Current Hero: Porn Revolutionary Cindy Gallop


UK-born New Yorker Cindy Gallop is an endlessly chic, intelligent, confident, articulate entrepreneur who also happens to maintain a "stable" of twenty-something men she sleeps with and watches hardcore porn on the reg--we love her! Founder of Makelovenotporn.com, she's taking strides to re-educate the country about sex where, due to a lack of comprehensive, frank and realistic sex education, the exponentially prevalent hardcore porn industry becomes the baseline. Not only that, her apartment is unbelievably badass. 



Designed to feel like a "Shanghai nightclub", Gallop's entirely black painted apartment creates an atmosphere that is sleek, slinky and sexy but still welcoming (especially to twenty-something men), plus the dark walls and floors helps highlight her eccentric collection of designer and fea market objets d'art--gold-dipper alligator or Gucci chainsaw anyone? And who wouldn't worship a woman who displayed her shoe collection in the living room because she treats them like art pieces? I can only hope to be lounging in leather and a sharp bob in my sprawling club-chic New York apartment when I'm in my 50s!




See more photos of Cindy Gallop's apartment at The Selby.

Insta-Finds: Mark O'Brien Recycled Cardboard Shoes For Folklore

If you haven't already noticed, I spend a lot of time on Instagram, more so than I have with this poor neglected blog (the 1 billion Facebook paid is well worth it in my opinion)! I'm always randomly coming across cool things on there that I've always thought of sharing, and these adorable cardboard oxfords by British artist Mark O'Brien really kicked me in the butt to start this feature.


Created out of recycled cardboard, as all his pieces are, artist Mark O'Brien made some incredible shoes that are in so many ways cooler than "real" ones. Not just because they're made of cardboard and look exactly like shoes, but his choice in materials with the random box prints make for very cool color swatches and corrugated texture that couldn't really be recreated with leather.



I found these photos on London-based housewares shop, Folklore's Instagram. An independent shop owned by married couple Rob and Danielle Reid, Folklore offers clean, minimal design pieces ranging from upcycled furniture, recycled glassware, hand-carved wood brushes, decor and everything you'd need for your chic, sustainable home and office. 




Mark O'Brien's cardboard shoes were specially made for Folklore for a giveaway contest to celebrate the shop's official opening. But we just missed it by a month! No bother, but these shoes brought me to fall in love with the shop--an eco-conscious, design savvy home decorator's dream. My own fantasy is to one day have not a scrap or screw from Ikea in my home and a couple pieces from Folklore. Now just have to find the right home...

Follow Folklore at "shopfolklore" on Instagram.

Day 2: Geniune Lady Gaga Platforms from Noritaka Tatehana

So, I started off writing the second of our "12 Days of Xmas" posts about a pair of shoes my friend Dominique of the stunning wedding photography duo Love Me Sailor and I recently saw ("we were ready to pull a bitch by her hair out of the dance cage at Rhondavous for wearing the shoes we had been lusting after"). But after some research, I've discovered something better. MUCH better. Behold, the work of platform shoe artist and Lady Gaga cobbler Noritaka Tatehana


If you can't control your boner for Tatehana's work like I can't...

Click through to read more:


Now, none of Noritaka Tatehana's shoes are for the faint of foot, but I like to think I've been working towards my platform blackbelt. Tatehana's shoes are stunning, gravity-defying explorations of fashion, whose conceptual designs are on the cusp of art. Archival pieces are currently being exhibited at the Comme des Garcons Trading Museum and shop in their Paris and Tokyo locations and Dover Street Market in London.

