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Handiedan Exhibit at Thinkspace Gallery

22 Apr

Banner3Great art is not just about aesthetic beauty and how nice it looks hanging on a wall or sitting on a shelf.  Truly great art changes and influences the way you view the world.  I left the Elegant Universe exhibit of Handiedan’s work feeling an optimism about the world that has frankly been a bit dimmed for some time.

There are so many people in the world wasting time being miserable, spending time being nasty to eachother and to themselves.  Elegant Universe left me with such a feeling of excitement and optimism.  Having the chance to shake the hand that creates such beauty was such an honor. Handiedan is absolutely lovely.  She is so warm and welcoming, taking the time to talk to each of her fans, signing postcards, and posing for pictures.

Chanel-and-HandiedanI discovered Handiedan after stumbling upon BeautifulBizarreArt on Tumblr.  From the first glimpse of Handiedan’s work, I was enthralled, it really spoke to my aesthetic sensibilities.  You can really see that she throws her heart and soul into her work.  Each piece has the kind of detail you could stare at for hours upon hours.  Each collage has innumerable layers of beauty and depth.  It is so perfect. It really is something you can only feel, words can’t adequately describe it.

I left with the feeling that for all of the assholes out in the world, for all the negativity and ugliness, there are the Handiedan’s of the world who are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. Shining a light over the bleakness that sometimes exists in the world. They are sharing their various talents and they are reminding each of us of our own potential.  While their talents are unique to them, the feeling of optimism their art can give us is universal, a gift we can each give someone else with our own art, whether it be baking a cake, drawing a picture, or sharing a smile with a stranger.  It’s the reminder I needed that the universe really is an elegant place and that even when I can’t find exactly where I am, I have my place in it and it’s the right place.

handiedan-paintingI was reminded why I love art so much.  I am a woman of small means, but I love that I can buy a print, go to an exhibit, meet an artist, and know that I am helping in my own tiny little way to support the artists that make the world a better, beautiful, creative place, and that also make my home a more beautiful place and open my heart to all the beauty the universe has to offer.

Go out and be inspired if you’re in the Southern California area.  Handiedan’s Elegent Universe will be on display until April 27th at Thinkspace Gallery.


Fluff Wall Dolls

7 Jan

black-mermaidAs a child my mom used to wash our hair in the kitchen sink.  I suppose it was just easier this way as my sister and I had  mass amounts of hair.  We would get up on the kitchen counter and lay back letting our hair fall in the sink.  My mom had some vintage chalkware hanging on the wall where I could gaze up as I got my head scrubbed.  There were 3 flowers and they had delightful little faces and I would look up at them and make up stories about them and give them names.  My father also had a series of chalkware faces of men wearing turbans that he brought to America from Syria.  Needless to say, chalkware, which was very popular in the 1950s, became ingrained in the backdrop of my childhood.

REDHEAD__24733.1352601642.1280.1280No one really makes or sells chalkware or similar wall hangings these days.  Well, that is except for cuteness extraordinaire, Miss Claudette Barjoud, also known as Fluff.  Fluff is known for her wonderful, uber cute original designs.  They are featured on clothing, mugs, makeup cases, iphone cases, you name it.  And now they are also offered as Wall Dolls.  I was already a huge fan of Fluff and once I saw that she was making Wall Dolls, I swooned.  The first in her series is Le Sirene Petite, a small mermaid that packs huge amounts of charm.  Le Sirene Petite was offered in a limited edition of 30 dolls in each haircolor: Blonde, brunette and my favorite, red.  I had to have her and ordered her right away.

I really lucked out because I was the first to order the redhead and got #1 out of the series.  The true beauty of this little mermaid can really only be appreciated fully in person.  Claudette sculpted the original mermaid out of ceramic, then made a mold by hand and then casts each Wall Doll in resin.  The resin is much sturdier and less breakable than chalkware was.  When I got the piece I was stunned at how solid and heavy she was.  Each doll is also individually hand-painted by Claudette.  Talk about putting yourself into your work (and major hand cramps!).

MollyMermaidDoll_BLACK__00293.1354153367.1280.1280She has also released a larger scale mermaid Wall Doll, Molly Mermaid, based on one of her most popular character designs.  Molly was available in 4 hair colors, limited to 100 pieces total.  I scored once again on this purchase and got number one in the series of the raven haired Molly.  Molly was made in the same meticulous manner with which all of the Wall Dolls are created.

When I received my Molly I was once again so impressed with her beauty and quality.  I hung her and Le Sirene Petite together immediately.  Everytime I look up at these I remember being a child and being fascinated with my Mother’s “Wall Dolls” and all things mermaid.  Clearly I haven’t grown up all that much, but thanks to Miss Fluff, I don’t really have to!

There is also another Wall Doll worth mentioning that I did not have the chance to get before she sold out, and she was Suzy Sailor.  Suzy is based on a darling sailor girl character Fluff created.  She also was available with her original black hair and also as a blonde and a redhead.

Each piece is a true, unique work of art, and it’s so rare to be able to get a hand-touched piece of art from an artist you adore for such a reasonable price. I can’t wait until I have a full wall of Fluff Wall Dolls.  These editions are sold out but Claudette is releasing some one of a kind mermaids in her Ebay store. There are bound to be more Wall Dolls featuring other characters coming since these were so wildly popular. Join her Facebook, Twitter, and Mailing List to be the first to know when more become available.

