January 27, 2011

Matinee Idol

[clck photos to enlage]

Luchino Visconti

Known for its lush colours and and decadent costumes and scenery, Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) is a true epic of Italian cinema, a production of a grand scale with exacting attention to detail. I first saw this film in a small cinema on Auckland's North Shore called the Bridgeway, on a quiet saturday afternoon in 2004 in a near empty theatre with the attendees comprising of my friend and I and a smattering of elderly who probably saw it when it was first released in '63, or just used to harbour unrequited feelings for Burt Lancaster.

The first film which started my fascination and love of Italian cinema.

"Where so many widescreen epics merely use the image to bludgeon the audience with production value, Visconti maintains a constant dialogue between the grandeur of the prince's surroundings and the minute gestures that define him in the midst of historical upheaval."

-Sam Adams, Los Angeles Times

January 26, 2011

The Leopard

Sublime Polish poster for Luchino Visconti's 1963 sumptuous visual feast, IL GATTOPARDO (The Leopard).

January 20, 2011

Dens of Inequity

images via

Spreads from Benjamin Critton's project, EVIL PEOPLE in MODERNIST HOMES in POPULAR FILMS. A publication printed in a pleasing red/yellow colour combinations, and includes quotes, diagrams, film stills, essays and more, delving into the relationship between architecture and cinema, and the association between ill-morals, vices and evil masterminds with modernist homes, traced through films along the lines of Diamonds Are Forever, The Big Lebowski, Blade Runner, L.A Confidential and Twilight amongst others.

Ideas like these interest me - I think about my embroidery floor plans of fictional settings from film, television and literiture connected by also their dual locations - existing in some manner in the 'real world' while only wholly residing in the imagination. The cliches 'picking up the common thread', and 'that nothing is ever a coincidence' are phrases oft repeat in the many murder mystery stories and screen adaptations I digest and that act as a sort of back bone to my practice.

I recently posted some photos of rock stars in their parents' houses and I was struck by how Frank Zappa and David Crosby were attired to seem in sync with their surroundings, while their 'modern dress', long tresses and full facial hair were at odds with the more conventional clothes of their parents. The photo essay was intended to highlight the different lifestyles and ideas between the different generations I believe, and this sort of contradictory outcome of matching someone to a surrounding meant to represent 'old' is intriguing.

I think about characters and their personalities reflected in their environs, and I can understand the cold, shiny surfaces, the hard right angles and the looming rooftop overhangs that cast ominous shadows mirroring the mentalities of the people who live in them. The character must embody their abodes and vice-versa. The brutalist nature of the buildings is apparent in the architecture, scale and materials. Grand concrete cubes with misleading panels of glass maybe not so that one can see in the house, but that whoever is inside can see them coming.

The 'evil people' of these popular films could perhaps be described as cold, clinical, calculating, corrupt, conniving, controlling and cruel, while also being charming, charismatic, clever and compelling. (I have run out of apt adjectives beginning with 'C' now), and possibly the same could be said about their dwellings.

I suppose this is why Ernst Blofeld only wears grey.

on a side-note, check out Critton's CV. As someone who is trying to wrangle a job out of Sweden (who is not being particularly forthcoming about it) I have taken a particular interest in other people's curriculum vitaes at present.

Cataclysm Room

Spreads from US Vogue, December 1971, the 'Once a year Christmas Special'.

Photographed in Spain's 'Caves of Nerja'.

via youthquakers, collation of images from issues of both UK &US Vogues between the years 1965-1975. I have only just scraped the surface of this veritable mine of images and information.

five men in pink shirts

via mrs tsk *

January 19, 2011

The Castle of Urania

Uraniborg, Tycho Brahe's first astronomical observatory on Ven, built 1576-80 and dedicated to Urania 'The Muse of Astronomy'.

The main building of Uraniborg was square, about 15 meters on a side, and built mostly of red brick. Two semi-circular towers, one each on the north and south sides of the main building, giving the building a somewhat rectangular shape overall. The main floor consisted of four rooms, one of which was occupied by Tycho and his family, the other three for visiting astronomers. The northern tower housed the kitchens, and the southern a library. The second floor was divided into three rooms, two of equal size and one larger. The larger room was reserved for visiting royalty. On this level the towers housed the primary astronomical instruments, accessed from outside the building or from doors on this floor. Outrider towers, supported on pillars, housed additional instruments slightly further from the building, giving them a wider angle of view. On the third floor was a "loft", subdivided into eight smaller rooms for students. Only the roofs of the towers reached this level, although a single additional tower extended above the loft in the middle of the building, similar to a widow's walk, accessed via a spiral staircase from the 3rd floor. Uraniborg also featured a large basement; it housed an alchemical laboratory in one end, and storage for food, salt and fuel at the other.

A large wall, 75 meters on a side and 5.5 meters high was planned to surround Uraniborg, but never built, instead a high earth mound was constructed and lasted until today being the only remain of the observatory still in place. Uraniborg was located in the very middle, with an extensive set of intricate gardens between the mound walls and the building. In addition to being decorative, the gardens also supplied herbs for the Tycho's medicinal chemistry experiments. The gardens are currently being re-created, using seeds found on-site or identified in Tycho's writings.

Star Castle

Tycho Brahe's underground observatory Stjerneborg, located on the island of Ven, and the destination of me next trip around Skåne. A place which will augment my new found interest in the night sky.

January 18, 2011


Alexander Rodchenko's chess table, 1925.

