the Absolut Art Collection - guests had the pleasure of being introduced to the exhibition’s curator Mia Sundberg, art historian Courtney J. Martin as well as critic and long-term friend of Bowling, Mel Gooding.

Traingone will showcase works produced in the artist’s New York and London studios between 1979 and 1996. The exhibition marks a resurgence of global attention that Bowling has received after his solo exhibition, Focus Display at Tate Britain in 2012.

The evening covered the artist’s colourful career that is famously reflected in his large-scale canvases. After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1962, Bowling left London for New York with a “longing to be in literary things” and found his feet within the contemporary literary scene of poets and writers resisidng in the metropolis. It was there Bowling first met fellow Brit Gooding who developed an interest in the artist’s work and his inspiration, which was rooted in the works of great English painters such as Gainsborough, Constable and Turner. Gooding described Bowling at the time of possessing, “an inner knowledge of the works of American artists as a British outsider” while armed with classical foundations. This quality allowed Bowling a freedom to experiment on the canvas unseen before on the New York art scene that saw various influences of geometry and plastic materials manipulated to create sculptural relief on the surface. Charismatically, Bowling describes his practice as being  “intent on making competitive imagery”, which has seen his poetically titled works go on display in a number of prominent international exhibitions and collections throughout his career.
Detail - Traingone (Mahaicony Abary), 1996
Lauded by Gooding as a “master of Colour Field painting’, Bowling’s kelaidescopic-scapes attract the viewer with colour and entice in contextual dynamism – a formula that has proved Bowling’s foresight and endurance in today’s competitive painting market.

The 78 year old artist continues to work between London and New York and is represented by Hales Gallery, London.

Traingone by Frank Bowling, OBE RA opens at the Spritmusem in Stockholm, Sweden on 23rd October 2014 and runs to 6th April 2015.

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