A Jocular Embrace Of Art Nouveau

Munich’s “Fliegende Blätter”, one of Germany’s humorist journals was published weekly from 1845-1944, also served as a vehicle for many caricaturists and artists. Perhaps, one of the most interesting is illustrator Adolf Reinheimer about whom very little is known except that he also collaborated with several children’s authors in creating some of the most stylistically designed books of the early 20th century.

It is Reinheimer’s 25 contributions from 1901-04 to the “Blätter”, however, that has indeed harnessed my imagination for this arctic weekend and subsequently launched several internet projects. The almost cartoon-like drawings are created in an adept Art Nouveau style while, at the same time, almost gently lampooning said form. While under scrutiny, the images are humorous, if not bawdy or silly. From a slight distance, they exemplify some of the trademark characteristics that Art Nouveau brought to the world, only without rich colors.

I shall keep you posted should I come across any tidbits of Herr Reinheimer’s life and career, or examples of his work in color.

(Thank you to John Coulthart, of the magnificent Atelier Coulthart, for planting planting the seeds for this post.)
http://www.johncoulthart.com

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Dalí’s Illustrated Tome of Witty Recipes and Tasty Prose

“Les Dîners de Gala”, the opulent cookbook that Salvador Dalí conceived and executed, pays homage to legendary Parisian traditions, chefs, and restaurants. His words hint to the yet-to-fully explode modernist approach to the art and fashion in food preparation and presentation. His illustrations at once pay tribute to classic French 19th c. “gastronomique stylistes extraordinaire” Urbain Dubois and Émile Bernard.

The 1971 gem consists of 136 eclectic, impractical, and sumptuous recipes within twelve equally as odd chapters/categories:
Les caprices pincés princiers
Les cannibalismes de l’automne
Les suprêmes de malaises lilliputiens
Les entre-plats sodomisés
Les spoutniks astiqués d’asticots statistiques
Les panaches panachés
Les chairs monarchiques
Les montres molles ½ sommeil
L’atavisme dés oxyribonucléique
Les “je mange GALA”
Les pios nonoches
Les délices petits martyrs

These titles ironically tie everything together as if Dalí were sharing an amusing intimacy.

Additionally, fifty-five of the individual recipes were illustrated in color, twenty-one of which were created and shared by much-ballyhooed chefs from Lasserre, La Tour d’Argent, Maxim’s, and Le Buffet de la Gare de Lyon, and other noteworthy and famed restaurants.

Naturally, as is true with most anything that involves Dalí and either his spoken or written word, it is always quotable, if not sometimes perversely:
“Do not forget that a woodcock, ‘flambée’ in strong alcohol, served in its own excrements, as is the custom in the best of Parisian restaurants, will always remain for me in that serious art that is gastronomy, the most delicate symbol of true civilization.”

Or that which is a Marklewood credo:
“I attribute capital esthetic and moral values to food in general, and to spinach in particular…”

I eagerly anticipate his “Wines of Gala” (1977) which, like the afore-mentioned, I can neither find nor afford. It is similarly outrageous and a connoisseur’s compendium of art, reference, and prose. Henry joins in my sigh, but knows not what that means.

(“Les Dîners de Gala” by Salvador Dalí, 1971.)

Le Langage Des Couleurs: Starting With Burnt Sienna

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I was in kindergarten, Chapel Hill’s Little Red School House, when my parents gave me my first “big” box of sixty-four Crayola crayons. The starter box with oversized versions in relatively uninspiring jewel tones had long been outgrown and sentenced to spend its last years in a cruel purgatory known by human types as a moldy basement.

The classic larger assortment had intrigued me for many reasons not the least of which were the poetic names and the emphasis on hues and saturation. Of course, once I learned what “Burnt Sienna” indeed was, it became a favorite for years. Let’s just say that it at least piqued my curiosity until I abandoned crayons for pastels and colored pencils.

It was not long before I responded to colors quite emotionally and craved both uniqueness and newness in my selections. Cornflower, Periwinkle, and Cerulean blues sold me on the merits of blue and shone proudly on my own revised personal color spectrum. Years later, when Crayola fans would discover this Smith & Binney commonality, the conversation always eventually turned to favorite color. Mine was always “Burnt Sienna.”

I have adult friends who still color, as do I. We live within a different vocabulary, however, that is better at creating those illusions of maturity and age. We also cherish privacy.

