Monday, November 30, 2009

Gallery: Artist Adam Belt

I've had the pleasure of knowing Adam Belt and his graphic designer wife, Wendy since my days in design school. This uber-talented couple now lives in picturesque Carlsbad (a stone's throw away from San Diego), where they live with their colorful keep (daughter: Ruby, dog:Violet).  I've been amazed by Adam's work and its evolution throughout the years and have been waiting for an opportunity to showcase it (you can currently find it displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego). Adam was kind enough the take the time to answer a few questions about him, his work, and art in general.

(above: Pari Radio Telescopes, 2008 © Adam Belt )

Girl Of All Work: Your work seems to juxtapose both natural and man-made materials. We see concrete blocks and melted ice, organic swirls of blue watercolor with satellites as the negative shape. What is it about the natural vs. unnatural forms that attract you?

Adam Belt: I think what draws me in is the point of meeting and contact. When you look at the expansive landscape of the desert southwest, for example, the topographical features meander and flow into each other stretching far into the horizon. Points of contrast highlight the expanse giving you a tangible sense of the scale and a heightened awareness of the dynamic natural forms. Dams for instance, are an abrupt intervention; graceful arch dams like Hoover or Glen Canyon punctuate the landscape. The engineered forms contrast the rugged terrain and the resulting barrier becomes point of focus, interest, and tension

G: How has your approach changed as you've matured as an artist?
A:Through the process of failure and success I have had to reassert my focus on what my work means to me and why I create art. In terms of approach specifically I work on those projects, which are particularly poignant, the ones I need to make as well as works I know I would regret not making. These may seem like obvious criteria, but like all professions art can quickly pull you away from why you became an artist leaving you with nothing but careerism and empty strategies to get to the next level. I do not want the sum of my artistic production to be a bunch of contemporary art looking stuff.

(above: Glen Canyon Dam Detail, 2004 © Adam Belt )

G: I know that your wife, Wendy, is a graphic designer. Does what she do influence your work, if at all?
A: Her process of creating through the computer has opened that up for me as a meaningful tool of production. Also, the persistence of her work ethic is something that I have admired and learned from.

G: A lot of people don't "get" fine art. What would you have to say to them?
A: I believe the main difficulty is the disparity in expectations. If you are looking for beauty and a display of skill and an extensive amount of time to complete the work you are looking at, you may be disappointed in the contemporary art context where those elements are not cherished in relationship to the gauge of a works success. What I recommend to people, and this is from my own experience as a person who was not raised in an art background, is that you experience the work as it is rather than what you perceive it to be lacking. Also, the experience many people have is of seeing particular works that resonate with them on a profound level.  This experience opens the possibility of and desire for further investigation and discovery. And finally, it is important to remember that contemporary art, most often, is not a passive experience, it requires some commitment from the viewer and that is why the experience can be that much more enriching.

(above: Drift, 2008 © Adam Belt)

G: Where would your dream artist's retreat be located?
A: Maybe on a house boat in Lake Powell. Although the lake is man-made and has flooded a spectacular environment, the lake affords the visitor endless opportunities for exploration and the blue water amidst the sandstone cliffs is as beautiful a location as I have ever seen. Not to mention the silence in the evening and the stargazing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spotlight: We're in the Press!

If you're a regular reader, you've probably noticed a drop off in blog posts. That's because our studio has been pretty busy with filling holiday orders and designing new products for next season. It's been craaaaaazy! But in the middle of all this, we've had some pretty cool things happen around here. Both our chef set page flags and our chapter journals have recently caught the media's attention. We're excited to have the flags in both Instyle and Rachel Ray Online and the chapter journals in Lucky Magazine. Okay, back to work!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Spotlight: Monster Drawing Rally!

To be held this Sunday (November 8) from 2-7pm in my neck of the woods: Eagle Rock, CA! Some pretty cool artists will be drawing simultaneously in 1 hour shifts to live music and selling their creations for $75. Proceeds go to support Outpost for Contemporary Art, a non-profit organization designed to bring artists and communities together. I'm looking forward to catching Ruby Osorio at the venue along with a whole roster of L.A. artists, whose credentials are far from shabby. Admission is a $10 donation. Click here for more info.

(clockwise starting from left: detail of artwork from Sarejo Freiden, Ruby Osorio, and Fumiko Amano)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Prêt-à-Porter: Fade to Grey

Socks and hosiery seem to be heading in an artful direction, grey-ward. Take a look at these new offerings from some avant-garde designers. Each uses faint grey, in coordination with other colors and patterns, to create highly stylized and inventive legwear.

(clockwise starting from left, all via a great mix of polished and street-wear in tights from Wunderkindtie-dye leggings from Future Classics are a retro statement with a modern slant; socks from Tsumori Chisato are printed with a whimsical grey moonscape)