Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Studio Tour: Francine Turk.

Some time back I was contacted by local Chicago artist Francine Turk's rep, Megan Knott, to see if I would like to come in for a studio tour. Being quite passionate about art and very interested to see more of an artists work I had only previously seen a small amount of I agreed immediately. After a touch of back and forth on scheduling, I found myself at the front door of Ms. Turk's studio this past Thursday (26 may 2011).

Turk sprang into national attention when several of her works were used in the Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston movie The Break-Up. The exposure in the film created an instant demand for her art and now her pieces can be found in the homes of several serious collectors.

Here is a great shot of some of Turk's pieces in The Break-Up. If you watch the movie closely you can see Turk's artwork in pretty much every room of the main characters apartment (trust me, I did this after my studio tour).

While best known for her nudes, which are absolutely captivating, Turk has a body of work that is in my opinion clever, original and passionate. Some of the newer pieces I saw on my tour show a wonderful evolution of her signature style. There was one in particular that I instantly fell in love with (pictured below). And without further ado...

 I love the antique frames Francine uses for her work.

Here is a beautiful work still on the easel.
And here is my absolutely favourite piece, while the image doesn't do it the justice it deserves, it is a visually striking work yet wonderfully ethereal.It is the second architectural piece Francine has done. Megan (Turk's rep) told me that they are hoping that Francine will start a series of these...I desperately hope she does. I have a potential client back in Rhode Island that I am going to seriously suggest have a commission done of one of these pieces.

While that is all the images from my tour (my thanks to Megan for taking a few of the images when my phone decided to become completely useless), here are a few random images of Turk's work that I love.

This one is from a headstone rubbing Francine did at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Père Lachaise is famous for many of the individuals buried there like Jim Morrison, Marcel Proust, Edith Piaf and personal favourite Oscar Wilde (if you should find yourself in the city of lights make the time to have a look, you won't be disappointed. I try to stop by whenever I'm there).

In closing let me express my thanks to Megan Knott for extending the invitation and for the wonderful tour, I had a great time and it was indeed a pleasure meeting you. It was also a pleasure to see Turk's new design director Jessica Lynn White, whom I first met last year.

Best,
Brion

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Iris Apfel in AD.

Iris Apfel, ageless bon vivant, style icon, decorator and co-founder of the textile house Old World Weavers, deservedly receives the royal treatment in the June issue of Architectural Digest. The nearly nonagenarian, who once wore a priest cassock just for the hell of it, takes AD readers into her luxe and layered New York City apartment.

The walls in Apfel's living room are 18th-century bleached-oak boiserie.
In the library, a Louis XVI daybed, covered in an Old World Weavers fabric, sits beneath a lovely Dutch painting.
A collection of singerie atop a beautiful 18th-century Venetian bombé chest.
In the entry, an 18th-century English gilt chinoiserie mirror and an Italian console.
A fabulous Maison Jansen table styled with a vintage throw.
Mrs. Apfel's first painting - a portrait of the Infanta Margarita.
18th-century French screen (left), 18th-century painted Genoese corner cabinet (right).
Racks of her vintage pieces fill a spare room.
A hallway lined with dog paintings and 19th-century English bookcases brimming with books.

What an amazing home. Every piece seems to tell a story that somehow relates to the story of the piece next to it. This type of home is what I call "Welcome Voyeur." This means that one is at once immediately welcomed in and can easily feel comforted, while at the same time one is constantly looking deeper in to see what new things they can see. It is one of my favourite kinds of homes.

Aside from everything else, Iris Apfel is quite simply, a fabulous character. I found a great interview of her some time back that seems most appropriate to share now, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



Best,
Brion

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Designed to inspire.


I haven't done one of these posts in some time, I had forgotten how much I enjoy putting them together. For those new to this series, these are simply a collection of images meant to inspire...well, whatever they inspire. Sometimes there will be a theme, sometimes it will just be random images, really just whatever takes my fancy. I hope you enjoy what you see.

Best,
Brion

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday morning classics.

The Great Composers
That's right ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it is time for another Sunday morning classic. I have had a number of people ask me why I put classical music on a design blog (to be honest its a design, culture and life blog...but I digress). There are a couple of reasons actually. Firstly, its classical music how could you not love it? Well that and I grew up hearing it, it has been a part of my life for all of my life. Secondly, when I was in design school the only music I listened to while doing homework was classical. Two reasons here, the first should seem pretty obvious, the second is that listening to classical music can help one focus their thoughts and can help reduce stress.

For me Interior Design is classical music, in so much as they are both an interplay of tone, rhythm, balance and scale.

Today is a bit more relaxed sort of day, as such I have chosen a wondrful piece by Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No.2, 1st Movement. This version is played by the amazing Nelson Goerner, a true master. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



Best,
Brion

Friday, May 13, 2011

Colour Palette: The Vegetable Garden.

I have always believed that nature is the best inspiration for colours for the home. While many might look to plants and flowers, which is obviously a wonderful resource, I also look to fruits and vegetables for colours and colour combinations. As such produce sections in grocery stores are some of my favourite places, especially if they carry more exotic produce. Recently I came across a wonderful book by Taschen that covers vegetables beautifully.

It’s fair to say that Taschen books offer some of the most amazing visual archives available in print today and I am always inspired by the wealth of gorgeous imagery I can find in a Taschen book.

The Vegetable Garden, a reproduction of illustrations that were commissioned by the Parisian seed company Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie in the late 1800s. This is a loose-leaf collection, which means it comes as a boxed set of 46 prints suitable for framing.


The beauty of a collection like this is that if you find a colour that you would love to have in your living room, bedroom, etc. you can just take that page (and not an entire book) to any paint store with a colour match system to find your colour.

If nothing else, if you are thinking about repainting one of your rooms don't forget to have a look at the produce section the next time you're out for groceries, you may just find that perfect colour.

Best,
Brion

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Favourite Places: The Dewes Mansion.

www.bastionandlark.com

The Francis J. Dewes Mansion (at 503 W. Wrightwood Ave) in the Lincoln Park neighbourhood of Chicago is easily on the very short list of my favourite homes in the city. While I have never been inside I find that being in awe of the exterior is enough to keep me going.

The mansion was built for Francis J. Dewes, a brewer and millionaire, by architects Adolph Cudell and Arthur Hercz, it was completed in 1896 and is currently listed as one of the National Register of historical and architectural landmarks. Taken as a whole, the building is an unusual example of a German inspired style, influenced by the neo-Baroque architecture of Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century. The exterior of this lavish gray-stone is decorated with carved stonework and ornamental cornices and lintels. The entrance to the mansion is flanked by caryatids, tall female figures acting as columns, supporting a balcony over the doorway. The house is now used for wedding receptions, parties, and other private events. And as of late 2010 it is on the market for a mere $9,900,000 (click HERE for full listing).

Here are the images from the listing sight and a couple I have taken:


I would have said something about each image but they are all just so incredibly stunning. Though I will say this about the last image, the men's dressing room, I would do anything to have that room...anything.

If you have just a bit more time I found two video's that pretty much walk you through the majority of the house. Trust me, they are worth it.






(Remember, if you are seeing this in an email you will have to go to the actual blog to see the video's as they do not show in the mailings for some reason, sorry)

Best,
Brion
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