bill t. jones : a good man

Watch Bill T. Jones: A Good Man on PBS. See more from AMERICAN MASTERS.


After recently seeing FELA, I became interested in the work of Bill T. Jones. His Tony Award winning choreography for FELA moved me to tears. I came across this documentary about his new project: A Good Man, and had to share. It is an incredibly inspiring and intelligent film about dance, choreography, performance and storytelling. This is a must-see for anyone interested in creativity. Works like this make me wish I had pursued dance more professionally. I am completely in awe. 

"I used to say that I want grace. That my reward in this life were to be to find what grace is. But now it's all choppy seas. Grace is for the saints. I'm not a saint, I don't aspire to be one yet. I'm a two-fisted maker." 
– Bill T. Jones. 

nuit blanche toronto: interactive light art + a modern design giveaway

This weekend, Toronto will be up all night for the annual Nuit Blanche celebrating the city's contemporary art (among other things!). I am most excited about Dashing Collective's interactive art installation in Fort York. A DLYT project called SMILE (aka Socially Motivated Interactive Light Environment). It is a highly interactive arrangement of cubes of light that react to individual users as they move through the space. Part art installation, part social experiement. It'll be interesting how the crowd reacts and how the installation reacts to the crowd. It's a MUST SEE.

Featured in the installation are over three dozen of these lightboxes by Gus* Design Group. It's going to be so beautiful! The photo below is a preview of the installation. Dashing Collective also just announced that they are doing an on-site giveaway of one of these lamps! I know I will want one. Details and map link are below the jump. 

To enter the giveaway: Visit the DLYT art installation in Fort York on Oct 1st BEFORE midnight – precise location here. Enter to win, fill in a numbered ballot on site (only). One winner will be chosen randomly to win one Gus Lightbox (photos below) after the giveaway closes. Contact producer extraordinaire, Mary Anne Ledesma for more info. Come early! See you at Nuit Blanche :) 


art in architecture : new york

Here are some of the things that caught my eye this past month in New York. The architecture is often as interesting as the art. It's really about our points of view as well as the way we edit down to the essence.

Left to right, from the top: 

MoMA (from the inside out)
A Brooklyn apartment building entrance
"Everything's going to be all right" – stairwell at the Ace Hotel
MoMA (from the outside)
Older woman seated at Bertoia chairs at the MoMA
Stairwell, Citibank office on 34th and Broadway
Passage (study) made of NYC police barrier, butterflies made of found aluminum cans by artist Paul Villinski 
Seated ballerinas at Alvin Ailey 
Stairs at Museum of Art & Design 

A few more to come.

hail mcqueen

One of the highlights of my New York trip was getting to experience the Alexander McQueen | Savage Beauty show at The MET. It was insanely busy as it was the first weekend it opened to the public. But it was so worth it. 

The show was, for me, a celebration of McQueen's exquisite craft. It was a celebration of beauty – however melancholy or dark. It's impossible to cast aside the brilliance and complexity of the ideas behind the work. There is no doubt that this falls under the category of high art. Being allowed to see his thinking and his inspiration was eye-opening. I was so thrown by how beautifully executed and tailored everything was. His pieces required undeniably precise detail and quality. He respected and studied the rules and, therefore, knew how to break them. The work is so modern and yet so rooted in tradtion at the same time. Looking at these dresses as I walked through the show, I saw the intensity of McQueen's passion for beauty. He not only put powerful women on a pedestal, he wanted women to be powerful in his clothes. The show itself was billiantly curated...stunning. Possibly the best exhibition of art & fashion I have ever seen. McQueen is awe-inspiring. He was a genius. 

If at all possible, go see the show before it closes in July and see where it might be traveling to next. Or at least check out the site. Looks like they're having trouble keeping the book on the shelf (pick one up if you can).




Savage Beauty exhibition images via

unfettered and pretty : artist ky anderson


Images are from and

I ADORE the work of artist Ky Anderson. There's an unpretentious and unfettered quality to these paintings that I just love. It doesn't feel contrived or over-worked in any way. It's also a beautiful balance of the representational and the abstract. And what's not to love about the colour palette? They're so pretty (in the best sense of the word).

