tomorrow

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'Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.'

David Bowie/Starman  (@_nitch)

yes

Just say, yes! 

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Thanks Yoko :)

what matters

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Every day I'm reminded of what matters. I wear my Lise Vanrycke 'Love' bracelet 24/7. It's a bit battered (sorry LVR!), but it's always there on my wrist so I never forget what's important.

The cuff I also wear every day, and for ages I thought the matrixy-glyphs were just a pattern until my friend, Hanna, pointed out they were Chinese characters! She made out 'truth', 'love' and 'know’, and I was so intrigued, I contacted the jeweller, Camilla Gough, and asked for the full text. She replied that she'd lifted the text from a Chinese newspaper and was simply relieved to know she hadn't inscribed the recipe for two-minute noodles on my bracelet! Huh!

It was a relief for me as well :)

little fang

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Occasionally great oddball stuff crops up on IG, so while I was looking for some new street art, I came across this: French band, Dionysos's album cover, 'Vampire En Pyjama'. I burst out laughing (well, it appealed to my whacko sense of humour), and given my love of vamps (at least in books and films), I went in search of the album. Sadly, the music did nothing for me, but the visual of a lone vamp brooding in his abode and wearing his jammies definitely made up for it.

But it did bring to mind a song by Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks - 'Little Fang'. With its vamp-positive message, this wonderfully wonky song is about the journeys of a cat vampire called, Little Fang. It's been a roller-coaster of a week, so I kind of want to end it on a light-hearted note. Enjoy!

 

 

unexpected

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So, I was walking down Chapel Street the other day (probably one of my least favourite streets in Melbourne!), and halfway between the fashionista and the grunge end, I happened to look up and saw this: a pretty remarkable artwork and I have no idea who the artist is! 

It made being there worthwhile. Almost.

land of plenty

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In response to the tragedy of what happened in Florida yesterday, American children's writer and artist, Oliver Jeffers, posted this on IG:

'I made this piece over the weekend knowing it wouldn't be long before it was relevant to post.
The gun control debate isn't really about gun control anymore. It's about identity.
Those who identify as gun owners feel their identity is threatened when the issue of gun control is raised- that we shouldn't discuss policy change when emotions are high. But if the barrel from one shooting has barely cooled before there is another, this 'unemotional' window does not exist.
So how do we change the question?
Any gun owners out there willing to concede the culture of mass shootings in this country is pretty fucked up (doesn’t happen anywhere else), concede that a conversation is needed, and give clues how to go about it where it doesn't feel your identity is being hijacked?
It feels like sensible debate based on the societal impact of gun control ended the day of Sandy Hook- when Congress decided that shooting a bunch of little kids was preferable to questioning the right to bear arms. 
Yes, a huge part of the problem is the NRA buying off Senators. But do the NRA really make so much money from current gun laws that they are not prepared to give an inch? Or is it that their identity feels threatened?
There is one thing Senators love more than accepting lobbyists money and that is getting re-elected, so if the will of the people demands it, they will jump in line.
But how do these atrocities go from outraging only half or two thirds of the country, to outraging the entire nation?
There MUST BE a more rational / creative way to go about the non-existent conversation on gun control where vast swathes of the population of the USA don't feel (pun intended) under attack.
Sincerely interested in hearing from gun owners on this.
This is the 18th mass shooting this year and we are only halfway through feb. On average there is more than one per day in the US. 
Is this really just the way things will be?
Is it really just roll the dice and send your kids to school? 
My kids will go to school before long.
I can only imagine the special hell that begins on a day like yesterday for all those Floridian parents, and so many parents before them in the last three decades....'

happy feet

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Got my new Chucks! I live in sneakers and jeans - so happy feet, especially as the last pair died a dirty death. 

Simple and happy :)

generations to come

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Continuing with the theme of climate change, Sean Yoro (@the_hula), has recently painted a mural about caring for the planet for generations to come:

'With the devastating year of environmental roll backs - from the exit of Paris agreement to numerous energy and land deregulations - it seems the US government is set on putting profits over people.
I felt the need to give a voice to the generations to come that can’t even speak for themselves yet. They’re the ones who will be dealing with the aftermath of our greed now. Let’s fight to deal them a better hand for their future.
Sea level rise is already affecting millions today and shows no signs of slowing down.'

grow new thoughts

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Artist Sean Yoro's - aka the hula (@the_hula) - new mural was created in a burnt forest in the US that had recently been devastated by wildfires. He was inspired by, 'the need to grow new thoughts on preserving and protecting our lands.'

