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Friday
Apr292011

artist profile: eric boysaw

San Francisco’s Creativity Explored is a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit—and sell art as ongoing support of their activities.

Artist Eric Boysaw is a native of San Francisco and his language, American Sign Language, has influenced many of the artworks he has produced over the years. He primarily works with drawing media, using pastel, charcoal, and ink with great precision.

Originally rendered in those mediums, Eric’s robot is given a new life in a flatweave dhurrie. His signature is woven in the corner as a gentle reminder of the creative talent behind it while a percentage of the sale of each rug will go directly to Creativity Explored.

Wednesday
Apr132011

milan 2011: designers and artists

Just when we think it’s presidents and economists who shape our world, we return to Milan for the Salone and remember it’s really the designers and artists.

Designers who solve problems through ingenious design and artists who add beauty—who provoke thought through compelling imagery, music, prose—while making our world more awesome.

We’re constantly thrilled and amazed by their ability to imagine a lamp that’s not just a casing for electric light, a bookcase that not just shelves— but one that’s breathtaking, sexy.

And while we’re extremely grateful to be working with creative and talented designers and artists, we remember the engineers who make their ideas a reality and just how equally important it is to laugh… to take fifteen minutes and four euros to enjoy a toy a designer created for us to play with.

We can choose to think of a swing as rope and a piece of wood or an old tire… or our castle fortress as a simple cardboard box… it’s all in allowing ourselves to imagine possibilities, and to enjoy them.

Monday
Mar212011

meet us: adam pearson

Meet Adam Pearson, a professional food stylist based near our photo shoot in LA and Palm Springs. He’s the creative genius of our Mexican Fiesta and his recipes will be featured throughout the season.

Who taught you to cook?
Growing up in southern California, my dad spent a lot of time with me grilling outside. He also taught me how to make biscuits and sausage gravy when I was about 8. The gravy recipe is so easy its ingrained in my memory—and those moments became more special as our family split up.

Has ‘California cuisine’ influenced you?
I was exposed to a lot of different, exotic cultures and cuisines at a young age—ironically none from my own family. I took bits and pieces from friends’ homes and what they were cooking, and now as an adult they finally make sense when I mix them together in the kitchen.

What’s your favorite ingredient to cook with?
Spices. I love the flavor of ethnic foods but right now I’m obsessed with Korean. It’s warm, spicy, filling—very much like comfort food. I’m working with an assistant who goes to the Korean market with me, translates the staples, shares how they can be mixed—this opened a door to experimenting with Korean cuisine.

Got any food styling secrets you can share?
Instead of following a recipe, I’ll start by ‘deconstructing’ it—meaning I’ll cook ingredients so each looks its best. As for plating, I like them to look approachable…a little messy…perfectly imperfect.

Also, tools are my thing. I’m the tool kid. I’d be lost without a blow torch…a mandolin…but the most important tools are a sense of confidence and your hands. It’s so true that experience enhances your senses. The first food stylist I apprenticed under—all he needed was his fingers and spit.

Where do you find inspiration?
My partner Matt and I, we travel a lot and always bring something back that’s food related. Our first stop is usually a grocery store for local ingredients—like chick pea flour from Nice, France. Matt was recently in Singapore and brought back a suitcase and a half—our pantry is filled with international foodstuffs.

We like to shop for one-off serving dishes, special baking dishes made for indigenous recipes…in Spain we found local pottery shops with hand-made, lovely cazuelas which are very useful in preparing Spanish recipes.

And wherever we are, we’re dissecting and cataloging what was prepared for us. In Buenos Aires we had compound butters with fresh bread that was to die for! Like English muffins with pistachio butter—so easy to do at home.

What do you do for fun?
Matt publishes mattbites.com, and we often work on it together, so recipes, food styling and photography are a huge part of both our lives. There’s no way around bringing our work home with us—especially since his studio is part of the house.

Often one of us is on a shoot out of town, so when we’re both home we make lots of trips to farmer’s markets. It’s almost a cliche but we get what’s local and seasonal—we’re spoiled being in southern California where we get fresh vegetables all year. We go without a menu in mind, check out what looks good, and make things up as we go along.

Great looking plates, platters, and serving utensils add another layer. Dinner in our house is usually a small production and we love rotating pieces from our prop studio with our everyday slip porcelain from Australia. And we get just about every food magazine out there so—there may be a fine line between passion and addiction, but there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of free time for anything but food.

Thursday
Mar032011

artist profile: hector lopez

Hector Lopez was born in 1968—in San Francisco—where he still lives and where he’s been a member of the Creativity Explored Studio since 2006.

His gregarious personality is reflected in large landscapes and portraits that are just as colorful and dynamic. Preferring to paint on pieces of wood, his palette ranges from fiery reds and yellows to violets. 

His ‘highly populated’ artworks—such as a recent series of autobuses with buses so large they fill the picture plane and contain multitudes of people behind the windows—also reflect his love of the crowded, bustling art studios of Creativity Explored. The place where he’s surrounded by ‘amigos’.

To spend one minute with Hector Lopez in the Creativity Explored studio, go here.

Friday
Feb182011

artist profile: marcus mcclure

In partnership with San Francisco’s Creativity Explored—a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with develop­mental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art—Marcus McClure’s two-dimensional artwork is reinterpreted as a hand-tufted wool rug.

Marcus was born in 1984 and has been a studio artist at Creativity Explored since 2006. Motivated by the physical process within the process of creating his works, he starts with geometric drawings and builds layer upon layer of thick acrylics.

For his abstract works, he usually prefers earthy, muted palettes from burnt oranges to olive greens—which work incredibly well on the watermarks rug over a sea of vibrant blue and turquoise.

To spend one minute with Marcus McClure in the Creativity Explored studio, go here.