Check out her website to see more. She also has prints available on 20x200.


intricate material : meghan price

Toronto/Montreal baed artist Meghan Price found me through social media. Her work is so beautiful and delicate, it had to be shared. There is so much evidence of her background in textile construction in her work. The level of detail and intricacy is amazing. In addition to her fine art work, she is also one third of String Theory, a textile design studio specializing in gorgeous scarves and throws. Go check them out. 

The lace pieces (top two images) are made of enameled copper wire and the bottom three images are waterjet cut steel. The waterjet cut piece will be part of a show entitled "Love Lace" at the Powerhouse in Sydney this coming July. 

inspired collage : james gallagher

I'm loving the work of New York city collage artist, James Gallagher. He puts together image clippings from old issues National Geographic magazines and sometimes vintage sex manuals to create his work. His interest in human beings' secret behaviours (whether that reveals beauty, ugliness, solitude or desire) is fascinating. I also love the tactility and dimensionality of these pieces. 

James Gallagher has also recently edited a book featuring a number of contemporary collage artist entitled Cutting Edges. So much great collage work to see there.

letting things be

I was seduced by the small details of paintings I was looking at last night at a gallery opening. I had to capture them. What they all have in common is the moment when the artists stepped back and allowed the paint to react to water (or other solvent). It's succumbing to the unexpected and just letting things BE. There's so much beauty in that and lesson in there somewhere.

come up to my room and other activities

As part of Design Week in Toronto, I paid a visit to the Gladstone Hotel's annual Come Up To My Room event as well as the Do Design walk down Dundas Street West. Below are some of the photos (artist/designer listings are on respective websites). All in all a good day of visual inspiration and some good nibbles of food along the way. It actually made me toy with the idea of maybe trying to participate next year. Hmmm...

the fictional suburbia of ross racine

Walnut Village, 2006

I'm fascinated by the work on Montreal artist, Ross Racine. These fictional suburban landscapes are digital drawings, not photographs. It calls to mind the idea of utopian societies. There is also a kind of darkness and subversion to the work of the science fiction novel variety. I have both a fascination and an aversion to that cookie-cutter, Stepford Wives kind of suburban idealism. Which makes the aerial point of view of these constructed landscapes so interesting. Everything looks perfect, abstract and safe from this distance.

xiaojing yan

The work of artist Xiaojing Yan was part of Gladstone Hotel's 5th Birthday open house exhibit last weekend. I'm assuming that these paintings are portraits of various Asian women with their mother's or grandmother's portraits on the other side of the transparent, hanging 'discs.' (photos taken with my iPhone) 

The painting technique reminded me of colour-by-numbers paintings from childhood. These double portraits were beautifully presented, lit and suspended from the ceiling in such a way that allowed the viewer to walk around them. I like the idea that a 'front' or 'back' doesn't exist, both sides of each portrait have equal visual weight. It brings to mind my own thoughts and experiences on bicultural identity and personal history. 

inspired art/interiors : the gladstone hotel

photo from

One of Toronto's more interesting hotels would have to be the Gladstone Hotel on Queen St. West. I attended their 5th Birthday party this weekend – five years since it's doors opened following a major renovation. The hotel is known for the design of 37 of the rooms, each by local artists. I had the chance to see some of these rooms during the birthday open house. Room 417, the Chinoiserie Room by artist Millie Chen, I found to be one of the most interesting. The ironic chinoiserie 'wallpaper' was what captured my attention. It's more accurately a large painting. Upon closer inspection, the cast of characters are revealed. Among others, it included a tourist holding a camera, a man with a CN tower hat and a monkey with a saw. I loved the blend of cultural, historical reference and humour. 

