Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Featured Band: First Aid Kit.

Summer's coming to an end (I know, but we have to face it sometime) and in searching for a band to guide us into the Autumn months we discovered First Aid Kit. With their mix of acoustic guitars and vocals filled with longing and a little melancholy, they're the perfect accompaniment to those lengthening nights where the weather's starting to seep into your soul.

Overdramatic? Perhaps. But give this band just one song and you'll find yourself talking like you've just escaped from a teenagers poetry notebook too!

Songs we think should definetly make it on to your playlists are You're Not Coming Home Tonight and Waltz For Richard. Or, if you're looking for something a little faster, try Hard Believers.

Whichever way you choose to go, First Aid Kit are the Tantrum soundtrack for Autumn.

First Aid Kit - myspace here.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Featured Artist: Charmaine Olivia

Charmaine Olivia grew up in a small beach town in Southern California but has since moved to San Fransisco where she draws, paints and enjoys a nice peppermint tea.

Perhaps her work looks familiar?

With clients including Urban Outfitters, Threadless, Envelop and Pingg, Charmaine's work is doing the rounds.

Charmaine took some time out from her busy busy schedule to answer some questions for us!

Q: Where do your get the inspiration for your work?
A: I get most of my inspiration from listening to music, it influences what and how I feel.

Q: Do you have a favourite medium to work with and if so, why?
A:My favorite medium depends on my mood. I've been loving doing smaller watercolor illustrations lately, they're very therapeutic. But I also love painting with oils, which is a completely different way of working compared to watercolor, it's more of a commitment and it's definitely more difficult, but equally rewarding.

Q: What's it like having your work recognized by a company like Urban Outfitters?
A: It's great. It had been a small dream of mine for a while, so I was definitely excited when it happened.

Q: On your blog you give an in depth analysis of your creative process, what made you decide to be so open about your techniques?
A:Well for starters, I was getting a lot of questions about my process so I decided to explain each step of my work in more detail. I'm always learning as I go and experimenting, so the post about my next painting will be even more in depth.

Q: Name some of your favourite artists at the moment
A:Brian Viveros, Dr Lakra, Erik Jones, Olaf Hajek

Q: Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years time?
A:Hopefully still making art all the time, only better

Top 5:
peppermint tea, my boyfriend, sunflowers, music and sunshine

For a look at her full portfolio and all the links to her shop, facebook and blog - check out here page *HERE*

Psssst! If you're in the area, Charmaine has an exhibition in Gallery Hijinks, San Fransisco on the 21st August where you can see some of her tattooed ladies like the picture above. Be sure to check this out if you can!

Monday, 9 August 2010

My Little Eye by elseetee

A while ago I was trawling through tumblr, as you do, and came across a picture of a ring...

Luckily the person who posted the picture had linked back to Laura's Etsy store, and possibly one of my favourite finds on the old world wide web so far.
A graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Laura has a major in sculpture and a minor in painting. As well as creating one of a kind pieces in her studio in East Vancouver, she is a high school Art teacher and mother of three children.

Laura was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us!

Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?
A: I am inspired by the specimens I work with. I try to build a piece around them that compliments their form. I don't actually sit down with a sketchbook and design my pieces- I start with a raw specimen, look at it in strong light from all angles, and decide what to do with it from there. I also draw inspiration from a few repeat customers- they contact me with their ideas, or sometimes with their own specimens, and then I create something built specifically for them.

Q: What made you choose to use crystals for your jewellery?
A: When I started jewelry making last summer, I began building pieces around calibrated stones. I found that the stones that really caught my eye were unusual shapes, such as bullet cabochons. Going towards specimens in their original form was a natural progression for me. I think my very first 'specimen ring' was built around a big, grape-coloured chunk of raw amethyst. It just seemed much more interesting to me to be working with minerals and gemstones in their natural state- I so much prefer the natural formations. It boggles my mind that these tiny little entities have built up, so precisely, over so many countless years. I also really like working with big chunks of raw gemstones- the ways that they organically facet once they are broken is so much more appealing to me than the smooth, calibrated surface of a cut stone.

I have to admit that I am sort of passionate about specimen collecting- my studio is overrun with hundreds and hundreds of specimens, and I am constantly buying more. I am a real specimen collecting nerd.

