Category Archives: Inspirations

In awe of Chicago’s architecture

I must have really been stuck in my east coast bubble because I feel like I’m just now realizing how much a midwestern city like Chicago has to offer. The windy city rocks. Granted, I am here during the summer so that changes the game a bit.

Here’s a brief run down of what make this city wonderful…

  • It’s laid-back and friendly.
  • It’s diverse in its people and activities to do/trouble to get into.
  • Cute dogs are bountiful. I dig these little guys in all shapes and sizes…far more than children at this point.
  • It’s by the water, which offers not only its nautical beauty but also helps energize the city with the sea air. I ran along it today and swear everyday should now start with a run by Navy Pier.
  • It’s a very aesthetically pleasing city on many levels. Art is highly appreciated, and plentiful both in public areas and those that are museum- or gallery-based, and even the street banners, pamphlets, and restaurants around town are well-designed. The architecture is to die for.
  • It caters to one of my favorite hobbies…EATING. Great food. Two nights ago I ate at GT Fish and Oyster (even their website design is rad) and seriously considered licking my plate clean. I ate at Big Star last night and it was damn good (their chips are seasoned with lime juice making them uniquely tasty).
  • It caters to my career interests with all of the marketing and advertising companies.

On my travels before school starts, I am doing my very best to live in the moment, be observant, and take in all inspirations around me. As a part of that journey, my boyfriend shared with me that it’s important to be in awe. In fact, it’s good for your well-being. Turns out, I am awestruck by this city’s magnificent buildings which I got a close at during a architectural boat cruise (definitely recommend–I learned a lot and our charming tour guide even ended the trip with a harmonica tune inspired by Chicago).

First, I am in pure amazement of the sheer height and complexity of these structures. Coming from a city like DC where buildings are usually no higher than 10 stories this totally fascinates to me. It’s not like I haven’t seen a skyscraper before with all my visits to New York but since Chicago is more spread out and flat the height appears more extreme. Plus, the Sears building is gigantic (see below)! Additionally, I appreciate the diversity in styles including art deco, art modern, post-modern, and so on, which draw from various movements across the world but mostly Europe. I was blown away by several buildings: Aqua skyscraper for its organically shaped balconies (each is slightly different and it is the tallest building to be built by a female architect), River City which is Gaudi inspired (a brilliant designer and one of my favorite architects), Marina City looks like two honey cones, Lake Point Tower is an amazing circular shape inspired by Bauhaus movement and when the light hits it almost glows, and the NBC Tower is a classic art deco style and really gorgeous.

More to come on my adventures.

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Cindy Sherman: The Ultimate Chameleon

It’s safe to say I am obsessed with the work of Cindy Sherman. She is truly talented and I really respect the career she has built over the past 35 years. Her creativity and imagination astounds me. I saw her retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) this weekend and although it was a little sparser than I expected, I enjoyed the MOMA’s display of her work. According to a New York Times article, the MOMA rightly described her work as “the unchallenged cornerstone of postmodern photography.”

I’ve always had a thing for playing dress up and make believe…and Cindy has made a living killing doing just that and then photographing herself often perfectly capturing the emotion and personality of the subject. You immediately want to know the story behind the subject at hand…what’s behind that fierce grin or those longing eyes? I don’t even know how Cindy comes up with all of the different personas she becomes, but besides that she executes just as impressively…they are so super believable. Something I learned this weekend is that she shoots everything in her studio where she projects different backgrounds (cityscapes, courtyards, office buildings, etc.). It was also cool to learn more about the progression of her work. She first became famous decades ago for doing a series of black and white portraits. Then she got into the heavy-duty costumes in which she has mocked the PR moguls and actress wanna-bes, she has glorified the victimized androgynous types, she has taken the viewer back in time by recounting many historical moments while also poking fun, she has even shown us her perverted side and apparent preoccupation with clowns. I don’t show any of the later two because, well, neither are really my thang.

The MOMA exhibit ends in May, so go see it now!

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Digging Daniela Edburg’s creepy humor

So, a funny little factoid is I don’t get creeped out easily. I don’t mind thinking about morbid things, and bugs and blood don’t really gross me out. I do have a limit, however, and could barely handle the scene in Drive where Ryan Gosling crushes the guy’s skull on the elevator…I think it was the sound that really got me.

Anyhoo, I say all of this because I really dig the work of surrealist Mexican artist, Daniela Edburg, and her stuff is definitely creeeeepy but also so clever and often very funny. I was recently introduced to her work and couldn’t get enough. This woman has a serious imagination, a terrific eye, and some majorly BADASS Photoshop skills. I would give anything to work Photoshop like she does! What I’ve gathered is that Daniela’s main motif is taking everyday situation or everyday people (often domestic goddesses) and putting a distributing twist to it. Take for instance an atomic bomb as the backdrop for a nice, friendly family picnic. Check out the atomic symbol on the cake…

The conceptual aspect of her work reminds me of the brilliant…and equally (or more) disturbed…Cindy Sherman, whose retrospective at the MOMA I am looking forward to seeing in the next 2 weeks.

And, last but not least, one of my personal favorites–“Death By Chocolate”–what a way to go

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With the Hirshhorn’s latest installation, DC is becoming quite the arts town

Recently, on a late night run with my good friend, I stumbled upon the most magical thing.

We were running across the National Mall towards the US Capitol, surrounded by magnificent monuments and museums from all angles (a very DC moment indeed). We caught a murmur of music and a stream of lights, and we ran faster towards it, eager to discover what is was all about. My curiosity kicked into high gear, and as we got closer it started to come alive.