The young designer (a mere 26 years-old) was born in Japan and mentions his family came into money from the "centre of an entertainment and red-light district in Tokyo". The red-light district inspiration can certainly be seen in his work. Starting at 15, he taught himself fashion design and construction processes, later majoring in dyeing and weaving in college. Currently, every single one of his pieces are hand-executed by Tatehana himself! You can't ask for better craftsmanship for shoes ranging from $2,500 - $4,000. Many designer shoes are already in that price range, but can you imagine how much a shoe completely handmade by Christian Louboutin himself, or Karl Lagerfeld himself would cost??
The man himself, makin' your shoes


While no new collections are up for sale on his site, you can still special order pieces from the Tokyo  Trading Museum Comme des Garcons:

Opening hours AM11:00-PM6:00
2F GYRE Bldg 5-10-1 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo 1500001, JAPAN
TEL +81 (0) 3 3486 8590 

Aaand for those of you who aren't quite up to task for Tatehana's shoes, or perhaps live in the real world and plan on walking on real streets, copy king Jeffrey Campbell's "Night Walker" shoe is a fantastic alternative for the much more affordable price of $170.00. While Tatehana's pieces are a crash course, Campbell's shoes are a nice, gentle beginner's lesson in footwear ergonomics without being ankle-breakingly dangerous (and nowhere near as gorgeous).

EDIT: My friend Joshua reminded me that Campbell's Night Walkers are a direct reproduction of another platform diva's go-to shoe designer Natacha Marro. That diva? Why self-styling fashion maven Ms. Daphne Guiness of course.


Nicolas Kirkwood Creates Keith Haring Shoe Collection

As respected, revered and repeated as Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat, artist Keith Haring's work has continued to grace us decades after the activist and pop graffiti artist's passing due to AIDs in 1990. His latest art/fashion straddling latest was created by shoe designer and Rodarte darling Nicolas Kirkwood. The English designer takes Haring's iconic interconnected patterns and figures and infuses them with both architectural and humorous shoe designs (knee-high roller skates anyone?).


The artist painting one of his signature patterns


Online fashion, arts and culture site Nowness conducted an interview with Kirkwood about Haring's influence and bringing his work to footwear.


Click through for more photos:




But this isn't Haring's first footwear collaboration. Just last spring Tommy Hilfiger released a capsule collection of sneakers and rainboots for men, women and children in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation, which assists in AIDs-related and children's charities.


Check out some highlights from the Haring x Kirkwood collection from Kirkwood's boutique launch in London.




  
Personal fave

Flashback: Lady Gaga Naked, Tied Up For Vogue Hommes Japan September 2009

A woman after my own heart. It's amazing people are still debating whether or not Lady Gaga is a transsexual. Transsexual, no; transgressive, yes. Here's clear evidence of her lady parts from a stunning photoshoot by the incredible art photographer Nobuyoshi Araki from the Septemeber 2009 issue of Vogue Hommes Japan. Araki is known for using "Kinbaku," which is the meticulous art of Japanese bondage, so it's only fitting Lady Gaga get tied up in it too.

Funny to see how far she has come. Watch an interview with her in 2008 when she thought performing on "So You Think You Can Dance" was her biggest break yet.
"Somebody shot [pop music] in the face. I dunno who, but I want it to come back."

More photos after the jump:






Back To The Future: Photographer Irina Werning Transports Her Subjects To Their Own Pasts

Argentinian photogarpher Irina Werning has a fascinating project where subjects re-enact old photographs right down to the clothes, time of day and film type that was originally used. First picking up a camera in 2004, Werning's photography work has ranged from murder mystery stories in Buenos Aires to Israeli soldiers on summer vacation in Goa, India. Before she was a photographer, she was an assistant university professor with masters in history and economics. Perhaps it's her knowledge of history that inspired her ongoing "Back To The Future" project, acting as sort of Doc Brown to transport people to real moments from their past. It's interesting to see what time has done to the subjects themselves, seeing how they've both changed so much, but in many ways not changed at all.



Click through to see more photos:




Check out Irina Werning's site for more at IrinaWerning.com









Banksy Is Dead: Banksy Hits LA For His Oscar Nomination - UPDATED

One of Banksy's most recent pieces

In anticipation for the Academy Awards on Feb 27th, cloak and dagger British graffiti artist Banksy has returned to Los Angeles with new work. The quasi-Banksy documentary "Exit Through The Giftshop" was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature with Banksy as director. I say quasi because the documentary is mostly about Thierry Guetta, the man also known as graffiti artist Mr. Brainwash. I haven't seen the film until recently and what I take away from it is that Mr. Brainwash is nothing more than a plagiarizing megalomaniac. The only controversy in his work is if Guetta knew what he was doing, or if he was just self-delusional. Banksy along with comrade in arts Shepard Fairey reluctantly and practically out of pity helped Guetta with his debut art show that ended up grossing one million dollars in sales in it's first week. Suffice to say, Guetta was a genius for finagling his way so quickly into the realm of graffiti art royalty. Banksy made it clear in the film he was not pleased, and the film might have been purposed to expose Mr. Brainwash for who he is and how easily art can corrupted into a wildly profitable money making scheme. Let the film be a warning to any Mr. Brainwash art buyer.
 Guetta/Mr. Brainwash at his solo exhibit in NYC, Feb 2010

