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Tuesday
Aug172010

artist profile: valerie long

As one of CB2’s collaborative projects with Creativity Explored—a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art—an ink and marker print by artist Valerie Long frees an abstract indigo butterfly into an electric yellow sky with bright pink bloom.

Valerie Long was born in 1955 and has been working at Creativity Explored since 2005. Graphite, ink, markers and paper are her preferred media—she uses fabric for its two-dimensional quality as well.

Long works mostly in black and white but is not averse to using color. Her work appears abstract but is often based on the structure of everyday objects. Long’s matter-of-fact, relaxed personality communicates its opposite reflection in her work, where a visual curiosity and intriguing grasp of pattern are filtered through her investigations into the act of seeing.

Tireless hatching and pointillist gestures are definitive aspects of Valerie’s engagement with drawing. She’s made beautiful translations of crystals into stippled, slanting boxes which, through painstaking and delicate repetition, are extracted from the mineral world and placed in ours of motion and light.

To spend one minute with Valerie Long in the Creativity Explored studio, go here.

Tuesday
Aug032010

artist profile: ben holiday

Where was your favorite place to live?
My favorite places to live is Chicago’s Uptown – the neighborhood is fantastically diverse and has jazz age venues (the Riviera, Green Mill and Aragon ballroom) that are an outstanding collection of performance spaces; Although, I look forward to my planned retirement in the Netherlands – the region has a defining aesthetic and an aura of open mindedness that is so refreshing!

What are your sources of inspiration?
The line is probably my true inspiration—understanding the line and how it can be constructed, arranged and represented to illustrate a perspective is uniquely powerful; 1920’s terra cotta architecture; shadows and their strong, yet ethereal presence; 1960’s jet era modern textiles and interior design, raw 80’s NYC transit graffiti; and the evolution of urban life.

What do you drive?
A mint colored scooter than I assembled because when I purchased it, the note “assembly required” wasn’t included!

What are your interests outside of design?
I love to travel and go to concerts. I coincidentally caught Gomez live in Amsterdam at Milkweg—it was the ultimate performance experience. Beyond that, I just enjoy searching for delight in the unexpected.

Who are your design icons?
Mies van der Rohe’s clean lines and pioneering minimalism, Tom Ford’s eye for mixing, texturing and layering, Brancusi’s ultra stylized style, Andy Warhol’s change is how we view our daily lives and the items we are surrounded by… and who ever invented the “easy open” Oreo packaging, it’s honestly the best design innovation since sliced bread.

What is your signature?
My mantra is expressing more with very little, finding ways to layer and intrigue with less. I always strive to arrange visual components so that they complement and harmonize with their context in design, art, photography, and/or architecture.

What’s your favorite element/possession?
A rug I designed for a not-for-profit organization—Arzu. They provide hope through design to women in Afghanistan by selling their hand- woven carpets and returning the profits.

To see all of Ben’s current designs for CB2, go here.

Wednesday
Jul282010

artist profile: maria berrios

Created in partnership with San Francisco’s Creativity Explored, a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art—animated birds, critters, bugs and fireflies buzz whimsically within the warp and weft of the entre flores y pajaros rug.

Born in El Salvador in 1959, artist Maria Berrios has been gracing Creativity Explored with her dynamic artwork and jovial nature since 1999.

Berrios works in a variety of drawing media and also enjoys printmaking. From family groupings, flora, and fauna, her favorite color—red—is well represented with all of her typical subjects. Berrios’ art making process is very slow and meticulous. After sketching a composition, she often places her subjects around the picture plane so that the piece may be viewed from any direction.

Her fantastical, naïve vision, which translates to “among flowers and birds”, is hand-tufted in great detail—using no less than in 28 colors of wool yarns—with her signature woven in each.

To spend one minute with Maria Berrios in the Creativity Explored studio, go here.

Monday
Jul192010

one of a finds: wabelerbeler

Crossing the centuries-old gender lines of his native Rukai tribe in Taiwan, a young male artist, Kaludasan, is reviving the matriarchal art of jute weaving, one of the many Taiwanese cultural traditions lost with the beginning of colonial rule in 1895.

Raised by his grandmother and four aunts—all skilled embroiderers—Kaludasan persuaded them to pass down to him the intricate weaving skills of the women of his village.

Taking those techniques to a new level, his sculptural wabelerbeler (“twisting”) wall art intertwines colorful ramie fibers “to weave my dreams, little by little…and to connect past and future generations.”

Even with the assistance of skilled female weavers in his village, Kaludasan can handcraft only 10 time-intensive weavings a month, making each piece rare and unique—works of art for these village artisans to share a living storyline to their past.

Tuesday
Jun152010

artist profile: charles shotwell

Where’s your favorite place to live?
I’d like to try living in Italy or France.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
The bedroom—I love to read in bed.

Your personal decorating style is _____?
Lived-in comfort—I could elaborate on this forever.

Who are your design icons?
Buckminster Fuller.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Good and bad art.

What are your interests outside of design?
I love high performance motorcycles.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Riding motorcycles, vintage and otherwise.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
The human brain.

What’s your favorite element/possession?
A board from my grandfather’s farm that was built by hand by my great grandfather. The farm is gone.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Keep an eye out for treasures at thrift stores, antique and junk shops, Salvation Army etc.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Try and learn to not feel the pain of working hard.