Monthly Archives: September 2012

God Hates Flags (No He Doesn’t)

Dear Flags,

You’re all over the place these days. I started obsessing when I saw this image from Design Sponge. Of course, the whole thing is reliant on how aged and full of history that flag is. This Ikea Malm Bed looks totally cool because it’s surrounded by that great flag and a bunch of other awesome stuff.

This barn exists on Highway 41, outside my hometown of Yosemite Village, California. I’ve always been fascinated with it, even though it was probably painted by crazy xenophobes who run around accusing everyone of being terrorists.

You know how sometimes you’re like “I want distinctive and interesting drapery!” and then you can’t find any. Well these people just used an old flag and it looks great. Let this be a lesson to you.

This look is a little more clean, modern, and Jasper Johns-y, but it works well with the all-white decor in this room.

And now onto a flag that I like even more than the American flag. The Californian flag. Everyone who knows me knows I am a blowhard about the fact that California is the best state in the Union. And our flag, with its adorable fluffy bear, is the best flag in the world. Here is the original one:

Here is another vintage flag. The font is a lot more delicate than the current one.

And this girl. She’s all “Hay, I moved to California because I’m blonde!” The frame on the flag makes it a lot more elegant.

This is a painting of the flag. Pretty adorable.

If you’ve ever been to California, you know most of our time is spent on the back of vintage vehicles, driving around clad in Levi’s, quoting Walt Whitman whilst enjoying the vast natural landscape of our great Golden State. Because none of us have jobs or responsibilities, we spend the entirety of our lives celebrating our freedom whilst listening to Joni Mitchell.

And so when I found an awesome vintage California flag I was excited. I hung it in my bedroom above my bed.

My boyfriend was all “I think we should clean this.” And I was all “Duh. Like me, the fact that this flag is dirty and tattered is what makes it so cool.” This flag has been loved so much, has flown high above a California schoolhouse, and now lives happily above my bed.

I love the face the bear is making. He’s like, “Oh my god did you know Rianna’s name is actually pronounced “REE-ANNA?” Gross. I liked her so much more when I thought it was pronounced “REE-ONNA.” It’s a scientific fact that our state bear is totally sassy.

Each night, before I go to bed, I pledge allegiance to the flag of California. Mainly because it provides so many wonderful decorative applications.

Love,
Orlando

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Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend

Dear Diary,

Yesterday I donated my car to KPCC, my favorite radio station. This is quite an easy thing to do and I highly recommend it if you A) have a car to get rid of and B) care about supporting news that isn’t sensationalistic propaganda (i.e. most mainstream news). The car was still drivable but needed so many expensive repairs that keeping it no longer made sense. And because it needed so many repairs I worried about the karmic repercussions of selling it to an individual buyer. Thus, I found myself yesterday morning clearing the car of all my belongings, shoving them all into those large blue Ikea bags. At which point I started crying.  Ugly sobbing all over the place. Tears of absolute loss and sorrow.

At first I didn’t really understand what I was so upset about. The car was clearly no longer practical for me and was sucking my already starving bank account even drier. But this is the irrationality of our relationship with objects. My 1999 Cross Country Volvo Station Wagon was no longer just my car. It was a trusted old friend. One that sometimes let me down but was always there for me.

I’ve been driving the Volvo since I was 16. My parents bought the car my senior year of high school and to me it was the epitome of Northern California glamour. With its supple leather interior, dazzling moonroof, and keyless entry, it was the most luxurious car my family had ever owned. Because my disgusting high school was a 1.5 hour drive from my house, I often ended up taking that car to school (my own car was a 20-year-old Volvo station wagon that couldn’t be trusted in the snow). The drive to school was treacherous, down the curvy Highway 140, a scenic highway nestled in the Merced Canyon. Whenever I drove that car I felt protected and safe, as Volvos are known for their sturdy structure and endless safety features.

In the years I lived back East for college and New York the Volvo was my California car, the car I drove every time I came home. In this period it represented home, familiarity. For native Californians living in New York there is nothing more comforting than returning to California and driving on our beautiful country roads, going to the grocery market and parking right in front without having to worry about schlepping your groceries ten humid blocks to get home. The Volvo represented this kind of Californian mobility, liberation from the cramped New York lifestyle.

My parents passed down the Volvo to me in 2010, after a year of tragic occurrences, the year my nephew died, the year my best friend lost her father. 2010 was the saddest year of my life. It was also the year I was cast to be on an HGTV show called Secrets From A Stylist. A job that changed my life completely while introducing me to one of my closest friends. My parents gave me the car because I needed it for work. Because I had just come back from New York and had no car. And because I was just recovering from an incredibly frustrating year of career downturns and personal loss.

I received the Volvo when I really needed it, and my parents act of giving at that time is representative to me of all they worked to give me my whole life, the amazing childhood they provided me. The excursions we took together, the freedom to talk about what we wanted to talk about, the encouragement to follow our interests. The car was just another example of the care I received throughout my childhood. And for this reason the car was no longer just a car. The car was love.

When objects stop being objects and start being the physical manifestation of relationships and history, getting rid of them can be incredibly painful. This is probably one of the reasons so many people struggle with hoarding, fear of losing the past, history. So today I am mourning the loss of an old friend and family member. I miss the Volvo.

