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The Wonderful Wizard of OZ

Meet OZ. OZ lives in Milan. OZ is an illustrator who rides a tiny red bike. OZ sends postcards and likes the Beatles in India. OZ drives a Yellow Fiat. OZ reads the news upside-down while wearing stripes. OZ hates blue ink pens. OZ is a nickname for Olimpia Zagnoli Zagnoli was born in 1984 in northern Italy. 

Olimpia Zagnoli as Featured by The WalkupThis young illustrator has adopted a clear line and a retro curvature and color palette. She has exhibited her work and published her illustrations throughout Europe and the USA. Her clients include The New York Times, The New Yorker, Air France, Adidas Originals, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The Harvard Business Review. 

Olimpia Zagnoli's Clodomiro as Featured by The Walkup

Together with her father, Miro Zagnoli, a photographer, Olimpia created Clodomiro. The duo’s family-run online shop features everyday objects which appeal to their taste. Their first project is a series of fine bone china plates with erotically-inspired imagery, conceptualized in Milan and produced in Stoke-On-Trent in the UK. Care for strawberries atop a vagina? Or Adam & Even with some spaghetti?

Olimpia Zagnoli as Featured by The Walkup

Above are excerpts from Zagnoli’s Last exhibition at Galerie Michel Lagarde and the launch of the book Monsieur Horizontal & Madame Verticale written by Noémie Revah and illustrated by the artist. In 2013, she was presented the Communication Arts Award of Excellence for a series of illustrations done for Italian newspaper La Repubblica. On the bottom right, is her illustration for The New York Times Sunday Review “It’s Not Mess. It’s Creativity”. On the top left, an excerpt from Flying Marina Abramovic, 2013.

Olimpia Zagnoli as Featured by The Walkup

Top left, an illustration for La Repubblica about censorship and a zebra. Give that poor Zebra her stripes back! Far right vertical, The New Science of Mind – The New York Times Sunday Review. The notebook features sketches by OZ from the Summer of 2013.

Olimpia Zagnoli as Featured by The Walkup

Top Left, a Sunday illustration for La Repubblica about picking the right kind of information. In this instance, the right kind of information also coincides with the right kind of butterflies. Top Middle, a 100% silk scarf designed for Clodomiro. Top Right, an illustration for La Repubblica about astronomy and the dark side of the matter. Bottom left, Zagnoli herself, in the studio, getting work done! Could we steal those glasses? Bottom right, Neuroliterature, a piece for La Repubblica on how neurosciences are trying to explain the feelings activated by literature.

Olimpia Zagnoli as Featured by The Walkup

Zagnoli is part punk, part mod, and highly saturated! At the tender age of 29 she has already made a name for herself in the international graphic design scene. On the Right is her illustration Italian magazine Internazionale urging people to support record stores not just on Record Store Day. Most importantly, they have a Record Store Day in Italy! 

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Benton Park Prints Giveaway

Benton Park Prints AND The Walkup Giveaway

Being the Manhattan-centric, metropolitan girl that I am, when people say “the big city,” I always assume that they mean New York. But, alas, when in Missouri, the big city is St. Louis! Benton Park is a neighborhood in St. Louis and also happens to be home to Daniel Jones, graphic design and owner of Benton Park Prints. St. Louis is home to 7-Up, ice cream cones, iced tea, the Gateway Arch, the Delmar Loop, toasted raviolis and microbrews. See a pattern? The city seems quite proud of its food – Americans there consume more BBQ sauce per capita than anywhere else. How apropos then, that many of Benton Park Print’s creations would do well in your kitchen.

Benton Park Prints

Walkup Spacer Line

Daniel is inspired by random things all around him – he keeps an ongoing list in his iPhone of moments in his day that could be useful as a new print – there are hundreds of unfinished ideas.  The shop began when most of his jobs were for corporate websites and he felt that he was missing out on creativity. He explains, “Many of the early prints were thought up when I was driving a car to meet with clients.”

He tries to make prints that make people happy and get a little laugh.

Benton Park Prints

Get the family excited for breakfast with highly visual, simplistic morning choices. The shop carries modern takes on wafflesbacon, eggs, pancakes, coffee and more. Give your kitchen a nook straight from a fifties diner! 

