From illustrations to murals with Adrian Landon Brook

From illustrations to murals with Adrian Landon Brook

Giorgia Massari · 3 months ago · Art

Texas, also known as The Giant for being the largest state in the USA, comes to Milan for a group exhibition at Antonio Colombo Gallery. Representing it are five artists – Adrian Landon Brooks, Sophie Roach, Esther Pearl Watson, Bruce Lee Webb, Adam Young with a special guest, musician Tom Russell – who, through birth, upbringing, or a period of their lives, have absorbed the soul and culture of Texas. In recent years, Texas has been regarded as a new frontier of art in the States. Several private institutions have emerged, renowned architects have completed various projects, collecting has grown, and the art scene has become extremely vibrant. Observing the artworks of the Texas Tornados exhibition – open from November 30th to February 3rd – we were particularly struck by the work of muralist Adrian Landon Brooks, resonating with our street-oriented exploration. We asked him a few questions to learn more about his journey.

Your murals and illustrations follow a distinct stylistic signature. The colors are flat, and, more generally, the aesthetics lean towards the esoteric. Where does the fascination for this world originate? 

I remember going to an old Catholic Church as child and staring at the all the symbolism that filled the inside. I never had much of an interest in studying what those symbols meant to the people who had faith in the religion but I did find it visually fascinating even as a child. That initial interest carried on to my early work. I found myself integrating halos, hands of praise and similar iconography without much thought or intention. Now later in life that initial interest has widened to an appreciation of symbolism from many different cultures. I feel like I’ve created some of my own mythology along the way, but I still enjoy investigating what history has to offer. I have most recently been taking a deep dive in to Egyptian themes and seeing how those could relate to my creative vision. This series of work has taught me quite a bit about successful narratives in painting and the elegance in simplicity. 

Is illustration a consequence of your mural practice, or are these two practices that developed simultaneously within you? 

The two practices at first felt very at odds with one another and completely different creative processes. I approached my first murals somewhat mechanically and wasn’t ready to view them as part of my larger body of work. It was only with time that those two worlds started to meld together. Now my murals and studio work very much feel like extensions of one another. Both practices constantly influence one another and help my work evolve. 

In your scenarios, abstractionism and narrative intertwine. The decorative nature of your textures meets figurative elements that tell stories. In each of your illustrations, is there an intent to narrate a story, or does aesthetics prevail over meaning? 

I would say that I sometimes have a vague idea of a narrative within my paintings but its usually more about an overarching emotion than a complete story. I would like to have myself present in my work but also leave enough room for the viewer to have a unique interpretation. That being said, I create many works that are completely driven by composition, color and aesthetics. I enjoy the process of juxtaposing different imagery like hard edge patterns with a soft figure or plant

The two different approaches have more to do with where I am emotionally that given day than a specific goal for the artwork. I try to leave creative direction up to the universe and follow a more subconscious path. The creative process only gets more difficult when I am trying to control every outcome. It’s a balancing act between completing an idea for a painting but also leaving room for new discoveries.

In the exhibition at Antonio Colombo in Milan, which focuses on the Texan art scene, the curation juxtaposes your work with other artists sharing your origins. What are your thoughts on this dialogue that has emerged, and what do you think about the Texan art scene? Have your origins influenced your work? Do you believe that part of your imagery stems from the place where you were born and raised? 

My experience growing up in Texas is probably much different than the world view of the state. I was fortunate to grow up in one of the most diverse cities in the country and was exposed to a creative community very early on. I was originally born in Houston and spent my formative years surrounded by museums, galleries and my mother who was a working fiber artist. I eventually landed in Austin which has a long history in music but not as much when it comes to visual art. What I did find was a community that welcomed me with open arms and many artists run galleries. That specific scene was very much run by the artist community and self-efficient in many ways. This has changed some as the city has boomed in the last ten years with massive growth, but the core community has the same spirit it has always had.

Sophie and Adam were special people for me to meet in my early Austin days. They’re both very much part of the history I just described and have continued to inspire me more and more every year. I have also been a fan of Bruce and Esther’s work for years but more from a distance. It’s that much more exciting to bring us all together to share some walls and experience. I believe the work will create its own visual dialog and should be really interesting to witness. 

I would say my surroundings have most influenced me in recent years. I have a habit of collecting chunks of wood and odd objects that are available because of where I live. Native Texas tree slices serve as canvases for many of my paintings. I would imagine I am drawn to that aesthetic from growing up in the South and subsequently moving to the woods with my family. We live on six acres outside of town and are surrounded by trees. I found a peaceful slice of paradise to enjoy with my family which has definitely influenced me in many ways. 