Click through to see more of Banksy's latest work:

But the timing of Banky's recent return to Los Angeles mirrors the hype he created for his 2006 art exhibit "Barely Legal" which drew thousands of viewers including the very top of the A-List. In the weeks before the show opened, Banky's pieces popped up seemingly overnight, particularly in Hollywood along La Brea Ave, creating a media frenzy and more than a few confused building owners. I mean, Banksy's no dummy: he's a master of harnessing hype and controversy, particularly about his art and his own intentions. His opening credits for The Simpsons last year is a perfect example. It's still not clear if the choice was flagrant self-promotion, an exposé on the animation industry or just a vehicle to get people thinking.

The same can be thought of his recent work before the Oscars. Is he just making fun of the whole idea of Hollywood awarding itself? Banksy is predicted to win the category, so he in turn could be no better than the celebrity audience. I'm not trying to knock Banksy, I love his work. But I can't help but raise questions and attempt to decontruct him. I imagine Banksy and Daft Punk shopping for napkin rings at Crate and Barrel together, masks off, with no one the wiser. UPDATE: The Academy flat out refused to let Banksy accept the award in disguise if he were to win. This is due to the fact security measures would be compromised. Since no one knows who he is, any number of strangers can claim his identity. That in and of itself is art to me! So my original idea of getting a bunch of randoms to dress in black hoodies and monkey masks and see who can infiltrate the Oscars couldn't work.

POST OSCARS UPDATE: Bansky did not win (understandably as the other nominees had much more affecting topics), and no, Justin Timberlake is NOT Banksy.

With all of Banksy's success, it must be a constant battle to retain his reputation as a street artist. Success is in direct conflict with the significance of the street art movement. One of Banksy's pieces was cut right out of the wall and replaced by a sign:

When people are revolting against street art, not because it "ruins" the walls, but because the art itself has been "ruined," who then become the rebels? Has Banksy turned graffiti into the equivalent of leaving stacks of cash on the street? Does monetary worth render graffiti art meaningless? Whatever Banksy's intentions may be, he's coming dangerously close to losing credibility.
More of Banksy's recent LA works
3 new pieces confirmed on Feb 22nd:







Kate Moss + Antony & the Johnsons for Balmain

Not part of the burgeoning fashion collection videos trend, this simple continuous shot of Kate Moss modeling with animation layered over it makes for a beautiful albeit awkward voyeur experience. Dutch fashion photographer duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin were shooting for Balmain's fall 2010 ad campaign and created this video with the help of artist Jo Ratcliffe.

Featuring the haunting song "Everglade" by the ghostly Antony & the Johnsons, the photographers covertly set up surveillance cameras to capture a genuine insider's look. They wanted to blur the lines of reality and create a "half horror, half Disney" "Surrealist" experience. Not unlike a day of dropping acid, the supermodel writhes on the couch whilst being molested by color and a number of animated forces--including tentacles. The less Disney, more Burton-esque drawings combined with an orchestral soundtrack made for an eerily charming piece.


Here's is the resulting ad:



The Real Housewives of Cybertron - Lernert & Sander Shoe Design

 To celebrate the launch of their new Shoe Galleries, high-end UK department store chain Selfridges hired Dutch artists Lernert & Sander to "take iconic shoe design to surreal extremes." The result is a collection of shoes made from mundane household appliances you'd think were taken straight off the feet of the Transformers' stay-at-home wives. I particularly love the baby pink dishwasher clog--so Candies.
Artists Lernert & Sander plot the demise of a very suspecting chocolate bunny

More after the jump: 
  
With roots in graphic design, industrial design, writing and directing, the duo's colorfully clean and minimal installations and art films with influences from 50s era advertisements present a fun, yet sophisticated approach to their projects.
Washing Machine
Brooms
Dishwasher - FAVE
Dustbusters
Kitchen Counter
Irons
Sewing Machines



Banksy's Simpsons Intro: Exposé or Self-Promotion?

