This rare opportunity to directly experience the nexus between tech and fashion is coming to Hawaii featuring Dutch designer Anouk Wipprecht. Sixteen local fashion designers will create Fashion+Tech designs with Anouk Wippprecht during the workshop event.
This show at the Academy of Arts is a must see on so many levels. Granted I don't find myself writing about art very often and even on this occasion I will attempt it at a very superficial level. Chinese landscape art for me is mesmerizing. Nature is depicted in such grandeur and although humans are an integral part of the painting, they play a very small role. Majestic landscapes transport me to a different time and place. I find myself looking deeply into the painting enjoying the finer and finer details. You can view these works up close and afar.
On the tech side I encountered something new for a major exhibit at the Academy, QR codes. This might have been started at previous shows at the Academy but it was a first for me. Usually there are no photographing allowed in the exhibit but an exception is made for the QR codes. I shot 10 different codes and they take you to the following links:
There is one introductory video by Stephan Jost, Director of the Academy of Arts and 8 video podcasts. (The video numbering seems to have missed #8 and I was unable to find it on the Academy Youtube page.) If you plan to visit the exhibit, I would suggest watching these first. The only thing about reading a QR code and loading a video is the Internet connection. I wasn't able to connect to the Academy wifi and viewing a video on 3G is slow.
Nevertheless, I thought it was innovative of the Academy to incorporate QR codes and video podcast into the exhibit. It offered a chance to get more out of the displays, almost like having your own personal docent. The show continues to Jan. 8, 2012 but plan to go a couple of times as you will want to spend some time gazing at these masterpieces.
The Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle took place in New York City, Los Angeles, Honolulu and culminates in a final competition in Oakland, CA on Oct 8th. This past weekend 12 graffiti artist converged at the Academy of Arts at Linekona and over a period of 7 hours gave birth to their creations. Appropriately the word for the competition was Hanau (birth in Hawaiian). This was revealed to the artists at 12 noon, all at the same time. They each then had to come up with their lettering and design concepts on the spot. It was both creative, intense and a joy to witness.
The series of photos above show Kawika Samson take a blank canvas and create one of the winning designs. Another winner was Katch and his train car that nearly jumps out of the canvas. Both Katch and Kawika will represent Hawaii in the Graffiti Battle finals in Oakland.
The driving force behind this graffiti movement is Estria Miyashiro. He has been a champion for hip hop art for the better part of 20 years. Through competitions like this he has helped to legitimized graffiti as an artform. The Estria Foundation's mission captures the goals of the man and the organization:
The Estria Foundation shifts the social consciousness on critical human and environmental issues through education, art projects and community events around the globe.
Through the foundation, Estria hopes to raise the awareness of the public by showcasing artists behind the hip-hop scene. Graffiti that appears on buildings, freeways, walls and public spaces is still vandalism and the stigma of rebel/outlaw art still sticks. That said, it doesn't take away from the talent these artists have. It's great to see programs like this that demonstrate successfully the transition to legitimacy.
Props go out to Mei Jeanne Wagner of Laird Christiansen Advertising for putting this short video together. Ryan and I spoke to Michael Smith, Artistic Director of the upcoming Cirque Du Soleil show Alegria back on June 9, 2010. Alegria will be coming to Honolulu on October 15, 2010 at the NBC Arena. This is the first time our interview was repurposed for an upcoming event. We are quite flattered.
If you go to enough raku events, like this annual Raku Ho`olaulea, you begin to appreciate the incredible diversity in ceramic firing techniques. I haven't even started to scratch the surface of the art of raku firing but I wanted to share this one with you. Philip Markwart, shown in photo, is a long time ceramicist who specializes in Japanese sake cups and related implements. He is also a fan of the old style wood kiln called anagama. This is usually a large kiln built to have a tunnel effect where wood is stoked in one end and as the heat travels through the chamber the ceramics gets fired. These wood kilns take a long time to heat up and require stoking for several days to reach the proper temperature. Normally these kilns are build into the land and not easily transportable. The beauty of Raku Ho`olaulea is that you get to bear witness to human ingenuity. Phil built this portable wood fire kiln, which he calls Henagama or Strange Kiln, out of ironically enough a propane tank. The irony is that most modern day raku firings are done with propane gas. In this design Phil stokes the kiln with wood from the shoot. The wood burns inside the chamber and as you can see, the flame is released out the top. The ceramic pieces are in the chamber and gets fired in the process. Amazingly, there is no glaze on any of the pieces so any resulting finish is from the wood ash fusing to the ceramic surface. Phil got some beautiful pieces as a result of the firing. Keep in mind this is a long process which as started at 7:30pm Friday and finished at 7:30am the next morning. There is quite a bit of ingenuity built into this kiln. But a key element not shown in this photo is the fan system that blows air into the bottom of the kiln chamber. When you think of it, this is quite a technological marvel built from a recycled propane tank. If you are interested in more photos from this year's Raku Ho`olaulea you can find them posted here. I should also mention that guest artist Eduardo shared a process involving Stannous Chloride which transformed a metallic finish to a rainbow of colors. All in all, for the geek who enjoys novel kiln designs, chemistry, artistry and best of all FIRE, Raku Ho`olaulea is an event to experience.