Where did you create your initial mural works? There’s a noticeable meticulousness and attention to the buildings and public surfaces you work on. It’s as if your illustrations blend in, adapting to the surrounding environment, becoming an integral part of the landscape without altering it drastically or causing visual shock. What are your thoughts on this? Do you conceive the project based on observing the location? 

My first professional mural was for the Meta headquarters in Austin, Texas. The company had an amazing program at the time run by curators with real passion for supporting local artists (in locations all over the world. This opportunity really shifted my career path and showed me the possibilities that existed if I took a step out of the studio and made some larger work. It’s been a tremendously rewarding process to watch how much my work has grown from experimenting with different scale and limiting circumstances. Rather than be a restrained color palette for an office or a more specific creative request from a client. All of those experiences have helped me grow as an artist inside and outside of the studio. 

I would ultimately like my work to become one with the space that it inhabits so its very nice to hear its perceived that way from you. My goal with large scale murals is to take the subtleties from my studio work and expand them on a larger scale for a larger audience. I believe it’s possible to capture the same meaning and spirit regardless of the size. I spend quite a bit of time visiting the site and making digital renderings of proposed ideas on actual photos of the space. This process helps me to consider all the existing elements at play within the space and how my artwork will interact with the surroundings. 

Courtesy Adrian Landon Brooks & Antonio Colombo Gallery

From illustrations to murals with Adrian Landon Brook
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Has food truly conquered us?

Has food truly conquered us?

Anna Frattini · 2 months ago · Photography

Over the past year, the internet seems to be obsessed with food culture, fueling a trend that is now evident even in the world of visual culture. From the Tomato Girl Summer, which many mock retrospectively, to the foodie fashion girlies, Balenciaga’s collaboration with Erewhon, and the massive success of The Bear. Food appears to be experiencing a rebirth, but in the worlds of art, photography, and design, it has always been present. Is this just a passing trend, or is it the glorification of an element that has always been part of our lives?

Un’illustrazione di Maisy Summer

From Tomato Girl Summer to the pomegranate

It was only in 2020, with lockdown recipes—does anyone remember Dalgona Coffe?—that so much talk about food emerged. On TikTok, @wishbonekitchen made us dream by showing us her life as a private chef in the Hamptons this summer. Unforgettable were her Heirloom Tomato Gallette and the garden where she harvested fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In 2023, it seems to have been the summer of food not only with the release of the second season of The Bear but also with Tomato Girl Summer. On the other hand, according to Danielle Cohen on The Cut, it now seems to be the time of the pomegranate.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Cansu Porsuk Rossi (@cansupo)

Thanks to its shape and the vivid red that characterizes it, this fruit is widely recognized as a symbol of fertility in many parts of the world. But not only that, we find the pomegranate in mythology, art history, and, according to Cohen, even in the Torah. In short, fruits and vegetables seem to be largely protagonists of this rebirth, so we have collected some works and photographs by artists and photographers we have talked about in the past and more.

Browsing through our archives, we remembered Michael Crichton‘s photos and his photographic series, Conceptual Food, as well as Dan Bannino, who many years ago narrated the eating habits of the powerful. But there is also Stephanie Sarley, an artist who, with fruit fingering, challenged the way the art world has represented the female reproductive organ throughout its history.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Stephanie Sarley (@stephanie_sarley)

Why it seems not to be just a passing trend

The success of food in visual culture can be attributed to its tangible communicative power. We see and experience the colors and textures of food daily, all evocative elements of memories that we have been collecting forever. In conclusion, we can only wonder which will be the next fruit to receive all this attention, already dedicated to tomatoes and pomegranates, even before avocados and bananas.

Has food truly conquered us?
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Has food truly conquered us?
Has food truly conquered us?
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Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots

Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots

Anna Frattini · 2 months ago · Photography

29 ARTS IN PROGRESS recently showcased Michel Haddi: Beyond Fashion, a photographic exhibition dedicated to the Franco-Algerian photographer, marking his first solo exhibition in Milan. Starting from January 16, the second chapter of this exhibition opens, featuring unconventional shots infused with a street and urban soul. Additionally, there are elements of irony and sensuality that highlight Haddi’s complex personality.

michel haddi
© Michel Haddi – Debbie Harry, British Vogue, London, 1994 | Courtesy of 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery

In this second chapter, nude shots and unpublished works by Michel Haddi are presented, stemming from advertising campaigns he personally captured. The displayed photographs capture the spirit of their time, thanks to influential figures such as John Galliano or Patsy Kensit, who have played pivotal roles in the realms of fashion, cinema, and music.

