Silk Snaps

Following in the footsteps of Josef Albers and Daniel Buren (Souvenirs For All Seasons, December 2010) Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto makes his mark on silk - a material synonymous with none other than French luxury house, Hermès. The limited edition large format print measuring fifty-five inches square will be inspired by the photographer’s Color of Shadow series with a selection of twenty Polaroid colour gradations that will be printed by ink-jet - a similar process adopted by Buren for his collaboration - on one hundred and forty silk twill scarves. The limited edition series will consist of seven style variations and contribute to the Hermès Editeur project that bridges the creative studios of arts and crafts onto wearable textiles of quality since 2008. Hermès X Hiroshi Sugimoto will officially be presented at Art Basel contemporary art fair this June.

Visit the World of Hermès for more information and click here for the artist's official website.

Introducing... Jonathan Velardi X Studio Velardi

Dear readers, Winter in Britain is firmly behind us and I think the saying ‘coming out of hibernation’ is rather appropriate given the recent Spring heat here on the Isles as well as the fact I have neglected my trusty blog of late. But I assure you there is good reason and I am therefore very excited to announce the redesign of my website jonathanvelardi.com  where all my online activity may now be found in one place. Art, Culture & Lifestyle Writing, Contemporary Art and my #highlife and #lowlife Blog and Twitter accounts are all represented in a new and fresh homepage design.
In addition, I have been working very hard over the last few months in setting up my own creative design enterprise under my personal direction. I have wanted to create a commercial arm of my professional practice for some time and I am very proud to introduce you all to this new line of design-based production that will evolve from commercial and private commissions and projects to merchandise and limited edition product under STUDIO VELARDI.

New logo for a new brand: Studio Velardi
A collection of environmentally friendly stationery will inaugurate the launch of Studio Velardi and will hopefully be available at a stockist near you in 2012. While it is too early to divulge details, I am particularly happy to say Studio Velardi is working on several projects later in the year and I look forward to sharing this news in the near future. So until then, please join the mailing list and follow @studiovelardi on Twitter for the latest updates or get in touch for all enquiries about my design services and products at info@studiovelardi.com


Toile De Pomp & Pop Culture

The walls of Kensington Palace may have a wealth of stories to tell of its royal occupants since the seventeenth century; William III, the young Queen Victoria and Princess Margaret, however it is unquestionably recognized for its symbolic role adopted by the public as a place of tribute after the tragic death of Diana, The Princess of Wales in 1997. The sea of flowers and sentiments outside the late Princess’s home are some of the most iconic images of the twentieth century and has since shaped public behaviour towards celebrity and Monarchy alike.
Tomorrow the doors of Kensington Palace will reopen after a year-long twelve million pound restoration project in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Olympic Games, launching with the exhibitionDiana: Glimpses Of A Modern Princess. Installed in Apartment 1A where the late Princess resided, and scheduled to be the future home of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge next year, the exhibition will reflect some of the most important and memorable moments in Diana’s public life and will focus on her iconic fashion and style. If the Grace Kelly: Image Of A Movie Star at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London or The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is anything to go by, fashion sells both on the streets as well as in the galleries and will undoubtedly be a sell out show for Historical Royal Palaces who run the royal residence in West London.
Dresses aside, the curators of the exhibition were intent to avoid a formal institutional display, perhaps conscious of the creative expectations that such showstoppers now command, and have commissioned contemporary illustrator Julie Verhoeven to produce a modern toile based on moments throughout the Princess’s life, incorporated into a wallpaper repeat pattern in a graphic collage in watercolour.
Diana with newborn Prince William
Drawing from photographs of Diana’s engagement announcement to Prince Charles, subsequent wedding, royal tours around the world and the last portraits to be shot by Mario Testino as well as architectural elements that resemble that of the palace or from Althorp, the resting place of the Princess at her ancestral home, Verhoeven employs her trademark technique to introduce a contemporary atmosphere within a loaded historical setting of both pomp and pop culture. While if a little naïve and childlike given the context of a woman in her prime, the style is resolutely Nineties, similar to the bright kitsch children’s wallpaper that I remember from the decade that was to be Diana’s last.
Diana shot by Mario Testino
Printed by hand in England by interiors firm and royal warrant holders Cole and Son who produce traditional period designs, the wallpaper will be installed throughout the exhibition in the palace’s State Rooms and will reflect the lasting influence in style and history of the Mother of the future King of England: whether this is the grande finale of a commercial chapter past in order to allow for chapters anew to evolve in the highs and lows of the dynasty of the Windsors is still to be seen. For now, memories of the past fuel what is a record period of public popularity and a right royal renaissance in the year where the matriarch of the British Monarchy celebrates sixty years on the throne.

Diana: Glimpses Of A Modern Princess
26th April - 31st August 2012
Kensington Palace
Kensington Gardens
London W8 4PX


Luxury Escape

One hundred and sixty five years of beauty, design and innovation is immortalized into a panther and encapsulated over two years to create a three and half minute film of the history of Cartier through a contemporary lens. In an international media campaign to celebrate the French jewellers' anniversary of luxury creation, L’Odyssée de Cartier takes viewers onto a fantasy CGI journey through the environs of St Petersburg and across India to China, following the brand's synonymous panthère to its birthplace at Place Vendôme, Paris, all while being in the comfort of one’s own home. Directed by Bruno Aveillan with Paris agency Marcel and an epic score by Pierre Adenot make up the exclusive ingredients that one expects from a brand whose clients include royalty and celebrity, past and present: credentials that crown an iconic brand who will hopefully be providing dreams for centuries to come. 
Escape the monotonous advertising of the everyday here…


