FAME Presents x Content Magazine | Fashion Panel

A special thank you to Content Magazine and FAME Presents for organizing a Fashion Industry panel discussion last week. It was a such an inspiration to be amongst a group of inspiring and passionate panel of entrepreneurial innovators. What a great opportunity to be able to come together and immerse ourselves in conversation to share our experiences, insights and vulnerabilities in front of friends and strangers who all share one thing in common. Thank you to all that came out to support and listen!

Images by @visualsbydavidho and @rodrosetephoto 

It’s certainly been a long time since our last post but it’s also been an extremely exciting year with a slew of creative projects going on. Please stay tuned to see what’s been going on at the studio!

Museum of Ice Cream

Everyone screams for ice cream… at the Museum of Ice Cream. It boasts “a place where flavors are mysteries, toppings are toys and sprinkles make the world a better place.”

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Sho to Wagashi

We had the honor of shooting the “COSMOS: Five Elements” held at Morimoto in Napa recently, where the art of Japanese cuisine, calligraphy and confectionery were transformed into unique visual and edible art forms.

The event featured the food of Chef Ichiro Tsuji, along with the live works of Japanese calligraphy artist, Aoi Yamaguchi, and Japanese traditional confectionary “wagashi” artist, Shiho Sakamoto.

Inspired by the concept of Ying-and-Yang Five Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water (Mok-Ka-Doe-Gon-Sui), Yamaguchi painted contemporary Japanese calligraphy on Japanese handmade “washi” paper, on which pieces of wagashi, created by Sakamoto, were tastefully placed to complete the the world of each Element. Grounded by Japanese traditional aesthetics and culture of “wabi-sabi”, the three talented artists realized their visions through each and own realms of senses, together creating a unique experience to celebrate blessings from nature.

 

wedding | aoi + ben

We had the pleasure of capturing the talented Japanese calligraphy artist, Aoi, and her better half’s wedding recently.

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If you’re curious about Aoi’s work, below are some of her images. Feel free to check out more of her art at
www.aoiyamaguchi.com

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alcatraz and ai weiwei (艾未未)

“The misconception of totalitarianism is that freedom can be imprisoned. This is not the case. When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill.”
— Ai Weiwei

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Ai Weiwei is a Beijing-based contemporary artist and activist, whose work actively speaks out against political activity and controversies. He is internationally renowned for work that defies the distinction between art and activism.

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There was an anticipated excitement in viewing his new exhibition on Alcatraz, especially after reading and seeing so many of his large-scale works. All of the new works for this exhibition were created specifically for Alcatraz. As noted on For-Site Foundation’s site: “Ai responds to the island’s layered legacy as a 19th-century military fortress, a notorious federal penitentiary, a site of Native American heritage and protest, and now one of America’s most visited national parks.”

6These large-scale Lego portraits, part of the Trace exhibit, portrayed 175 prisoners of conscience, a term coined for any person who is physically restrained, by imprisonment or otherwise, from expressing, in any form of words or symbols, any opinion which he honestly holds and which does not advocate or condone personal violence. 
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Chen Guangcheng is a Chinese civil rights activist, often described as a “barefoot lawyer,” who worked on human rights issues in rural areas of the People’s Republic of China. Blind from an early age and self-taught in the law, Chen advocated for women’s rights, land rights, and the welfare of the poor. He is best known for accusing people of abuses in official family-planning practices, often involving claims of violence and forced abortions.

9 10 11 12Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was just 6 years old when he was recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama, one of Tibet’s most important religious leaders. Just after Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family were taken into custody by the Chinese authorities and he has not been seen since.
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“From the New Industries Building’s lower gun gallery, where armed guards once monitored prisoners at work, visitors peer through cracked and rusted windows to glimpse an enormous metal wing on the floor below, called Refraction. Its design is based on close observation of the structure of real birds’ wings, but in place of feathers, the artwork bristles with reflective panels originally used on solar cookers in Tibet, a region that has long struggled under Chinese rule.

This piece uses imagery of flight to evoke the tension between freedom — be it physical, political, or creative — and confinement. The sculpture’s enormous bulk (it weighs more than five tons) and constrained position on the lower floor keep it earthbound, but one might imagine its array of solar panels silently mustering energy, preparing for takeoff.

