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Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light

This past weekend I went to the Yale Art Gallery for the first time in a very long time. In addition to seeing the spectacular new renovations to the museum and their expanded permanent collection, I saw the current special exhibition Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light. Viewers walk through the artist’s diagrams, sketches, and documentary photographs—this is incredibly helpful in understanding the artist’s process, and gauging how much work went into each piece. Once you have some background, you’re free to roam through the gallery and experience each beautifully composed light piece. Some of the larger pieces are so mesmerizing, it feels like you are transported into another dimension—experiencing time and space in a completely new way. Wilfred’s compositions create color combinations I never knew existed. What’s most remarkable about his body of work is that they were created before the digital age of technology, dating as far back as 1919.

I highly recommend taking a trip to the Gallery and experiencing them yourself! Lumia is open until July 23, 2017.

Spy Pup

We all know that watching Nat Geo WILD is captivating. The sheer fascination of watching animals in their natural habitat is enough to leave you gobsmacked. However, there is a new guy in town that will likely change everything. Meet Spy Pup, the robot spy dog that is built so life-like that its fellow furry friends don’t notice any difference.

The people at PBS’ Spy in the Wild put this life-like robot animal out into the wild to see if the other animals would notice anything suspicious. They didn’t, score!

Spy Pup is built only with friendly characteristics—for now—to avoid possible conflict with its real counterparts and has the movements of the real-life creatures programmed into it. They tested him out with wild dogs initially, but the real test will be using a meerkat! Take a look at the video to see the genius creator, John Nolan building these special “cute” little creatures.

Mashable compares this Spy Pup’s creepy characteristics to the robots in the recent show, Westworld. If you haven’t watched that yet, I think that should be your next stop.

He’s the Ben & Jerry’s of Greek Yogurt

Photo: Johannes Arlt

Brands and products are not created equal, and few companies put an emphasis on doing good, while making great products. Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia are two companies that demonstrate a deep sense of altruism while making great products. I’d add Hamdi Ulukaya to the list of altruistic entrepreneurs. Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant who settled in New York State in the 1990s to pursue a college education, is also the founder of Chobani yogurt. Ulukaya employs hundreds of people in his two US facilities, many of whom are refugees from settlement camps in Greece. Ulukaya—with the help of his employees—has grown this Greek yogurt business from nothing to $1.5 billion in annual sales. Not only is he the owner of Chobani, he is also the founder of the Tent Foundation. Tent was established in 2015 with the mission to help corporations that are interested in providing employment and resettlement to the displaced. At a speaking engagement last year he said “The minute a refugee has a job, that’s the minute they stop being a refugee.” This is a very powerful humanistic statement from a very successful and caring entrepreneur. Last year, Ulukaya signed a giving pledge to give away a majority of his fortune to assist refugees, proving that he is the Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of active cultures and fermented milk.

Mr. Ulukaya’s mission has not been without risk. Read David Geller’s New York Times article from October, 2016 for more on Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani, and refugee resettlement.

Hung on You

As a young rock fan in the 60s and 70s, I loved the album art as much as the music. Beyond the type and graphic design, I was intrigued by the outfits worn by The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, and other British Invasion groups, whose albums my Mom would pick up in the discount bin (anyone remember the Tremeloes?). There were bright pink military coats. T-shirts made of the Union Jack. Frilly Victorian patterned shirts. I was too young to understand the fashion influences and I never really connected the dots until last week. Apparently it was a man named Michael Rainey, who died last week at 76, who ushered in London’s swinging fashion scene of the 1960s. He opened the Hung on You store in 1965 and began combining Edwardian tops with jeans, floral chiffon shirts with striped pants, and other flamboyant outfits that formed his avant-garde and “turned customers into peacocks.” So cool—okay, groovy—to make that connection and to understand the fashion choices of my rock idols.

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

Earlier this year, it was announced that the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (funded largely by George Lucas and Mellody Hobson) is officially chartered to land in Exposition Park in downtown LA. The apropos aesthetics of the space-age museum were designed by renowned Chinese Ma Yansong of MAD Architects. The museum’s theme—narrative—will be woven through many different media within the visual arts. The museum will include lecture halls, theaters (with daily film screenings), digital classrooms, shops, restaurants, a vast library, and ample green space. And of course, the museum will house an extensive collection of Star Wars memorabilia.

The museum hopes to be a large presence in the community—and the 100 elementary through high schools in the surrounding area—by offering educational outreach programs.

The building is set to open on May 4, 2020. To learn more visit: lucasmuseum.org

There’s One Way and It’s the Right Way

As a little girl and before I could drive, I tagged along with my mother as she ran errand after errand in her Oldsmobile station wagon. My mother’s navigation was borderline pathological—no left turns! As I grew into a teen, this drove me crazy. No impulse stops EVER, unless they required a right turn. She would lecture me on the virtue of her “no left turn” strategy. In her view, it was more efficient and safer. I did not agree.

