200th Post!

What a splendid way to mark the end of another year. I can't take credit for planning this out, but it just so happens this is officially my 200th Post - it feels like only yesterday when I hit the 100 mark. So, before the New Year cometh when I will be taking a Winter pause, I would like to thank everyone who has visited jonathanvelardi.blogspot.com, got in touch and supported my work and writing and I wish you all the very best for 2011. I will be welcoming in another decade in new environments with good friends, full of inspiration and exciting ideas on a distant island I have wanted to visit for many, many years. I'm making sure 2011 get's off to a good start and I hope you will be too.

Here's something for the '2010-2011 Party Track' from Japanese lifestyle legend Takashi Murakami featuring Kirsten Dunst that's already got me jumping around the room... see you in 2011!

Burning Desire

We've travelled, we've congregated, we've eaten and some of us have even prayed a little, all in the name of Christmas. I've had a lot to think about this season; whether I should succumb to 'tradition' (or should that read detention?) and celebrate with people I see once a year, only to end up doing and talking about the same things as if on script, or not celebrate in this manner by default and be with friends who I genuinely want to see and catch up with. Dilemma? It doesn't have to be, and it wasn't when I decided the holiday season is called holiday for a reason. My very own Nightmare before, during and after Christmas was never to be. It felt great! Hardly revolutionary I know, but when you think about what Christmas and all its trimmings has become over the years, I'm opting out - this year, next year and forever Amen. I've sadly witnessed the act of gift-giving more of a necessity than a genuine sentiment, like a material currency that was only intended for visual effect under the 'perfect' tree so it could be exchanged or returned the following day for something more 'perfect' ... less Christmas spirit, more in the name of Christmas I think. Half of you reading this will either have already forged across the post-Christmas war zones of department stores while the other half will have watched in amusement at the sight of people worshiping a large red sign with white letters reading 'SALE' like a Barbara Kruger performance in motion. It was appropriate therefore, when I came across the work of Claire Fontaine and her current exhibition, Consumption, at Helena Papadopoulos Gallery in Athens, Greece. The mixed media installation revolves around a wall piece which the show is named after. Created out of one-hundred thousand match-sticks, the word 'CONSUMPTION' engulfs the space, drawing you in to discover its material genetics. Fontaine's practice looks at the conditions of contemporary living where consumption has become a main activity as well as a personal destiny. In the same way life is temporal, the work and it's fragility to burn away produces a strong message that perfectly reflects what we are seeing in the media over this period which is sadly, all in the name of Christmas
For more information about the exhibition that runs to the 15th January 2011 as well as the artist's work visit the gallery's website here.


Christmas By Appointment

A British tradition from a British institution - Her Majesty The Queen's Speech 2010...


Happy Holidays!

Have a Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays everyone!
Love from jonathanvelardi.blogspot.com XOXO


Long Live The King

Last week saw the end of one of the most watched television programmes around the world. When I was a child, my parents did a lot of travelling and whether we were in countries that spoke a language we knew or not, a recurring memory that I have is watching CNN, first thing in the morning and the last thing at night in our hotel room. Before the era of every television network having their own news channel, before tweeting and live streaming, CNN was the go-to for news and Larry King was the host of his very own interview show. Larry King Live pioneered the boundaries of interview formats with an intimate set that saw King's international guests from the world's leaders of politics to celebrity face to face with his famously hard questions that often lead to breaking news. I will never forget King's trademark suspenders or the iconic lit backdrop of a world map that survived any radical design changes throughout the show's twenty-five year career. December 16th aired the final edition of Larry King Live - it is unknown how King's British replacement, Piers Morgan, will be received with his own interview show on the network in the New Year. One thing is for sure, it takes twenty-five successful years to become a legend and with the outputs of media forever changing with the speed of technology, it is certain that in its own space and time, there was and will only be one Larry King. Follow the show's on air career, now off air but always online at CNN.


Celebrate with Smith & Lowles

If you're finding it hard to get into the festive spirit this year, leave it to my good friends Smith & Lowles to get you 'rockin' around the Christmas tree' in their latest and greatest film, Seasons Greetings Love Smith & Lowles (2010) - visit their official website here for more virtual views of the world by this talented New York-based partnership.


Giving Good Face

It is every model and personality's dream to become 'the Face of' for a luxury brand. Every year sees the ratio of model to celebrity who front major advertising campaigns in the luxury market rise, only to be followed by media spin of how much retouching was needed to make said celebrity cover-worthy. From your Bonos to Madonnas, Clooneys and Kidmans, there is no value to what a face can do to a brand. 

So while it is not uncommon for a charitable cause to be associated with these celebrities and their lucrative contracts, Switzerland's luxury watchmaker Hublot is on the pulse with a very unique direction for it's latest campaign - its new and not-so-perfect face has only just recently been in the media in the last two weeks. Unfortunately it had nothing to do with Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One empire but of news that he was attacked by four men in Central London. With nearly £200,000 stolen, Ecclestone was nonchalant about the incident saying,
"I can understand people wanting to rob me when they are poor and they want some things for the kids with Christmas coming along, but what they did was unnecessary."

Even though the eighty-year-old's face told another story, it was precisely these horrific injuries that Ecclestone decided to contact Hublot and suggest the brand should use his Police booking photograph to advertise the company's official watch of Formula One, which also happened to be the one Ecclestone was wearing at the time of the attack. While the campaign also states to condemn all forms of violence and racism, ever the entrepreneur, a tag line from Ecclestone reads, 'See what people will do for a Hublot'.
Desire, luxury and wit without a trace of retouching: the perfect formula for an iconic campaign. Bravo Bernie!


Souvenirs For All Seasons

For members of the art pack who have left Art Basel Miami over the weekend only to realise all you brought back was a good tan on your return, fret not. You may not have invested in a canvas by KAWS or a tricked out hummer by my new favourite artist Jeremy Dean, but you can bag a Buren just in time for the holiday season. 
As I reported back in October, Daniel Buren has collaborated with luxury French fashion house Hermès to produce a body of work titled Photos-souvenirs au Carré that were inspired by his travel photographs from around the world, which have been printed onto the luxury house's sought after silk.

Hermès.com has just launched an insight into Buren's production process as well as information of a boxed set of the entire collection of three-hundred and sixty-five scarves that will include a catalogue published by Editions Xavier Barralwhich will no doubt be on the top of many a collector's wish list. Just remember, art is not just for Christmas, it's for all three-hundred and sixty-five days of the year...

The ultimate gift that keeps giving every day of the year...
Images courtesy of Tadzio