Some recently rejected crayon names: Daddy Drinks (taupe), Thorazine (mauve), Foster Home (gray), Batman Is My Only Friend (black), Violent Stepbrother (maroon), I Want to Kiss Boys (also mauve). Several of these might might scar the unsuspecting crayon-user or, for that matter, an innocent waylaid reader and blog surfer.

The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Stent

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Recent health issues have left quite a few realizations neatly filed away in a clever Florentine storage caddy. Among them are a few misconceptions, newly justified opinions, and the details of complex illnesses or cures that simply hover outside my ken and beyond my reach. I must sadly admit that, like the most mystifying of noble pusses, I now face my ninth life.

I survived my eighth heart “event” on August 7, 2012, with few lectures and little scolding … just the stark awareness that my body wouldn’t survive the wear of another such episode. Eight months later, Dr Rose told me the imminent procedure would be a transplant: “Get thee to UNC’s Memorial Hospital ASAP!” My longtime fears were at once validated.

Of course, I can be the Ultimate Purveyor of Emotional Fondant as I sugar-coat the slightest wound and “make the world taste good!” I can veil with the best of them, unfolding my narrative tarps: shrouds in this corner, cloaks in that corner, and cozies here and there.

These cardiovascular woes, however, present quite a modern challenge. Our imagination can be bombarded with overly-graphic visuals crafted from memories from “Grey’s Anatomy” “Chicago Hope” or “ER“. We can explore the internet and view procedures gone awry or surgical horror stories. Yes, Virginia, there is such a condition as being over-informed, with a prognosis of becoming terrified of a pending surgical “event”.

There are several methods that such sufferers rely on to overcome such anxiety. Knowledge alone that both a general and local anesthesia will be used can for many folks ease the pressure to: simply reminiscing about painkillers one has known and loved or music that would’ve made the perfect soundtrack to a previous operation. For instance, thirty-five years after my three wisdom teeth were extracted, I still extol praise for liquid valium. And still argue that anything by the Moody Blues would be preferable to mid-70’s Muzak.

I tend to either retreat into my own world or attempt to deconstruct any lingering negative visuals. Since I was in kindergarten, I’ve known to keep my safety nets and imaginary worlds handy. Manipulating visuals, however, is more of an adult coping mechanism, regardless of how childish it might seem.

During my most recent hospital stay, my fears and reactions ran the gamut. Although the procedures kept me busy, they didn’t keep my mind from tip-toeing through that danger zone. Then on the morning of day #8, awaiting to be wheeled to wherever they install defibrillators, I discovered this vintage Italian graphic that made me smile.

Later that morning, as both the local and general anesthesias took hold of my reality, that image popped into my mind. Having lost any sense of time, I am uncertain as to its “screen-time”. I do, however, recollect seeing the tree as an expressway and the blossoms, towns. That image soon morphed into the New Jersey Turnpike and its system of memorial rest areas, to which they add an iota of grandeur by calling them “Plazas”.

At some point, in or out of consciousness, the illustration became pertinent: a metaphor for my circulatory system with the blossoms loosely based on stents, of which I’ve had eleven.

Clara Barton, Walt Whitman, J. Fenimore Cooper, Woodrow Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, Vince Lombardi, Grover Cleveland, and Admiral Halsey are among New Jersey’s Service Plazas, as well as the pool of names should I need to “go there” again. (An escapist’s fantasy world, not New Jersey.)

And if I should experience an excruciatingly boring afternoon while in the hospital with an old-fashioned urge to be silly, I could match my past obsessiveness and name my other stents.

Franke’s Rococo Tableaux Amid Sea Ruins

The 365 ft. Greek freighter S.S. Stavronikita was stripped and sunk in the clear waters of Barbados in 1978, years after a fire rendered it no longer seaworthy. Austrian artist and photographer Andreas Franke has found the site both a formidable backdrop to several clever studies as well as a fascinating microcosm of underwater colonies of sea wipts, both soft and hard corals, sponges and gorgoncans. The masts and upper cabins are usually swarmed with Sargent Majors, Tangs, Blue-Green Chromis and the lurking and patient Red Hinds. Other fish that easily frequent such an exotic and undisturbed reef include: Barracudas, Mackerels, and turtles.

The mysterious and beautiful wreckage both compel and wonderfully juxtapose Franke’s gorgeous textiles, teeming food spreads, and the impeccable narratives. Known for his meticulously detailed, provocative and inventive settings, his intent with the Stavronikita project was to style romantic and lavish Rococo vignettes against the oddly pastoral and overtly harmonious and symbiotic reef world. He effortlessly combines his underwater shots with studio pictorials, creating fresh and unexplored visuals.