Moving on to brighter territory, I did something I never thought I’d do. I bought a Prius. True, they are totally ugly. And true, they don’t have the cargo space that a Volvo has. But they get amazing gas mileage. As someone who drives a ton for work, I’m saving a lot on gas money while doing something small to show I care about the impending doom of global warming. Plus, my Prius is my favorite color, navy blue:

I don’t think I’ll ever have the personal attachment for the Prius that I had for the Volvo. The Prius wasn’t there for me in high school and it never welcomed me back from New York. But the Volvo will always represent my teens and twenties. And now that I’m 30, it’s time to move on to the next chapter.

Love,
Orlando

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Around The Apartment: Let’s Paint Something!

Dear Diary,

Lately I’ve been working at home a lot. Sometimes I love working from home. I can drink coffee all day whilst listening to NPR and not wearing any pants. But sometimes it makes me feel like a crazy person. The late summer heat makes me feel restless and being alone all day with only Facebook chat and the crisp, clear voice of Lachshmi Singh to keep me company can totally isolating. Thus, I’ve decided to go back to my roots as a lunatic artist. I figure if I have to be alone all day I might as well become a weirdo recluse that makes dumb paintings and spends the rest of the day rearranging pots of succulents. That is pretty much what I do anyway so this wont be a major change of pace for me.

This is what my dining room looks like right now. Mess. Kind of like your mom.

According to my scientific calculations, I like the color blue.

My glamourous (and clever) friend World-Famous Interior Designer Matthew Lanphier had this canvas in his living room, waiting for me to paint it. In the interim, he put some vinyl lettering on it and hung it above his sofa. Let this be a lesson to everyone. If you don’t have an artist friend you can manipulate into making a painting for you, just think of something witty and write it on a blank canvas with vinyl letters (you can get these at any hardware store). This will make people think you are smart and popular and everyone will want to be your friend.

For some unknown reason my new thing is painting geometric shapes and juxtaposing them against organic, watercolored fields of color. I have no idea what this means but it probably has something to do with the fact that I was raised in the middle of the woods but always wanted to have pores so tiny that it looked like my skin was made out of plastic.

This is what my bedroom looked like until this morning. I was never really satisfied with the composition of the art on the wall but I didn’t know what to do so I just lived with it. Kind of like Katie Holmes lived with Tom Cruise for five years before she ran screaming and flailing from the house.

I used to be obsessed with gallery walls and wanted to put them everywhere. But I’m sort of getting tired of them and now I just want enormous paintings everywhere. Collected gallery walls have their place, but you just can’t beat a big ass painting.

This is what the bedroom looks like now. I made this painting for Matthew Lanphier but now I kind of want it for myself. I hate it when that happens.

I had to put the painting in my bedroom because I loved it so much I wanted to sleep with it. Wink.

I’m also experimenting with having this gigantic cactus in my bedroom. I know it’s terrifying, but I love how sculptural it is. Plus, I grew it from a baby and I’m really proud of how big it’s gotten. I’ve had it since I was sixteen. Which wont be any consolation when it falls over on my face one night while I’m sleeping and I have to wear a Phantom of the Opera mask for the rest of my life.

How pretty is this succulent? The bright color makes me so happy I want to bite it in half.

A fun fact about me is that I am dating a convict and he stole this succulent and gave it to me. Part of that story is true (but I wont tell which part).

Like most modern homosexuals, I like to casually display books and plants to let people know that I not only love literature, I also love nature.

I made this piece for my kitchen. You really can’t go wrong with a pink painting. Ever.

I found this mask at Goodwill for $5 and fell in love with it. I have no idea where it’s from because I’m not a professional anthropologist but it looks like it could be from Mexico.

Perhaps I haven’t solved the issues of boredom and isolation that come with working from home, but at least I have a few more things to ogle while I do. And what is the point of life if it isn’t to sit by yourself, ogling the objects around you that will never be able to replace actual human companionship?

Love,
Orlando

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I’d Like To Rub These Tiles All Over My Face. And Yours.

Dear Homeowners,

Do you ever find yourself staring at your boring white tile, wondering why you’re wasting your life on such blandness? Well, you should be. Adding a bit of hand painted glamour to a room is guaranteed to make you at least 16% happier. Just look at this boring white kitchen made fun with a pop of color in the tile over the stove. Also, that little boy is drinking whiskey, don’t tell anyone.

Tile may not be the warmest, most inviting material to rest your feet on, but it sure is pretty to look at.

If this were my bathroom floor I’d spend every day of my life rolling around on it, thinking about how lucky I was to have such a gorgeous floor to roll around on.

If this were my backsplash I’d be a woman. A really cool woman.

I took a field trip recently to check out some tiles at the Pacific Design Center. Tile is the kind of material you have to see in person to appreciate, especially if it’s the hand-painted Moroccan variety, which I’ve decided is my favorite.

These lovely tiles come from Creative Environments at the PDC.

These exciting examples are from Claesson Koivisto for Marrakech Design. I want to rub them all over my face forever and ever.

Kismet Tile, a Los Angeles company, makes these crazy/amazing geometric designs.

So hurry. You only live once. And time is limited to cover every surface in your whole entire house with luxurious hand-painted tiles.

Love,
Orlando

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