Category Archives: Art

Whut Glamour: The Dual Worlds of Matin Zad

Dear Tappan Collective,

I love your site which features affordable art by emerging artists. I was especially taken with the work of Matin Zad, a New York fashion photographer whose work is just captivating. He’s done some great collaborations with brands I love (Levi’s, etc). His original works are also lovely. Just quiet and simple and evocative. Basically what my dreams look like. The world he creates has an interesting duality to it. It’s a combination of beauty/elegance/glamour with awkward/uncomfortable/weird. The combination works, making it hard to look away from these images.

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You can see more of Matin’s work on his website and on the Tappan Collective Website.

Love,
Orlando

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Whut Beauty: The Photo Diary of John Arsenault

Photographs by John Arsenault

Dear John Arsenault,

Say what you will about Facebook, but sometimes it can be such a great tool for discovery. Just the other day, I was sifting through the vast stream of Gay shirtless pics, life-is-glamourous-I’m-somewhere-expensive status updates, and countless Buzzfeed GIF-list posts and I came across, as if by miracle, one of your images. I was immediately entranced. I love how quiet, mysterious, and ravishingly beautiful your work is. The following is a mixup of pieces from your visual diary and photos from your various exhibitions. I love it all so much that I want to bite it. With my mouth.

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Thanks for the lovely work. I certainly will be continually checking the John Arsenault Photography site for updates.

Love,
Orlando

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What Glamour: Jeremy Maz’s Kaleidescope Series

Dear Travel Diary,

I’ve been running all over New York, working at the Homepolish HQ and looking at art (check out my Insta). Once I start looking at art I can’t stop, so here’s an LA artist who has been on my radar for a while. He’s a photogrpher, and I love his Kaleidescope series. See below:

He also works with video, and created this piece to accompany the above images:

You can view more of his work on his website, JeremyMaz.com.

Love,
Orlando

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D.I.Why? How To Make A Giant Paint-By-Numbers

Photographs by Sean Gin 

Dear Reader,

Are you curious how I made this giant painting?

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And then stuck it in my normal-size bedroom?

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Read the full story on Refinery29! More shots of the finished bedroom next week!

Love,
Orlando

Miss the refinery link before? It’s RIGHT HERE!

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Whatever You Did in Palm Springs Last Weekend Robert Smith & His Friends Did It Better

Dear Robert Smith,

I saw the above image on my friend Jeffery’s Facebook and I just had to see more. Apparently you shot an awesome series of masked portraits in Palm Springs a few weeks back and I’m just loving the results. I’m not going to blabber too much about these images, I think they speak for themselves, but I’m glad you made them. Enjoy!

Thanks!

Love,
Orlando

PS: A mini artist’s statement, from Robert Smith
“My interest in shooting masked portraits began after a weekend marathon of watching the 90′s TV show Twin Peaks. That crazy town is filled with loads of darkness and mystery. The idea of hiding, or holding back a person’s identity appeals to me. You need a new set of cues to interpret what you’re seeing, of who you’re seeing. Nothing is as it seems. I hope each photo writes its own story.”

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The Glamourphotography of Sean Gin

Dear World,

This is Sean Gin. I found him when I put out a call for an intern. Much to my surprise, he turned out not to be a crazy psychopath like everyone else on the internet. The only thing crazy about him is his talent. Like me, he studied art at a fancy, pushy, competitive university and, like me, he has perfect taste in everything all the time. He is a very talented photographer I fell in love with his series of square format photographs of California. They take a strangely removed, alienated view of California that is still gorgeous and enthralling. The images give me an “I want to go there but I’m scared” feeling. Shot all over the Golden State, these photographs capture a quiet, lonely, beautiful world.

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I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. In fact, I command you to enjoy them. Right this very minute! Enjoy the rest of your week!

Love,
Orlando

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Whut Glamour: Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair

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Dear Printed Matter,

I first fell in love with you when Buzz Spector, my book-art-obsessed college professor, introduced me to you sophomore year. Now no trip to New York is complete without a visit to your Chelsea store (which, uncoincidentally, is around the corner from my old apartment on 21st street). Thus, I was delighted to hear about the LA Art Book Fair you hosted over the weekend at the Geffen Contemporary. The fair itself was exhausting, a giant space filled with tiny, fascinating objects from limited edition books to handmade zines and weird art t-shirts. But still totally worth a look.

