Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On the wings of Victory

Been a while! I thought I'd get back in the groove of things with my favorite sculpture of all time. Maybe you think I'm just like everyone else in my love for this particular piece...maybe you think I'm nuts because for Heaven's sakes, she has no head or arms. But I adore this sculpture and I have to share her with you!

The Nike of Samothrace - The Louvre, Paris, France

Isn't she marvelous??

In Greek mythology, Nike is the winged goddess of Victory that presides over both war and athletic competition. According to the epics of Hesiod, Nike is the daughter of Styx (Hatred) and Pallas (god of war craft), sister to Bia (Force), Zelos (Rivalry), and Kratos (Strength). When Zeus was preparing to go to war against the Titans, Styx and her children immediately pledged their allegiance to fight beside him. In reward, Zeus made Nike his charioteer and proclaimed that the four children should remain by his side always. Here, Nike's mythology stops. However, since that time, it is common to see Nike figurines accompanying cult statues of Zeus or his daughter Athena.

I took this picture when I got to visit the Louvre in 2007 :). This made for a happy Artgazer.

The Nike of Samothrace typifies Hellenistic sculpture. Produced between 200 and 180 B.C., this sculpture was built to celebrate victories in 190/89 by the Rhodian fleet over the Seleukid navy of Antiochos III and Myonessos. Her base is the prow of a ship, appropriate to commemorate naval battle, and she was placed in a highly visible location above a local theater on the island of Samothrace.

She was rediscovered in 1863 in pieces (as she was originally assembled, in many parts). She was shipped in the same year to Paris. The entirety of her right wing and the majority of her left shoulder as it attaches to her preserved left wing has been restored with plaster. She has sat at the top of the Daru staircase in the Louvre since 1883.

On the outset, the Nike is very balanced: Two legs, two arms (though missing), two legs. She's striding confidently forward into the wind which causes her garb to flutter and flow behind her. Her wings are lifted dynamically as if she's about to jump headlong into the wind and actually fly. Her torso twists dramatically through her stride and you can clearly discern her natural curves through her dress. Transparent cloth on this Nike is a more conservative take on 5th century B.C. wet drapery.

I've always been kind of fascinated by angelic imagery AND mythology, and she's the embodiment of both worlds. I love her confidence and dynamic stride and how emotional, triumphant, and literally victorious she looks. I actually wrote a paper in undergrad on the evolution of movement in Greek Nike sculpture, so...Yeah! I just love her. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Advocate for your Arts!

So, ya'll have already read a post from me about the importance of the arts. If you haven't, here it is.

For those U.S. readers, the U.S. Congress is voting THIS WEEK on the reduction or elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts' funding. Please take a moment and write your congressional representatives. You can send them an e-mail via this link: Advocate for the Arts!!

To put things in perspective for you and your home state, take a look at the States Arts Agency 2011 Fiscal Year Budget press release. Pennsylvania's budget was cut by 30%, Kansas's budget was cut by 28.7% and Washington state, Missouri, and South Dakota's budgets were cut by 27%. For Georgia, the state arts agency budget was cut by 65.9% (As a Georgian, this upsets me greatly).

Why does this matter?

Because of the arts funding deficiency many states are already facing, arts agencies, programs, and opportunities need the support of government arts agencies to survive. Without them, we'll continue to lose arts programs...This includes theater, architecture, music, dance, literature, the visual arts, photography, etc. And here's yet another informative article from Psychology Today about why cutting arts budgets is a bad idea.

We really need to fight for our arts programs and let our representatives know that we want to keep them! It takes just a minute to send an e-mail.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Artists on Love and Art

"Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art." - Konstantin Stanislavsky

"When you paint, you forget everything except your object. When you are too much engrossed in it, you are lost in it; and when you are lost in it, your ego diminishes and love infinite appears. And when love is created, God is attained." - Meher Baba (The Perfect Master by Charles Purdom)

"For in truth great love is born of great knowledge of the thing loved." - Leonardo da Vinci

"Have pity, mean girl. I can't go on. I can't go another day without seeing you. Atrocious madness, it's the end, I won't be able to work anymore. Malevolent goddess, and yet I love you furiously." - Auguste Rodin writing to his lover, Camille Claudel

"Throughout the time in which I am working on a canvas I can feel how I am beginning to love it, with that love which is born of slow comprehension." - Joan Miró

"No longer shall I paint interiors with men reading and women knitting. I will paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love." - Edvard Munch

"Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman, we don't start measuring her limbs." - Pablo Picasso

"A lady friend of mine asked me, 'Well, what do you love most?' That's how I started painting money." - Andy Warhol

"Love is one of those experiences that is utterly exciting and yet at times most bewildering; certainly not too different from our own personal experience of art, as it is created, observed, and contemplated." - Kirk Wassell

"One's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes." - Andrew Wyeth

"Love art. Of all lies, it is the least untrue." - Gustave Flaubert

"For where these is love of man, there is also love of the art." - Hippocrates

"I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known." - Walt Disney

"I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." - Vincent Van Gogh

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I found out about this super cool new thing from FreePeople, one of my favorite clothing lines. In honor of Valentine's Day tomorrow and as a testament to creativity and the drive to create something new...