He wrote this on IG:

'2017 saw 9.8 million acres of land burned in the US alone. While Climate Change does add risks of wildfires, 80-90% are caused by direct human error including unattended campfires, burning of trash, discarded cigarettes, etc.
-
Please help preserve the healthy lands we do still have and support legislation to protect our recently taken Public Lands.'

  

le guin

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It's Virginia Woolf's birthday today and Ursula Le Guin recently passed away. Such literary greats. Just last week I was thinking about re-reading Le Guin's novel, 'Lavinia'. A retelling of Virgil's 'Aeneid' from the perspective of Lavinia, the daughter of King Latinus and Queen Amata, and the future bride of Turnus, who never once speaks in the original tale, but in Le Guin's book, is given her own voice.

Here's Le Guin's view on being called a 'science fiction' writer, and about the genre in general from The Paris Review, 'Art of Fiction no. 221':

'I don't think science fiction is a very good name for it, but it's the name that we've got. It is different from other kinds of writing, I suppose, so it deserves a name of its own. But where I can get prickly and combative is if I'm just called a sci-fi writer. I'm not. I'm a novelist and poet. Don't shove me into your damn pigeonhole, where I don't fit, because I'm all over. My tentacles are coming out of the pigeonhole in all directions.'

Love these words, love her writing, and I couldn't agree more about being pigeonholed. And yes, she was an incredible novelist and poet.  

Kerouac

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Great quote from Jack Kerouac, channelling his inner Sufi:

'Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don't know it because of our thinking-minds...Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence...and you will remember.'

(@_nitch)

angel

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Feeling a little dark and moody. Partly due to reading way too much about Trump and his first year in office (God, I can't believe it's only been a year!). The NYT editorial particularly left me feeling like a lead weight had taken residence in my gut.

Not sure whether this is exacerbating my mood or providing an escape (a bit of both!) - Massive Attack's brilliant album, 'Mezzanine'.

Disquieting, shadowy, brutal and beautiful. 

Here's one of the standout tracks for me: 'Angel'.

   

#resist

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Yep, this about sums it up.

Thanks @oliverjeffers for the illustration. 

#womensmarch  #resist

channel orange

The alternative 'nostalgia' cover art

The alternative 'nostalgia' cover art

It's HOT. If I go outside I pretty much melt into a freaking puddle. So, I've been holed up under the AC (bliss & very grateful for it right now!) to work, occasionally checking out to chill and listen to one of my all-time favourite albums, Frank Ocean's 'Channel Orange'. It was love-at-first-listen and continues to enthral - that voice! - with his compelling lyrical storytelling.

Ocean once said :  '[Storytelling’s] the more interesting part about making music for me, or making albums and songs and stuff. So much so that I might not make another album. I might just write a novel next.'

That was before the drop of 'Blonde' and 'Endless'. I love the idea of him writing a novel! And hopefully, more music.

Here's a small taste: 'Sweet Life'. Enjoy. 

    

new moon

Photograph: @isaacexplores & @universetoday 

Photograph: @isaacexplores & @universetoday 

New moon. New beginnings. New intentions.

And contemplating the cosmic, some wise words from Carl Sagan:

'For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.'

(@_nitch)

 

curiosity feeds imagination

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For book lovers, readers and dreamers, this amazing wall titled, 'Curiosity Feeds Imagination' by @mantrarea, created for the Kufa Urban Art, Esch festival in 2016.

red thread

'Knotted Thread', 2011

'Knotted Thread', 2011

Red: primary and primal.

The colour of blood; what’s basic to life. It’s a colour associated with passion, love, anger and pain. It’s chromatically intense and draws the eye whether you see it in nature or on the street.

Discovering the work of Japanese artist, Akiko Ikeuchi, what jumped out at me was her use of red thread. Some of her sculptural installations feature white or black thread, but it’s her red thread pieces that drew me in. 

