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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.

Wednesday
Feb092011

artist profile: bret grafton

What’s your favorite element/possession?
My camera.

What do you drive?
I don’t have a car. I take public transport for the most part, and I occasionally rent cars for business.

What one item do you wish you owned?
A portable jet pack

Your personal decorating style is?
Russian prince hiding in Louisiana… is that a style? Eclectic.

What’s your favorite room in your home?
My kitchen, I have a huge framed vintage cafe print in French advertising coffee hanging on the main wall, and I painted the room in warm, vibrant tones. It feels like a coffee house in New Orleans, and cajun is my favorite kind of food.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Books, I read constantly. Great branding. Vintage toys. Tattoos. I sometime think my brain is a snow globe, where each flake is an image or idea and I just shake it up to get inspired.

Where was your favorite place to live?
Other than Chicago…. Rome. I spent 2 weeks there on an artist’s sabbatical. I spent my days eating panini and gelato, and my nights with a tripod and an old film camera. I shot some of the most beautiful photos of the city and the Bernini statues.

In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
The iPhone. I’m kinda crazy about the thing, I can update my blog, work with clients, show my portfolio, and use Hipstamatic to make art with my phone.

Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
DIY. Half my furniture is second hand and re-pourposed. I have a great sideboard made from cherry wood with beautiful grain that I got at the Salvation Army for 50$… it took me 2 days to strip the paint off the thing. I also have a 3 drawer coffee table that I picked up from a flea market. It was in great condition except for the top surface, which had some heavy scratches. I got a piece of mdf and some batting that I covered with a thick black leather and attached it to the top. Then I popped steel wheels on the bottom, now it’s a rolling banquet for when I need extra seating.

Who are you design icons?
Way too many to name (here’s a few) Jonathan Adler, Frank Loyd Wright, Hayao Miyazaki, Mondo Guerra…

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Do something artistic—something you’re not getting paid for—every week.

Wednesday
Jan262011

artist profile: valerie jenkins

wood birds pillowValerie Jenkins is a native San Franciscan who joined the Creativity Explored studios in 2001.

When she talks, it’s as if she’s speaking in the form of a poem. So it’s not surprising that the lines in her beautiful visuals seem to be drawn from her innate lyrical quality.

Valerie works predominately with watercolors, ink and colored pencil on paper and her subject matter is varied—usually inspired by photographs—and sometimes letters, words, or numbers are incorporated in the final piece.

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