Some other rooms I loved: the Felt Room (great perforated wool felt lamps and very tactile wall covering) 
photo on right from gladstonehotel.comThe beautifully-done Victorian-era room – Echame Flores. This room actually felt to me like somewhere unspeakably dark or deeply hidden, naughty things happen...

photo from 

The Teen Queen Room was hilariously stuck in the 80s – complete with a wall covered in 80s Teen Beat posters, unicorns and horses. The colour palette and choice of bed covering emulated the decade to a 'T.'

Check out the Gladstone Hotel website to see the rest of the rooms.

100 photographs of #61 jewel street

I recently discovered the work of artist John Monteith at the o'born contemporary gallery. I found this particular image so beautiful. From what I gather, the artist uses multiple images of the same scene, combines and layers them together to create vibrations and shifts. His work reminds me of the way we sometimes remember time, place and history. Memory can be blurry, seductive and even idealized.

If you're in Toronto, go see the show. It's up until January 29, 2011.

100 Photographs of #61 Jewel Street, Archival giclée print

inspired pattern experiments

These beautiful, experimental patterns were created by Yale School of architecture student, Elijah Porter. These drawings were originally conceived in three dimensions as potential constructed landscapes. I responded to them aesthetically – as a graphic designer. I love the delicate quality of the lines, the overall texture and composition. The forms are reminiscent of flowers and jellyfish. This would be so amazing as large wall murals – or even as animations. 




back to dance

Last night I made my way back to my first dance class in two months. Despite a somewhat terrifying rusty start, it provided the joy and satisfaction of movement and expression I needed – not to mention an incredible stretch. I tried a new technique (Graham) with a friend at a new school (School of Toronto Dance Theater). At the risk of sounding overly sentimental, last night made me realize that no matter what is happening in my life or what direction I'm being pulled, I can turn to dance to bring me back to me

Having all my dance clothes back on inspired a photography search last night. It lead me to the work of multi-disciplinary artist (and dancer), Adriene Hughes. I absolutely love her photos. Her own love of dance comes through her work. They make me wish I had pursued dance more seriously. These images in particular really spoke to me. It captures the passion and desire that dancers aim to express with their bodies. I was also very moved by the artist's own story of cancer survival. It's unfathomable to me to even imagine having such an experience – especially for someone who's physicality is so vital for creativity and expression. 


cinematic light : artist michael harrington

I came across the paintings of Canadian artist, Michael Harrington while strolling down Queen Street West in Toronto last weekend. Katherine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects had the top painting (Lookout! oil on canvas 40x60 inches) in the window and I had to stop and inquire. I love the melancholy, Edward Hopper-like quality to his work. They are almost sad, mundane scenes featuring no one or no place in particular. I LOVE the cinematic quality of light executed in a way that doesn't look overworked. There's a certain looseness to his technique that I find so beautiful.

monet brought to life

Museums are increasingly paying attention to and painstakingly designing the online versions of their exhibitions these days (check out the The MoMA's recent online exhibitions). This website for Monet's 2010 show at the Galeries Nationales in Paris (opening this October) designed by Creative Director Olivier Bienaimé of Les 84 in Paris was particularly worth sharing. It offers such a beautiful experience of Monet's work through animations and interactivity of his paintings. It loads painfully slow but it is worth the wait. This is a great example of how an experience, learning and feeling can be presented in such an imaginative way. These still images captured from the site doesn't do justice to the work. It is in the treatment of the transitions that are most beautiful to me. You need to see for yourself here. I would actually love to see the "Journey" section as a whole film version of the exhibition. This website might almost be a more interesting (at least very different) way to learn about Monet and his life's work than just viewing static versions of his paintings hanging in a gallery. Not only that, it allows everyone to experience the show, not just people who will be physically visiting the exhibition in Paris.  

inspired expression : andre petterson

Another inspiring discovery in Montreal was the work of Andre Petterson. I responded immediately to
the paintings' reference to dance. They're a celebration of movement, performance, femininity
and expression – in addition to the fact that they're just visually stunning. I adore them. They are
half abstract expressionist and half representational. All love. 

Photos 1, 2 and 6 are my own, 3, 4 and 5 are from Bau-Xi Gallery website.