Well, as a mother myself, I now know that mothers are always right. Last week, I discovered that my mother was in fact a ”Route Optimizer.” And, she was not alone. UPS delivery trucks, for example only turn left when it is absolutely necessary. This practice saves 10 million gallons of fuel per year, not to mention a significant reduction in traffic accidents. This practice is nothing new for UPS—they have been doing it for years—even before GPS and proprietary routing software. I suppose at one time, UPS had a department full of “Route Optimizers” working around the clock to design the perfect delivery route. But I don’t need further evidence that my mother was always right to turn right.



I am one of Edgar Artis’ 400,000 followers on Instagram. His work is so incredible, I wanted to share him some more! Artis is an Armenian fashion illustrator. He uses everyday household objects and food items to create the most amazing fashion sketches of gorgeous dresses. Each and every creation will wow you. When I say everyday household objects, I am referring to items such as burnt matchsticks, spoons, butter and pomegranate seeds just to name a few. He also makes cut-outs of dresses and uses everyday scenes as the patterning or image on the dress. 

Follow him on Instagram or check out this quick story to see more of his gorgeous work.

The Biggest and Greatest Wall

Photo: Abby Lowell

Twenty-four years in the making, skier and plank-collector Pat Harmon has created the biggest and greatest wall ever—made from skis! And, it cost me and Mexico nothing.

The Harmon Ski Wall in Juneau, Alaska, began as a fence made of 20 pairs of retired skis left over from a local ski swap. Harmon’s intent was never to create a barrier. Quite the contrary—it was designed as a welcoming symbol. The wall, as it stands today, is made up of 230 pairs of skis three-stories in the air lining the highway approach to the local Juneau ski area.

In an interview with Powder magazine, Harmon was asked “Does anyone have a problem with the wall?” He admitted that some people felt that it violated the zoning restrictions for fences. Fortunately, a blogger recognized the artistic value of the ski wall and responded by saying “Yeah, well, that’s not a fence, that’s a work of art and there’s no height restriction on that.” For the locals, the ski wall provides Juneau a unique point of interest. There is nothing else like it and people from all over the world recognize this and have paid a visit. Happy couples have even documented their special day while standing with their wedding parties at the ski wall.

To find out more about this wonderful work of art, please take a minute to read this article.

Art Theorist or Physicist?

Autumn Rhythm, Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock’s paintings mirror nature’s patterns, like branching trees, snowflakes, waves—and the structure of the human eye, says University of Oregon physicist Michael Taylor. Taylor, a self-proclaimed multidisciplinary thinker and problem solver, is a physicist/painter/photographer. It is through his unusual combination of talents he has been able to view Pollock’s Abstract Expressionist paintings from an “ordered chaos” perspective.

As a profession, Taylor studies the movement of electrical currents. While studying nanoelectronics, where currents create fractal patterns—an ordered chaos—Taylor made an astounding connection between Pollack’s splattered paintings and the flow of electrical currents. After closer study, Taylor determined that Pollack’s paintings are fractal and may explain why people find them so pleasing. As a man of science, Taylor conducted a study on human responses to fractal patterns. As he suspected, humans showed a positive response to images which contained a mathematical fractal dimension. Hence, our attraction to the soothing qualities of Pollock’s paintings and nature’s beauty. Since our exposure to Pollock’s paintings cannot be a daily ritual, Taylor’s remarks and advice seem very reasonable and healthy. “We need these natural patterns to look at and we’re not getting enough of them,” said Taylor. “As we increasingly surround ourselves with straight Euclidean built environments, we risk losing our connection to the natural stress-reducer that is visual fluency. It all adds up to yet another reason to bring greenery back to cities and get outside more often.”

To find out more about nature’s patterns, fractals, and Pollock’s paintings please visit Florence William’s article in The Atlantic.

Dry Town


“It’s a dry town /
No beer, no liquor for miles around /
I’d give a nickel for a sip or two to wash me down /
Outta this dry town.”

I’m not a huge Gillian Welch fan (though, admittedly, she is a very clever lyricist), but my father-in-law is, and he came across the video for the American singer-songwriter’s latest song, “Dry Town.” Using a few plastic dolls, some anthropomorphized shot glasses and nip bottles, plus Welch’s own toy ’71 Buick, animator Rachel Blumberg (a former drummer for The Decemberists and Bright Eyes) created a delightful, humorous animation using good, old fashioned stop motion to bring Welch’s musical storytelling to life in a really clever way. So, grab yourself a drink, and have a look and listen.

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