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Playing with Pictures

March 18, 2010

At my recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, I discovered a small, special exhibit entitled: Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage. The hobbies and artistic ventures that wealthy Victorian women did to fill their time has always amazed and interested me. Needlework, watercolour painting, and now photocollaging. The works in the exhibit present several works from the 1860s and 1870s by a handful of wealthy English women, including Alexandra, The Princess of Wales. The artistic detailing involved in placing the right photo in the  fantastical, often funny watercolour scenes is amazing.

Here are a few of my favourite pieces:

Dreamlike Digital

March 16, 2010

I’ve always been tentative about embracing animation and digitally rendered art, particularly because of my often classical idealization of art. It was a surprise to me when a friend of mine recommended me to look at the art work of Ray Caeser, a Toronto based artist who has achieved a fair amount of critical acclaim. At first glance, I was instantly in love with the Marie Antoinette esque women in his artwork and the juxtaposition of the creepy Tim Burton– like details. Only upon closer research did I learn that this art work was in fact digitally rendered.

The art work which Caeser himself proclaims to be “dreamlike digital”, is something to be admired for not only its beauty but also the creativity and artistic powers that I had previously not associated with animation.

Here are a few of my favourite pieces:

French Kiss:

Trouble Child:


Coming Undone:

Ebb Tide:

A Day at the Museum

March 14, 2010

For many people I know, the ideal vacation would be laying on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean, sipping on fruity cocktails in the sun. But for me, vacations are the ideal time to experience a new place – its history, its architecture, its restaurants, its culture, and most importantly its museums and galleries. For me, there is no more of an ideal way to spend my vacation than spending  a day at the museum.

For my March Break vacation this year, I decided to head to New York City for a 5 day cultural overload. One of my dearest friends, Andrea, and I packed as much walking, sight-seeing, Broadway shows, and museum-going into our daily itineraries as our bodies, (and more importantly our student budget), could handle. We were able to fit in three amazing museums into our trip – The American Museum of Natural History (The ANH), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET), and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

The ANH was spectacular, not only for the fun searching game that Andrea and I played trying to find all of the exhibits featured in the film Night at the Museum, (the gum chewing Easter Island statue, or the statue of Teddy Roosevelt on his horse), but also for its amazing animal exhibits, also famous in the media for Sheryl Crowe’s music video for “If It Makes you Happy”. One of my personal favourites was the Hall of Ocean Life, featuring a life-sized model of a 94 foot long blue whale. It is astonishing to think of such a massive creature roaming the ocean.

The MET is a museum that you really need to take more than one visit to in order to not only really take the time to see everything but also to really take the time to appreciate the amazing art work that adorns its walls and hallways. My personal favourites were pieces by Degas, Klimt, Picasso, Monet, and Van Gogh. It’s astonishing to have the chance to be inches away from some of the most famous art work in history. Another highlight of the MET was the Temple of Dendur, a piece of Egyptian architecture dating from 15 BCE. It was funny to see ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics beside graffiti that tainted the piece during the Victorian era.

The MoMA was definitely an eye opener to me, considering my often snobbish approach to certain pieces of modern art.  I must now admit that I have developed a new found appreciation for certain pieces along the lines of Jackson Pollock. I was amazed also by the continued presence of amazing artists such as Picasso and Warhol. A highlight was the Tim Burton exhibit. It was interesting to see all of the clay characters from The Corpse Bride as well as various drawings, sculptures and other art work that truly reflect a unique imagination that Burton has had since he was young.

My trip to New York City was an amazing and fulfilling experience. I’m hard at work trying to plan, and save enough money, to go to Europe on my next vacation. Needless to say, you won’t find me spending my holidays laying on a beach somewhere.

Playing with Dolls

March 6, 2010

While browsing my new April issue of ELLE Canada, I came across an article on Sarah Faber, an artist who creates dolls that seem straight out of a Tim Burton film. Waifish, gothic female dolls are her artistic vision and she definitely produces magnificent art.  I absolutely love these dolls, and they almost make we want to start playing with dolls again.

