I like bunnies!!! Oh, and the Nicki Clyne Fan 'Zine is out!

Okay, I'm just gonna be completely honest. I'm not a salesperson. I've never been good at it. I know it's a skill you can build, but I just haven't yet. When I was in school and we sold chocolates to raise money for camp, my family was eating Mint Meltaways® for months. It's probably related to some fear of rejection, or failure, or that time I got in trouble for selling pot-pourri which was essentially rose petals sprayed with my mom's expensive perfume. Conveniently, those feelings are soothed with the sweet, velvety taste of chocolate and mint melting like butter in your mouth... Anyway, that was the past, and now I have something way cooler than cheap-ass fundraising chocolates. It's a collaboration between three amazingly awesome and talented people (yes, I'm including myself in that statement - awkward, right?). I'm calling it the Nicki Clyne Fan 'Zine, but it's just as much about the fans as it is about me. It's a tribute to the fan community and a nostalgic reference to "fan zines" of the past. There will only be a limited number ever in existence. So even if it's not exciting to you now, maybe one day you can sell it and pay for your kid's camp tuition (or at least a box of their chocolates).

I'm very excited to share this project, it was a really neat creative process. Pedro's art is truly amazing, I think he really captured a certain Nicki-ness in is drawings. (Either that or I look A LOT like a cartoon in real life. You decide.) And even though I know I'm awesome regardless (my mom says so), I really hope you like it too :). Click here to get  your copy today! (shipping included.)

(i'm glad) some things never change

I've always loved looking at photos of my friends when they were wee little munchkins. Last year for my birthday, I asked my friends to bring along their favorite kid pictures to my party and it was even more fun than I imagined. My favorite part (besides the typically awesome fashion) is noticing the subtle qualities and attributes that are so uniquely “them;" that even twenty or thirty, or forty, years later, they still curl their lip on one side or squint that one eye, or have that expression as if they're waiting for mom to say it's okay to dig in to dessert. You know, those indescribable nuances that allow you to recognize them in a crowd or at a great distance—the way they walk, the way they slouch, they way they flick their hair (even if they no longer have any). There’s a certain innocence to existence I think we often forget, or mistakenly think we lose. We all start out as these little lumps of flesh and love, and then we grow up, and somehow we believe we’re supposed to know stuff, have stuff, do stuff... But deep down, we’re that same little child who stared in awe out the car window, endlessly fascinated with every movement, every smell, every sound. This, I believe, is our nature—this curiosity and joyfulness. I love that photos from our past can be a reminder of that. I was inspired to write about this because I discovered an amazing photo project by Irina Werning. She's been recreating people’s childhood photos at their current age. This is what she says about it:

"I love old photos. I admit being a nosey photographer. As soon as I step into someone else’s house, I start sniffing for them. Most of us are fascinated by their retro look but to me, it’s imagining how people would feel and look like if they were to reenact them today... A few months ago, I decided to actually do this. So, with my camera, I started inviting people to go back to their future."

Quite literally, she takes my fascination to a whole new level. Check them out, I’m sure you’ll love them. Here are a few of my favorites...

hide and speak

I can't remember when I first learned about Chinese artist Liu Bolin, but I've never been able to forget him... Even though I couldn't really see him... Actually, especially because I couldn't see him. His self-portraits have him blending in with a diverse array of backgrounds, so much so that sometimes passersby don't know he's there until he moves. For me, they evoke sensations of isolation and the harsh reality of how we objectify ourselves and each other. There's something about seeing someone painted like that, like an object, that screams out: you can't hide humanity. I find it so powerful. Not to mention the sheer artistry and dedication it takes to create such pieces. They're absolutely breathtaking, beautiful and unforgettable. Here's a sampling of his photographs and a short video:

street art that moves

i recently saw a really cool documentary called megunica, which followed street artist 'blu' across central america. it was pretty low key, not much story, but the visual narrative was stunning. blu's art is pretty spectacular. just check out this painted wall animation: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuGaqLT-gO4&feature=related[/youtube]

poster / art

i tried to pick only a few of my favorites, but there are so many good ones...  austrian designer Albert Exergian presents his humorous view on television culture with the minimalist sensibility of someone who doesn't own a television.  very well done in my opinion.  to see all forty posters, go here. 05_30_rock02_true_blood06_heroes31_battlestar10_prison_break09_californication12_lost26_twinpeaks34_sixfeetunder35_flashforward36_stargateyou can also purchase them here.

Gates as the Gateway to the Soul

“What is art?”  Anyone who’s ever strolled through a contemporary art gallery, witnessed a magnificent sunset, or stood in smiling awe over a child’s first painting has surely asked this question.  Some go to such lengths as writing books or dissertations, teaching courses or giving lectures, but in the end, in my humble opinion, it's beside the point.  I like to think of art as the expression of living – unique and personal to every individual.  Art can be found in the way we eat, the way we walk, the way we sign our names.  Of course, just because something is called art doesn’t mean it is valued as art, that’s a whole other story.  What makes art valuable is beyond my ability to comprehend, and beyond the level of mind boggling-ness I’m willing to withstand. In certain ways I’ve endured a love/hate relationship with art.  I love the idea of it: the creative expression of an experience, an idea, a feeling, and the mastery of a skill for the sole purpose of human expression.  However, my logical mind gets the best of me at times.  Walking through an exhibit at the Tate Modern Gallery in London, my focus was abruptly drawn from my internal spinning color wheel of death (mac users, you know what i’m talking about) by my friend’s gentle voice saying, “Are you alright?  You don’t look so good.”  I was pale.  No matter how hard I tried, I didn’t get it.  I couldn’t get it, because there was nothing “to get.”  This is a hard concept for someone who likes to understand everything, or at least feel like she does.  My friend, an art school graduate, successfully quelled some of my discomfort by teaching me about the movements that inspired the work and their reactionary roots.  I felt better knowing there was some logical basis for its creation, even if I didn’t know what it was, or if it was even true.  Still, I recognize this as a limitation.  Art is about the experience, about feeling, about connection, about seeing oneself in the creation of another.  It’s not about understanding or knowing why.