The indulgent lifestyles of 18th century nobility and aristocracy can be quite fascinating although the excesses and entitlements often incur criticism if not disdain, especially in modern society. I love reading about the expansion of 18th and 19th cultures and lifestyles. Henry and I can both step away from any socio-political demand for “correctness.” In that way, we file what we’ve learned alongside our fascinations with extinct flora and fauna, Egypt and the pharaoh legends, whales and walruses, and the sensationalism of pop culture  throughout time. I might add that Henry can barely sit still when envisioning fine cheeses, fish, and exquisite fabric to buffer and ease his recline.

He is a silly puss!

http://www.thesinkingworld.com

My Little Red Welcome Wagon

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As most of you have suspected, I am a perpetual fine-tuner, an adjunct adjuster, or (if you must) a restless perfectionist. While I restrain myself from repairing “that which is yet broken”, I anticipate the future breakdown with a litany of plans A, B, and C. And yes, gentle readers, such behavior signifies more than an artistic compulsion, it has become my own self-harnessing energy.

Since February of last year, that focus has engulfed Tartuffe’s Folly, making it the latest of creative outlets to fully reel me in to both the process and the results. A frustrated and, now, unemployed designer, I am constantly trying to improve both visuals and their format. Simply, I want folks to enjoy their time in the “sandbox” while, at the same time, I never want to lose sight of my own aesthetics and interests.

A few months ago, I changed the overall page design to one that reads, perhaps, more like a magazine with snippets and artwork to “click” for further reading. While it may pander to the skilled skimmer, it presents text, I believe, in a more palatable unfold. A reader at once can turn to a post that indeed holds interests, rather than scroll with the zeal of a television viewer pressing “fast forward”.

The other modifications have been more subtle and less obvious. The subscription tab, profile, and “sub-mission” statement have been moved to the lower realm of the home page. Tags, although still available, are neither readily found nor deftly maneuvered.

The results may not be altogether successful. Readership statistics are inconsistent and inconclusive. Some posts indicate over 3,000 views while others abruptly halt at 200. For those Facebook readers that follow links to Tartuffe’s Folly, they are no longer incorporated into statistics compiled by Google Analytics.

So I humbly ask you, friends, to comment when you feel so inclined. Please feel free to suggest improvements or topics for posts. Let me know if you have difficulty navigating, or if a function isn’t functioning.

Finally,  please subscribe if you haven’t done so yet. The tab is on the bottom of the Tartuffe’s Folly homepage. You will get notifications on posts. Most importantly, your email address will become a part of my database. I can then notify you should I start a new blog or, perish the thought, if Facebook again censures and deletes me, thus repealing my identity. Since that particular social networking site offers negligible advocacy and little, if any recourse, I will likely not return should I again be cast out from the garden.

In that unfortunate event, I shall channel all my efforts into my blog and my daily life at Marklewood. Although they may protest and suggest otherwise, the pusses, I assure you, have never been consistent and reliable followers. That’s the “tall and short” of it!

(Image: The Birdking” by Naoto Hattori, 2013.)

Big Hands: No Small Feat

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Sometimes the matter before us is best and simply put: a “big hand, little hand” issue. At others, it’s a matter of getting one’s bucks, er-uh ducks all in a row. And even still, it’s occasionally an instance when it’s imperative to simply walk the straight and narrow. Sadly, I once had a co-worker, Fearne, who had issues with all three directives.

One dark winter morning, we had all arrived at the office just before eight to gather in the studio, lounge on upholstery (that none of us could otherwise afford), and enjoy a cup of coffee. Such was our way … to ease into the day, just as we eased into projects or meetings with clients. We would usually share tales of antics from the previous night or perhaps gossip in a “butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth” manner! If we were hard-pressed on a design project, we might discuss work. But, in our hearts and from our own experience, we knew that our workday rarely became substantive until afternoon.

That particular morning, our topic had oddly turned to politics, as we discussed the pending Gore/Bush showdown. We were all liberal in our bent and thus confidently mused on the realities of a Gore presidency. 
 Poor Fearne! She excused herself twice before ten, seemingly to use the “Little Designer’s Den”, which was what we called her bathroom, the Women’s Room. The rest of the staff was relatively male and shared the smaller facility on the far end of the third floor!