Check out the next Pecha Kucha Night in the courtyard of the Academy Art Center @ Linekona for Pecha-Kucha 8.0. Admission is free, refreshments served as usual! Friday, April 2, 2010. 6:00pm - 9:30pm. Hope to see you there.
Debra Drexler: Chair, Drawing and Painting UH "20 years in 20 slides"
L.P. "Neenz" Faleafine: Editor "20 Hawaii Traditions"
Tamara Moan: Artist "The Art of Travel"
Jeannie Randall: Visual Artist "Money Shots"
David Rockwood: Architect "Team Hawaii's 2011 Solar Deathlon Entry"
Dorothy Feibleman: Ceramic Artist and Designer "various works"
Grady Gillan: Blogger "Three Frames"
Maika'i Tubbs: Artist "Now Playing"
It's a lively, fast-paced presentation format, 20 slides, 20 seconds each. Total presentation time is 6:40 as in 6 minutes, 40 seconds. If that isn't fun enough, the free beer certainly is.
Graffiti art or street art as I like to refer to these pieces, stirs feelings that range from awe to disgust in those that view it. Born out of the street punk movement dating back to the late 70's and early 80's in the subways of New York City, this was a statement by rebellious youth. Personally I don't condone the defacement of public or private property by illegal graphic expressions but on some occasions I am truly amazed at the artistry. So when I saw these pieces at the Academy Art Center at Linekona, I was quite captivated.
As timing would have it, the two artists responsible for this masterpiece (and one right around the corner) were just finishing up, Prime (on the right) and Estria (on the left). I half expected them to grab their spray cans and run as I approached but this was obviously a commissioned work. Prime holds classes at places like Palama Settlement to teach youth art technique and appreciation, mentoring and leadership development. The artist collective known as 808Urban works with kids in underserved areas like Kalihi. In addition to teaching art they work with communities to create mural art, the legitimized version of street graffiti. I've seen their work in various places like the Palama Settlement and a recent mural at Kokua Foods. Checking out Estria's Flickr site, he's got all kinds of work going on in Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of it revolves around bringing graffiti artists together to showcase their work and to collectively work on murals like the Four Guardians in Oakland. It's very impressive, in-your-face, vibrant, "happy to be alive" expressions of creativity.
The Honolulu Academy of Arts is in the process of launching an ambitious project to put 50,000 pieces in their collection online in the newly minted eMuseum. I got an early preview of the system which coincides with the opening of Hokusai's Summit: Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji this week. The eMuseum project started with the Academy's Japanese Woodblock Print collection with approximately 4500 prints already photographed and online. This process involved the historical information gathering, cataloging, photographing and tagging of all pieces. The goal is to have 5000 piece placed into the eMuseum system each year. If you do the math, this will take about 10 years. The project is funded by the Lange Foundation and the initial startup costs and data migration into the eMuseum database ran about $50,000. The database is searchable by keywords and date ranges. Besides the historical information, you can view an enlarged photo to see more detail in the piece. This is useful for art aficionados, students and researchers worldwide, looking for specific pieces without having to go through the physical collection.
Launching the eMuseum at the same time with the Hokusai exhibit was more than a coincidence. Many of the woodblock prints that are on display are also in the database. At the exhibit everyone will probably spend most of their time gazing at Hokusai's Great Wave off Kanegawa and probably spend much less time viewing the other prints. It is estimated that people will spend less then 5 seconds viewing each piece. This print by one of Hokusai's younger contemporaries, Utagawa Hiroshige caught my eye. But as you can see the photo of it without any flash is quite blurry. A search of the database using a combination of "Related People" (Hiroshige) and "Title" (Kai Province) produced this image. This search is not intuitive. The more information you know about the piece the easier it is to find it. In this case I remembered a portion of the title which yielded the image. Otherwise I would have to sort through hundreds of Hiroshige prints. With this resource you can spend much more time looking at the details of the print and reliving the exhibit.
Something new in this show is the incorporation of the education section within the exhibit. Normally the education section is in a totally different wing of the Academy. During this show you can stamp your own woodblock print and write a exhibit inspired haiku. The show runs from Sept. 24, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010 but the eMuseum is up right now 24/7, forever.