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There was a sizable Queer Zine section, which made me laugh because the whole place felt like the queer zine section. Lots of gay books all over the place. In other homosexual news, I saw Jake Shears (from Scissor Sisters) there and he is just as adorable in real life as he is in your dreams. In case you forgot, Jake Shears looks like this:

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He was, however, wearing clothing at the book fair. Sadly. Unlike these guys:

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I kind of want a t-shirt that says “I’d rather be reading.” Like, as a joke.

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I’m actually very into this color blocking around these framed photos, I would totally do this in a home space. Also, this particular color of blush pink speaks to me. I’ve been seeing it all over and I kind of want to paint a room that color.

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The fair was overwhelming because there were so many beautiful, interesting books to ogle. The Geffen is a large space, so my eyes were practically popping out of my head as I wandered from room to room, trying to take it all in.

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How much do you want that Acid Rain balloon? Like to give to a little kid who doesn’t know how to read yet…

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A friend of mine named Jimmy. Who has a magazine called Jimmy.

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Another friend of mine, John Parot, made these beautiful glossy zines with pretty boys and pretty interiors.

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I kind of want to do that crazy postcard gallery wall somewhere in my apartment.

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I was obsessed with everything at the Hell To Pay table, much of which can be purchased online (hint hint!).

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I snagged a zine from the Sensitive Boys booth, because, you know, duh.

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Anyone who knows me and my fun body dysmorphia knows why I had to have this t-shirt.

The Art Book Fair will be back next year. Until then, I will be remembering this one warmly. All those books I fondled. All those Gay zines I stared at. All those art-people wearing art-fashions. Truly heaven on earth.

Love,
Orlando

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Homme/Maker: Richard Haines

Photography by Jill Ulicney

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Dear Travel Diary,

I came to New York with one goal in mind. To meet people I find inspiring. And I really lucked out. One of my favorite artists is an illustrator named Richard Haines and he agreed to meet with me. I discovered his work a few years ago in the New York Times  style section. I quickly became obsessed with his fashion illustrations. The beauty of his work comes in its gesture, how a few simple lines create movement, weight. He’s collaborated with all the biggest names in fashion from Prada to J.Crew and GQ. Richard shares his work regularly on his blog, What I Saw Today, which I look at whenever I feel like life is getting boring.

Richard began his career as a fashion designer working for Perry Ellis during the 80s when it was the “place to be.” He continued to design for Calvin Klein, Bill Blass, and was the creative director of Nautica. Eventually, he moved on to illustration, a career he finds much more fulfilling. He’s been at it for years, and his visibility and success have only grown as he’s progressed in his career. He’s currently blowing up, so I was stoked to get into his studio to discuss his work with him.

Richard works and lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Which is the new Williamsburg now that the old Williamsburg is now  Manhattan and Manhattan is now Fresno Fashion Fair Mall. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been to Bushwick before this meeting but I can honestly say that I am now obsessed with it. As I exited the M train at Myrtle Avenue, someone with a boom box was blasting To Be Real by Cheryl Lynn and I totally felt like I was in Paris Is Burning. [Sidenote: Can we talk about how Paris Is Burning has become totally ingrained in urban Gay culture? Like you go out and everyone is, like, voguing? I saw this film (about drag balls in 80s New York) in college and loved it. I must say that as far as cultural influencers go, this is a particularly good one].

Ok now that I’ve established that Bushwick is awesome and that Paris Is Burning has spawned an 80s drag underground obsessed generation of Gays, let’s get to Richard’s studio:

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Richard’s studio is full of eye candy for anyone who likes art. There are drawings everywhere, from floor to ceiling. And I wanted to steal them. All of them. But I didn’t.

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I kind of wish the boy in the blue drawing would come to life like in that Take On Me music video so that we could fall in love and he would drag me into his cartoon-illustration world and force me to live as a fashion illustration until I die.

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I want that “Ourboro” shirt.

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I covet this giant drawing. It’s 4′ x 6′.

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I had the pleasure of ogling on of Richard’s rare Prada books. Look how crazed my eyes are!

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I suppose the most exciting thing about Richard’s studio is the possibility. Like the desk full of tools to make more beautiful drawings just like the ones all over the walls. There is something about the immediacy of Richard’s work that just makes you want to see more of it. All of his drawings are “one-offs.” Meaning he doesn’t draw and redraw them over and over again. He draws them once, quickly, and moves on to the next drawing. I’d imagine this gives them their emphatic appeal, their casual sensuality.

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I ended the conversation by asking Richard “ARE YOU GAY???” like a total weirdo. This is something I like to do if a conversation is too comfortable. I guess before I got there I assumed he was Gay because he draws all these cute boys. [Sidenote: He is gay. And that's none of your business but apparently all of mine]. Anyway, he had a lot of advice about love and life. So in addition to learning about his amazing art practice, I also got some insight into life from someone I greatly admire. You see? Meeting strangers can be fun! Try it today, maybe you’ll learn something about art. Or guys. Or BOTH!

For me, there is nothing more exciting or inspirational than seeing creativity in action. Seeing a space where new ideas are sketched out, new art made. My afternoon with Richard was greatly appreciated, and exactly what I came to New York for.

Love,
Orlando

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Homme/Maker: Ben Medansky

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Dear Los Angeles,

One of my favorite things about you is that whenever I get sick of living here, I can always venture out and discover something new that makes me like you again. This summer, I realized West Hollywood was starting to make my skin crawl. I mean, believe me, I love me some waxed gays in bright tank tops, with perfect Ken Doll hair, flapping in the wind while they ride in their BMW 3 Series convertible, laughing whilst drinking lattes, talking about boys. In fact, I am often one of those gays. But sometimes I need a break from all that. So lately I’ve started venturing to the East Side, where everyone acts like they hate you just a little bit, which makes you like them more.

A few months ago, I went to a delightful rooftop party in Silver Lake, hosted by one of the most obnoxiously perfect East Sider couples ever. One dude is a successful actor, the other one is a successful lawyer, and they’re both adorable. I want to put them in the oven like the witch did to Hansel and Gretel, cook them, and then eat them for dinner. They’re that cute. Anyway, at this party I met a collection of great people and made some new friends. Including a totally talented, brilliantly successful ceramicist name Ben Medansky. I had the pleasure of touring his studio recently and now, so can you! Everyone wins!

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Ben’s studio is located in the arts district downtown, in an industrial building. It’s totally glamourous in a gritty, downtown kind of way. There are painters, metal workers, wood workers, all types of creatives wandering around, making stuff, acting aloof and cool. It’s basically my dream world.

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Ben has been working on a collection of sculptural objects, some of which can currently be found, ogled, and purchased at Lawson-Fenning in Silver Lake.

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Ben has a fascination with this saturated blue color, which I love. Primary blue accents the entire space, and even makes its way onto some of his sculptural pieces. Which I covet. I wish that giant trench coats were still popular. So I could have worn one, shoved one of his awesome sculptures underneath, and scampered off like the degenerate hobo I really am. Sidenote: As an artist I’ve always sort of fantasized about someone stealing my art. Like I’d have some art show and someone would come to the opening and figure out some complex scheme to steal one of my paintings. And I’d be like “Oh my god, MY art has been stolen! ME!” When secretly it would be this huge ego boost because someone liked my work so much they were willing to break the law to have it. Other Sidenote: Don’t steal art in real life, it’s only cute when people do it in fantasies…

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I love these mugs. Instead of dainty handles they have fat thumbs. Like your mom.

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I need this clay planter. And so do you. And so does everyone. Right now.

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Like me, Ben loves geometric shapes, especially cubes. He also has a fascination with arches. Like they’re all over his studio in a way that makes me wonder if he dreams of arches. If he fantasizes that one day he’ll marry a giant arch. That he will campaign his whole life so that Human-Arch marriage is legal. His interest in these comes, in part, from his interest in ancient aquaducts (shown below in one of his drawings).