I enjoy furniture built for specific purposes.
And images which inspire me to draw more.

via Ro/Lu

Murder on the Orient Express

Possibly the best christmas present I received last year.

Murder on the Orient Express
Dir. Sidney Lumet

January 16, 2011



Blow Up
Acrylic on newsprint

Acrylic on newsprint

Posters of two of my favourite films by New Zealand artist Erica van Zon. Explore her new website for more amazing works appropriating cinematic references and scenarios.

January 15, 2011

The Future

I commented on facebook at the time that I would have posted this photo on my imaginary blog.

All artwork CLARA CHON, 2008

Model: the face behind OLIO ATAXIA.

I have talented friends.

November 10, 1990


Imagine watching this on TV on the 10th Novermber 1990 at 10pm.

Eyes Only

Keeping my eyes peeled for a new pair of spectacles. I should really be wearing a pair when I am cycling, which at the moment I tend to avoid due to dislike of my existing pair, I would preferto cycle in a pair that I'd enjoy adorning my face. In 2005 I acquired a pair of black rectangular glasses, believing them to be quite in vogue at the time, after failing the eye examination required to sit my driver's test (I have never attemptedthat test again). Now those rectangular frames do nothing but irritate me, as I loathe seeing things out of focus outside of the narrow lenses. I thought a more rounded look could be the way to go to avoid this periferal blurring. Any thoughts on glasses would be appreciated, I am quite an eyewear novice.

January 13, 2011

At Home with Camouflage

Rock Stars at home with their parents and colour co-ordination. While attemping to high-light the marked generation gap and lifestyle differences between rockstars and their 'olds', Olsen also seems to inadvertently blend his subjects into their not so staid surrounds. An interesting balance between a subject 'at one' with his environment, and 'at odds' with the others he shares it with. Frank Zappa with ma and pa and David Crosby with the old man.

Photos by John Olsen for LIFE.

Merlin & Voodoo

Lägenheten hade en balkong och vi gillade att sitta där och dricka öl på kvällen medan vi lyssnade på skivor och pratade med varandra. Ibland, brukade våra grannars katter besöka oss på balkongen. De hette Merlin och Voodoo. Typiska namn för hippies katter, tyckte jag.
Alex och jag brukade ofta handla möbler till vår lägenhet från second-hand butiker. Jag kommer ihåg när Alex köpte en soffa med klädsel som var täckt med ett kattmönster. Jag tror att den fortfarande är i vardagsrummet.

The apartment had a balcony and we liked to sit there and drink beer in the evening while we listened to records and talked with each other. Sometimes the neighbour's cats used to visit us on the balcony. Their names were Merlin and Voodoo. Typical names for hippie cats, I thought.
Alex and I used to often buy furniture for our apartment from second hand shops. I remember when Alex bought a couch with upholstery that was covered in a cat pattern. I believe it is still in the living room.

(A brief excerpt from a short piece of writing for my Swedish class, about my old apartment in Auckland. It is extremely satisfying knowing that I can describe furniture with cats on it, and offer my opinion on interesting choices in feline names. I feel like I should be compiling a volume of these texts as 'A Brief History of Florence and her family, a collection of thoughts in Swedish. Or something to a similar effect.)


T.Shelf_Mountain by J1 Studio. Thinking about shelves more often these days, I have just submitted a job application seeking employment as a library assistant at Malmö Högskolas Bibliotek. Fingers crossed I will soon be fossicking amongst aisles and bays of books again.

I would like a shelving unit such as this to house my murder mystery/crime book collection, I believe 2011 is going to be the year I acquire more books - I wonder if I can continue to resolve to only read fiction. I think it was the best decision I ever made.

January 11, 2011

Rockin' Back Inside My Heart

The original Rockys Superette, Auckland, New Zealand, and its döppälganger Rocky Livs & Tobak, Malmö, Sweden.

To be acknowledged as an uncanny coincidence.

January 10, 2011

I Alla Fall

Alive and singing in Paris
Invisible ink on newsprint

Illya Kuryakin /colour field quilt /Sriwhana Spong at Newcall

Things of interest so far in the new year - David McCallum and his records, objects that remind me of abstract expressionist art, collections of things that fly, drinking too much coke.

more drawings in invisible ink.
balancing birds on wooden mobiles. hand embroidered wood grain patterned tights.

January 8, 2011

3 x 5 x 4

from claire!

ten great years of colour and clothing co-ordination.

in other Beatles related pieces of information, I have just read Brad Pitt will be portraying John Lennon in a film about his life, including singing. The mind boggles.

January 5, 2011


John Ashton - The Psychedelic Furs (1985)

Alasdair MacLean - The Clientele (2008)

Edwyn Collins (1996)
guitar rig as Edwyn Collins not Orange Juice

The guitar set ups from the Guitar men of The Psychedelic Furs / The Clientele / Orange Juice, all from GuitarGeek: The guitar rig database, many interesting characters including Robert Fripp, Chuck Berry, Dave Davies, Brian May and more. I am really only interested in these for the diagramatical aesthetic, the more complicated the more impressive, and bonus points if the guitar is included as well.
There really is a database for everything these days.

Another Green World

Brian Eno - Another Green World

January 4, 2011

Baker Street

Gerry Rafferty!

an adult contemporary ballad from 1978 and the reason behind 'The Baker Street Phenomenon', resulting in the sales of saxophones skyrocketing and a resurgence of saxophones in popular music.