Last night I watched a beautiful documentary on two convicted and passionate artists who challenged me to revive my inner artist and accept it for what it is: an experience of awe and magnificence.  Christo and Jeanne-Claude are famously known for their controversial works around the world: the umbrellas (in California and Japan 1984-91), wrapped trees (in Switzerland 1997-98), and Pont Neuf wrapped (in Paris 1975-85), to name a few.  They take no money from sponsorships or donations, each (expensive) project is funded completely by the private sale of Christo’s preliminary paintings and sketches of the project to be, as well as previous paintings and works of art.  Their passion has no rational, no explanation, simply that they want to make it.  And they want to make it so badly that the project that was the subject of the documentary spanned nearly 30 years.

The film itself contained incredible 16mm footage of interviews with New York City officials in the 1970’s, meetings with angry citizens, and many a convicted opposition.  Next to Christo’s broken English and bumbling professor-like nature, the opposing arguments felt violent, irrational, and even mean.  Each person’s vested interests were illuminated and exposed (including the artists themselves), often appearing absurd in the face of the simple and undeniable beauty of the proposed project.  What amazed me most, and what still gives me a chuckle when I think about it, is this statement from one of the artists:

"I have unstoppable urge to do this project. The absolutely irrational, irresponsible, with not any justification.  This project is happening only because the artist likes to have them."

And why not?  The installation was up for two weeks, despite the public's pleas for a longer run, and all the materials were recycled, the park left just the way it was before - though perhaps never to be experienced the same way for those who witnessed The Gates.

photo by wolfgang volz

I personally wasn’t witness to the event in New York City in 2005, but the film presented half an hour of (cut from an apparent 350 hours of footage) of the event.  Children laughed and played, some called it a big worm.  Tourists took photos, described their joy.  Runners and cyclists completed their usual routines, through the glorious gates.  From the myriad points of view, I got a sense of what it was like; I felt feelings of magnificence and wonder, the kind that art is made to conjure.  Beyond my better judgment, I was deeply moved by the orange colored steel gates with fabric flapping in the wind, the gates with no purpose but to exist, no meaning beyond the vision and perseverance of two human beings.

If you want to read more about the controversy surrounding their creation, here are some articles:




If you want to find out more about the documentary filmmaker Antonio Ferrera, check him out here:


laughing all the way to the bank-sy

the first time i saw banksy's work was on the side of a bridge in south london several years ago.  it said banksy in big paint rolled letters.  a few years later, i heard he was having a show at a warehouse in downtown la.  so being the hipsters and seekers of fun that we are, my friends and i traveled to the "secret" location and braved the sweat soaked crowds and sunglassed celebrities - and sweaty sunglassed celebrities - to see what all the fuss was about.  one thing i can tell you deserved the fuss was the decoratively painted pink elephant chilling out inside a white-picket-fence-enclosed replica of the married with children living room.  first, you'll be happy to know the paint used to make him blend in with grandma's bathroom wallpaper was not harmful in any way physically to the elephant.  whether is was a particularly pleasurable experience for the little guy, we may never know.  let's just hope he likes pink.  we watched him get fed m&m's by the hand full, so life couldn't have been all that rough.  regardless it was quite an impressive sight.  in fact the oglers' reactions were almost as engaging.  the overall impression seemed to be one of curiosity, shock, and disbelief along with an "i'm not sure how i feel about this so i'm going to wait until i read what they say in the la weekly to thoroughly form my opinion" type attitude.  confused might be the most accurate pulse of the crowd, but that could have been an effect of the heat stroke more than the elephant in the room, or was that just macaulay culkin...  anyway, the art.  yes, the art.  banksy makes cleverly and succinctly executed pieces of irreverent social commentary.  you may have seen his stenciled graffiti on melrose or his name across a building in london, like i did.  but his art is getting more and more sophisticated, and evidently so is his wallet.  what i find most interesting is how he is now participating in the very system he makes a mockery of in his work.  though, whose ironic laughter is louder, i'm not sure.  apparently all the proceeds of his work go to allowing him to travel the world and do his thing, which seems to be a worthy cause.  and he's certainly not in it for the fame since his actual identity remains a mystery even to this day.  but whatever the intent behind his work, i think his message is clear.  not only is it clear, it is poignant, provoking, controversial and beautiful.  i could tell you what his message is, or at least what i think it is, but i think that would diminish the very thing he's trying to incite in his onlookers.  so check out his work and figure it out for yourself.  have a good chuckle or a horrified gasp, just don't pretend like you don't know what the fuck he's talking about.


and for further interest check out:

new yorker article