Pages in Time

The polar opposite of stability must be the laborious act of moving home. When you have drugged your possessions as many times as I have, as if by magic that cardboard box suddenly transforms itself into a perfectly acceptable chest of drawers or side table and one surrenders, with little will left, to the cardboard-house-lifestyle that you have only just avoided or crossed over the street from when walking back home, albeit yours is under a roof. 
I have realised there are items that make the last-in and first-out from my mobile side table - a habitual hierarchy of sorts; my most cherished photo frames, a fedora that was gifted to me when I used to live in Chicago (if it’s made it this far, a house move is not going to stand in its crease-free way) a pair of highball glasses and a gin bottle (moving is thirsty work) and lastly, my Keith Haring tome. This is no paperback and as someone who is known for their packing etiquette – heavy items at the bottom – I find myself keeping this weighty publication for last and first out. Is it the grinning triclops on the cover? The graffiti characters that dance around the page edges? The instant gratification of turning through the five hundred-plus pages of the artist’s colourful career? Put simply, it’s everything and much more. It lives on top of my old school trunk and as I work at my desk on my computer, all three eyes on the cover burn a hole in the side of my head and invite me for much needed distraction into a world of prolific artistic expression - the deep end of the inspiration pool for anyone interested in the birth of public art, street culture and graphic allegory that was pioneered by Haring in the late-twentieth century.
Keith Haring - Rizzoli, 2008
Today sees the opening of the first exhibition that explores the artist’s early career in Keith Haring: 1978-1982 at the Brooklyn Museum. With over three hundred objects and works on paper, experimental videos and a rare presentation of Haring’s personal sketchbooks and journals, which encapsulate the everyday life that inspired the artist, the exhibition guarantees to be an exciting journey into the art scene, subcultures and politics of New York City in the early Eighties through the eyes of an energised nineteen year old artist. Haring’s focus on bringing his recognisable style out of his studio and onto the streets is an important shift in viewing art as well as its accessibility to a wider commercial audience which is of particular interest in respect to my own art practice. What has to be one of the best uses of social media to date, in conjunction with the exhibition, The Keith Haring Foundation has created a Tumblr site and is posting pages from the artist’s journals every day up to the closing of the show. Lists, photographs and sketches make up the intimate visuals that inspired a young Haring who was at the beginning of creating a vocabulary of signs and codes that he was later to become famous for. Like anyone who knows they have a good thing going for them, Haring writes in his Secret Code Book No. 138QT,
 “DANGER: keep out of reach of enemy agents and spies!!”

Thanks to the work of The Keith Haring Foundation, the late artist’s work is as provocative and relevant today as it was during his lifetime and continues to work on a number of contemporary collaborations and projects from the worlds of design and fashion - most recently Garage Magazine x Haring, Comme des Garçons OriginalHaring and ColetteCase Scenario x Haring to name only a few - that attests to the graphic expression of the everyday into a symbolic legacy, page by page.  

Written by Jeffrey Deitch and Julia Gruen
Edited by Suzanne Geiss
Published by Rizzoli, 2008

Keith Haring: 1978-1982
16th March - 8th July 2012
Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn, New York
Images courtesy of The Keith Haring Foundation


Peel Slowly & Use

Keith Haring
Launching with its second issue at the beginning of this year’s international Fashion Weeks, Garage Magazine proves it's much more than high art, high fashion and high life. Dedicated to Sex & Relationships, Issue No. 2 has a lot riding on it – we all remember the release of Issue No. 1 last year with its intimate Damien Hirst installation & interactive cover (Peel Slowly & SeeAugust 2011) – but what with the continuing debates during the American presidential election and current state of affairs in England over gay marriage, the issue that also looks at internet dating and fertilisation technology is very much on the political pulse, and if the content doesn’t get your pulse racing then the issue’s artist-designed condoms may very well get you in the mood. Mat Collishaw, Keith Haring, Sue Webster and Tim Noble have all contributed their own conceptual take on the condom wrappers, which can be found in every new issue of the magazine and proves that no surface is safe from high art. 
 Mat Collishaw
 Sue Webster
Tim Noble
Garage No. 2 Magazine is out now at newsstands.


Marketing La Marque

The doors of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris open to the public toady for the Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs exhibition that explores the French fashion house’s journey from the epitome of utility during the industrial age of travel in the mid-nineteenth century to the status symbol of luxury, which the brand is celebrated for today. Monsieur Louis Vuitton reacted to the needs of an era by starting his business as a packer in 1854, producing lightweight, water-resistant trunks that symbolized the cultural motions of high society and the birth of a brand. The infamous 'LV' monogram was created in 1896 and travelled around the world wherever its owners went. 
That very monogram continues to be produced today and has appropriated even greater socio-symbolic meaning under Marc Jacobs as the brand’s Creative Director since 1997. The exhibition draws parallels between the two men and ultimately looks at the marketing strategies that the house of Louis Vuitton has pioneered for over a century. The fashion pack will swoon over cuts and cloth but Jacobs’ collaborations with international contemporary artists will have the art crowd hooked on works by Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, Stephen Sprouse and Yayoi Kusama to name a few, who have injected another layer on top of the iconic monogram: from illustrations and graffiti, to text and dots. Fashion’s relationship with popular culture has no doubt been a reaction to the once-conceptual direction Jacobs introduced to his well-travelled, culture-rich customers that is now commonplace in the luxury sector. The brand’s most recent collaborator is filmmaker Christian Bosrtlap who has been commissioned by online luxury lifestyle platform NOWNESS to create a short that will be screened at the exhibitIon, depicting this very idea of travel through the luxury brand’s heritage and reinvention of its iconic style throughout the centuries that is uniquely la marque Louis Vuitton.
Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs opens today at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and runs to 16th Septemebr 2012 - click here to view Borstlap’s short, Louis Vuitton I in full.
Film stills courtesy of NOWNESS