Detail, 'Knotted Thread'

Detail, 'Knotted Thread'

Using delicate silk thread, Ikeuchi meticulously plans her thread sculptures using 3-D modelling and knots them by hand. The construction is then anchored in space and oriented by geomagnetism: north, south, east and west. These webs have associations with natural phenomenon: whirlpools, hurricanes and galaxies. With the energies of life. Ikeuchi’s creations limn what is seen and unseen; what is tangible and intangible. The viewer engages with the piece through their very movements: the threads vibrate with the air, the changes of humidity, by breath. 

Detail: 'Knotted Thread'

Detail: 'Knotted Thread'

In Ikeuchi’s words: “I am continuously trying to mediate something invisible, not easily visible in this world, which is mostly fragile.”

As for the colour red, what I found fascinating is the similarity with two other Asian artists I’ve written about in ‘Art Stories’, both featuring red thread in their art. 

For Chiharu Shiota, the red thread is a symbol of connection, the ‘ocean of life’: “It’s like a red ocean you can see from the top. When people look in the space, they immediately can see the universe.” Specifically relating to her installation for the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, ‘The Key in the Hand’ (2015), the threads signify the connection of humans throughout the world by red threads.

This is similar to Beili Lu’s ‘Lure/Wave’ (2010) installation, except she’s referring to a specific Chinese folk legend, ‘The Red Thread of Fate’. It tells of how when children are born, invisible red threads connect them to their soul mates. Over the years, their lives become closer until they eventually find each other, overcoming social and physical divides that might otherwise separate them. This magical cord might stretch and tangle, but will never break. There's a comparable Japanese folk legend, but it extends to all relationships, whether friendships, family, or couples.

I’ve yet to unravel the significance of the red thread for Ikeuchi, but I have a feeling it stems from the life force of the energies she works with to create her exquisite art. 

the shape of water

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Guillermo del Toro’s film, ‘The Shape of Water’ is magic.

Part fairytale, part myth, the story of Eliza Esposito – the princess without a voice – a janitor at a government facility, and the amphibious creature from South America she falls in love with, has a quirky humour and aesthetic that reminded me of the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, The City of Lost Children, A Very Long Engagement), laced with a dark and haunting lyricism. It’s a film that doesn’t shy away from issues of loneliness, isolation, discrimination, politics, race, and the violence and ugliness perpetrated on people (and creatures) deemed different. And what it means to be human; to be truly seen.

While I don’t want to ruin this film for anyone who hasn’t seen it, it’s the poem recited at the end that encapsulates the heart of this gorgeous tale of love, longing and transformation: 

Unable to perceive the shape of you

I find You all around me.

Your presence fills my eyes with

Your love. It humbles my heart,

For You are everywhere…

salt surf

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I've been buying t-shirts and sweaters from this 'nice and cool' small business, SALT SURF, for a few years now. I love the pared down aesthetics, the DIY philosophy, and the inclusiveness and environmental awareness of SALT SURF. 

Today I got their New Year's Resolution through IG and email and I wanted to share it, simply because it resonated and it's pretty awesome. 

Here it is:

'Last week I read a quote by Anais Nin that hasn't quite left me since I read it. It said "I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me... the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself." It sat with me for a while. The message kept coming back to my mind. I think we forget the power we all have to create the world we want to live in. It can sound too difficult to accomplish sometimes, and even at times outlandish, but the power of our thoughts to create our reality is real.

The inspiration behind SALT SURF was to create a world we believed could exist. An inclusive world, where people felt welcomed, inspired and motivated to join along, a world where nature inspired us, and where surfing could mean whatever you wanted it to mean to you. You could join this world, or create a world of your own that shared these same values wherever you lived in the world.

I think it’s easy to lose site of this power we all have, and I think we as a brand neglected to highlight this point as much as we could have this past year. We hit a stride in some ways. We were smooth sailing. Things were good. But it’s also easy to get complacent when things are good. We also opened a shop and a lot of resources and energy went into getting that up and running. BUT, that’s not why we're here... that's not why SALT SURF started. We were born with a mission. So, 2018 is going to get us back on track. We're going to remember why we choose to be a small business. Why we had a mission to be inclusive in an industry that thrives on exclusivity. And why most importantly there must be love in everything that we do. So, this year we'll move forward by remembering why we started in the first place.'
-Nabil
Founder and owner of SALT SURF
8850 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA saltsurf.com