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Chinese Artists Will Transform Your Instagrams into Oil Paintings

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Watch your back, Richard Estes. A photo and, at right, the resulting Pixelist painting.

Make 2014 the year that your Instagram masterworks break free of their pixellated prisons and start a new life as…photorealist oil paintings! That’s the transformative promise of Pixelist. The startup offers handmade oil paintings of any image you can capture or create, with “commissions” starting at $150. How? A bunch of willing and able Chinese painters sourced by founder Will Freeman, an Emory grad now based in Hong Kong. He made time to answer a few questions about the burgeoning business.

pixelist exampleHow did you get the idea to start Pixelist?
Pixelist came from a love of all things custom and creative. We’ve spent years designing our own clothes, shoes, furniture, and art and hunting for the best craftspeople to bring them to life. So we were naturally attracted to the idea of harnessing the popularity of Instagram to revive commissioned painting.

That part really describes me and my years in China and Hong Kong. But my business partner, Conor Colwell, originally came up with the idea. Conor and I used to work together and would always bat around startup ideas on our lunch break. I took him to visit one of China’s “art villages” in Shenzhen and he was hugely impressed by the painting quality. Conor has always been into Instagram, so he thought it would be a great way to immortalize photos people already loved. I loved the idea because I was already deeply into getting things custom made.
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Paddle8 Launches Sister Site for ‘Extraordinary Experiences’

Still museum
Still got it. A private, curator-led tour of the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver is among the experiences now up for grabs on Gavel&Grand.

Did Santa (or UPS) fail to deliver for you this year? Still in search of a worthy cause for an under-the-wire 2013 charitable donation? Head straight to Gavel&Grand. The recently launched site expands Paddle8‘s online platform, rounding up philanthropic auctions that are studded with extraordinary experiences. Hurry to get your bids in for the Aspen Art Museum’s Freestyle auction, which runs through tomorrow evening on the site. The big-ticket items include a stay at a private chalet and a membership at The Caribou Club, but we’re coveting the Inez and Vinoodh commissioned portrait, private tour of the breathtaking Clyfford Still Museum, and a San Francisco art junket that promises an intimate look at Ai Weiwei‘s forthcoming Alcatraz Island installation.

Fred Armisen Is MOCAtv’s Ambiance Man

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…Fred Armisen dressed like Beau Brummel and helping people to overcome awkward situations. Don’t be confused by the period dress or 1990s-Canadian-sitcom-level production values, this modern-day superhero is Ambiance Man, a new series created by artist Alix Lambert for MOCAtv, the YouTube channel of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Ambiance Man is a series about a superhero who fixes what we really need fixed in our day-to-day lives,” says Lambert, who previously teamed with MOCAtv—and Sam Chou of Toronto’s Style5—for CRIME: The Animated Series. “While most superheroes are focused on preventing the end of the world, Ambiance Man is focused on transforming the moments that feel like the end of the world.” The 13-episode series also features Jack Black, Jibz Cameron, Peter Macon, and Atsuko Okatsuka.


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Quote of Note | Ralph McGinnis

paeoi“I’ve been blogging since 1999 so I’m neither [a print publication nor a website]. But there is a difference. Magazines are about editing and choice, while the Internet is about immediacy. The art of making a magazine is editing. You have to make a choice, stick with it, then it’s out in the world and it’s done. That’s why I don’t believe print is dead. It’s not just old people, it’s young people too. A 20-year-old photographer doesn’t care if their photograph is posted online. But if that photo gets in a magazine, they love it. They understand it’s a big deal.”

-Ralph McGinnis, co-founder of tasty zine Put A Egg On It, in an interview with author Jeremy Leslie in The Modern Magazine: Visual Journalism in the Digital Era (Laurence King)

Season’s Greetings: Cards That Give Back

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Americans spend around $2 billion on Christmas holiday cards each year. Wouldn’t it be great if that amount could also go to help organizations ranging from animal shelters and art museums to international relief organizations and environmental groups? That’s where Cards That Give comes in. The site provides links to–and information about–more than 200 nonprofits that sell holiday cards to help fund their charitable work. Notes Houston-based founder Anne Furse, “If it were easy for individuals and businesses to buy their greeting cards from non-profit organizations, card sales could generate millions of dollars for worthy causes.”

Twitter Along with UnBeige

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Famed literary critic Lionel Trilling once described Henry James as a “social twitterer.” Sure, he meant it as an insult, but it makes us feel better about having signed up to twitter ourselves. Look to the official UnBeige Twitter feed, for up-to-the-minute newsbites, event snippets, links of interest, design trivia, and free candy (OK, we’re still working on the physics of that last one). The mediabistro.com tech wizards have added to the sidebar at right a handful of our most recent word bursts (limited to 140 characters), but you can sign up to follow all of our twittering, and start twittering yourself at twitter.com.

Multifesto, Because Design Is a Verb

sample multifesto

What do you get when you cross a haiku with a manifesto and multiply it by the power of the web? Multifesto, a communal design manifesto created by New York-based design consultancy 2×4. Have your say by adding a three-word call to arms in the form of a verb, preposition and noun. Then tell your creative friends to do the same. “Multifesto is born of the idea that design is a verb, not a product, and a collaborative endeavor, not the mark of an individual,” says the team at 2×4. “We welcome contributions by designers everywhere and from every discipline.”

