Top 5 Tingles: May

Sooooooo…I feel like I’m always coming across interesting and new bits of pop culture that give me the excitement Tingles. I love finding new movies, books, music and art pieces that haven’t been saturated into the public’s conscience quite yet (that way they still have a bit of mystique and freshness about it). So with that in mind, I’d like to start a monthly addition called my “Top 5 Tingles” where I share what’s on my radar and what is making me tingle!

1.)    “Nowhere Boy” (Weinstein Company) A few months ago when I was watching the BAFTA’s on BBC, I noticed a film that completely pricked up my ears. Nominated for 4 BAFTA’s including Outstanding British Film, “Nowhere Boy” chronicles the early life of John Lennon living with his aunt Mimi and just discovering a possible relationship with his mother, Julia. For anyone who knows me and my family, we are a clan firmly rooted in the music of The Beatles. Like most inhabitants of the world, the Lennon/McCartney song writing relationship is the reason why I appreciate music the way I do. According to me, if it weren’t for The Beatles, the face of music (regardless of time and space) would be bereft of the texture and poetry that listen to on a daily basis.  I am so excited for this movie, not only because it is about one of the greatest songwriters of ALL TIME, but it is also about John Lennon’s teenage years – one of the least chronicled periods of his life. Plus it includes one of my fave British actresses, Ann Marie Duff! If you want, you can watch the trailer here and tingle along with me!

2.)    Calavera Serigraphs. I recently came across this artist on Etsy who creates these really amazing serigraph calavera prints. They have a strong Dia de los Muertos influence that I absolutely love (because for some reason my friend and I are obsessed with skulls and skeletons at the moment) and these have the perfect balance of mortality and whimsy. The artist, Mis Nopales has a bunch of different scenes on cards, t-shirts, posters etc. A few of my favorite are scenes are of these amazing little Calaveras as Napoleon, Star Troopers from “Star Wars”, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Ben Franklin as well as Geishas. Every time I look  at them I feel instantly giddy. Each is so fabulously intricate with layers upon layers of detail, but each cut and pattern only add to the whimsy and playful aspects of the scene instead of distracting from it. I have a list of at least 10 prints that I want to buy – they really have become my adult version of baseball trading cards! My private dream is to have a whole gallery wall full of these little Calavera Serigraphs surrounded my much more traditional artists. Something about the juxtaposition of “classic” art and the kitsch is a combination that I have always gravitated towards and I feel that these little 3’x5′ prints will make a welcome addition to my imaginary art gallery wall!

3.)   Billy Und Hells. During the summer of 2008 I was fortunate enough to work as nanny to my art history professor’s 3 children while she worked in Amsterdam. Not only was it a dream job that a million Berkeley students would give their perfect 4.0’s for – but (*BONUS*) I got to have my own apartment right on the Princengracht near Leidseplein and see a version of Amsterdam that most people never have the opportunity to. I suppose I could wax philosophical about how I was inspired by the canals, gables and open markets – however, doing that would require a separate blog in and of itself! ANYWAYS, right down the block from my apartment was one of the greatest little galleries, Galerie Utrecht. One of the artist series they featured during the summer I was there has quickly become my favorite artist of ALL time, Billy Und Hells. Actually, this artist is in fact a duo who work harmoniously together professionally and personally (wink, wink). They were both inspired by fashion photography and used lithprint techniques to create some of the most amazing photographs where the colors are reduced, but still give an intense effect. What I also particularly like about their portfolio are their portrait formats that have become somewhat of a trademark. Portraits really walk the line of intimacy. Formal portraits can keep the viewer at a distance and become cold and reserved in their solitude. Billy Und Hells have taken these antiquated notion’s of portraits and instead infused them with an intrusive and uncomfortable intimacy. As a viewer I’m not sure whether to look away or come closer. In MY humble opinion, that is the best kind of art – something that at one moment makes you uneasy and then lures you in for more.

4.)   Refurbishing. Ok, Ok! I can see you rolling your eyes at me right now and I don’t need your judgement! I am fully aware that refurbishing is not anything new and original. In fact, it is so old that one might argue that refurbishing was a trend back in your great grandmother’s time. WHATEVER!! I have recently been introduced to this magical, never-ending world of refurbishing and  I am a woman obsessed! A few months ago I started to watch this show called “Sarah’s House” where the decorator Sarah Richardson buys a house, guts it and renovates it completely from basement to attic according to her own style (dream). One of the aspects of her show that I have fallen in love with, and hope to emulate one day, is her ability to find amazing pieces at antique stores, flea markets, estate sales etc. and give them new life. I have been so completely impressed by the endless possibilities of what you can achieve with a can of paint, some sandpaper and a little bit of elbow grease! All I do now is cruise the blog-o-sphere for crafty reinventions and resurrections of timeless wingback chairs, Chippendale’s and vanity sets. In fact I’ve been eyeing my mom’s old dresser and vanity and have high hopes for bringing new life to it for my new apartment (if and when it ever actually does happen!) Should I tell my mom that I’ve already picked out a paint scheme and she should maybe consider looking for new furniture tout suite!?!?!

5.)   Burlap. I sort have this love/hate relationship with Burlap. One the one hand it’s incredibly rough and dry and it’s soooo CUUUHN-TRY!! But on the other hand Burlap has this amazing quality to transform EASILY into something much more charming. Burlap is this exquisite medium that has a depth to it not previously seen before…I don’t know, bouclè! And I’m not the only one who thinks so! It seems like everywhere I go there are screen-printed burlap wallets, memory boards and purses (I should know, I bought all of them!). I’ve included a picture of a chair that has become a hybrid of Tingle #4 & #5 and displays the versatility of my new fave fabric. This 70 year-old chair frame was given a facelift with a country-style burlap feed bag and my-oh-my doesn’t it look gorgeous! I’m loving burlap because it offers durability, its cheaper than dirt, it’s so diverse (it comes in a veritable rainbow of colors and patterns), plus it’s so mind-numbingly basic and plain, that anything you print on it or pair it with people will instantly think you are a creative genius – “Oh my god! I never thought to make a burlap bikini! You must be a creative genius!” Can’t you just hear the accolades now???

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