Here are some of my favourites:

The Unhappy Bride:

Miss Flanagan

Sweet Willow

Oscar Favourites

March 5, 2010

This Sunday – March 7, 2010 – the Academy Awards will be presenting the Oscars to the best in film at their 82nd ceremony. Here are my Oscar favourites from the major categories:

The Best Picture:

  • Avatar -Whether you loved or hated this film, you can’t help but admit how it has altered the state of cinema, with its excessive technologically based film-making process.
  • Up in the Air – Nothing says 2009 like the recession and economic downfall. This movie is a perfect mirror image of life today.
  • Inglorious Basterds – Exactly the way Hitler should have met his just desserts, this film depicts what we would have wanted to happen in World War Two. Gloriously edited and organized, in typical Tarantino fashion.

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Colin Firth in A Single Man – As a depressed, broken-hearted man with suicidal thoughts, Colin Firth gives the best performance of his career in this visually dazzling film.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Actress in a Leading Role

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Mo’Nique in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – Mo’Nique presents to us a frightening and disturbing child abuser. It is Mo’Nique’s heart-breaking turn at the end of the film, that makes the audience almost begin to feel sympathy for this altogether dispicable character.

Costume Design ( I can’t decide)

  • Bright Star – Beautiful 19th century costumes.
  • Coco Before Chanel – How can a movie about Coco Chanel not present the most amazing early 20th century costumes?
  • Nine – Glorious early 1960s costumes. Think mod with a mix of Audrey Hepburn, and thick black eye-liner.
  • The Young Victoria – Regal and flamboyantly excessive mid 19th century costumes.

Canada Reads? 2010

February 26, 2010

So, CBC, Canada Reads?

Here are the competitors:

1) Good to a Fault – Marina Endicott

In one moment, a middle-aged Saskatoon woman’s life is turned topsy-turvy in Marina Endicott’s compassionate and humorous novel. Clara Purdy wonders what it means to do right by others in this day and age, and the choices she makes take her into surprising new terrain.

2) Nikolski Nicolas Dickner, translated by Lazer Lederhendler

Coincidence and chance are major players in Nicholas Dickner’s enchanting novel about three young Montrealers on unique but overlapping quests: a used-bookstore clerk, a fish-gutter who dreams of becoming a pirate and an archeology student who parses urban garbage.

3) Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture Douglas Copeland

This tale of three young people searching for meaning in the California desert captured the mood of an era and became an international bestseller. With its wry mix of real-life and made-up stories, Douglas Coupland’s groundbreaking novel continues to appeal to new generations.

4) The Jade PeonyWayson Choy

Wayson Choy combines vivid historical detail and poignant personal stories in this lyrical, note-perfect tale of three children growing up in Vancouver’s Chinatown during the Depression and the Second World War.

5) Fall on Your Knees – Ann Marie MacDonald

Ann-Marie MacDonald’s enthralling debut novel explores the tangled relationships of the Piper sisters and their powerful father. Moving from Cape Breton to the killing fields of Europe and on to New York in the Jazz Age, this international bestseller is a dark, dramatically compelling story of a family with secrets.

MY PERSONAL PICK: Fall on Your Knees. Only the best author could write something so intricately mapped out. The novel is moving, and at times disturbing. The novel is something that will stay with you for a long time.

For the Love of MOD

February 23, 2010

I have always had a love for vintage clothing; however, long days in a class room don’t exactly provide the most ideal atmosphere to wear vintage dresses and accessories. None the less, I still have a good quarter of my closet filled with vintage inspired clothing.

One of my favourite websites for vintage inspired clothing and general apparel is ModCLOTH, the American website run by highschool sweathearts, Eric and Susan Koger. The website sells vintage clothing and vintage inspired clothing by indie designers. For people, such as myself, living in Canada, we must be prepared to pay hefty customs fees, (which aren’t mentioned during the initial ordering process), however for the love of MOD, you might be willing to deal with these extra costs.

Here are some of my current favourite items on MODCLOTH:

A Black and White Polka-Dot Two Piece Swimsuit

The Soda Fountain Dress in Black

The Grey Area Coat

Twinkle, Twinkle Pretty Dress

Club House Bag

Hoppy Ending Book EndLove to Bake Measuring Cups

Chanel: Collections and Creations

Find even more amazing vintage-inspired clothing and apparel at