The Rainbow Rose! Yes, they DO exist!

The Rainbow Rose is the brain child of two Dutch companies, River Flowers and F.J. Zandbergen and Zn. that collaborated beginning in 2006 to form the Happy Roses company for the specific promotion and sale of these roses. River Flowers had previously developed a patent for adding color to chrysanthemum petals and F.J. Zandbergen was a rose specialist. Chrysanthemums, hydrangea, carnations, and some orchids are also able to have their petals colored in the same fashion I'll describe below.

A rose absorbs water necessary for its survival via the water running up the stem. Developers exploited this common fact by splitting the stem and dipping each split in a different water-based colored dye while the rose is still young. The colors then travel up the stem and are drawn into the different petals.

Cool, huh?

But just FYI, this technique does NOT work with every rose. The Vendela Rose is the only type that absorbs all of the colors perfectly. The Vendela Rose is an unscented hybrid tea rose that grows in Holland, Colombia, and Equador. Sometimes Rose La Belle and Rose Avalanche can be used too.

Color combinations are surely not limited to the Rainbow effect. Just in my brief researching on this topic, I saw red and pink and purple and yellow (for those LSU fans out there...) too. Black and white, however, is deemed impossible to make.

And yes, Happy Flowers DOES deliver in the U.S.! Anyone besides me really excited about this and dying (HA, I'll take that pun!) to get some??? Well, the goin' rate for a dozen of these babies is about $139.95 with an additional $40 for overnight shipping. Whew!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Okay, I have to throw in a tiny post to just say how stoked I am to have visitors to my site from the following countries...

Saudi Arabia, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Turkey, Japan, Russia, Denmark, Belize, South Africa, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brazil, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and the United States!!!!

Okay, so the Turkey was a little rigged (Thanks Clint :P), but I SO appreciate all of ya'll watching in from all over the world! I hope you're enjoying what I have to share and that you're learning something too!

Next post coming soon...What, oh what, will it be?? ;)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Love...It's all we really have."

I'm currently taking a seminar on African Fashion...I like to think I'm a bit of a know-it-all when it comes to fashion (^^), but when it comes to African fashion, I am hopelessly lost. At first, I was very intimidated by the prospect of this class, never having learned any real history or anthropology of Africa in school. But the more I'm in it, the more I learn, the more I'm fascinated!

So life lesson to you, readers: Don't be afraid to try something new. You never know what you'll come away with!

Next week, I have to give a presentation on an African fashion designer and their style. For my presentation, I picked South African fashion designer Nkhensani Nkosi and her line, Stoned Cherrie. As a kind of preliminary review before my presentation, I thought I would share this work with you! After all, fashion is art too.

Nkhensani Nkosi & Stoned Cherrie - Johannesburg, South Africa

"Not for the fainthearted, Stone Cherrie is a lovingly non-conformist revolutionary expression of freedom. Born in 2000, the South African born lifestyle brand has reached Amazonian proportions in the concrete jungles of modern day South Africa."

Okay, I took that quote directly from their website...but don't you just -love- the imagery?? What a fun, bold, vivacious description of their brand!

Nkhensani Nkosi, a prominent actress, t.v. host, and personality in Africa, started Stoned Cherrie after participating in the Face of Africa model search in 2000. When traveling around the continent, Nkosi (who was previously unfamiliar with anything related to business and fashion) "...got inspired just by the African aesthetic that exists that, you know, I find has always been interpreted by someone else. And at that point I thought, you know, there's space for a African lifestyle brand that would really be an expression of this urban energy and this new, dynamic sense of expression that was happening throughout the continent." (Quoted from interview, here)

Stoned Cherrie makes a point of not only embodying the spirit of "urban African energy," but it also reaches out to embrace history and heritage as a part of popular culture. Embroidery, beading, dyeing, and other texturing and decoration of Stoned Cherrie's pieces are produced by South African crafters, uniting the brand with local artisans.


From the three seasons (and then some) of couture I've scanned through, Stoned Cherrie as a fashion line incorporates bold accessories and accents to flatter powerful feminine silhouettes. You see a lot of cinched natural waists, bright tights and shoes, and a dynamic combination of fitted and flowing pieces. And I won't lie, the Art Kid in me gets all twitterpated seeing all of the fun COLOR! Beading, strip woven cloth, embroidery with words, layers or wrapped pieces...these are elements of traditional African fashion!