Q: Where do you source the specimens that you use?
A: I sometimes buy pieces from a local gemshop, where there is a fabulous lapidary who helps me by cutting the more difficult pieces. However, I source out most of my specimens from all over the world- I have pieces from Australia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, South America, Spain, and the USA. One of my favourite specimens is a chunky raw garnet that my eldest brother brought home from a trip to the Canadian Arctic.

Q: Do you have a favourite material to work with, if so - why?
A: I love working with pyrite. I don't really know why- I just love its different formations and the gray-gold colour.

Q: From what I gather from your profile you're a busy lady! How do you manage your time?
A: In addition to my jewelry work, I teach full-time and have three small children. A busy week in the studio can have me going for another 30-40 hours. Sometimes my kids come down to my studio with me, and other times I work when they are asleep. I am often found in my classroom packing orders during lunchtime. I also get up super-early in the morning, and put in some time before work every day. Other times, I depend on my husband to single-parent, and I get by on very little sleep! I mostly hold it together well, but have sometimes been so tired that I don't notice that I am singeing my hair off with the torch until it's too late.

Q: What made you decide to move from your background in sculpture to jewellery making?
A: During my first year of art school, I went to the year-end show of the jewelry program of a local college. I was riveted by the designs, which were just like perfect little sculptures. I was sorely tempted to drop out of art school and drop into jewelry school. However, I got distracted and finished art school So, it was always something I wanted to do. When I was doing more sculpture, I worked with media like stone, wood, and metal. I have always found natural materials and organic forms compelling. I see jewelry making as a form of sculpture, but without all of those wrenching and painfully embarrassing art-school critiques.

Top 5:
My family- three sweet kids and the long-suffering husband
My lovely parents and my five siblings
Specimen collecting
Antique collecting
Building specimen jewelery!!!!

I'm absolutely in love with every item in her store. What could be better than having something handmade that no one else in the world will have?! Diamonds may be a girls best friend but give me a chunk of Amethyst any day!
To check out Laura's store on Etsy, *Click Here*

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Giant Vintage with a teeny tiny price-tag.

With this recent, uncharacteristic scorching summer sun us brits have experienced in the past couple of months, the entire nation has ditched their umbrellas for summer's best-loved accessory - sunglasses.

From oversized and overpriced dark designer sunnies to ridiculously cheap knock-offs, everyone has at least one pair of shades in their collection, but if you're dying to stand out from the High Street crowd and still stay o
n your bank manager's good side, then you need to get yourself over to Giant Vintage.

Founded by two L.A based ex-stylists who have scoured the world in search of the coolest retro shades, Giant Vintage is home to over 1000 pairs of authentic vintage sunglasses, dating from the 1970's, as well as high-quality reproductions of iconic vintage styles. They offer shades in every style and colour you could imagine, from flip-up lens to visor sunglasses, Giant Vintage have got yo
ur peepers covered!

Yeah, we know, there's so many styles, it's hard to choose just one, but with prices starting from just $8, you can afford to whip out your card and buy a few pairs to tide you over the remaining summer weeks. Though be warned, I will be sporting mine all through autumn and winter too, they're far too cool to take off!

Taffy pink sunglasses - $20
The Love green sunglasses - $12
Happy carnation folding sunglasses - $20
Camptown matte demi sunglasses - $16
Flippo black flip-up sunglasses - $20
all available from www.giantvintage.com

Giant Vintage offer international shipping at really reasonable rates, so the sunny summer lovin' is available to everyone!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Featured Band: The Virgins

If, like us, you're finding this summer's 'hottest tunes' a little too difficult to escape, then The Virgins and their self-titled album are the perfect antidote.

The album, and indeed the band in general, span a wide range of musical genres so there's something for everyone, but they all have something in common - a kick ass beat which will capture you body and soul.

Personal highlights include Love Is Colder Than Death [much less hardcore gothic than it sounds, promise] and Rich Girls. Newest single Teen Lovers is worth more than a few listens too. Our recommendation for hitting repeat is Hey Hey Girl - we promise it'll feel like summer's still here.

Here's the Tantrum tip; make it old school - buy the CD, climb in a fast moving vehicle and say goodbye to the charts.

The Virgins by The Virgins - available on ITunes or Amazon.
Alternatively, check out their myspace here.