9/28/08

Farewell, friend.


The world will miss you, Mr. Newman.
“You only grow when you are alone."

Paul Leonard Newman: Jan. 26, 1925-Sept. 26, 2008


For a great tribute, and another great photo, click on over to The Year In Pictures.
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9/22/08

Can art change the world?


How nice to see good design pop up amidst the mostly un-pretty, election-time barrage of campaign materials.

These posters for the presidential candidate Barack Obama were created by artist, graphic designer and illustrator, Shepard Fairey, as a show of support for his candidate of choice.

Fairey, a Rhode Island School of Design graduate, started his career as a guerrilla artist, inspired by the propogandist posters of the WPA and the Russian and Chinese revolutions. He created the Andre the Giant/Obey The Giant graffiti sticker art campaign in 1989 (while still a student at RISD) that relied on an international network of collaborators to carry out. If you look around, you still might be able to spot his Andre the Giant, on a telephone pole nearby.

Throughout history, art has been considered a reflection of society as well as a forum for advocating thought, examination, introspection and/or change.

We think a little art and change can do you good.
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Five former Secretaries of State agree that the U.S. needs to change its face to the world, in order to restore its international standing. Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, and Colin Powell have advice for the next president. Read about it here.

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Images from obeygiant.com

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9/20/08

How about a personal shopper – for antiques?


I'LL TAKE THESE, PLEASE.

Recently Topsy Turvy wrote about Bond & Bowery, an online global marketplace for antiques, furnishings and art. (Read it here.) I just got word from owner Ben Spaisman about DealerDirect, a new feature they've just added to their web site. DealerDirect works like this: On those occasions when you can't find just what you're looking for, you can submit a specific request (complete with photos, if you have them). Your item description will then be made available to B&B's entire dealer network, and if a dealer finds a match, you will be notified by email.

Sounds to me like having a whole team of personal shoppers at your disposal. How great is that?!

Check out all the details here.

18th c Gustavian mirror; Neoclassical mirrored obelisks on silver gilt paw-foot bases; Italian Pistillo wall sconce/ceiling lamp, 1969; French Empire daybed, 1830. All from Bond & Bowery.
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9/19/08

Have a cocktail with Barry Dixon

If you're in NYC on Oct. 1, head on over to Rizzoli Bookstore to meet interior designer, Barry Dixon.


RIZZOLI BOOKSTORE AND GIBBS SMITH, PUBLISHER
ARE PLEASED TO CELEBRATE THE PUBLICATION OF

BARRY DIXON INTERIORS
By Brian D. Coleman
Photographs by Edward Addeo


Cocktail Reception and Book Signing

Wednesday, Oct 1, 2008
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Rizzoli Bookstore
31 West 57th St, New York City (Between 5th & 6th Ave)

I won't be able to make it for the event, but perhaps Barry could be talked into coming to Tampa for a signing?

Here are a few of his projects that we are partial to ...

The pièce de resistánce of this cozy fireside seating area (and the reason we chose this image) is that wonderful stool. It's also interesting how the designer used an old gate for a firescreen, and extended the curtain rod across the wall above the fireplace. These rustic iron elements add a little edge to the soft furnishings and gilt finishes.

This curvy little settee is quite a beauty in its striped, skirted slip. The height of the back is what makes it special. Plus, those casters make it look like it's dancing en pointe. Notice this room is packed with many other curvy elements: the pattern on the throw pillows, the chair legs, the table legs, the wall sconces, the detail on the back of the side chair, and even the swag of the curtains. Those wide stripes on the slipcover help tone down all that sweetness.

A moroccan-inspired screen creates a unique focal point for this dining room and appears to be hiding a door. I think most of us are afraid to cover up structural elements of a room (like windows and doors) but sometimes using screens or curtains can eliminate visual clutter and help create a more dramatic space.

Dixon's rooms lean more toward the traditional, but he chooses furnishings with interesting shapes and sculptural qualities - which lend a more modern feel.


This room is a feast for the eyes, and I spy some beautiful chairs.

Some of my favorite design elements are here: tall windows and french doors, a large mirror propped on the floor, a banquette and a great chandelier.

Any respectable library must have a ladder and some big comfy chairs. This is a room I could live in.

An unusually beefy round table is a dramatic centerpiece in this old-world kitchen, and the oversized lantern is the perfect accessory.

Those headboards with mounted lanterns for reading lamps are so clever and striking. And the overhead smoke bell lantern provides a brilliant splash of color.


Barry Dixon, photographed at Elway Hall, for The Washington Post.

"The important things in a room are the essence of what you hold valuable," says Dixon. "Things that define who you are. A room should start a conversation before people actually start exchanging words."*

From Karen Carroll, editor in chief of Southern Accents magazine, "He is enormously talented, and he is one of the most gentlemanly people I have ever met."*

Barry Dixon sounds like someone I'd like to meet. How about you?
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"Barry Dixon Interiors" showcases 11 homes, including the designer's own, Elway Hall in Warrenton, Virginia. Buy it here.
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Photos from Southern Accents and The Washington Post.
*The Washington Post. Read & see more about Barry Dixon
here.