Michel Haddi has the ability to portray his subjects with both irony and depth, and each of his shots tells a unique story. His life, marked by a turbulent start, has nevertheless propelled him to become one of the leading fashion photographers from the 1990s to the present day.

Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
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Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
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Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography

Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography

Collater.al Contributors · 1 month ago · Photography

A few weeks ago, the Huxley-Parlour gallery in London announced the new exhibition by Joel Meyerowitz, which opened on January 17th. We couldn’t help but talk about him, the American photographer born in New York in 1938, famous for his street photography, and recognized as one of the pioneers of color photography. The London exhibition, titled “Dialogues,” highlights this aspect effectively. Pairs of photographs engage in a dialogue concerning light, color, and composition. The pairings are chosen to investigate the development of color in the artist’s work, set within non-hierarchical and unresolved compositions.

The exhibition in London

Meyerowitz’s imagery blends a distinctly American aesthetic with a meditative approach to color. Spanning from 1964 to 2011, the exhibition at Huxley-Parlour reveals Meyerowitz’s enduring interest in the sensory and evocative experiences of his surroundings. Paired with lesser-known images from the artist’s extensive archive, the exhibition features some of Meyerowitz’s most famous works, including his early street photography and images from his seminal series, Cape Light.

Joel Meyerowitz and the Color Revolution

Joel Meyerowitz is widely acknowledged as one of the first photographers, along with William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, to bring color photography from the periphery to the center of fine art photography. Historically, where black and white photography was considered a serious medium, color was widely viewed as technically inferior and aesthetically limited, relegated to advertising campaigns, television, and personal holiday photographs. In the London exhibition, it’s interesting to trace Meyerowitz’s shift from black and white to color. On display are works from “A Question of Color,” where Meyerowitz, carrying two cameras, paired black-and-white and color prints of nearly identical scenes.

Courtesy Joel Meyerowitz

Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
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Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
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A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi

A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi

Giulia Guido · 1 month ago · Photography

Not even a week ago, Alessia Glaviano – Head of Global PhotoVogue – a guest on our Spigola podcast, reminded us that it no longer matters whether you shoot with a camera or a smartphone. What matters is the intention behind the shot, not the means. We pondered deeply on this statement, and although there was initially some skepticism, we concluded that to take a true stance on the matter, we had to try it ourselves: capturing moments solely with a smartphone, but with the same attitude we would have had with a professional camera. Xiaomi provided us with the opportunity and the means.

Almost by chance, Xiaomi presented us with a challenge: to visit a distant place and attempt to capture its uniqueness using the brand-new Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G. And so began our journey, short but very intense, in Bangkok.

All the promises of this new device – which, along with four others, forms the new Redmi Note 13 Series, further enriching the brand’s Redmi Note lineup – were substantial. Starting from the battery, rechargeable to 100% in just 19 minutes with a lasting capacity of days (not hours), and of course, the camera system consisting of 3 cameras, including a main 200 MP camera, an ultra-wide-angle camera, and a macro camera.

We decided to put Xiaomi to the test in every moment spent in the Thai capital. The first stop was at the Royal Palace and the Wat Pho temple, where the goal was to capture the colors of the mosaics and decorations.

Xiaomi

Being one of the most touristy places in the city, we encountered many people who, like us, were fascinated by the architecture of these sacred places. The Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G came to our aid in this moment as well. The smartphone is equipped with AI-based editing tools that, among other things, allow us to remove people who accidentally end up in our shots. You know those photos you see on Instagram of tourist spots always empty? Now you can have them too, effortlessly!

But a city is not only visited during the day; often, it comes to life at night, illuminated by a myriad of different lights. In our case, the lights were those of the legendary tuk-tuks, indispensable in a trip to Bangkok. In this case, the challenge was formidable: darkness, colored lights, movement. All the ingredients for a challenging shot were present.

Xiaomi

Not content with just the shot, we continued to play with AI tools and added a bit more movement, some stars, many stars.

When traveling, we know very well that we are not only captivated by architecture, landscape, and glimpses, but we also focus on the faces we encounter on the streets. However, we often don’t have much time to photograph them, sometimes because they move, other times because we are the ones on the move. That’s exactly what happened to us in the characteristic Thai markets, first and foremost the Floating Market.

Reviewing the photos on the return flight and at home with friends was like reliving the journey once again, leaving no detail behind.

Xiaomi

In Bangkok, on the occasion of the launch of the new Redmi Note 13 Series, the brand also introduced the brand-new Redmi Watch 4 and Redmi Buds 5 Pro. Visit Xiaomi’s website to discover all the features of these devices.

Xiaomi

Photos shot on Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G

A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
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A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
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