Family Phillumeny

Phillumeny is the hobby of collecting match-related items (don't ever say this blog never teaches you anything!) such as matchbooks, matchboxes, labels and covers. Coined by Marjorie S. Evans, president of the British Matchbox Label & Booklet Society in 1943, phillumeny is the act of collecting, and a phillumenist is a collector. The age of exploration runs parallel with the popularity of collecting matches - they acted as souvenirs when people travelled to exotic countries from the mid-nineteenth century and this is still very much the case today. Ever since I was a child I admired an old Chinese tea tin my parents would use to house their own collection of matches, each holding a memory of their travels around the world and it has inspired me to always be on the hunt for well designed matches with unusual typography. Not as easy as you think, but the more exotic the location the more unusual the matches are and I'm sure this resonates as much today as it did two-hundred years ago. Behold a very small selection of the hundreds of matches that are bursting out of the old tea tin - it was wonderful to link stories and memories with nearly everyone of the matchbooks and covers - I've tried to pick out the most interesting in terms of design and colourway...
There's always a favourite, and even though I was only a few years old at the time, this one is mine. My Father was on a business trip to Bangkok and each guest had their own personalised matchbox set at their dinner placement. What's so interesting is not only the font, its simplicity, or the fact that my Father's name is on the box: the red-foiling is still as vivid as it was the day it was made and that triggered all the memories of that particular trip all thanks to the old tea tin - a phillumenist's display cabinet it may not be, but a tin that collects and preserves so many memories is just as special.


37 Ways Of Looking

HEART (37 Mirrors), 2010 - 2100x1965x35mm
I was in Southall for the last time last week and thought I would take advantage of the unique space the warehouse offered on the industrial estate. Here are some more photographs of HEART (37 Mirrors) out from the darkness, independent from the installation on show in The Middle of Nowhere, and into the light.
Please contact jmvelardi@yahoo.co.uk if you would like more information about this work


A Family Factory

We've seen a lot of Mr. Jeff Koons this year and by that I mean the man as well as his work. Adding to the string of online interviews he's accepted to do in conjunction with the two exhibitions at the New Museum and at Gagosian Gallery in New York which he has both curated, Koons opens his studio doors to the cameras to feature in this Art:21 television series from PBS, Art:21 - Art in the Twenty-First Century. Filmed during the run up and conclusion of the artist's exhibition at the Chateau de Versailles, this "Fantasy" episode allows for us to hear a very honest and dedicated Koons on themes of money, value and taste. His approach to his 'family' of studio assistants is humbling, especially when you see his inflatables being operated on like patients in a surgery room with the greatest of care and affection.
View the preview clip here or visit Art:21 for more information of this series from Season 5.


The Good Times Are Bach

Cars, chicks and money have hardly been at the forefront of our minds when the words of recession ring fervently like an unwanted mantra. But if the luxury goods market is anything to go by, the economic barometer just notched up a few levels to read 'the good ol' days'. Surrealist director and photographer, David LaChapelle commented on our broken aspirations (and cars) at Art Basel Miami last year with his exhibition, Cars and Money - his new collaboration may be in the same vein but speaks a very different message. Behold the Maybach Zeppelin, a half a million pound sedan born from the automotive dynasty Daimler that was rumoured to have considered killing the brand due to slow sales in 2008. But with its concept launch at the Geneva Motor Show last year, Maybach has launched the Zeppelin's advertising campaigns, shot by LaChapelle, which features another dynastic icon - and conveniently haute-lifestyle-connoisseur - Daphne Guinness. The two-part campaign features the original 1931 Zeppelin DS 8, set in a gatsby-esque tableaux, and the new mammoth sedan in the other, that centres Guinness in both time frames as a symbol of bridging the past with the present, as she is well known for doing with her own style. But is it too soon to return to our unashamedly ostentatious ways? Could we be seeing the Zeppelin seductively placed in the music videos of young rappers again? If the Maybach is back, then maybe the good times are not as far away as we thought...


Plastic Fantastic

"The Invisibles" is a new range of pieces released by Kartell, designed by Japanese designer, Tokujin Yoshioka. The Italian furniture company is world renowned for their clean, plastic-take on contemporary furniture but Yoshioka has breathed a new direction in the company with his designs - the polycarbonate pieces that include seating and tables ooze lightness through transparency, yet stand solidly in their block forms which is a style that has never been accomplished with such finesse. An installation of the range is due to be exhibited at Kartell's flagship store in Milan next month and I can guarantee The Invisibles will be invincible on the market once they launch.


Me... On Pattern

I have to be honest with you - I didn't think that on my 92nd post for this blog, there would even be a 92nd post, let alone have the feelings that I have grown towards the world wide blogosphere. My blog has played such an important role for me on both a personal and professional level and with only a few entries to go before I hit the landmark-100, it is particularly touching to be noted for my 'cultural eye' by curatorial platform INTRODUCING for their new issue, An Archetype of Aesthetics, on Pattern. I have written five blog-entries for Issue IX exploring the theme of pattern in my own very unique way, so please visit the site and enjoy fellow artist, writer and friend, Nicola McCartney's essay, The Repeated Pattern as well as the other articles for your patterned-pleasure.

Estate Of Art

Door Knockers: Bigger Better, 2010 - Digital animation


Preview: The Middle Of Nowhere

The Middle of Nowhere: Objects and Actions in the Abyss opens tomorrow night at 6 Trident Way, International Trading Estate, London UB2 5LF - opening reception from 6.30-9.30pm, exhibition runs from 6th-10 March - visit Departure Gallery for further information - looking forward to seeing you all there!


Going Down On Market And Washington

Following my previous post on billboards in L.A. I couldn't help but share this news-worthy item going down in Newark, New Jersey. The billboard in question - on the corner of Market and Washinton streets - is for rapper T.I.'s clothing line, Akoo Jeans, and the campaign has been the cause of much furore with its depiction of a woman's head held against a man's low-hanging, unbuttoned jeans. The city's Mayor Booker has even expressed his concerns with the sexy campaign, wanting to distance the city from the controversial image to avoid damaging public perception, reigniting the equally controversial issue of low-rise jeans popular with American urban youth-culture. The power of the billboard is back and publicity like this is priceless. But to truly appreciate this story, I'm going to leave you with Carolina Leid from ABC7 Eyewitness News to give you a heads up.


Kenneth Anger - Beverly Dr, north of Pico Blvd
How Many Billboards? Art In Stead launched over the weekend in Los Angeles in association with The MAK Center for Art and Architecture. This exciting project sees 21 commissioned works by leading contemporary artists to be displayed on billboards throughout the city. Billboard-culture plays an important part of L.A.'s character and dominates the urban landscape - Director, Kimberli Meyer believes the injection of contemporary art from the likes of Kenneth Anger and Martha Rosler will gain, "... a momentarily broad audience, and city dwellers are extended a daily invitation to reflect and contemplate", in contrast to the commercial speech that usually fills the urban skies. Projects like this make me very excited and hopefully a similar vision will be adopted by British institutions and hit London soon.
Click here to view a city map for locations of the works as well as information of bus tours that will run throughout the month.
Kori Newkirk - Wilshire Blvd, west of Hoover St