We ended up in front of the Hirshhorn Museum, DC’s modern museum of art and in recent years one of my favorites. What was different about the museum that night was its cylinder structure was draped in a video which incorporated many different takes of the song “I only have eyes from you” by the Flamingos. It felt almost like a series of short music videos from the perspectives of various artists/individuals. We watched it in awe for a while, and then continued on our run, but I couldn’t help but feel this continuous buzz of excitement inside of me. It is truly fascinating to experience an installation of that size where the structure is the canvas. This interactive installation delights multiple senses at once, and it can never be experienced the same way more than once, making it truly dynamic and captivating.

Upon later research, and another visit back, I discovered that this art piece is a short-term installation by Doug Aitken, an American artist based in New York. Called SONG 1, Aitken’s installation at the Hirshhorn is among his many commissions known as “liquid architecture” where he transforms a building into a piece of art that is influenced by its structure and surrounding environment.

Song 1 is only in town for 8-weeks, which is now down to 7…so make sure to check it out stat and preferably at night for the full effect. I get chills just thinking about it.

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Art Basel 2011

I’m back in my beloved Miami for a long weekend, and it just struck me that I never posted about my visit in December….

It was my first time at Art Basel and what I quickly realized is that there is a ridiculous amount to do and simply not enough time. There are art events galore and now a ton of great street art and music events in the Wynwood art district. We only scratched the surface and still managed to sleep very little. Best party was HolyGhost! at Bardot…didn’t stop dancing…

Here are some pics of the most interesting, striking, and downright bizarre art works from Art Miami and Design Miami.

B & me

A great Warhol…

It’s made out of raisins…ha!

WOW, talk about meticulous

Downright creepy but at the same time kind of sweet and cuddly

These maps are all thread and beading

It’s electric! Literally. The new wave of art meets technology

This series is made of entirely electrical wires, how wild

Next to his mobiles, this is a great Calder piece

Love the texture of these. Oh, and you wouldn’t believe how much they go for!

A table made of yellow leather

I want this record player


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Typeface Tuesdays: Barbara Kruger

A week ago I stumbled upon the work of Barbara Kruger, the American conceptual artist, at the National Portrait Gallery as I was strolling through after work…

I immediately liked it. You see, I’ve always had a thing for artwork that is made up by multiple pieces, which tells a different story depending on the arrangement or if you deduct/add pieces. Beyond that I love how its dynamic and vibrant, and the way she incorporates type with the images is simply brilliant. It’s a little hard to see but the message here (with text on each picture) is “We will no longer be seen and no heard.” When Kruger refers to “we” she means women and anyone else who struggles to have power in society during the 1940s/50s. She is not to afraid to say what’s on her mind and raise a taboo topic, which I appreciate.

I did a little more research and was blown away by the career Kruger built focused around the use of type and beyond that her poignant and meaningful messaging. This lady had a powerful way with words.

For instance, check out this Helvetica wrap job she did on the Lever Building on New York City’s Park Ave. Go to this article to see more extraordinary images of this building’s text-y interior. (Yes, that way intended).

I like a lot of her work, including some of the following pieces…

Hilarious…this one has the tone of…clearly ahead of her time


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Typeface Tuesday: Good Work Takes Hard Work

Hey kiddos. This poster by Brent Couchman is rad!

It’s a nifty compilation of lines and shapes to make up a clever and interesting typeface. And, the message itself is on point. Just as this design took hard work I’m sure, so do all things in life that are most rewarding. So enjoy this work of art and remember to WORK HARD at those jobs, relationships, projects, adventures, and endeavors that mean the mean the most to you and the direction your life is taking.

And, but of course, PLAY HARD. Life is long but in the end too short.

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Typeface Tuesday: The Late Doyald Young

The first time I laid eyes on Doyald in a video last year, I was taken with him and his work. I soon realized there was something extraordinary about this individual. He was a prominent typeface designer with an unmatched passion and love for the written letter. His designs are not only beautifully crafted but all one of a kind creations. He was trained to design by hand only using paper, pencil, and a ruler and he continued in that fashion even as computer design became mainstream, but now a good portion of his work has been turned into commercial fonts. Unfortunately, Doyald passed away last February during a routine surgery, but his legacy has and surely will continue to live on forever.

Haha, I get a kick out of this one…clearly he had a sense of humor too

An image of him in the process of designing…

A collection of his logo designs…

This is interesting…an example of one of his crits of a student’s work

And I just adore his smiling face…what a gem he was

Data Visualization According to Tufte

The name Edward Tufte is synonymous with information graphics. What’s interesting is the Tufte has been at this design niche for a while now, but it seems he’s getting new traction as infographics become quite popular.

Frankly, before I took his class last week, I hadn’t heard of him. But then again, this is a more focused area of graphic design heavy in statistical data research and analysis. So basically it’s less about form and much more about function. Understanding the function–the message–and having a strong one at that is what drives the form. As Tufte explained it, the first intellectual task is to understand how to explain something with images. To be able to effectively produce the desired effect–with the audience–you must understand the content as the messenger. And you must be viewed as credible source by the audience.

Tufte is certainly a little too numbers heavy for me; In fact, I may have drifted off into my dreamland and closed my eyes for more than a hot second when he started getting heavy into statistics. With all due respect, Mr. Tufte, it’s not you it’s the stats. But I get his point here–you want to have strong, accurate quantitative data in order to inform your design. Besides the numbers, he made some other solid points about successful presentations–you need to have high-resolution graphics, you have to move away from bulleted PowerPoints, and you should arrive early and end early, giving your audience back some time.

One of the coolest pieces he showed us was the Popular Music infographic. He even showed an interactive version on his iPad that played music and showed a picture of the artist over the infographic design.

To date, he’s published four books–Beautiful Evidence, Envisioning Information, Visual Explanations, and the The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. To learn more about those and the courses he offers visit

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