I am in the process of packing and moving most of my art supplies to our place upstate and into my new studio. Woot!!! (Hopefully this explains the infrequent postings.) I have a teeny tiny office space here in Brooklyn, but now I finally have the chance to spread out and work in a different way, and on multiple projects at once. The plan is to keep things confined to computer and sketch pad here in the city. I am beyond excited to be digging into the full-scale messiness of the design process. Most of all…I am over the moon about not having to clean up at the end of the day. In the midst of all this sorting and boxing up, I came across my paintbrush roll. A bamboo mat with strips of elastic woven through it in order to keep the brushes secured. It seems to be an item from another life.
Around the same time that the various Chinese bus companies in lower Manhattan started serving interstate travelers, my husband and I started noticing these overstuffed, disc-shaped, sesame seed-crusted buns popping up at many of the food stands underneath the Manhattan bridge. I heard that the best ones were available in the basement of the Triple 8 Mall under the bridge, and that I should refer to them as Bing – which I believe is short for Shaobing. I ventured underground and bought a couple of them from a woman who was duly baffled by my presence. I was instantly hooked. They were tasty and satisfying and fit our limited budget. There were several varieties of Bing, but the trouble was, there was no menu and I couldn’t figure out what filling was inside any given pastry. Because of our mutual language barrier, the owner wasn’t able to shine any light on the puzzle. I knew there was a code to be revealed in the placement of the black sesame seeds, but I was firmly at a loss to break it. At around the same time, I heard that there was a place out in Queens that specialized in these little treats, both savory and sweet. I hopped on the subway, made my way to a shop called Unique Pastry and bought one of each kind. I subsequently made this crib sheet so that I could quickly and easily decipher the contents of whatever Bing I happened to find. Shortly thereafter, this piece appeared in the NY Times.
All week long (really, it’s two weeks long, but we’ll confine it to one) it’s Chinese New Year. In honor of said holiday, I dug these beauties out of my files. I wish I could find the companion postcards to these two images. They were published by Quantity Postcards out of San Francisco, but way back in the eighties. I found this link and this link to the site (you have to scroll down to find the images), but I wish there were more.
This is the year of the dragon, which, if you didn’t know, is really quite auspicious. I was born in the year of the dragon, so feel particularly special right now. My husband and I lived in Chinatown for quite a long stretch, and saw many a celebration pass beneath our windows. But none quite so spectacular as that for the dragon. To learn more.
Thomas Demand is one of my favorite living artists. He makes full-scale, three-dimensional paper and cardboard replicas of seemingly mundane interiors and environments culled from various press and personal photographs. He reconstructs the images, but always as a close facsimile to the original, never one that is exact. He photographs those installations and then destroys the paper sculptures. The first time I saw his work I was absolutely spellbound by both his craft and his vision. The line between invention and reality is intentional. Perfection is never his goal, and therein lies the brilliance of Thomas Demand’s work. For more information go here, here and here.
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