By requiring visitors to view the work from the gun gallery, the installation implicates visitors in a complex structure of power and control. Following in the footsteps of prison guards, visitors are placed in a position of authority, and yet the narrowness of the space creates a visceral feeling of restriction.” – For-Site Foundation

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In the cell block, one section of the prison the National Park Service did not initially offer Ai for his exhibition but after insisting for access, the NPS finally agreed.

When you enter the tiny cells where, you can’t even fully extend your arms between the walls. You then sit on single metal stool at the center of the tiny space. There is the voice of Martin Luther King Jr. giving his “Beyond Vietnam” speech. You can’t help but see how Ai Weiwei melded the dramatic setting of Alcatraz with his art. The cell itself was tiny and was hard to imagine not going crazy in such a space, and then you hear the  the music or poetry of dissident artists past or present as you go from one jail cell to the next.

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It was a revelation to get new perspectives on Alcatraz and to contemplate questions about freedom of expression and human rights that resonate far beyond this particular place.

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One of his most heart-touching projects was the citizen’s investigation on the Sichuan earthquake casualties.

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“Ten days after a 8.0-magnitude earthquake took place in Sichuan province on 12 May 2008, Ai Weiwei led a team to survey and film the post-quake conditions in various disaster zones. In response to the government’s lack of transparency in revealing names of students who perished in the earthquake due to substandard school campus constructions, Ai recruited volunteers online and launched a “Citizens’ Investigation” to compile names and information of the student victims. On 20 March 2009, he posted a blog titled “Citizens’ Investigation” and wrote: “To remember the departed, to show concern for life, to take responsibility, and for the potential happiness of the survivors, we are initiating a “Citizens’ Investigation.” We will seek out the names of each departed child, and we will remember them.”

As of 14 April 2009, the list had accumulated 5,385 names and Ai published the collected names as well as numerous articles documenting the investigation on his blog which was shut down by Chinese authorities in May 2009. He also posted his list of names of schoolchildren who died on the wall of his office at FAKE Design in Beijing.

Ai suffered headaches and claimed he had difficulty concentrating on his work since returning from Chengdu in August 2009, where he was beaten by the police for trying to testify for Tan Zuoren, a fellow investigator of the shoddy construction and student casualties in the earthquake. On 14 September 2009, Ai was diagnosed to be suffering internal bleeding in a hospital in Munich, Germany, and the doctor arranged for emergency brain surgery. The cerebral hemorrhage is believed to be linked to the police attack.

According to the Financial Times, in an attempt to force Ai to leave the country, two accounts used by him had been hacked in a sophisticated attack on Google in China dubbed Operation Aurora, their contents read and copied; his bank accounts were investigated by state security agents who claimed he was under investigation for “unspecified suspected crimes”.

-excerpt from wikipedia

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It is so easy to do nothing in the face of something wrong and it is truly an inspiration to see someone like Ai Weiwei, with so much courage, compassion and perseverance to keep fighting for what should be justifiably right.

As a friend recently mentioned, “We are distracted, overworked, overstressed and focused on chasing $$$, power, instant gratification, roofs over our heads, the basics, the easy, the complicated, the race to the top and so on. Running in our own personal hamster wheels with one end in sight… trust [your] gut… [and start] letting go of the fears that have been implanted by a dissonant society… We are at a unique place in time where we have a choice.
We have been presented with one option up to this point in our “history” and have continued to accept it. We have been convinced there is no other way and anything moving towards real change will be squashed. We have been implanted with fear and distrust. We have allowed responsibility to remain in hands outside of our own. We are told of freedoms but are endangered when we truly use them. This all will change when we chose it is time. The time is inevitable and we will get there together. It is scary and hard to imagine possible because we are so entrenched and dependent on our current ways. We will find an alternative together. It is our only true choice. It is within our hearts. It is within our spirit. No matter our differences.. no matter our distance. We are all one. We are all connected and there is no end.”

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You can also check out the documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry to find out more about Ai Weiwei and his work.

