The Psychedelic Desert, According to April Seelbach

One of the countless reasons I’m happy to be back home in Southern California is because of its proximity to one of my favorite natural landscapes–the desert!

I grew up exploring various deserts throughout the West with my parents. As I’ve mentioned in another post, my dad spent his youth in Saudi Arabia, dirt biking amongst the dunes and native bedouins surrounding the American oil towns there. So naturally, I spent a lot of time there as a kid. It was easiest to travel to Anza Borrego within San Diego county…and after all, SoCal is a desert. It feels like my natural habitat. So coming home to warm nights and unbearably hot days here in San Diego (that I actually can bear…I love hot weather) has been wonderful!

It’s interesting to see how the desert has become so romanticized over the years. Full disclosure, I’ve never been to Joshua Tree, but areas pretty close–but the idea of just going there has blown up (and honestly I’m pretty interested), and I’ve witnessed Instagram account after Instagram account filled with JT images or houses that people have taken up residence in. And to my friends who actually rock climb there, who scoff at the “glampers” and folks just in it for the trend, there’s a sense of ownership. The desert, whether it’s Joshua Tree or not, is a special place. It will always feel like that for me too.

So when I found April Seelbach’s account as I wandered down another rabbit hole (Instagram is a trip), it brought back that feeling. April layers digital patterns over her own photos of the desert from road trips she’s taken, and her work is decidedly retro. Her artwork reminds me of how the desert and nostalgia are somehow inherently connected (or maybe that’s just the romantic in me):

A psychedelic saguaro.

A self portrait.

Dusk? With some digital sun flare.

April also has a separate Instagram account filled with her beautiful, totally retro road trip photos here!

Thoughts on the desert?

Mary Finlayson’s Painterly Still Life Artwork

This morning–a fortuitously sunny, 60-ish degree San Francisco-kind-of-warm morning–I made my way down to Fort Mason Center for one of my favorite events in the city: West Coast Craft! I’ve probably attended each event (there are a few every year here and in other cities) since I first caught a glimpse through the warehouse windows on a late night first date with my now boyfriend (hah!). As a forever crafter and lover of art, I’m always in awe of what people are creating, and today blew my mind! A handwoven rattan furniture company run out of a garage in Oakland/studio in Indonesia, hanging macrame lighting, Memphis inspired squiggled shirts and bags, and a slew of artists with funky, illustrative style were just a few of my personal highlights. And of all of these talented folks, I think I’ve found one of my new favorite artists.

The style of Painted Mary, aka Mary Finlayson, seems so clearly inspired by painterly, Fauvist paintings, and very closely resembles Hunt Slonem’s work. Seriously, you couldn’t tell the two apart! I love his work, and I’m so smitten with Mary’s paintings that I almost bought a print, but opted to wait until she stocked her store with new prints. I hope to fill my walls with a few of her deeply saturated still life depictions of potted flora and nudes. They are simply gorgeous!

 

 

 

 

Thread Honey Embroidery: Feminism, The Stars, and a Bit of Pop Culture

Any form of textile construction has my heart. I flirted with the idea of staying in college longer so I could live out my passion and study textiles and fashion. I was in my last quarter and taking surface design and textile classes when I realized it was what I truly loved. I learned crochet, some sewing, and a form of textile art that really boggles me–embroidery.

It takes a special human to create embroidered artwork. After a few college projects trying to create the type of beautiful artwork I now find on Etsy and Instagram, my fingers were numb and my mind was in as many knots as the ones I had to untangle along the way. So embroidery artists, bless you and your patience!

Like I mentioned, I follow several folks on Instagram who have made this tedious craft their form of artistic expression (take Sarah K. Benning as an example), and I’m always stumbling upon others. Recently, I traveled down a blog rabbit hole and found designer and stylist Thread Honey’s whimsical (and sometimes cheeky) embroidered pieces. If you’re a feminist who loves astrology, pop culture, and impeccable knolling, check out her lovely work! You can also purchase patterns of some of the pieces I’m sure are her most popular.

Do you have a favorite embroidery artist?

Interior Art: Paintings I’d Love to Live In

Not long ago I posted about my fascination with Hunt Slonem’s electric paintings of textiles and interiors. Looking through my art Pinboards, I realized I have a general love of interior renderings, especially of the painterly variety.

I’ve always had a thing for still life paintings and depictions of food and flowers (and particularly flowers), and lately my eye has been drawn to art most closely related to Fauvism–pieces with bold color and expression–and that depict spaces. I’ve been delighted to find that there’s a world of artists who paint interiors. Some are known for their lush floral paintings and drawings, while others just seem to be fascinated by super bright spaces. Not only are these pieces beautiful to look at, but they provide so much interior design inspiration, and I’m seriously diggin’ the homes and spaces of whatever imaginary individuals live there. Here are a few:

The bright, boho, and layered paintings of Anna Valdez:

I probably couldn’t keep a collection of plants like this alive, but I’d be in heaven if my place were covered, carpet-to-wall, in colorful patterned textiles! That macbook and rug are totally my aesthetic (hah).