The conversation continued in such a manner, well beyond the third cup of java, well past eleven. At that point, Fearne abruptly stood up, pointed to the clock and blurted:
 “Oh my God! Look at the time. My husband will be furious. It’s late; I haven’t fixed dinner; and I didn’t even call!” She grabbed her handbag and scurried to the door, slamming it in her haste.

The rest of us, feeling slightly abandoned and definitely befuddled, looked at each other in amazement. Fearne was always rather ditsy, but this scenario would transcend that explanation. Granted it was abnormally gray outside, but certainly not like that of late night. I glibly suggested that perhaps Fearne had a “little hand, big hand issue” (as I often attempt to ease stress and confusion with feeble humor). To that, Robert replied: “oh, I am certain that Fearne has no such issues with hand size!”


And with that comment, we all proceeded to our desks and began our day … without Fearne.

The next morning, again we gathered as usual. Fearne stopped me by the coffee-maker and apologized for her outburst and swift exit: “Mark, I just can’t smoke pot anymore while I am at work!” That would explain her frequent trips to the “facilities”! I suggested that she tell everyone what happened but she declined. She confided to me that she would rather that we all think she was rather daft than admit to smoking pot publicly. Even if “publicly” meant for the benefit of four extremely liberal gay men.

Regrettably, she did get fired that day. My boss felt that he couldn’t really tolerate such stupidity … and that he could’ve understood if she had been on some medication or alcohol. I didn’t say a word, simply nodding in agreement. Fearne really was inept, I guess.

The irony here, my friends, is that Fearne would a few years later inherit two million dollars and set herself up in what would become a lucrative design business in a tony resort town. We ran into each other a year ago on the steps of a coffee shop at Furniture Market in High Point. I could’ve sworn she was stoned, and still not following a straight path.

Neither of us mentioned that incident that years ago led to her dismissal, although I did look at my watch!

As I left to continue my endless mission of futile showroom-hopping, I did notice that she ducked (or was it “bucked”?) into the Women’s Room. “It’s true. It’s true.”

For discretion’s sake and in fear of networking payback, I shall never reveal the details of a late September afternoon, Fearne, and an unfortunate computer transaction. Upon ringing up three aromatherapy candles for a Mrs. Halstead, she looked at the client squarely in the face and announced: “that will be $7,892, dear.” Fearne neither flinched nor caught her error. But I best not pursue further detail.

(Image: “Arm” by Ruth Marten, 2011.)

Cheers, Daphne!

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It was the first unpleasantly hot day of spring a few years back. I clearly remember suppressing a chortle at 4:38 as I quickly parked my car in the crab-grass covered lot.

A meeting with a certain new design client had rambled and meandered for, what seemed like hours and hours, but turned out to be only hours. Daphne is opening a spa/salon in an isolated hamlet about twenty miles East of Raleigh.

Her intent is that it be an opulent and fussy den of indulgence: massages, manicures, facials, and copious glasses of red wine. The converted insurance office was to be appointed with glamorous furnishings and trendy hues. For example, one such notion is to place four peacock-blue, leather and studded wingbacks positioned around a chartreuse velvet ottoman.

I asked Daphne why she chose Lizard Lick to locate such a new undertaking. Yep, skeptics, there is indeed a Lizard Lick, known best for its “reality show” towing service. She looked at me squarely in the eyes and offered: “well, frankly the folks out here need a place to drink!”

Her point was well-taken. I started visualizing my sketches on the long drive home to Marklewood.

(Image: “Entranced” by Mike Worrall, UK.)

A Patron’s Plea to Dream

giorgio-de-chirico-la-comedia-e-la-tragediaStrike down the rigid curator. Impeach the zealot who damns our visions, and critiques our lives. Abhor any man who treads on our dreams.

For our night-dreams command a worthy gallery and our slumber, its appreciative grand tour.

Our honest visions are thus presented, hung with a divine eye. Dare I once again share that devilish “well hung” retort?

Our palette is hued with hope and yearning, though sometimes tainted with regret soured with age.
But our vision is honest.
As we are the beholding ones, the meaning ours alone to decipher, and the image’s elegant and extravagant history, ready to be chronicled and given an era.
Strike down the rigid curator.

Find the wine steward, the one in the kilts.

I twitch with the anticipation of mingling, but first must find a chum with a robust glass of Pinot Noir.

(Image: “La Comedia e La Tragedia” by Giorgio de Chirico, 1926)

A Collector’s Nadir: Sort and Sell

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“As humans we look at things and think about what we’ve looked at. We treasure it in a kind of private art gallery.” (Thom Gunn)

My own such personal and indulgent showroom of treasures is officially and temporarily closed. Take your pick of reasons, my friends. As my own curator, I have barred and locked the streaked French doors while I list and execute a lifetime of much-needed repairs. The time has come for me to catalogue and cull, and make more modern my intern’s approaches to a curator’s issues. I must erect a lofty catwalk in the rafters where at once that loyal docent Henry and I can survey and manage from a more revealing panorama.

The office has been in the basement far too long. While never straying from my intent, I have however lost sight of the corridors, niches, and the well-secreted broom closets. The musty catacombs now teem with acquisitions: surreal costume designs from all the forgotten pageantry, the faded hand-penned manuscripts and “falling out of love” letters, and the candid memories of a half century of birthday photographs. Advisors urge me to tightly secure the rickety windows, set the humidifier, and padlock the door behind me.

I best focus on the maze of galleries upstairs for they open eagerly to the beams and balmy breezes of an early August morning. I shall scrub the gilt frames, replace the antiquated bulbs, and, for my own resolve and absolution, revise the information plaques that have decayed and fallen from the peeling walls.

Finally my attentions turn to the portico and Gothic doors that greet patrons when I least expect them. As I repaint the molding and polish its brass fittings, I will hum a new melody of hope. I can now strip the security system from the wall, and install a much more crucial and pragmatic coffee maker. The Universe has taught me the throes of curating vigilance, while the ever-loyal auxiliary is in its perpetual state of benefaction and eventual re-fundraising. At least, I know now to acquiesce.

I’ve also learned that I best regularly sweep the common areas, especially on Thursdays.

First, I must make note of the day’s highlight. A character on television, one that is sly as well as a little too erudite exclaimed: “You unctuous platitudinizing eunuch!”

(Image: “The Artist in His Museum” by Charles Willson Peale, 1822.)

Vlad Basks in a Chartreuse Damask

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I’ve always been one of those zany designers that fights clichés yet feels quite at “home” in them. I’m certain that you know the type. If uninspired by the project, the tools, or (heaven forbid and forgive) the client, I might adopt my reserved persona and, if pressed, slip into indifference. However, if I sense the smallest window from which to crawl out of the “box”, my adrenalin perks, my mind races, and I become “Vlad”. Granted, this somewhat theatrical persona may only emerge when a magical client walks into the showroom, an eclectic point of commonality is mentioned, or when the moon is a cornflower blue.

I never apologize for such enthusiasm because it is authentic and, if channeled properly, is my best tool for selling a concept or application. If the enthusiasm is returned, the client and I at once acquiesce to the moment. We have likely created a look that is not beige, not similar to those found at large retailers like that “Ceramic Silo” or “Palette and Peck”! My immediate world is a haven of sublime hues that is cloaked in a Universe of, naturally, the truest of earth tones. And that “beige” demographic seems to be encroaching on the unrestrained, imaginative, and color-driven (of what I call the) “Free World”.

Clearly, if such a topic is twiddling on my foremind, I am indeed at work. Today, I amused myself thinking of the great clients that I have met in the past few months. Images swirl of: a vermillion sectional appointed with a multitude of eclectic throw pillows; the peacock blue velvet arced sofa backed with a modern and lush tapestry and finished with pillows of a French graphic; or the room that includes cork-covered upholstery, copper accent tables, and a huge floor lamp sculpted from a giant burl root. Fabrics can indeed evoke a reel of ecstasy, and often in rather satisfying both the culling and the euphoria.

I have often thought of the design process to be not unlike “dating” with its nuances, filtered information, and specific level of flirtation. And the best dates “listen” so I strive to be attentive to dialogue, needs, and cues. Sadly, however, consultations never involve libations, although I once had several pomegranate martinis with a client in her 900 sq.ft. downstairs bar. One day, I shall reveal details of the chartreuse mohair livingroom that we created that evening, complete with Baker chairs dressed in a lavender Belgian toile.

Already, I have worked myself into a frenzy of Neuro-delic design with an emphasis on the unbridled, overstimulated, perhaps under medicated, and occasionally misbegotten visionaries. Although few in numbers, this karmic brethren makes my job fulfilling and reaffirm my celebration of the individual.

Vlad is content.