Daniel always wants a print to look good in charcoal on a white background. If it does not look good in a basic state, than he believes it will not look good in any color. His framing advice is always to give prints a big matted area with at least two inches of molding.  He comically clarifies, “I like my prints looking like a tiny person laying in the middle of a king sized bed with white sheets.  The print needs to look comfy in its surroundings to draw a person in when looking at it.  It also helps the print, or message, pop when in this state.”
Benton Park Prints
I Am The Walrus. This Beatles inspired 8″x10″ would look great next to any record player or in any music room.
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An Artist’s Dwelling (6)

Roxa Smith was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela (yummy Arepas). She came to the US in her teens and attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, earning a degree in Art History and German in 1984 with a minor in Visual Arts. In 1987, she received a Graduate Certificate in the Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She now lives in and works in New York City and is represented by George Billis Gallery NY and George Billis Gallery LA.. Roxa has exhibited nationally and internationally.  Her painting focus on mostly empty interiors, wherein the remnants of a family or place remain regardless of human portraits. She is currently an English as a Second Language (ESL) Instructor at Baruch College- Continuing and Professional Studies (CAPS). Her interests include cooking, biking, traveling, education, and India. To buy some of her works and prints directly online, go HERE.

Roxa Smith, Green Couch, 36”x45” oil on canvas, 2009

Roxa Smith, Continuity, 2011, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches

Smith explains her series, Interiors, “The spaces we inhabit or visit each take on an individual character and sensibility in our minds, a memory of the time we passed there, of the company we shared. These voyeuristic paintings depict actual places, recalling their essence without seeking to faithfully recreate them. The intimate scale in this ongoing series of gouache on wood portraits, often only 5 by 7 inches, invites the viewer to enter the room, to experience the narrative quality within the quiet space, devoid of people, yet evocative and teeming with life.” Her use of light, color, shadow, and angle is extremely unique. Her images are intimate and a little lonely. Don’t you just want to dive in to the realistic depth of the painting and take up residence on her canvases?

Roxa Smith, Pillow Heaven, 30″x40″ oil on canvas, 2010

Roxa Smith, The Piano Room, 2010, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches

Roxa Smith, La Cocina Azul, 2009, oil on canvas 45 x 36 inches

“In these interiors and exteriors, I strive to capture and then distill fleeting moments in time and seek to illuminate the “spirit” of a space. The images are often devoid of people yet evocative and teeming with life, intended not to purely document a place but rather to portray its essence. I concentrate on the architectural details, source of light, and complex patterns within a composition. The isolation and juxtaposition of these elements creates a picture that is anything but a straightforward view…”, continues Smith in her motivation for another series, Interiors and Landscapes. I love the fact that her images often feature a room within a room. The art on a wall captures and directly reflects a captured moment in space, a moment that is ephemeral. This concept of magic realism reminds me of  another native South American – Argentinian, Jorge Luis Borges, who writes, “You have wakened not out of sleep, but into a prior dream, and that dream lies within another, and so on, to infinity, which is the number of grains of sand.” What is life but an image within an image, a dream within a dream? Borges believed that reality is not always based on probability, and so Smith’s paintings remind me of the weird and fanciful aspects of interiors. Sorry for the esoteric mind bend but, it just goes to show you how deeply Smith’s paintings make me think and feel.

The above paintings are equal parts traditional, eclectic, and culturally inspired. Rooms that remind me of Roxa Smith’s oeuvre, and her use of pattern, juxtaposition, and unexpected color:

Room designed by Vintage Renewal from Idledale, Co., image found HERE.

Back Bay Apartment, Boston by Nirmada Interior Design, image found HERE.
This eclectic, print-filled room from Better Homes & Gardens, HERE. 
Neon pink fridge, Latin American flair, Mosaics, and that yellow wall!  Image via Big Chill, HERE.
The two-room 40 Winks hotel in Stepney Green, London, UK. Images found HERE.
This patterned filled workspace courtesy of Absolutely Beautiful Things, HERE.
Image found via Anthropologie, HERE.
Image of Hotel Thoumieux in Paris, France found HERE.
HOW CAN I LIVE IN A FANTASTICAL AND BRIGHT ROXA SMITH PAINTING?
Shop by the Numbers: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 /
I understand that not everyone can live in such a BRIGHT and multifarious room so, like in Smith’s paintings, it is enough to just contemplate the type of people that fill a space. My mind has been attacked and invaded by color and pattern lately; I promise I will calm down the rooms in the next few posts!