The feminine florals and pastel paintings of Lulie Wallace:

I’ve followed Lulie Wallace for a while on Instagram now, and I know one day I’ll purchase one of her paintings. But it didn’t occur to me until I did my research that she has a delightful collection of interior artwork, and some where she’s incorporated the mixed media bouquets that make her work so special! This kitchen is a patterned, pastel dream and such an “artsy” little space.

The boho, flora filled renderings of Elizabeth Barnett:

Definitely one of my favorites, this gal paints the most incredible bohemian spaces, most filled with vines, fiddle leaf trees, furniture I would absolutely thrift, and textiles. Can I live in this room, please?

The quaint and colorful paintings of Becca Stadtlander:

Becca Stadtlander’s artwork is full of “everyday objects” as she mentions in her bio, including plates, fruits, detailed vases full of bouquets, and teacups. At first glance, I got a “European country cottage” vibe from her work, but it also spans landscape and animal illustration. I loved this particular rendering for the wallpapers and detailed plates.

The saturated, collage-like artwork of Jenny Wheatley:

Jenny Wheatley’s aesthetic reminded me of Becca’s, but with a collage-like twist. The objects in her work seem to be playfully thrown together, furniture, animals, view, and all–just how I like my spaces!

Which of these rooms would you love to live in?

The 70s Serigraphs of Hunt Slonem

Hunt Slonem’s colorful serigraphs look to me like more saturated versions of Paul Gauguin paintings, and with similar rich colors and themes. Because of my interest in vintage and my current (and former) job, I’m always learning something new about the art and design of old, and I’m enamored by Slonem’s work!

Though known for his Post-Modern bird and bunny paintings (inky outlines of the little critters repeated and hopping all over the canvas that you’ve probably seen), it is Slonem’s vibrant serigraphs of furniture, textiles, and yes, birds of the early 80s that I truly love! I aspire to live in a home full of the colorful global pieces and globs of wacky 70s furniture depicted in his amazing art. These pieces are a bit pricey, but you can buy several of them through Houzz. So here they are for your viewing pleasure:

Hunt Slonem, Purple Couch, Serigraph
Hunt Slonem, Three Goddesses and Fallen God, Serigraph
Hunt Slonem, Chair Duet, Serigraph

What I love about these paintings is the content: rooms layered with funky, floral patterned pillows and chairs in tropical upholstery, exotic birds and butterflies, objects from around the world. And of course, the forms and colors Slonem uses to represent them. His work is serious retro artwork porn.

Hunt Slonem, Kite, Serigraph

Hunt Slonem, Bromilliad, Serigraph

tropical fine art prints

Hunt Slonem, Untitled, Bird and Butterfly, Serigraph

Angela Rizza’s Whimsical and Intricate Illustrations

I found Angela Rizza’s work on Society6 after I searched “cactus” to find any photos or artwork I could add to my growing collection. This is what popped up:

I adore cactuses and love birds (as you know if you’ve read other posts here) and this print was just so beautiful and detailed I had to check out more of her stuff! And to my delight, I found this:

A HOOPOE! This is one of my favorite species, (I’ve even considered getting a hoopoe tattoo), and a bird I’ve actually felted for a small project in college. Apparently Angela is a fellow avian enthusiast, and her work is filled with bright illustrations of different species.

I love how festive her style is–it almost reminds me of Mexican folk art with its many layers and bright colors. I’m so glad I found her work and will eventually be ordering one of her prints!

The Embroidered Cacti of Sarah K. Benning

Cacti and succulents always stay chic. They come in endless textures and shades, are easy to care for, and instantly add life to a room. And seeing as they hail from the romanticized desert, these prickly plants have become a symbol of bohemian living and a free-spirited lifestyle.

DIYs, crochet patterns, and gorgeous cacti folk art have adorned the pages of design blogs and Etsy shops for a while now, including the work of Sarah K. Benning, whose artwork I found while digging through textile artists on Instagram. I’m not sure about you all, but if you’ve ever taken up serious embroidering, it takes FOREVER and will leave a few fingers numb.

Sarah’s adorable cacti creations are simple and sweet, but extremely detailed and show true craftsmanship. Each piece is framed by the hoop she used to create it, and her designs also include  geometric images and typography. I would love to have one of these in my bedroom or kitchen and will absolutely look into buying one as soon as her shop reopens: