It’s a good time to be street-influenced artist KAWS, a.k.a. Brian Donnelly. As we mentioned last week, his work (including human-size versions of the JPP toys pictured at right) fills the Miami penthouse hideaway of Pharrell Williams, currently featured in Conde Nast’s fall Fashion Rocks supplement. KAWS also collaborated with i-D magazine on a special version of its July “stepping stone issue” and was the subject of Rob Walker‘s most recent ‘Consumed’ column in The New York Times Magazine. Walker focuses on Donnelly’s rather late entry into the traditional “art world” via a trio of imminent shows at galleries in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, allowing people a rare glimpse of his work in person, as opposed to online. Why “KAWS”? “There was a point in my life when I was really interested in having my name on the street,” says Donnelly in the below video created by i-D. “K-A-W-S is something that worked. You couldn’t really pin it down to any other existing words.”
Posts Tagged ‘Rob Walker’
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Ever-vigilant Rob Walker has published a piece killed by Craft after the magazine claimed it might be seen as “anti-religious.” Anti-religious crafts have always been fascinating to us, so we took a peek at Jean Railla‘s essay. “What Would Jesus Sell?” is named after the new Morgan Spurlock documentary, about the anti-consumerist Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping. The bizarre thing is, besides the title and one paragraph describing the film, there are no religious references whatsoever (and not even a list of Jesus-condoned purchases, unfortunately). What there is, however, is a questioning of the Buy Handmade Pledge, reported by Walker and elsewhere earlier this year. And what we think lodged the knitting needle in a Craft editor’s behind was this:
But I can’t help thinking: Isn’t shopping, no matter how wonderfully crafty and politically correct still, well, shopping? Can you escape the so-called sin of consumerism by buying handmade? Isn’t the whole point of modern crafting Do It Yourself–not Buy from Someone Who is Doing It Themselves? Not to be a total hypocrite; I shop Etsy and artisan crafters as well as buy the crap from China just like everyone else. It’s just that I see a new trend, which is moving away from crafting and towards consuming. What’s next? “Hip Craft” aisles at Wal-Mart?
According to Walker, late last week Craft changed its tune, saying the article was axed as a “matter of timing and space issues” (might we mention that Railla wrote this piece for her regular column, ahem). We’d say the real reason for the cut was that Railla’s piece was a little too anti-craft.
This trend will almost certainly see a spike in popularity, at least until February, when Oscar-nominated film Juno may or may not win best picture. The reason for this, of course is that the main character played by Ellen Page, a high school student, makes a certain plot-critical call on said phone (Also–SPOILER ALERT!!!–she is pregnant!!!).
Walker says that although he originally heard some phones were made as swag gifts for critics (cleverly packaged and all), you can buy one for yourself right now! Walker wonders about the licensing deal and if a certain WGA member would get paid for such a thing. But a commenter simply blames its popularity on the flighty taste of movie-going adolescents: “You never know what teens will pick up on, like the Vote for Pedro shirts from Napoleon Dynamite.” Funny, we always thought those shirts were just code for “Please, punch me in the face.”
Perhaps you’ve noticed, as we did, the little button to the right over there that has appeared on all our favorite crafty blogs in the last few months. It’s a pledge from the folks at the Handmade Consortium, where you promise to buy your holiday presents from the makers of the world, rather than, say, the American Girl store.
Rob Walker, who has the greatest last name in history, has a nice long story in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine called “Handmade 2.0,” which explores the culture of making stuff by hand and selling it for profit, mostly online. He opens with the story behind that button, then travels to craft epicenters like the Etsy warehouse, infiltrates craft communities like the Austin Craft Mafia, and meets craft gurus, including the creator of the documentary Handmade Nation. Cleverest of all are the article’s sections, breaking down the story into how-to steps. Crafty!
Glossing over any kind of potentially unethical journalistic tendencies in this post, we’ll simply direct you to an article about the firm of Jim Coudal (who may or may not employ one UnBeige editor) by Rob Walker (who may or may not be a distant relative to another UnBeige editor). “Trading Partners” is all about our favorite one-month experiment that’s lasted an entire summer with no end in sight…the Swap Meat.
The real beauty of the Meat of course, is that beautiful things by beauties like Marian Bantjes (above) can be all yours.
We’re counting down the days until UnBeige founder Jen Bekman releases her revolutionary experiment 20 x 200 that’s gonna flip the lid off the art world (psssst, site goes live on July 27). We hear some Very Important Artists are going to be a part of the project, which will bring affordable art to all. Bekman talks to one of our other favorite people, Rob Walker of Consumed fame, in this interview on Walker’s blog Murketing.
Anyone who talks about a piece of $20 art work as a “gateway drug of the art buying world” is worth a read, in our book.
If you need to catch up on the aftermath of the “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” campaign against America, two recent pieces piqued our interest. An interview with one of the show’s characters may answer your what the hell is this shake and meatball show questions, or it may not. But Rob Walker over at Murketing puts it all in glorious perspective, and gives the best advice ever for Yippie-esque perpetrator Peter Berdovsky:
Then again, maybe he’s given up on the whole artist thing by now, and will just open a marketing firm. Why not? He’s got a knack for it. And the money’s better.