Category Archives: Visual Art

Notes from the Digital Underground

Websites are wearisome. Wonders to create and even harder to maintain.

Initially, they take a ton of time and money. 2,000 pounds. Real money and real time straight from the bank account and straight from the sleep account. But also to be considered, heavily, is the loss of opportunity and ability to focus energies and assets in other areas such as sales, marketing, finance and development due to the necessary attention and capital needed in pushing the process forward. That opportunity cost is gigantic short term. Especially when you are trying to follow the NCAA tournament.

The Agony of Defeat

Some advise to update the frame and function of a website over the  holidays or during the summer when things slow down. The idea being you don’t take holidays or slow down during the summer. This includes such things as Christmas and Mardi Gras. Good luck!

Could be either

And that is just to build the ship, wait for the water to get warm. Then you have to sail. It doesn’t have brakes. It never stops. And the further you want to go, the further you set your sights, the more work it entails each and every day at sea. You can’t bite off more then you can chew.

More 80's

The maintenance cost in time is in direct correlation with the complexity of the site’s design. Keep this in mind when your brain is going on creative fantasies.  We are on our 4th version of the site in less than 2 years. Take small bites but don’t stop eating.


The other frightening inevitably of the process is that as soon as you think you have  “it” where you want “it” to be, the world moves forward, and so must your digital presence. Even when you are on time you are late. And like so many facets of business, what doesn’t grow, dies. To keep up in today’s world, a company must demonstrate a constant continuation of growth not only in aesthetic design but functionality and purpose online. If you don’t get a little better you get much worse.  This means that sometimes you have to make the unfortunate decision to begin again despite the sense of satisfaction with something that, on the surface, may seem “finished” or “sufficient.”

We would like to thank Geoff Oliver of Plan8 Studios for his continued work and support, as well as Maggie Sage of M. Sage Design for all of her creative energy.

In addition, we would also like to thank Netta Ruth for her work and Blake Bertuccelli for his consultation.


Happy Tuesday,



She’s Got That Joie de Vivre – Ashley Longshore Interview

It’s been a little while since we’ve done an artist interview, and I’m happy to resume posting these with New Orleans-based designer and artist Ashley Longshore’s! Hers is as detailed and full of energy as they come, and when you take a look at her work, it makes perfect and utter sense. Her paintings are highly detailed studies of everything colorful, fun and out-there in life. Her furniture design work, which is what we are lucky enough to have in our New Orleans location, is equally irreverent, with familiar shapes and traditional quality detailing, but in the craziest colors and rendered through the lens of her colorful life. In our parlor room sits her “Time Out” chair, in a sparkling turquoise vinyl with red accents. It demands attention and yet seems to go with just about anything we place or hang next to it without argument. If you’re interested in this piece, simply give us a call or shoot us an email.

Photo by Ann Madden Photography

What’s inspiring your work these days?

I recently spent a month in Maui where I filmed an underwater short film for an event I did at The CAC in New Orleans. I used stills from the film and painted a series of Underwater pieces. I am really inspired by reflections in the water. I cant stop painting this water series! I am posting new images everyday on my website I post videos, paintings, new chair designs every other day. Its my life journal.

I am really in this whole adventure phase in my career. My dream has always been to travel to different places for a month or so at a time and create new collections. My next big adventure will be this September. I am going to be living in Holland for a month and creating a new collection. At the end of the month I am having an opening in the Hague. It’s really a dream! Who knows what will inspire  me there!

Have you seen your work in new contexts, used in ways you hadn’t imagined for it?

I have a pretty out of control imagination. I feel that my paintings, chairs and performance art are very directed in the context that they are presented.  Now, how the viewer absorbs my madness?? God only knows?  The performance art always has interesting twists and turns. Here is a link to one of my videos:

Does your material usually come before form or form before material?

I see images in my mind and then create them EXACTLY as I envisioned them.

How about function before form or form before function?

The creative process is much more of a feeling than a process for me. I don’t think of my art in terms of form or function. It is what it is. I have an idea and I go for it.

What is your greatest challenge as a designer?

Honestly the challenges are about keeping myself amused. That always shines through in my work. I really like to create conversation pieces and I only like to paint what really humors me. Like this one below. I call it “Elton Johns Junk Drawer” I was laughing hysterically while I was painting this! Now its in a show in Miami. I cant wait to see who buys it.

If you could collaborate with any artist living or dead, who would it be?

Jesus! This is a hard question. I would want to paint with Picasso for the day. Make a movie with Wes Anderson and Design furniture with Andy Warhol. Then I would want to take a nap with Francesco Clemente and have dinner with Alice Neel. Then I would want to go to an after party with Terry Richardson.

What is the quality you are most attracted to in art or design?

