Chau and B.J.'s notes from Space City

Posts from the artists Category

One of the highlights of working at Myth and Symbol has to be meeting creative people and getting to share their beautiful work with others. When I bought a bowl last year from an event at the craft center, I knew I had to track down whoever made it. By coincidence, Angel happened to come by the shop before I could contact her down and everything came together from there. Soon after, I got to know Anne, her best friend and another local talent. So we brainstormed a little bit and next Saturday, they’ll be at the store with all their goods. If you are around, please come visit before I buy everything!

2nd photo by angel

Here’s a flyer I put together for them. I’m still brushing up doing layout and text, but the doodles were fun!

Last night, we went to the MFAH’s French Fete celebrating the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist pieces from the National Gallery of Art. The super long lines and crowded galleries was still worth it, but we’ll definitely come back and use our comp tickets later to slowly take everything in. I’m probably late on recognizing this but there are so many dogs sweetly placed in Impressionist paintings! I spotted them in at least 8-10 paintings including one of our favorites Mary Cassatt’s Little Girl in a Blue Arm Chair.

National Gallery of Art

And from their permanent collection, I’m always in awe with the Greek Myrtle Wreath c330-250 B.C and a few of the sculptures on the first floor.



I recently picked up Print’s 20 under 30 issue, and Jeseok Yi‘s work most intensely spoke to me. Social design that looks cool, informs, compels the viewer to take action, and lingers in the mind for minutes, days, etc. is usually hard to come by. An exciting aspect of Yi’s work has nothing to do with “making type look great and doing Photoshop like a machine”—heavy on digital technique, light on ideas. Rather, it’s the way Yi stresses the simplicity and interaction between design and its real-world environment. I think his work will speak to my students too.

  1. For some, it’s Mt. Everest | American Disability  Association
  2. What goes around comes around for | Global Coalition for Peace
  3. Air pollution kills 60,000 people a year | Natural Resource Defense Council

On a slightly similar note, thank you, Jennifer for the smart reminder/tip about helping with Japan’s long term earthquake relief efforts, especially as we continue to learn more about the aftermath and where help is most needed.

What drives Gregory Thielker and Alexandra Pacula? Their styles of oil painting are shaped by photography and filtered through car windows. Both pay homage to an instrument praised for transparently rendering reality—yet their paintings withhold the straightforward picture you would expect. They like to place obstacles between the observer and observed. Thielker chooses rain, bringing photorealistic detail to drenched windshields, an everyday scenario where unmediated vision might actually save your life. Pacula, by contrast, chooses a style of blurring that mimics the woozy smears of long-exposed film. These artists tilt representation toward abstraction, one extracting vitality from stillness and silence, the other turning the commotion of real life into the repose of pure color.

Gregory Thielker shows us a world lighted less by the sun than by the red glare of brake lights and traffic lights. It’s an overcast, halted place. Here everything—which is to say, nothing—seems to occur under rain clouds or the cover of nightfall. If we’re not waiting on the road, we’re in parking lots. This inert realm outside the vehicle is refracted through patterns of rainwater: waxy droplets, lattices, and sheets of rippling liquid. Thielker’s lyrically fractured vision lends a sense of mystery and activity, a fugitive spark of life, to the quiet routine of a country locked in its own cars.

Alexandra Pacula gazes outward from a quintessentially New York point of view: a taxicab window. She presents a sunless setting, too, though in her images we find more headlights, neon signage, and peeks into brightly lit interiors. Lights, in other words, that approach us and invite us in. Little can be seen clearly because the passage of time blurs and bends the scenes like memories. Clarity doesn’t attract Pacula. She prefers the delights of the deceiving mind—and camera. Watching the glow of storefronts and passing cars and street lamps melt into twitchy trails of color, after all, one thinks of long-exposure photographs and their disloyalty to reality. Her paintings likewise rebel. They side against the frenzy and fluorescent vertigo of the city at night, rebuilding blandly busy moments as absolute visual spaces into which the beholder can escape.


