Archive for the ‘Street Art’ Category


Photo, Maxwell Rasche.  Photo Credit:  Brandan Odums

Laissez le bon temps rouler!

I’ve got New Orleans on my mind, so I thought I’d use today’s post to shine a light on the art that’s being made in the Crescent City today. Steeped in tradition, plagued by disaster and portrayed as a crown jewel of urban renewal, New Orleans is a multifaceted and deeply complex city. The artists highlighted here challenge us to look at NOLA in new ways.

Brandan Odums

As a social activist, artist and video director Brandan Odums does not see roadblocks as challenges, he views them as opportunities.  He turned an abandoned Ninth Ward Housing Project into an art installation transforming the building into a space for artistic and social commentary.  While doing so he exposed a legacy of Katrina that’s ignored in a city struggling to redefine itself as a triumphant example of urban revival.  Over 100,000 African-Americans were displaced from New Orleans after Katrina, and New Orleans East has been one of the slowest areas to recover.  Many of the economic, educational, social and political challenges plaguing the city still remain.


Photo by Amy K. Nelson.  Photo Credit, Buzzfeed News

In November 2014, ExhibitBE became a cultural hub for 30+ artists and thousands of visitors to experience a unique space in time where art and activism honored the past while preparing itself for the future.  The exhibition site officially closed in early 2015, however this month Odums will unveil new warehouse exhibition space located in Bywater called StudioBE.  The space will showcase new murals and large scale canvas paintings.




Denisio Truitt & Mwende Katwiwa, Noirlinians.  Photo by Patrick Melon.

Noirlinians is an AfroFashion blog that explores the connections between identity, cultural expression, voice and style.  The site was created by clothing designer Denisio Truitt and spoken word artist Mwende Katwiwa who harmonize their creative talents within this deeply personal blog.  I particularly love that their posts are accompanied by a soundtrack that sets the lyrical stage for the content.

The blog also cultivates a creative collective of photographers whose work is featured in Denisio and Mwende’s posts.  Many of these photographers are currently being shown in a group exhibition at the McKenna Museum in partnership with PhotoNOLA.  The show runs through February 27th, 2016.

The “Artist a Day Challenge” celebrates Black History Month by highlighting Black artists and diverse forms of cultural expression across the African diaspora.  



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My new site is officially up!  I’m excited about trying something new and I invite you all to continue to follow my journey into contemporary art on TONDI.  I truly value all of my followers on WordPress and have learned so much from this first blog.  Cheers to a new beginning!

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One day, I will crack the code to Retna’s personalized alphabet that is a skillful fusion of Old English, Hebrew, Asian and Arabic calligraphy.  In the meantime, I enjoy his work in abstraction.  I love the symmetry and repetition in his murals. This particular one was painted for Jeffrey Deitch when he was at MOCA circa 2013.


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I was in San Francisco during the holidays and was able to experience The Political Line at the De Young Museum.  This retrospective of Keith Haring took a curatorial deep dive into the artist’s creative psyche.  The show highlights his portfolio of work that addresses race, power, sex, political conflict, the environment and technology. This is a refreshing departure from his whimsical persona epitomized by the Pop Shop or his brave mission to humanize the ravages of AIDS in the 80’s.  The Political Line shows Haring as an artist who emerged from the shadows of Warhol to deftly straddle the line between commerce and his disdain for money and the corruption of power it causes.

In the weeks following my visit to the show I have been reflecting on how art has played a prominent role in crystallizing the emotions circling our current tragedies. Whether it is the distrust and unrest around the U.S. militarized police complex in Ferguson, Mo, the horrific assassinations in Paris, or the tragic, massive bloodshed taking place in Nigeria, artists have played a cathartic role in articulating emotions that are often too difficult to put into words.  In this way, Haring’s artistic eye acted as a mirror into the cultural zeitgeist of the time.  I was most struck by the elaborate totems and large-scale installations depicting wealth, power and control.  One standout piece was “the Great White Way, 1888”.

It is a fantastical piece depicting a vicious cycle of power, corruption, money, false idolatry, enslavement, and brutality. I am not linking to the piece here, as it is simply something that should be experienced in person, nevertheless a simple Google search (NSFW/adult content) will give you a sense of scale.

Here are just a few of my favorite pieces from the show juxtaposed with quotes from Keith Haring’s Journals.  I was particularly interested in Haring’s prescient fear of media/technology, which was a prominent theme in the show.



An artist is a spokesman for a society at any given point in history. His language is determined by his perception of the world we all live in.  He is a medium between ‘what is” and ‘what could be’.”

IMG_9259IMG_9623“All of the officers who killed Michael Stewart were again dismissed of charges. Continually dismissed, but in their minds they will never forget. They know they killed him. They will never forget his screams, his face, his blood. they must live with that forever.”  ~ on Michael Stewart, March 28, 1987



IMG_9619“Business is only another name for control. Control of mind, body and spirit.”

IMG_9296“The image maker may be more important now than at any other time in the history of man because he possesses qualities that are uniquely human. The human imagination cannot be programmed by a computer. Our imagination is our greatest hope for survival.”


Keith Haring: The Political Line is on view at the De Young Museum in San Francisco now through February 26, 2015 (the 25th anniversary of Haring’s death).  

For more info:


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Photo Credit:  Designer Con 2014

Photo Credit: Designer Con 2014

I adore Designer Con. Every November, artists descend upon Pasadena’s Convention to celebrate Pop Art of all forms. DCon is a mind boggling bonanza of collectible art including paintings, illustrations, plush toys, vinyl toys, street art and one of a kind clothing.


With close to 350 vendors on site, there was a lot to take in. Here’s a round up of some of my favorites.


1.  Martin Hsu.  I’ve been a big fan of Martin Hsu’s work since I had an opportunity to see his work at DCon 2013.  He’s had a busy year, and it was great to hear about some of his new ventures.  My husband picked up a great piece by the artist today.

2.  Lil Art Bodega.  If you are in Downtown Vegas, go check out the Bodega!  They have an awesome collection of one of a kind t-shirts, jackets, bags, prints and unique graphic design.  The Lil Art Bodega has roots in NYC and hip hop and artist Tanya MIchelle has curated a great collection Pop art that will make you smile.



3. Speaking of smiles, I was turned into a Minion!  Artist Kris Kehasuk Jaren at Minion Me was on hand doing speed sketches and transforming visitors into cute Minions.  Kris got me.  I loved this.

IMG 8827 from CultureShockArt on Vimeo.


4.  The Stoop.  This booth featured a collective of cool creatives including Supahcute, Vanessa Ramirez and Orbital Ox, among others.  I’ve been a huge fan of Supahcute’s ability to curate and highlight amazing artists.  Vanessa Ramirez’s work is awesome, check her work out!  I picked up one of her sketch to add to my collection of art books.  It was great learning more about her artistic process, which for all the folks on the Stoop included copious amounts of caffeine! My kind of peeps.



5.  Zero+ Publishing

On the subject of art books, I have so many of them my house is looking like an art library!  I just about passed out when I saw the amazing collection of street art photography showcased by Zero+ Publishing and Kirk Pedersen.  Kirk has an amazing eye and a gift for bringing together like-minded street artists.  It’s a growing, competitive industry whose evolution is captured beautifully by these books.  Many are signed and unique limited edition works that are meant to be a showpiece.  My Christmas list has a few of these amazing works on it!


6.  Urban Aztec.  Bay Area artist Jesse Hernandez was getting a lot of love from fellow artists at his booth today and it was easy to see why.  His airbrushed work is a stunning homage to indigenous cultural roots and blends animation with paint.  He has an impressive resume that includes works shown in the Oakland Museum, the Cosmopolitan, Juxtapose and Rolling Stone Magazine.

When I first went to DCon in 2013 I was struck by the level of camaraderie and support the artists and patrons had for each other. I was happy to see that collaborative supportive environment again this year.

Designer Con runs through Sunday, November 9th at the Pasadena Convention Center.

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This fall is all about taking a step back in time. Between October’s Hello Kitty Con at the Geffen and Anya Hindmarch’s irreverent close to London’s Fashion Week today, I feel like my 6th grade flip top desk exploded in cloud of Crayolas, keychains, puffy stickers, jelly bracelets and Lip Smacker lip gloss (anyone know if I can still get a tube in Dr. Pepper?).