I love originality. There is so much repetitive crap out there. It’s amazing when you see something really unique that inspires new thoughts. That is so exciting when it happens! It’s really rare. Fortunately, living in a city like New Orleans I am constantly inspired by music, art, food, creative people. It’s an amazing place to live. As I mentioned I like things that inspire conversation.

What is your most prized possession?

Hmmmmm. I really try not to let “stuff” define me. Its really hard living in America to do that. Now that my career is really taking off, it is VERY clear what is most important. It ain’t cars, jewelry and fancy hotel suites.  The most important thing  that I have is the love of my life, Michael Smith. He makes every day wonderful.

But I also have a massive problem with buying HUGE cocktail rings! I am obsessed with my favorite ring designer PITANGO! He is in Soho. I am weak every time I get around his pieces. I could go broke buying them.

And finally, a picture of where Ashley feels most in her element.

I feel most in my element in my studio painting and meeting clients. This is a picture of me and Blake Lively. She is a big collector of my work. When she was filming in New Orleans she stopped by my studio regularly. She is quite the art collector. I love that I can meet the people that love my work! Clients come in and hang out with me. We have a glass of wine and listen to music while I am at the easel. I have a hard time getting away from that.

Thank you Ashley for a great interview!

Until next time,


God Bless Tracy Lawrence

I don’t know, is this the greatest album cover ever? You tell me.

There is something about Valentines Day (and Fashion Week) that reminds me of one of the greatest singer songwriters in American (Country) Music (mid 90’s) History, Tracy Lawrence.  My personal favorite songs of his are “Alibis” and “Sticks and Stones.” However, in terms of music videos, nothing compares to this trio, all from the classic, untouchable, “I See it Now” album. Please watch in their entirety. This is really special, and proof that they really “don’t make em like they used to.”




Pretty amazing art direction, eh? Upon further investigation, I realized that these three are not the entire story. Anyone who can find the missing parts to these videos, ie sequels, prequels, etc, and be the first to send them to me, I will send one of our super groovy t-shirts.

Happy Valentines Day,


Posing “The Questions” to Timothy Cavnar

We have just been installing a new exhibition of paintings in the New Orleans space that we are so very excited about. They are by Timothy Cavnar, a new to New Orleans artist. Anthony and I went for a studio visit a few months ago and were instantly blown away by the beauty of these works. Mostly they are large canvases, beautiful florals cascading across them in large sweeping swaths, yet somehow the hand is so delicate they nearly straddle the line between fine art and poetry. It is not only the floral color palette that makes them so appealing, but the incredible use of the white space of the canvas, the sense of gravity (or sometimes the staunch rejection of gravity) in each piece, and moreover, the gravity of the subject matter. With the cycle of life an inevitability, each piece seems a tribute to a winged or hoofed life gone, a portrait of a being going into a new state, and an acknowledgement that time goes on, all in one. Suffice to say I would love to have either one of Tim’s smaller watercolors or large canvases in my own home (perhaps one day!), but until then, I’m going to count myself lucky to work among them while they’re hanging in our space.

Of course, being such a fan, I’d ask Tim the series of questions we’ve been featuring. A chance to get a look at the thought and process behind much-loved work is always a treat:

What’s inspiring your work these days?

Right now I’m about to start a new series of work which is inspired by the city of New Orleans. I’ve lived in a lot of cities, but find this one visually and conceptually exciting in a way I haven’t experienced before. There are so many strange landscapes here, from overgrown lots next to candy colored houses to highway overpasses twisting through the city and skimming over swamps. An epic battle against nature is on display everywhere, and in many places here nature is clearly winning. It’s those forgotten scenes we see everyday that I’m interested in exploring.

Have you seen your work in new contexts, used or seen in ways you hadn’t imagined for it?

Since this work is so simple and straight forward, taking it out of context is difficult. In retrospect though, I should have anticipated all the Bambi jokes. I had never even considered that issue when I started painting dead deer.

Does your material usually come before form or form before material? How about function before form or form before function?

Form is certainly the biggest concern in these pieces. They are all attempts at creating a singular image that can be viewed independent of its process. While materials and function all relate to creating a piece, its final appearance is always my foremost concern.

What is your greatest challenge as an artist? Most joyful challenge?

Though making work is stressful, it’s by far the most enjoyable part of being an artist. For me the greatest challenge is all the things an artist has to do outside of creating art. Galleries, buyers, marketing, grants and applications, the actual work of having a career, those are the things that keep me up at night.

If you could collaborate with any artist living or dead, who would it be?

Marina Abramovic

What is the quality you are most attracted to in art or design?

I’m a sucker for beauty in art. It’s not necessarily always my favorite quality, but it’s certainly one I consistently find appealing.

What is your most prized possession?