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When I visited, Ben was working on a collection of Menorahs. I love this one. If you’ve ever tried to find a beautiful, unique menorah you know how rare they are (Alert: I also love this branch menorah from West Elm).

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If there’s one thing I love more than an artist’s studio is an organized artist’s studio. Because most artists are total slobs that wiggle all over the place and eat spaghetti off the floor like weirdos. But Ben’s studio was different. Check out that wall organization, people! Love.

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An espresso cup. That I need. Even though I don’t drink espresso. How beautiful is that?

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One thing I love about Ben’s studio is how he merchandises his shelves. I think this is important for anyone who makes stuff. Like you have to have a space where you can look at what you made and see how cool it is otherwise what’s the point of making it in the first place? Life is about ogling, and without proper presentation you might be denied your right to ogle. Which is just shameful and wrong.

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In order to warp his sense of self, Ben keeps this wackymirror in his studio. At least I think that’s what’s going on…

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Ben designed this chair for a celebrity a few years ago. This one is a prototype that’s now covered in claysludge, but I love this simplicity of its design.

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My favorite thing in the studio was this mirror with googley eyes. It was literally impossible to resist taking an awkward self portrait in it.

You can see more of Ben’s gorgeous work on his website. And keep your peepers peeping for an upcoming One Kings Lane sale. His pieces are truly beautiful and visiting his wonderful studio was really a treat. Totally inspirational.

Love,
Orlando

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D.I.Why? How To Stretch A Canvas

Dear Aspiring Artists,

As someone who went to art school, I’m often approached with people asking about how to make art. So I’ve decided to do a little mini-series documenting how to make a giant painting. First, if you’re doing a custom size, you have to stretch your canvas. Of course, they sell pre-stretched canvases, but those don’t come in every size. So, if you love making giant paintings like I do, you must stretch it yourself.

Now, a few caveats. Firstly, this is an easy way to stretch your own canvas at home. There are certain shortcuts I use (ie buying pre-cut stretcher bars instead of making my own) because I don’t have a big giant workshop and I don’t have like 4000 years to make this painting because I, like you, have 75 million different projects going on at once and also the world’s worst A.D.D. Anyway, onto makingtimez:

What You’ll Need

1. Unprimed Canvas, Price Varies by Size

2. Heavy Duty Canvas Strecher Bars, Price Varies by Size

3. Stretcher Crossbars, Price Varies by Size

4. Hammer, $8

5. Staple Gun, $16

6. Gesso, $20

7. Gesso Brush, $5

Now Let’s Party

All photos by Alexander Evans

Step 1: Lay out your stretcher bars and pound them as hard as you can with your hammer until they fit together into a perfect rectangle. As you hammer, think about how frustrated you are with everything in your life. How annoyed you are that your coworker got that promotion even though you’re smarter.

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Step 2: Attach your crossbars. These will ensure that the frame wont bow or warp when you paint the canvas. Oftentimes these crossbars don’t come in the correct size for your frame so you may have to have them custom cut at your unfriendly local hardware store.

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Step 3: Like Sarah Palin on a serene, untouched natural landscape, drill baby drill!

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Step 4: Once you’ve finished constructing your frame, lay it on top of canvas which you’ve placed on the floor.

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Step 5: Starting at the center of each side, staple 3-4 staples, moving around the canvas. Work your way out until you’ve reached the corners.

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Step 6: Once you’ve reached the corners, do something fancy with the side of the canvas. I like to fold mine like this so that a little triangle of folding action is visible from the side. This makes it obvious that the canvas was custom-stretched. Which then makes the painting look more expensive. Which then makes whoever is buying it want to pay more. Which then makes you rich.

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Step 7: The last step is to prime the canvas. Fine art primer is called “gesso.” You can usually get away with using a gesso brush but if the canvas is particularly large you may have to use a paint roller (otherwise you’ll be there, like, all day).

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Step 8: Stare at your canvas, terrified when you realize that, like your heart, it is large and empty.

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So go out, buy some supplies, and stretch a giant canvas. It’s up to you what goes on it. But remember you can do it!

Love,
Orlando

PS: Step by step instructions on how to make a giant paint-by-numbers painting coming soon…

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