- In 2003, Nkhensani Nkosi won Young Business Achiever of the Year in Young Business Quarterly;
- The Fair Lady Fashion Awards voted Stoned Cherrie the Best Women's Brand in 2004 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005;
- Top Success Story of the Year from Top Women in Business and Government in 2005;
- 2006 world ambassador for CATWALK THE WORLD - "Fashion for Food" to fight child hunger.
- Nominated for the Department of Arts and Culture Most Beautiful Object in 2007 (I assume this is for South Africa)
- In 2009, Stoned Cherrie was one of four African fashion lines (The African Fashion Collective) invited to present at New York Fashion Week at Bryant Park

Saturday, February 5, 2011

שלושה . ثلاثة‎ . Three.

Suffice to say, I have been really into architecture lately. And yes, it is mostly Islamic architecture. Next time I write a post on architecture, I'll definitely mix it up and go for a different ethnic building tradition, promise! But this past week, I applied for a Fellowship to learn Arabic, and in honor of turning in that application (keep your fingers crossed for me!), I give you one of the greatest and most important Islamic structures ever built.

Qubbat al-Sakhra or The Dome of the Rock - Jerusalem, Israel
The Dome of the Rock was built in the year 692 AD (known in the Muslim community as year 72) by Umayyad Caliph 'Abd al-Malik and was the first building to really manifest a stylistic, structural, and ornamental program for Islamic culture. It was also the first monumental Islamic building built in an epicenter/Holy City of the 3 monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam). The building utilizes Christian and Judaic traditions to impose a formidable Islamic presence in Jerusalem.

The Dome of the Rock is is built on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem. Mt. Moriah is significant in all three monotheistic religions. This is supposedly the place of miracles witnessed by Solomon and David (and the location of Solomon's temple) and the Night Journey of Muhammad was from Mecca to this site. It is also said to be the second place created by God (after the Abraham's Ka'ba in Mecca) and where God ascended into Heaven after the Creation. It is also said that the mihrab ("prayer niche," facing Mecca) beneath the Mt. Moriah edifice inside the Dome is where all will be judged on the day of Last Judgment. For a new religious dynasty, this would be the ideal place to build and therefore assert one's legitimacy.

The building is an octagonal plan with a gold dome. The gold dome is a symbol of the wealth and power of the Umayyad dynasty...They were so rich, they melted coins (a LOT of coins) to cover the dome. The original structure was covered in mosaic work on both the inside and outside, but the original decoration began to crumble in 1550 AD. Ottoman tiles and marble facing replaced the originals.

The building is centrally planned around a focal point, in this case the actual rock of Mt. Moriah. Two concentric pathways circle the rock (See below), forcing a viewer to circumabulate (walk in a circle) around the center. The building is also considered a "Martyrium plan," indicating a shrine or tomb meant for commemoration or protection ("Plan for bearing witness.")

The interior plan had marble panels on the first level walls, gold mosaic work in the drum (the structure that holds up the dome), and guilt and painted woodwork in the dome itself. Internal columns are spolia, or columns taken from another source and re-used. Mosaic work was actually a Christian-Byzantine tradition, and the Dome of the Rock was one of the few non-Christian structures to use it. This leads us to wonder if 'Abd al-Malik used Byzantine artisans from his conquered territories to decorate his projects.

It is said that three chains hung down from the center of the building, each attached to a talisman. The first was a crown, indicating the political Umayyad victory over Sasanians/Persians. The second, was a horn of Abraham's ram. The third was a pearl (a giant pearl), known as the Orphan Pearl or Al-Yatima.

There are inscriptions inside the building as well, and some make reference to the "People of the Book," indicating Christians and Jews. While Muslims follow a set law, the Qu'ran (Koran), it was technically oral recitations first, not a book. Though today, you can't enter the Dome if you are not Muslim, interior inscriptions suggest other religions might have initially utilized this building as well. Additional inscriptions indicate that there is "No God but God, He has no partner" (monotheism...Also a part of the Muslim Shahada or 5 Pillars of Faith), prayers upon the prophet, and expressing an anti-trinitarian position.

Most importantly! These inscriptions are the earliest surviving examples of Qu'ranic teachings NOT in a book.

"Building a highly visible dome on a site celebrated in the past by David and Solomon and sanctified in the presence of Islam symbolized 'Abd al-Malik's political aspirations and balanced his monarchical inclinations and religious convictions." - Nasser Rabbat, The Meaning of the Umayyad Dome of the Rock, 1989

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Something to consider

If you're a part of the arts community, you know right well how frequently the arts come under fire. They have this stigma of being less important than Business, Law, and Medicine. But the arts are SO important to quality of life and intellect, and there are studies and research to prove it. I included some links to articles below for you to look through. Hopefully they'll help explain why I think the Arts are so important.

Yet again, the Arts are in danger. Congressional Republicans are calling for the elimination of National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, two of the nation's makers of government arts grants. Please write your senators, write your congressmen -We can NOT let this happen!