BlueThe most recent one of a kind being offered on Ebay can be found here.

And Justice For All: Stopping Greedy Art Resellers

19 Dec

ART-bannerI have loved art since I was a kid, spending hours looking through the Great Masters book.  I am very into Low Brow art, some of my favorite artists include Lori Earley, Tara McPherson, John John Jesse, Brian M. Viveros, Handiedan, Mark Ryden, etc.  Like most art admirers and beginning collectors, I cannot afford originals from these artists, but occasionally these artists release limited edition signed and numbered prints which allow a select few to have the art they adore in their homes.

Unfortunately, when these limited edition prints go on sale, they sometimes sell out in minutes, or hours if you’re lucky.  I recently was able to snag the Brian M. Viveros “And Justice For All” giclee print which was limited to only 50 copies and sold out in less than 10 minutes.

So why am I complaining, I was one of the lucky 50.  I am complaining because a quick search on Ebay for this print hours after it went on sale yielded 10 search results.  10 doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you consider that there are only 50 in the world, that is 20%. This means that greedy art resellers snatched these up and doubled the price (at least), literally taking them out of the hands of true collectors.  Art is one of the few things that I am willing to spend a pretty penny on when I can, and at $250 this is one of the more pricey pieces I’ve splurged on.  So imagine having your heart set on one of these and losing your chance to buy it at the more fair price.  They are currently selling for about $500 on Ebay.

Another recent print I scored is “Hera 2” by Handiedan.


This beloved print was a limited edition of 100, priced a bit more reasonably at $100. Before the print even went on sale to the public it was already on Ebay selling for $300 and up.  A recent Ebay search turned up 7 of these.

An even more maddening example is this limited edition copy of a Melvins record designed and signed by Camille Rose Garcia, limited to 50 signed copies, and it was somehow already on Ebay weeks before its official release date for double the price!  HOW?

My point is that there needs to be a better way to get the art to the true collectors not just the greedy guy who knows he can sell it for 3 times the going rate.  This is not to say, that in a few years as these prints increase in value, it is not okay to go ahead and sell them.  I just feel that taking them out of the hands of those of us who are passionate about the work and supporting the artists we admire is the work of capitalist greed.

It reminds me of the way concert tickets are scooped up by brokers and scalpers and then are sold for 5 times the face value (which often are high enough as is).  Instead of the true fans being able to buy tickets and support the artists and bands they love, the shows sell out and the fans are either forced to shell out cash they can’t afford or miss the shows entirely.  It really comes down to the same thing.  Some things shouldn’t be hocked to the highest bidder.

I love every single artist I listed above, and am grateful to them for making their art available to those of us who can’t afford the originals.  I admire what they do so I am happy to spend my money on their work.  I just wish that there was a way to ensure that the real fans get a chance to buy the prints at a reasonable price before art resellers get their greedy hands on them.

Olivia De Berardinis Does Dita Von Teese

7 Nov

If you were among the many lucky enough to attend the sold out strand of dates on Dita Von Tesse’s Strip Strip Hooray! tour, you understand the sheer deliciousness of her final act, The Opium Den.  The act debuts with a beautiful Asian inspired instrumental version of The Cure’s “Lullaby.” Dita emerges from a lush set in one of the most sensual acts she has ever done.  If you haven’t seen it, here is a 30 second preview to give you an idea of the lush act:

The modern Pinup Art Queen, if you don’t already know her, is Olivia De Berardinis.  Olivia is most well known for her interpretations of the notorious Bettie Page.  Her work has been featured in Playboy magazine, books, calendars, album covers, you name it.  One of her favorite muses is the incomparable Burlesque queen, Miss Dita Von Teese.  Dita is instrumental in the modern revival of the art of Burlesque and nobody does it quite like her.

Dance of the Opium Den

Olivia recently released a limited edition print inspired by Dita’s Opium Den act called “Dance of the Opium Den.”  I ordered this print almost immediately upon its release.  Having been a fan of both Dita and Olivia for quite some time, I couldn’t wait for my chance to own a permanent reminder of Dita’s beautiful act.  I ordered the smallest size print (9×12) on weekly special for $80 (regularly $100).

As beautiful as this print looked online, I can tell you that it is remarkable in person.  The deep lapis blue is so rich it almost looks layered and the gold and orange on the dragon fan almost glows.  It has a very surreal quality to it, much like the act itself. Each print is hand signed and numbered by Olivia.  For an additional $50 you can also have it signed by Dita herself.  Had finances allowed, I would have definitely gone for this option! The print has a hand deckled edge adding to the beauty and unique quality of it.  Olivia has created a series of paintings based on the various acts from Strip Strip Hooray!  I look forward to collecting more in the future.

If you’d like to own a beautiful Olivia & Dita collaboration on a shoestring budget, there is a limited number of tour posters available hand signed by Dita for $40.  These are not the same high quality art prints as Olivia’s limited editions, but it still looks pretty great in a frame.  The posters were only available on the West Coast Tour for $10.  I bought mine unsigned at the show because there wasn’t a signed option.  I am so torn on buying another one because I already have one and it’s not like I actually met Dita, but man I want this one!  Is it wrong to buy two? You can find the signed ones here.

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