Anya Hindmarch, Spring '15 Collection at LFW.  Photo Credit Net-A-Porter

Anya Hindmarch, Spring ’15 Collection at LFW. Photo Credit Net-A-Porter

Anya Hindmarch’s Spring/Summer 2015 handbag line features customizable luxury leather stickers to add your own Chotchkie’s Flair to your satchel.  The Mickey hands are a curious choice that remind me of L.A. graf writer and designer Slick‘s L.A. hands.  These have been around for years.


Vinyl L.A. Hands by Slick x DISSIZIT

Vinyl L.A. Hands by Slick x DISSIZIT

When I first started collecting bags, Anya Hindmarch was one of the first true designers that I added to my collection.  I’ve always loved her more structured bags and was never a big fan of the whimsical side of her design aesthetic, but I have to admit, this collection is taking me back to the genesis of my love for handbags.

Photo Credit: Anya Hindmarch, Instagram

Photo Credit: Anya Hindmarch, Instagram

Let’s rewind the time machine to 1982.  I was all about anything Lavender, the show Dallas, leg warmers, L.A. Gears, rainbows and Unicorns… One day, while shopping at the mall, I saw a small nylon duffel purse embossed with a Unicorn.  The bag had an accompanying coin purse attached as a keychain to the outside of the purse.  I HAD to have that bag.  Being an entrepreneurial young spirit back then, I somehow managed to convince my friends to hold a yard sale (consisting of their stuff, not mine), with a portion of the proceeds going to my Unicorn bag purchase (I think I considered it a consulting fee for coming up with the brilliant idea of selling their possessions to aid in my conspicuous consumption).  Sadly, we didn’t make quite enough for me to purchase the bag, and my Grandma bought me one.  Once I got a taste I was hooked.  I had to have purses that would take me through the seasons, and when it was all said and done I had three Unicorn bags (Lavender, Burgundy and Black–Perfect for Summer, Fall and Winter!).

So there you have it.  This is where my true obsession with handbag hoarding began!

Photo Credit: Anya Hindmarch, Instagram

Photo Credit: Anya Hindmarch, Instagram

I don’t think I’ll fully re-live those memories by adding a new Anya Hindmarch to my collection, but the collection is cute (I need the “I Shot JR” coin purse chain thing)….and I have to admit, I have a big smile thinking about those Unicorn bags…

Photo Credit: Etsy

Photo Credit: Etsy (NOT mine, but I wish it was)


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Clare V Leather Card Case. Photo Credit: Clare Vivier

My love for handbags and hip hop have been mutually exclusive up until this moment, but now these two worlds have collided in a collaboration that I had to shine a spotlight on.  As part of the release of their next issue, the Australian lifestyle magazine Monster Children has enlisted the editorial styling of Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys.  Issue #43, which was released this week, showcases content culled by Mike D featuring surf, skate, hip hop and art luminaries.

Perhaps the coolest part of his guest editorial gig was that Diamond curated a limited edition box set of designed items that will be sold alongside the new issue of the mag.  The unique set includes items created by featured artists and designers that collaborated with Mike D.  If that isn’t enough for you, Clare V, Mike D and Monster Children are selling limited edition bags and leather card cases to commemorate this design equivalent of a cipher!


I am obsessed with the artwork designed by Mike D that lines this Clare V’s Cartable.  The slim canvas tote has tan leather handles and is screenprinted with MDMCCV; as cool as it looks on the outside, I’d totally rock this bag inside out.  It’s an awesome piece that I may just buy for my husband and then steal from him immediately…

Clare V Cartable. Photo Credit: Clare Vivier

Clare V Cartable. Photo Credit: Clare Vivier

Back to the box set.  I really love the photography of Josh Cheuse that’s also featured in the limited edition set.  If you are not familiar with the artist’s work, check out this video.

Stussy – Josh Cheuse from Stussy on Vimeo.

The box set is available for sale on June 16th, but Monster Children is accepting pre-orders now.







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