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Andrew Galuppi and Ahmad Sardar-Afkhami ‘Bring the Globe Home’ in Online Tag Sale

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“I really got some crossed looks when I brought this Indonesian mask back from a trip overseas,” says Andrew Galuppi (at right). “I took up most of the overhead bins!”

CM_portraitsLooking to ward off the evil eye with a wedding Hamsa from North Africa, amass an instant collection of Japanese liquor bottles, or add a Moroccan Beni Ouran rug to your living room? These exotic treasures and many more are just a click away thanks to interior designer Andrew Galuppi and architect Ahmad Sardar-Afkhami. The pair have teamed up with flash sale site One Kings Lane for “Camera Mundi” an online tag sale that begins today.

The collection of homegoods, priced from $20 to $3,000, includes rugs, furniture, statuary, and other objects collected by Galuppi and Sardar-Afkhami during their travels around the world. “Every handcrafted item is infused with someone’s story—they probably were taught their skill by a long-lost relative and spent hours on each piece, and without the help of a machine,” says Galuppi, who travels to India every winter. “This is part of the world I like supporting, because each piece carries with it an energy and a real story that gets transferred to your home.” We asked the globe-trotting designers to tell us more about “Camera Mundi,” the objects in the sale, and where their worldly, contemporary aesthetic will take them next.

cm objects

How did you come to work with One King’s Lane?
Ahmad Sardar-Afkhani: One of my close friends, Nate Berkus, was doing a sale with another friend, Ethan Trask, who works at One Kings Lane. We began talking and he proposed I create a sale mostly with the rugs and textiles I have been collecting.

Andrew Galuppi: Ahmad didn’t want to do the sale all alone—it’s more fun with a friend—so he knew my apartment was stuffed to the rafters with bits and bobs and he thought the mixture of our two collections would create one great big exciting assortment…kinda like a crazy bazaar!

Tell us about the significance of the title, “Camera Mundi”?
Sardar-Afkhani: In Latin, it means “room of the world,” where objects from different historical and cultural backgrounds can be displayed next to each other. I’m all for this type of juxtaposition, where new meaning and beauty is derived from assemblages of objects that would otherwise have little in common.

Galuppi: In addition to what Ahmad has explained…I think that a lot of people have really well curated homes these days, and including an object from some far away place will add texture and personality to a space to make it really feel finished and unique. That’s where “camera mundi” comes into place: bringing the globe home.
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Christopher Guy Opens New York Showroom, Looks to Web to ‘Add Another Dimension’

You may recognize the deco-inflected globetrotter look of Christopher Guy from the sets of The Thomas Crown Affair and Casino Royale. In the wake of the ribbon-cutting on the brand’s showroom at the New York Design Center, designer Christopher Guy Harrison was on hand to discuss his “contemporary with classical values” style and how he conveys it in an increasingly digital world. We sent writer Nancy Lazarus to pull up a sumptuous chaise longue and observe.

CGuy speaking

CGuy eclairageWhile online platforms have left their mark on interior design in recent years, they’ll never replace the need to discover and experience design in person. Interactive technology has created innovative ways for designers to build their brands and businesses, communicate with clients, go shopping and provide inspiration, said Elledecor.com editor Amy Preiser at last week’s New York Design Center What’s New/What’s Next event.

Digital platforms are certainly not a substitute for perusing a design showroom, especially when it’s a colorful state-of-the-art NYDC penthouse. Christopher Guy Harrison, CEO and founder of Christopher Guy, shared his brand’s approach to digital from his new flagship space. His furnishings have been featured in movies such as The Thomas Crown Affair, The Devil Wears Prada, and The Hangover, and he’s designed hotels like the Bellagio and Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas as well as the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo.

“We need to embrace the internet to add another dimension. At its start, the internet was just an extension of the catalogue,” said Guy. For his business, the web and digital tools have become a priority, and he reported having a dedicated web staff of 20 in his Singapore office. He uses the platforms to showcase interactive spaces, share design influences, and convey different moods.
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And the Winner Is…Chrysalis: Grayish Green Triumphs in Farrow & Ball’s ‘My Colour’ Contest

Slumbering Lepidoptera for the win! A vaguely ectoplasmic, creamed pistachio hue known as “Chrysalis” has triumphed over a highly pigmented field of finalists to win Farrow & Ball’s “My Colour” contest, in which fans of the quirky-luxe purveyor of paint and wallcoverings submitted inspired and inspirational colors that would play nice with the likes of F&B’s “Elephant’s Breath” and “Churlish Green.”

The celadon-meets-Slimer shade emerged at the top of a field of some 800 entries, narrowed to 20 impressive finalists that included colors such as “Jodhpur Blue” (think Yves Klein goes to India!) and “Federal Pink,” a complexion-enhancing match for the rosy newsprint favored by the Financial Times. “It is a beautiful grey/green shade, almost shagreen, which makes a lovely modern neutral,” says winner Samantha Mansell, who will receive 10 gallons of paint in Chrysalis, inspired by the pupa casing of the monarch butterfly. “The sculptural shape of the chrysalis with its gold details also makes it look like a precious piece of jewelry. Natural, stunning, and simple.”
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