Archive for February, 2008

david van alphen art and gallery – let’s chat!



you may remember the collages i posted about earlier in the month from local artist david van alphen, but maybe you didn’t know that he is the owner of the dva gallery here in chicago, and founder of the new and exciting slingshot! press, two very cool and affordable places to purchase original and limited edition artwork. for me, looking at david’s artwork is like taking a non-stop flight back to my childhood. i enjoy the dynamic action in the vignettes, i like his thoughtful color combinations and the retro imagery really unlocks some goofy and sentimental memories. also, finding artists who are gallery owners too is a rare and special thing, so let’s have a chat with david and find out more!



q: where do you live, and where is your studio?
a: i live in the western suburbs of chicago, and i turned my basement into my studio.

q: what is your background, and did you study art formally?
a: i have been doodling and painting since grade school. in high school i would sell large paintings for $20, just to get some cash. i took a couple college art classes but dropped out of them both. i hated being told what and how to paint.


q: what is your inspiration, and do you have a message you want to relate through your collection? what are these pieces made of?
a: i love old 70’s ads and graphics. i’ve started creating under the name netherland just because it was such a different style and medium that people have not seen from me before. all the art is acrylic and collage on wood and i put a layer of resin on top to give it that old school worn look.

netherland_art_retro type


q: are there any advantages in being a gallery owner and an artist as well? are there any disadvantages?
a: there’s both. the good point is that you meet a lot of other great artists and gallery owners. you also always have a place to hang your own stuff (but i try not to). this last show was the first time in three years i’ve had a solo show for myself. any gallery owner can put his or her artwork in their own gallery but when another gallery asks you to show, it means a lot more. the bad part is that i feel like people are only complimenting my artwork BECAUSE they know i own an art gallery. that was also partially why i started creating work under the name netherland, so people would judge my art without influence on the fact that i have a gallery.


q: can you tell us a little about about slingshot! press?
a: i started slingshot! press mainly because i wanted to make art affordable for everyone. most print sites that do offer low priced prints are not signed and limited numbered editions. i think it means a lot more to have it signed by the artists. it costs me a bit more to send it to them and it takes longer but it’s worth it to the customer. also, i know a lot of talented artists that i wanted to help get their work out there.


(slingshot! print sampling: hamster wheel by paul chatem & archers by kelly vivanco)

q: do you have any advice for up and coming artists from the gallery owner’s perspective?
a: the best advice i can give is to be original. it’s great to be inspired by other artists but i like to look at stuff that is different and not a copy of someone else’s work. also when submitting to a gallery, take the time to take REALLY good photos of your work. the better the photos look, the better chance i’ll want to show them in my gallery.



you can see more of david’s work at his website here or on his flickr stream, and if you’re in chicago be sure to visit the dva gallery. purchase slingshot! press prints right here.

thank you david!

cool and clever chocolate-pencils

look at these terrific chocolate pencils used for enhancing desserts. they were a creative collaboration between renowned boutique patissier tsujiguchi hironobu and architect oki sako for his company nendo. the set includes chocolate of varying intensity and comes with a special “sharpener” to put as little or as many shavings you like on your sweet treat!




someone clever needs to make a (tuile cookie or meringue) dessert that looks like “crumpled” pieces of “paper” that is sitting in a (cookie cup) “trash can” with the shavings sitting on the very top of the pile.

or you could just sharpen in onto your cake. whatever works best.

sadly, this special item is only available in japan right now. the best place to find it is in one of tsujiguchi’s shops in tokyo.

via cool hunting

jardin chair from crate and barrel

hear me now and believe me later: my dream house would be nestled in the midst of abundant trees, have multiple outdoor spaces and 360 degree views of nature, be made of wood, slate, metal and glass, and have this jardin chair from crate and barrel somewhere inside of it. the painterly fabric was inspired by an original artist’s pastel drawing and reinterpreted into a lushly textured vintage style landscape, and the curvy feet and wings just enhance the effect.




this chair is not just good looking either; it’s eco-friendly. look under the hood and you’ll find a sustainable kiln-dried hardwood frame and a cushion and back made from multiple layers of soy or plant-based polyfoam. all these things contribute to a wholly (feel) good experience.

$799 right here.

johnny swing coin chair

look at this shiny sculptural throne, er, chair from johnny swing. it’s made of stainless steel and coins – lots and lots of coins. 1500 half dollars and 7000 welds! it weighs 58 pounds and is contoured to fit the shape of the body comfortably.




don’t flip your lids when i tell you the price is $29,000. i know you’re not surprised! start saving immediately and when you’re finished, you can purchase it at vivre. while you save you can check out johnny’s other supercool designs right here.

via bltd


elizabeth burritt ceramics

“what is the matter with this woman she is only posting about clay today” you may be thinking to yourself but hey! the wind blows where it blows. and by now you know how i love the clay! tomorrow will be very different i assure you but just for today, let us finish the show with a selection of gorgeous vessels from vancouver artist elizabeth burritt.




elizabeth’s website is currently under construction but you can contact her through it.

purchase and view select pieces of her collection at circle craft and the gallery of bc ceramics, both on granville island.

via poppytalk (who has some other good photos of the collection!)

hannah morrow ceramics

more striking ceramics from london-born, los angeles based ceramic artist hannah morrow. these pieces are made of bone china. the stickers collection is a tribute to ceramic souvenirs while the unadorned hedy collection simply celebrates purity of form.





those simple shapes are very inviting and would definitely encourage me to linger over a meal…

see more and purchase it all on hannah’s website.

via design sponge

madieke fleuren ceramics

look at these extraordinary ceramics from dutch artist madieke fleuren. madieke’s collection is a reinterpretation of different textures, like leather and yarn, as seen below:





gorgeous. gorgeous. gorgeous!

see more beautiful things and contact madieke on her website.

via bloesem

funky house design: quetzalcoatl nest

it’s been a dog’s age since i wrote an architecture post. i actually think the articles i have written have been pretty popular, but lately i’ve been swept away by other interests and you can see how and which way the wind blows if you come here regularly. i’m actually pledging to myself to write on this topic with a bit more frequency, but it would help me to know if you guys like the subject, so please drop me a comment or send me an email and let me know!

anyway, on with the show. look here at this curvy house designed by mexican architect javier senosiain. it was designed in the shape of a serpent to pay tribute to aztec deity quetzalcoatl. the home sits on a 12+ acre site and was particularly challenging to build due to the requirement that no trees were to be removed for construction.







see the rest of this home and many more examples of daring architecture on javier’s website. he’s also written a book about the elements and philosophy of organic design.

via dvice

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