5.5.06. Studio Peak (Inspirational Peek)

As I’m getting ready to move to a new loft that will give me a nicer, more dedicated working space, I’ve found myself doing a lot more painting. I was working on large canvas in front of this stack of metal cube-ish storage things. As I was taking some pictures of the work in progress, I realized I needed to get a shot of what sits up top. Here, in bite sizes, are a lot of representative elements from artists, designers, factories, and companies that are a pretty strong source of inspiration. So, to step away from the usual crankiness and software focus for a bit, I thought I’d share a bit:

Studio Peak (Inspirational Peek)

SuperSampler, Lubitel, LCA, and Baby Holga (110 Format!) Cameras. The 120 Format “standard” Holga is on top of my desk and not with the rest of the family. I do love these cameras: they have a lot of personality, with the LC-A being my favorite point’n’shoot 35mm camera ever. I don’t do film as much these days. For a few years my walk home took me past a few places where I could get film developed (including the 110 and 120 formats), often dropping the 35mm off in the morning on the way to work and picking it up on the way home. I haven’t had that since I moved into my current place, and that’s taken a big bite out of me rolling over new rolls as often. Plus I do have the digital camera that’s great for taking endless pictures of the dog, of paintings, and flash conditions. But it’s a soulless camera compared to these guys, most of which are completely themed around a terrific (and fun) mantra: don’t think, just shoot.

Brushes, Brushes, Brushes. Some of these brushes came with me back from Virginia and are still in pretty good shape – probably because I don’t paint nearly as much as I used to. But when I got my current place I finally got that container they’re in, which has made access to my core set much easier than my previous contraptions.

Helmut Lang promotional cards (from one of the last seasons). Helmut Lang was my favorite designer, with a terrific design aesthetic that was applied to everything under the brand. The flagship store in New York, designed by Richard Gluckman, was a terrific piece of architecture. Completely opposite of most New York stores (crowded, impersonal, or overly flashy), the Helmut Lang space used design to usher you in to a private area with large aisles and easy access to everything, without ever telling you what tricks it was pulling. It was an amazingly comfortable space. There was a “complete experience” about Lang that I sorely miss.

Ryoji Ikeda ‘Formula’ DVD and Book. Another terrific aesthetic minimalist, Ryoji Ikeda’s installations and a live set are showcased in this excellent volume. Ikeda is another artist who, like Lang, seems adroit at knowing what to take away, what to shift, and what to tuck into a piece of art (design, clothing, composition).

New reissue of Pizzicato Five’s Romantique 96, in front of Merzbow ‘Senmaida’ card (making it look like Maki and the Dalmations are on a Merzbow promo here). Two more excellent Japanese artists. Pizzicato Five kept many Jet Age fashions, designs, and ideals alive in their music. Their album packaging was often a step above (with only a couple of the U.S. releases falling short). Credit cards, luggage tags, postcards, stickers, bookmarks were among the things one could find inside a common release. And of course, there were the pictures of Konishi and Maki. Beautiful music, and a favorite artist of mine for years. Merzbow is almost their opposite: harsh noise. Hundreds of releases across an almost equal number of labels and distributors. He carries on almost a pure dadaist spirit. The cover art and packaging quality can vary wildly. The noise is almost always top-notch and he remains one of the kings. The postcard (mostly hidden in this photo) is from Senmaida which featured art by Val Denham that I just had to have for the picture alone.

Stack of book size Hafler Trio and Pizzicato Five releases, more albums in excellent packaging. The Hafler Trio being another terrific inspiration on many many fronts. Among other things, The Hafler Trio has played with sound-as-high-art, putting out releases in very limited numbers and with many extras in the packaging or experience to make it especially worth obtaining.

Brazil!. On VHS. Ahhh, Terry Gilliam.

“I draw on anything for inspiration – a fond memory, a piece of paper, a wall in a train station” – Danger Doom/Talib Kwali