9/13/08

$10,000 Giveaway

Ok, I have to confess, I don't have $10,000 to give away, but our friends over at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams do! They've just notified Topsy Turvy about their online giveaway of a $10,000 gift card good towards any of the company’s products available through their Signature Stores nationwide. Register here through the end of the year.

I know I just signed up myself, and of course have already starting planning which pieces will be on my short list. (Oops, guys, am I eligible? Just in case, I'm ready!)

My list might include this classic English-style Fletcher Platinum sofa. Great design never goes out of style and this would work into any decor.

















The Rebecca chair would be perfect for a library.








I love ottomans, especially big, overscale ottomans. The 42"-square Theo has lots of great tufting and nailhead trim.

Channeling Axel and Belgian style, the Eartha cocktail table has a reclaimed wood top salvaged from antique European Elm doors and finished to an aged light gray.



The Ginger Glass table lamp calls to mind vintage French wine jugs. And that small detail of the round glass finial is kinda nice.



The Camp Hickory Spool Table is classic Americana tramp art. What a great little accent piece.

These Baguette Baskets are functional for storage or display and have an unusual shape and overscale texture that we love.

The Nigel 4-poster bed, with rattan padding on the headboard and footboard with fretwork style detailing, would make quite a statement in any bedroom.


Happy shopping and good luck!

9/10/08

Wooden Fisherman's Hut = Fanciful Artist's Studio Above The Sea

In my next life, I wouldn't mind coming back as Richard Texier, or maybe the female reincarnation of this French artist.

Click on any image to enlarge.

Ah, if I could just pick up his life as it is now, let's see ... he comes to work in shorts, and strolls out onto his own jetty off the coast of France at Aytrée, near La Rochelle. The jetty and hut are painted black and vivid Atlantic blue.

He passes through a circular gate (inspired by visits to Chinese gardens) and totes his belongings in a cart out to his 12 sq m (about 130 sq ft) fisherman's hut turned artist studio. The red bulb atop the gate is lit when Texier is 'en residence.' As seen in the photo above right, a wind screen can be angled to divert breezes and the gazes of any onlookers.

Texier throws open the doors to the elements.

The shoes come off as the artist sets out his paints and supplies and gets to the task of creating. The winds and salt spray swirl while Texier makes art – inspired by the sand, the sea, and the sky. And what wonderful art he makes! He comes here to work and think, and sometimes to sleep – either inside the hut, or outside under the stars.

Inside the small hut, every bit of space must be useful, as on a boat. A chalkboard is at the ready for sketches and notes. Texier created the bronze candlesticks just for the hut.

Texier creates mythical animal sculptures, using the lost wax process.

The galley-like kitchen with porthole windows, and an ink painting on an old nautical map.

Gallery and work space combined. Built-in storage and work bench are made of moabi wood – a dense tropical hardwood. Upholstered pieces are covered with a sail from an old tuna boat.

Texier's art is grouped in various collections, called Theoria Sacra, Instrumento, Generis, Homo Mundo, Mecanic Circus, Monumenta, Terra Munda, Hybrids, and Bionics.

Above work from the Theoria Sacra collection.


Two sculptures from the Homo Mundo collection.

A painting.

From the Theoria Sacra collection.

From the Generis collection.
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After receiving a doctorate with high honors from the Sorbonne University, Richard Texier "started a lifelong habit of nomadic stays in different regions, to paint, discover new materials, exhibit and meet different artists such as the German conceptual artist Joseph Beuys (1921-86). The ocean remains one of the pivotal themes of Texier’s artworks. His work reflects the influence of the writings of the French Surrealist artist Jean Dubuffet (1901-85), the works of the French Art Brut artist Gaston Chaissac (1910-64) and those of the French Installation artist Paul-Armand Gette (b.1927). During the 1980s, Texier liked to gather driftwood left by nature, pieces of corroded zinc, and scraps of rusty iron, which helped to inspire and sustain his work. In the 1990s, he created artwork based on early astronomical charts of the Renaissance, as well as old nautical charts."*

Texier at work in a Chelsea loft in 2002.

In 2002, Texier worked in Atelier 14, located in Chelsea. NY. "He produced an exciting body of work including a number of large-scale paintings."
"Through techniques as diverse as painting, sculpture and engraving, he has created a poetic vision of the world and shared his own universe of mutation and transformation. Numerous art exhibits, films and books have been devoted to his work in France and abroad." (Kenneth White - an outstanding figure of literature and thoughts.)**
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Richard Texier: Oeuvres Récentes runs at the Hôtel du Département de Seine Maritime, Quai Jean Moulin, Left Bank, 76100 Rouen, until Sept. 26.

*Art Knowlege News
** Art Register

Photos by Jean-Marie del Moral for The World of Interiors, Aug. 08 and from Richard Texier