I remember working at a show in Boston and seeing Steven and William Ladd’s Ant War Box wishing I could one day own a little piece of their work. The closest I’ve come: picking up the issue of American Craft with the feature on the Ladd brothers. Their new Colony necklace finally brings their one-of-a-kind work within reach (of my budget).


Available at Anthropologie and in silver and brass on their website.

Speaking of jewelry, I wish I could be in NYC this week for this Hannah Clark sale and Odette Open Studio.

This is what I plan to do after July but maybe with two arms behind my head instead. B thinks my sleeping position is pretty strange. I noticed my dad and younger sister sleep the same way.


hatip: design*sponge

Yelena Byksenkova‘s Private Lives Series.
Lots more beautiful work to see in her blog and shop. Check her out!


Nick Dewar—a Scottish-born artist with the power to elegantly provoke thought—has died at 37. He was an illustrator whose subtleties appealed equally to the eye and to the brain: gracefully making analogies and arguments with striking, deceptively simple images. No surprise that these talents made him a favorite of editors everywhere. Surfacing in places like The Atlantic Monthly and The New York Times, he made great newspapers and magazines look better and look smarter.

His draftsmanship was marked by restraint and precision—if the piece didn’t need x, then x didn’t go in, often leaving his subjects in flat seas of solid color. “Personally I am a big believer in voluntary simplicity and try to discard everything that is unnecessary in my daily life,” he wrote on his site. “I think this has a lot to do with how my work looks.” Whether he was working analog—he preferred a sable brush, acrylic paints from Lefranc et Bourgeois’s Flashe range and Cartoon Colour’s Cel-Vinyl series, Strathmore plate-surface bristol board—or digitally, a sense of self-control kept his work free of frills, even of texture.

This allowed us to focus on the ideas. And Dewar had a lot of them, literally piles of them scattered throughout sketchbooks. As effortless as he makes it look, it was clear that he devoted intense mental effort to his projects, filtering everything through his sophisticated humor, visual and verbal wit, and Magritte-like zest for the surreal.


Dewar’s fluid strokes and retro figures brought to mind both Charles Burns (expressive faces, lustrous hair) and Christoph Niemann (gray suits, intellect, high comedy). Perhaps a more minimalist Daniel Clowes. You suspect that he could craft a brilliant graphic novel. Beyond these traits, a recurring set of images also connected his diverse body of work:

  1. Objects vaporously forming, genie-like, out of other objects
  2. Mirror images and detached faces
  3. Translucent figures and outlines
  4. Handlebar mustaches
  5. Human-shaped nonhumans
  6. Pinstripes coming to life
  7. Thick, transforming beams of light
  8. Colors that radiate warmth even when textbooks call them cool (his favorites: “certain dusky brown, greens, blues and deep yellow and oranges”)
  9. Muscular and blocky prewar lettering a la Chris Ware

We encourage you to visit Design Sponge, to see arguably their all-time best Sneak Peek into his living and working space. The line between life and art is thin, it turns out: Dewar writes beautifully and funnily about a place that is, inspiringly, at once spartan and steeped in art. On the wall, you can spot a giant silk-screened Chris Ware panel.


A Book By Its Cover allows us to briefly invade his privacy, too: through his sketchbooks!


Notice the ratio of words and ideas to images. And notice all the circling and scratching out, all the testing and sorting through. This is ample evidence of a restless mind, which makes for a better illustrator. To enrich your art, he suggests on his site, you have to enrich your life and brain: read lots, look at other people’s work, cultivate interests, travel. Clearly he practices what he preaches. On the same page, he delves deeply into this process, with his customary warmth and deadpan asides.

We took notes. We’ll miss him dearly.

Buy his prints at Thumbtack Press. Trawl Google Images for his commissions. Pore over his work in his portfolio or at Veer. Marvel at his contribution to Readymade’s WPA-inspired Poster Children project. Flip through his Flickr stream.