All the photos above were taken personally using my phone 🙂
All rights reserved.

a stone story

Before there was life on Earth, there were minerals and metals we find in rocks that are essential to the prosperity and cultural splendor of human civilization. We can classify rocks based on three classes of how they were formed. The three classes are igneous rocks (formed directly from liquid rock), metamorphic rocks (formed by direct alteration of existing rocks), and sedimentary rocks (formed by eroded materials from other rocks).

It was a treat to photograph slices of rock formations up close and to point out parts where a slab of rock had a story to tell. Take a look at a few of our favorites and see for yourself. Some of the close-ups look like abstract paintings and landscapes.

We also thought it was amazing to see Yuri Ancarani’s documentary for Il Capo (The Chief), in which he follows a quarry boss as he guides his men through the extraction process of such huge slabs of marble, using a silent language of gesture and sign. “Marble quarries are places so unbelievable and striking, they almost feel like they are big theaters or sets,” says Yuri. Check out an excerpt from his documentary below as Ancarani extracts a striking portrait of marble. It’s so beautifully shot.

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portrait | brent bushnell

We got the opportunity to meet Brent and it was one that really touch our hearts. He is probably one of the rare people we’ve meet whose eyes seemed to have seen all. It isn’t easy to be an artist in San Francisco, and survival is a little hard and even harder now than ever.

The Examiner mentions that “with apartments renting at $2000 a month and condos selling for five million and up, it’s become a city for the 1%. But some artists have managed to survive without compromising their vision of making art that transcends boundaries and speaks to both environmental concerns and mystical beliefs. Just ask Brent Bushnell who has managed to survive in San Francisco for decades, with one stint “in exile” in Sacramento… Brent came to San Francisco in 60s and got his MFA at SFSU, studying with noted Bay Area sculptor Stephen de Staebler, (among others)”

His studio was a small one and there was so much organized clutter all around but the kind of clutter where everything seemed to be used often and never lost it’s place on the shelf or crevice. Just like all the tool he had used to create his art, he and his passion for  will forever have a place in this city.

The other wonderful thing is that the homeless, encamped around the sculpture, tended the the works to keep them from being destroyed. Brent and Sofia brought some art even into the grim and difficult lives of San Francesco’s lowest of the low, proving that art can communicate across all boundaries.

“Brent shares concerns about the environment, our wanton misuse of natural resources and destruction of the wilderness. He is on a journey compelled by the love of art and, for both, it is the journey that is the reward.” You can find some of Brent’s sculptures around the city. “And the wonderful thing is that the homeless, encamped around the sculptures, tended the works to keep them from being destroyed, proving that art can communicate across all boundaries, even into the grim and difficult lives of those in San Francisco.”

art market san francisco

artMRKT San Francisco is an international art fair held May 15th thru May 18th, 2014 at the Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, California. It’s ticketed opening party last night allowed collectors and arts enthusiasts the first opportunity to meet dealers and to view gallery presentations. The pavilion was transformed and packed with works of some of the most notable artists.

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25 years of fashion

It’s amazing to see what BCBG Maz Azria has been doing for the past two decades and more. And this year they are celebrating their 25th year anniversary as the iconic California fashion house that continues to not only remain relevant, but also ahead of their game.

“For 25 years we have shared our designs with our customers, giving them a chance to own a piece of BCBG history,” chief creative officer (and wife of Maz Azria) Lubov Azria tells us. “The 25th Anniversary Retrospective is a tribute to our incredible past. With the pop-up opening in tandem with our exhibit, we are giving people another opportunity to share a piece of our heritage. If you’ve never worn BCBG, this is a great chance for everyone to live the ‘Bon Chic, Bon Genre‘ life.”

We had the gracious honor of being at their amazing celebratory dinner when Lubov came to visit San Francisco recently.

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artist + muse

When it comes to inspirations, Billy Kidd is one that I admire. The video clip below is something I can identify with, especially being a fashion photographer at heart: trusting relationship between an artist and a muse.

“Over the last year,  Billy and Heather have been building the trust between artist and muse through brutally honest and erotically vulnerable imagery.  With Billy behind the lens,  he has been able to coax his lover to shed her insecurities and trust him. Billy beautifully abstracts his lover’s form to convey this strange and eerie bond between anonymity and intimacy.  Combining Heather’s cages,  braids and cocoons,  with Billy’s style of photography; the result does not objectify,  but celebrates the mature female body garbed only in her designs.”