Tough question. I’ve moved around a lot, so at some point almost every object that had any value (sentimental or financial) was either put on the curb or stored in someone’s basement and forgotten. The one item I value most is probably my computer, not so much the physical machine, but the data that’s stored on it. The record of everything I’ve done is probably more important that anything I own.

To wrap this up, want to wax poetic for a bit about whatever strikes you? I know you’re working on a pretty cool project right now…

Yes, the most exciting thing that’s happening right now is creating my studio space. I was lucky enough to fall in with two other guys who are building out a large warehouse in New Orleans. When we first took over the space it was completely bare, but things are slowly starting to take shape. I’m certainly not in charge of the operation, but in the end we’ll have a multi-purpose shop offering everything from custom furniture to design services to band recording. My studio is already housed inside the shop.

The whole plan is the kind of large scale project that everyone I’ve known has always wanted to be involved in, but never had the time or money. New Orleans really makes it possible by being far more affordable than larger cities like New York or San Francisco. The hustle just to afford the cost of living isn’t as much of a concern here, allowing resources to be allocated in far better ways. Though the scene is certainly smaller here, it’s also more accessible and fun than anywhere else.

Thanks to Tim for this peek at his creative process. His studio space really is the stuff that people dream of – so much space and potential for new things to develop.

Please join us for Timothy’s opening reception of his solo show “Permanence” on Friday from 7-10. If you can’t make it, visit any time during our open hours, or come to one of our other events.

Until next time,


It is what is on the inside that counts

Yesterday was a lesson in looking beneath the surface, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum and their presentation of Filippino Lippi’s (he is the son) Madonna and Child.


Have you seen this yet?

Which do you like better? I am a sucker for the Renaissance, and also that May procession blue- breaks my heart in memories.

Are there any other pieces you think I should go and see before I leave New York? The Guggenheim is empty as they are re-installing. It is pretty pretty cold, so I think now is as good a time as ever to haunt the museums, no?

Happy Monday,


The rollercoaster’s rollin’ on…..

To-morrow marks one year in New Orleans. We closed on 2114 and 2116 Chartres on the 21st of January 2010.

I thought it would be fun to share some pictures of what the place looked like when moved in.

The above is what we originally called the “Front Left Room” and then “Room B” and now we call it “The Gallery.” You can view some updated shots of this room on our website, and most recently and fantastically, stylishly on the style blog Studio Swag. (I still call that my duffle bag, there in the corner.)

This room, for awhile, we called the “Green Room” for obvious reasons, and then “Room C” and now we call it “The Parlor.” We also have some shots of this room on our website, but the most updated shots can be found again at Studio Swag, and also at another wildly popular local New Orleans blog, Swank Heights. (There is a sliver of our chalkboard table before we painted it.)

This room we initially called the “Red Bedroom” and then the “Back Red Room” and then for awhile we called it “Pete’s office” and then we called it “The Wes Anderson Room” and then we called it “Christopher Walken’s Trailer” – but he never showed up (sad face) so now we call it again, “The Back Red Room” although it is no longer red, however, it does have a red piano. Pretty much nothing remains from this shot. You can see updated shots of this room at yet another very cool and stylish local New Orleans  blog, Ordinarily Urbane.

And there, above, is what we have always referred to as our “Garden” though I have been instructed to call it a “Courtyard.” I don’t really like calling it a “Courtyard” so I will continue to call it the “Garden.” An updated shot can be seen on all of the blogs above, as well as in this week’s issue of Cue, the Gambit’s style and fashion insert, where the three fabulous fancy ladies of each blog were profiled. Please take the journey around to the other blogs- we promise the “Garden” no longer looks like this.

I hope this was as much fun for you, as it has been for me,


PS. Here is one shot of the NY space way back when, just to be funny.

That is my friend Lauren- this must have been before we outlawed cell phones in the space. If you would like to see an updated version of the space, just last week Wendy Goodman interviewed Aurora and featured it in New York Magazine.

Love Will Find A Way

One of the most difficult and challenging parts of our day to day is deciding upon and planning ahead on our event programming. If you have been following us for quite some time you may have noticed that things are getting more and more polished, diverse, often educational, and increasingly interesting as time passes. At least that is what we are hoping! For example, in New York, our upcoming literary event, highlighting two amazing New Orleans publications- Constance, and How to Rebuild a City- we believe will be our best yet. And please RSVP if you haven’t yet, as space is limited.

Looking forward a little further ahead, in February we are planning our second solo show for a New Orleans based artist on Chartres Street, and still seeking the theme for our next party on 88th. One idea, is a Black Swan party, obviously inspired by the movie, and obviously over the top awesome in relation to the space there if we can bring in the right instrumentation to pull it off. Also, the right make-up artist. The other idea is Mod, and inspired by the amazing design video created by this little know music group from England.

So what do you think? Black Swan or black suits? Maybe both, a combo party? Watch-out.

Alla Prossima,