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Repelling the Bike Thief with Style

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I started riding a road bike a few years ago, encouraged by my father who rides daily with his bike team in Florida. I typically only ride to and from work. But when my travels take me elsewhere, I am at a loss as to how to secure my bike. Conventional bike locks fall into two categories—the U-shaped lock, which is heavy and not long enough to attach to anything, or the cable lock, which is like trying to untangle a coiled snake. In last week’s New York Times design issue, an article featured a beautifully simple bike lock designed by Rinat Aruh of the design firm Aruliden. This lock is thicker and longer than most U-locks on the market, big enough to secure a front wheel and a bike frame to your average street level post. The inside of the lock is coated with silicone rubber to prevent scratching the frame. And it’s also very secure. Made of titanium-ion-plated steel, it has dual locking mechanisms that require a well equipped thief to cut through both sides in order to take the bike. If that weren’t enough, tamper-sensitive accelerometers will trigger a sonic alarm and alert your smartphone if someone starts stealing your ride. And if the thief manages to get away, a GPS chip embedded in the lock will lead the police right to it. Well done Rinat—a beautiful combination of form and function.

Don’t Forget to Read the Label

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Besides chocolate, not much pairs better with a glass of wine than a good book. Italian Winery Matteo Correggio and design agency Reverse Innovation creatively merged wine and books together in a series of three wines—two reds and a white—called “Librottiglia.” Each bottle’s label contains a short story that ranges from a fable about a frog called “The Frog in the Belly” to a humorous, murder mystery named “L’omicidio.” They even paired the genre of story to the characteristics of the wine. What a cool idea. The only caveat is that the books are currently only in Italian! To learn more, check out their website at: http://www.librottiglia.com. Photos by Reverse Innovation. read on

Very Private Art Collection

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Beauty school magnate and race horse breeder Vincent Melzac drove a hard bargain with artists. His negotiating style allowed him to become a notable collector of the Washington Color School. The Washington Color School (1950s to 1960s) was an abstract visual art movement which developed out of the color field movement. Since Melzac’s death, his original collection has not remained intact. It has been broken up and parceled out, with a majority of works residing at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, The Smithsonian, and The Phillips Collection.

There is, however, some mystery associated with Melzac’s collection. Does the CIA have a portion of this collection in their Langley, VA headquarters? A CNN Style report from February of 2016 states: “The CIA says it is proud to own the collection and acknowledges that it is considered among the most important modern art collections owned by the U.S. government. CIA media spokesman Glenn Miller says 11 paintings were purchased by the agency from Melzac in 1987, but does not give any further details on the acquisition.” This quote makes me believe there is a very private collection in Langley, but what’s in it?

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There was an interesting letter to the editor in the NY Times last week:

“It is time for the United States to split into two countries, since we have two clashing cultures that are not compatible. The West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) plus the northern part of the East Coast (New York, New Jersey and New England) should join with Canada to become the United States of Canada. The rest of the country can remain the “United States.” We will petition the Canadian government to accept our representatives and senators into the Canadian Parliament. Problem solved.” – Claire Frankel, New York

Claire, here are a few flag suggestions.

Capturing Characters

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Regardless of who you voted for in the presidential election, there is a certain illustrator out there who is able to capture the essence of the person. His name is Robert Carley—from Darien, Connecticut—who has been sketching presidents for many years.

A recent article in the Sunday Art & Style section of the Stamford Advocate showed several of his caricatures along with an explanation of how he goes about drawing his subjects. Robert says: “When I start a caricature, I don’t just start thinking about the subject’s features, I think about the person’s personality”. He starts with the eyes and relies on pictures he has saved for more than 25 years to capture candidates in unguarded moments.

“He likes to make people smile, not sneer.” A very lofty goal, especially during this Election of 2016!

Museum to Myself

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Imagine, for a moment, having the Metropolitan Museum of Art to yourself. Think Claudia and Jamie Kincaid from The Mix Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Twenty-two million square feet of space and over two million works of art for your perusal without any crowds, noise, or rushing around.

Guided by two expert curators, 20 people—myself and my husband included—had that unforgettable experience on a perfect NYC fall day in mid-October. We gathered in the grand entrance hall of the museum shortly before 8:30am, and spent the next hour and a half touring the museum before it opened its doors to the general public at 10:00am. read on

Paper and Pencil

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Stephen Wiltshire is an autistic British architectural artist, known for painting landscapes from memory—after seeing it just once. Born in London, as a child Stephen was mute and really didn’t relate to other people. His very first words were “paper” and “pencil” just like Picasso and he didn’t fully speak until the age of nine. Prior to that he communicated with the world through drawing. read on

That’s Old News

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Old newspaper that is. Japanese artist Chie Hitotsuyama creates astonishingly detailed sculptures of life-size animals using rolled strips of wet newspaper. Think papier-mâché art to the nth degree. The sculptures are created as life-like as possible using the textures and colors of the rolled paper. What a brilliant way to repurpose something that would just end up in the trash bin. For more information about Chie and her exhibitions check out her website: http://hitotsuyamastudio.com/ read on

Shelter the Animation

Japanese animation (anime for short) is something I enjoy on occasion. Some of the most creative animation I have ever seen has come out of Japan. Whether you know it or not,  you have probably seen some anime yourself at some point (Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Speed Racer etc… are all anime). Due to it’s popularity in the US, many American companies that produce cartoons have attempted to imitate the typical anime “style” of characters (such as big shiny eyes, small mouths, exaggerated reactions etc…). The results are hit or miss (usually more miss in my opinion), but recently a special video came to my attention. “Shelter the Animation” attempts to bridge that gap between Japanese and American artists. It’s a music video that was designed and animated with the help of a famous Japanese animation studio, A-1 Pictures (most notable for animating Sword Art Online, Fairy Tail, Black Butler and more). However, the brains behind the music video was a musician, Porter Robinson (who created the song “Shelter”). Porter, who is an American, worked with French musician, Madeon, to create the song. Porter—a massive fan of anime himself—spent a long time working directly with A-1 Pictures to create this incredibly beautiful video. This sort of collaboration on anime isn’t normal. Usually, the Japanese don’t work with Americans on anime or manga, but they were moved by just how passionate Porter was and decided he would be a great partner to work with. read on

The River Building at Grace Farm

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Once you see the River Building, you will know why it was given that name. It is the main building located at Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut. Approximately 77 acres of the former horse farm has been retained as open meadows, woods, wetlands and ponds. The building was designed to make the architecture become part of the landscape and not feel like a building. It flows down on a slope of land (a change in grade of 43 feet) and forms pond-like spaces where it bends.The building is made of glass, concrete, steel and wood. The whole roof’s structure is one single piece, and it twists and turns like a rolling river. read on

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