Free Lemon Desktop Wallpaper for May

Happy Almost Summer! I'm wearing a great vintage dress today that I thought I'd have to wait until the actual summer to wear because it's going to be in the 80s.  I also made a thrifted (Poshmark, you devil you!) purchase of bright yellow saltwater sandals that kind of match this months free wallpaper. Now I'm thinking I need them in gold, too?

In honor of that summer feeling, download my lemons wallpaper repeat pattern for your desktop.

I'd gladly take a trip to Cinque Terre Italy right now, to eat a slice of lemon olive oil cake.

The Cats of Japanese Illustrator Aiko Fukawa

Japan appeared to me to be a country full of illustrations, in every form, on everything. From restaurant menus, signs, subway advertisements to the luggage pick up at the airport, it seemed that its a country entirely adorned with characters, color, and illustrative touches.

Because for this I picked up a few   many printed things---from free pamphlets in the subway system to stickers at department stores dedicated to paper goods-- just to savor the colorful illustrations.

Since then I've been enamored with Aiko Fukawa's playful illustrated cats after buying a packet of her stickers (naturally.)

Aiko is a graduate of Tokyo University of Arts and a designer of paper goods and stationary. You can buy many of her designs at Uguisu, an online store dedicated to all the wonderful Japanese paper goods that I loved while in Tokyo.

Follow her on Instagram and Tumblr, too.

Claudia Pearson's Illustration in Fodor's Brooklyn Guide

 

I picked up the new Fodor's travel guide to Brooklyn after spotting it at a few local bookstores in late September around, naturally, Brooklyn.

Turns out, it's the first Fodor's guide to Brooklyn. A much debated borough as of late for all sorts of important but complicated reasons--the guidebook mentions gentrification in albeit a brief section in the beginning--it is still strangely pleasant to have a travel guide to somewhere you already live, even if things close and change faster than I can count.

Luckily the guide has recommendations and tid-bits about the farther into Brooklyn neighborhoods of Kensington, Midwood, and Ditmas Park which happen to be where I live (in the intersection of them all.) Still, there is much to the borough I'd want to add, especially even more of those neighborhoods and places off the beaten path from most new denizens. Perhaps the next edition can expand even more into far reaches of the borough.

But illustrations in the guide were a big selling point for me. I'm a sucker for illustrated New York City and all the illustrations, including my favorite the chapter neighborhood maps, were created by a local illustrator Claudia Pearson.

Pearson made a quick video tutorial about her process for creating illustrated neighborhood maps which is super helpful for all the self-taught artists and drawers like me:

[embed]https://youtu.be/73tal3EhKiE[/embed]

Pearson is known not only for local illustrations but also drawings of food. She sells most weekends at the Brooklyn Flea. I proudly haul my gym clothing around in her tote.

I particularly like the work she's down for Sustainable NYC and Grow NYC.

 

 

Chantal Joffe at The Jewish Museum

 

A few weeks ago when I was at the Jewish Museum's pay-what-you-wish Thursday night hours,  I  was struck by a lobby corner exhibit of portraits done in a bold, textured style though each was quite small. They reminded me of Alice Neel or Lucian Freud.  All of the portraits were of women.

Turns out the exhibit is part of the Jewish museum's Using Floors, Walls, and Ceilings series that presents contemporary artists on the walls of the museum's lobby.

The artist for the current exhibit, on view until Oct. 2015, is London-based painter Chantal Joffe. Each of the paintings is a portrait of a 20th Century Jewish woman---such as Diane Arbus,  Gertrude A. Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Susan Sontag, and Hannah Arendt---focusing on their influence on art, literature, politics. and culture. Joffee studied for months before painting, accumulating research from their lives.

I was instantly enamored with the style and scope of Joffe's work, reading more about her career and work first in the gift shop and then online. Joffe is known for her use of photography as an starting point, painting very large and alternately small canvases, and of course for painting almost only women.

On the process of painting her subjects, Joffe describes the women she has chosen:

"My early paintings used pornographic imagery, partly because I was interested in the politics surrounding pornography, but also because I wanted to paint nudes, and through pornography I had an endless supply of images of naked women. At the time I used to think I was bringing these women back to life. The photograph had killed their soul, and they died when the magazine was discarded. I saw my paintings as resurrecting them.

Since having a child, my paintings are more personal. I wanted to convey some of that physical intensity that comes with having a baby. The anxiety and emotions are so visceral."