Last night's Simpson's opening credits by well-known British graffiti artist Banksy makes an almost humorlessly bleak statement on the show's production, which is done in Korea. What is confusing is how the show has both reached out to Bansky and greenlit a story that portrays The Simpsons as being manufactured by sweatshops, child labor and even exploits particularly beloved animals real and fictional like pandas and unicorns. Despite the obvious exaggerations, I can't help but wonder what purpose(s) Banksy's credits served: Exposing the dark side of the animation industry? Complete self-promotion on a TV show that reaches millions of untapped viewers for the artist? A testament to The Simpson's unshakable reputation? Or perhaps, like so many artists have done and Banksy has championed, merely to create a dialogue about corporate and creative hypocrisies? Maybe just a "fuck you" to art critics and Simpsons watchers alike?

Click through to read more:


One thing we can't argue is that this is the biggest "billboard" Banksy has hit yet, with his name is all over the credits like the monogram on a Louis Vuitton handbag. But with this done through completely legal means, and even drawn by the very "sweatshops" Banksy portrays, has the artist lost his credibility? I'd love to know what the Korean employees who had to draw Simpson-ized versions of themselves (who knows if degraded or accurate) think about all this. How very meta.

To me, art seems to be more about questions raised than questions answered. What do you think the intentions behind Banksy's Simpsons opening credits were? 



From Coq to Creme - The Maudlin Days of Matthew Barney


Often enough, the media reveals, and revels in, the dark pasts of celebrities, politicians and other public figures. Drug abuse, prostitutes, mugshots, illegitimate children and concealed homosexuality-ridden pasts of the girl/boy-next-door (and frequently conservative) types are a favored fodder to countless gossip outlets. But in the case of shocking visual artist Matthew Barney, his past is only a similar situation in that it was a complete 180-degree turn from his opulently bizarre image today.


Trailer for Barney's Cremaster Cycle, the name taken from the cremaster muscle in the testicles. Barney crawls through vaseline and animal fat, crashes cars in the Chrysler Building lobby, has dancing, cross-dressing, decomposed bodies and double-amputee models--all very un-J. Crew.


As revealed to me by DIS Magazine, before Barney became an art world superstar with his ground-breaking, yet long-winded Cremaster Cycle art films, he supported himself through college at Yale by modeling. Not nude / fetish / pornographic modeling like we've seen with other celebrities and pageant winners, (and would be apropos for the artist) but a shameful portfolio of all-American goodness consisting of J. Crew, Macy's, The Men's Store and Le Coq Sportif:







I wonder what his current girlfriend and baby mama Bjork would have to say about his gut-wrenchingly wholesome modeling days? But then again, it's kind of a "no wonder" he turned out to be an artist covered in blood and Alexander McQueen after all that forced smiling.


"The Original Hipster" photo series by Julia Chesky

Julia Chesky's tongue-in-cheek photo series entitled "The Original Hipster" is so full of on-point irony that it, perhaps unintentionally, encapsulates what "hipsterism" really is. Chesky, a Parsons graduate, used an actual homeless man named Chris who lived on Mercer Street in New York for decades. With art director Ali Lee, they styled him with designer shopping bags and fantastic jewelry pieces by Michael Calloway and Tracey Howarth.

Beautifully junky jewelry


Chesky's series is based on the children's book, The Pushcart War, but having only read a summary of the book, I don't really see it. What resonates with me is that the line between the concept of hipsterism and true homelessness is thinned into obscurity. The differences are merely a few key fashion pieces and the appearance of buying from the "right" designers. I only hope they left the bags with Chris after the shoot, because I bet people would automatically treat him with more regard. Next thing you know, he's djing in Soho for some It-girl's birthday. I mean, who hasn't mistaken a homeless man for a hipster before--and vice versa?