(Image: “Picking Up the Pieces” by Julie Heffernan.)

A Nod to Pink: For Hedy, Heidi, and (Yes) Jeanne Crain

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I have never been much of a pink person. It always seemed to be the standard-bearer of the pastel milieu, rarely given to emotional and expressive “hue” responses. Pink was always subtly forced upon young girls as the cloak of femininity from pre-school to pubescence. And I saw very little of the color in my home, except for a large mid-century painting that hung in my parents’ bedroom as long as they were coupled.

Nevertheless, I have always been a color-driven person, surrounding myself with rich shades of eggplant, cornflower blue, chartreuse, Chinese red, and persimmon. This has only intensified with maturity, as the only color phobia is that of a monochromatic white, grey, or black environment.

As an exercise to prove myself once foolish and judgmental, I have scoured and pored through the back alleys, dusty portmanteaux, and obscure foreign digital sites … in search of shades and images of pink that I fancy. What has resulted is a collection of ephemera, photographs, and “art” that would either look terrific at Marklewood or that I might (just the teeniest bit) covet.

Raspberry, fuchsia, sanguine, rose, and the many other pinky hues all have a place in our spectrum. I shall resist any further condemnation, scoff, or sigh when faced with pink, in concern that I’ll once again be red-faced or given to blush.

 

 

Vlad Basks in a Chartreuse Damask

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I’ve always been one of those zany designers that fights clichés yet feels quite at “home” in them. I’m certain that you know the type. If uninspired by the project, the tools, or (heaven forbid and forgive) the client, I might adopt my reserved persona and, if pressed, slip into indifference. However, if I sense the smallest window from which to crawl out of the “box”, my adrenalin perks, my mind races, and I become “Vlad”. Granted, this somewhat theatrical persona may only emerge when a magical client walks into the showroom, an eclectic point of commonality is mentioned, or when the moon is a cornflower blue.
     I never apologize for such enthusiasm because it is authentic and, if channeled properly, is my best tool for selling a concept or application. If the enthusiasm is returned, the client and I at once acquiesce to the moment. We have likely created a look that is not beige, not similar to those found at large retailers like that “Ceramic Silo” or “Palette and Peck”! My immediate world is a haven of sublime hues that is cloaked in a Universe of, naturally, the truest of earth tones. And that “beige” demographic seems to be encroaching on the unrestrained, imaginative, and color-driven (of what I call the) “Free World”.
     Clearly, if such a topic is twiddling on my foremind, I am indeed at work. Today, I amused myself thinking of the great clients that I have met in the past few months. Images swirl of: a vermillion sectional appointed with a multitude of eclectic throw pillows, the peacock blue velvet arced sofa backed with a modern and lush tapestry and finished with pillows of a French graphic; or the room that includes cork-covered upholstery, copper accent tables, and a huge floor lamp sculpted from a giant burl root. Fabrics can indeed evoke a reel of ecstasy.
     I have often thought of the design process to be not unlike “dating” with its nuances, filtered information, and specific level of flirtation. And the best dates “listen” so I strive to be attentive to dialogue, needs, and cues. Sadly, however, consultations never involve libations, although I once had several pomegranate martinis with a client in her 900 sq.ft. downstairs bar. One day, I shall reveal details of the chartreuse mohair livingroom that we created that evening … complete with Baker chairs dressed in a lavender Belgian toile.
     Already, I have worked myself into a frenzy of Neuro-delic design with an emphasis on the unbridled, overstimulated, perhaps under medicated, and occasionally misbegotten visionaries. Although few in numbers, this karmic brethren makes my job fulfilling and reaffirm my celebration of the individual.
     Vlad is content.

 

(Image: “Picking Up the Pieces” by Julie Heffernan.)

Stepping Out to Freedom

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Her name is Madge, but please call her Jezebel. She has traded in that tattered and faded housefrock for a fetching, red-satin evening dress. Spinning deceit upon conceits, she’s off to the tonier side of the garden, scaling the wall, and quickly headed to Smoky Bub’s for a mid-afternoon libation.

This Madge fidgets nervously; it is the pattern she well knows. She woos, chews, spits out, and finally renders her men lifeless … but she views it more as “unable to keep her interest piqued.” 
By nine, she returns home, empty-handed, empty-souled, and a few martinis wearier. She grieves the father of her children that never really was. Sadly, and most assuredly, she faces yet another hollow night on the web!

(Image: “Madre” by Ray Caesar, 2006.)