The Rainbow Connection

It is amazing to see how color can enhance your day. Several ancient religions used to employ chromotherapy, or the healing effects of color. More recently, scientists have developed color mood theory and color psychology. The hues can affect our disposition, appetite, self-esteem, and spirituality. For example, blue represents peace, tranquility, stability and confidence. Black fills one with feelings of sophistication, mystery and depth. Green is soothing, youthful, and associated with fertility. But, in general, the human eye is (supposedly) most attracted to red.

But let’s get real, why choose only ONE color when you can have ALL the colors?

Image by Furbish Studio, found HERE.

Images by Roche Bobois Interior Design, HERE.

Image via The Selby, HERE.

Also in honor of Roy G. Biv’s mood influences, there is a new and exciting project going on worldwide called the “Let’s Colour Project”. Imagine the planet as a giant coloring book. Before we color in the pages with magic markers, crayons, or colored pencils, they are empty and grey…rather drab. Well, the Let’s Colour Project sees the world as a coloring book yet to be filled in! They say, “Grey is out. Gloom is gone. It’s time to live our lives in colour.”

Images courtesy of the Let’s Colour Project, HERE

The project, started in March 2010 in cooperation with Dulux house paints, and is working together with local communities, across the globe, and rolling up its sleeves to paint streets, hotels, houses, schools, villas, and squares. More than simply gentrification and renovation, the “Let’s Colour Project” aims to encourage local participation and collaboration. It wants denizens of a town to design and style their own communities! So far London, UK; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jodhpur, India; and Marseille, Lyon, France; Sapron, Hungary; Casablanca, Morocco, and Paris, France have been colored in!  If you’re far and away from the aforementioned locales, do not fret, anyone can get involved! It doesn’t matter if it’s your bedroom wall or your local school. Everyone can be part of it. Read more about the “Let’s Colour Project“. So far 229,875 liters of paint have been donated to the cause!

Images courtesy of the Let’s Colour ProjectHERE
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Call a Spade a Spade

When I was younger, one of my absolute favorite books was called “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”. It outlines two children who take up residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Claudia Kincaid is almost twelve, a straight “A” student, only girl and eldest child of four, who decides to run away to somewhere beautiful, comfortable, and preferably indoors. She brings her brother Jamie along and they use the public restrooms by day and snuggle up to their favorite statues by night. I have always imagined sneaking into a museum and living amongst the tapestries and tea gardens!

Certain stores also fill me with a sense of yearning – to sleep in the confines of a small boutique, covered in fashion, design, and beauty! Case in Point: Kate Spade, replete with floral walls, microphones hanging from the ceiling, faux tour posters, drum kits, matchboxes, colored extension cords, and rococo ottomans! (The best part? You can buy much of the interior decor HERE, even down to the wallpaper used in-store.) Kate Spade’s new motto is “Live Colorfully”. The Spade aesthetic relies on bright, bold, and geometric shapes. Color is always accented with black. Punky meets Preppy!

(Images photographed by me, except for the Kate Spade catalogue design cover and Signature Spade pattern, done by 2×4.)

A sketch of the Kate Spade store on Fifth Avenue in NYC by Caitlin McGauley – who also designs some stationery and iPhone cases for the brand.

Kate Brosnahan Spade (born Katherine Noel Brosnahan; December 24, 1962) is the namesake designer of the brand Kate Spade. Although most known her for her boxy handbags, bow accents, and bright stationery, Spade has won numerous awards for her bedding and linens, as well as interior design. Kate’s interior designer, Steven Sclaroff, mixes his own style with Kate and Andy’s finds. Andy is Kate’s college sweetheart, they first decided to move in together while she was working at Mademoiselle. Andy is David Spade’s brother, but also a designer, advertiser, and publisher! They are long toted as one of the most creative power couples of the 20th century.

Let’s take a gander at the couple’s fabulous and timeless NYC Apartment:

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Three Ring Circus

In the words of David Bowie, “Life’s a Circus / It’s not fair / Life is a hard road/ When you’re not there / At the fair”.  In all honesty, I don’t really know to what he’s referring, but life sometimes does get downright comical, confusing, freakish, and entertaining (all qualities of the circus). Sometimes life even smells like caramel corn, cotton candy, and peanuts. Life should never be taken too seriously, and clowns, whether satirically acting out a gag, taking a pie to a face, or pretending to be forlorn, remind us to laugh . A clown always plays the fool for us –  how nice of them.

Antonio Donghi, Circus (Circo equestre), 1927, Oil on canvas, 150 x 100 cm, Gerolamo and Roberta Etro, Milan. Some say that Donghi, although employed at the time by the Fascist government, drew this painting as a scathing caricature and a slight act of rebellion.

The Fratellini Family was a famous European circus family in the late 1900s and 1920s. Their famed performance in Paris, Montmartre, France, after World War I at Cirque Medrano was so successful that it sparked a strong resurgence of interest in the circus.  Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the post-impressionist French painter often frequented that very circus. The famous clowning family used their shows to attract Paris’s Intellectual Elite and leftist idealists. Their father, Gustavo Fratellini (1842–1905), was an Italian patriot rebel who took part in the unification of Italy.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, “In the Circus Fernando The Ringmaster” (aka “Cirque Fernando: The Equestrienne”), oil, 1887-88 (Art Institute of Chicago)

Fratellini Brothers, both in and out of costume. Images from Wikipedia Commons and Here and Here.

Joan Miro, PEINTURE (PERSONNAGES: LES FRÈRES FRATELLINI), 1927The Fratellini Brothers, Oil on canvas, 130 x 97.5 cm, Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

Kees Maks, Three clowns: the Fratellini brothers in the cirque Médrano, Paris, The Fratellini brothers (depicted in this lot from left to right Paul, François and Albert) were a famous clown act in Paris from 1902 to 1924 in the cirque Médrano. Maks depicted the popular trio on many occasions.

Believe it or not, my Uncle Don is actually a clown. He can make a quarter disappear behind your ear, a giraffe from a balloon, and a Queen of Hearts appear from a deck (guessed correctly). His stage name is “Stinky” and he performs with his brother who goes by “Finky”. They dress in a style of clown costume called The Tramp or The Hobo. Whereas most clowning inventions hail from France, The Tramp and Hobo clown type is truly a North America creation. James McIntyre and Tom Heath are credited with the creation of the tramp clown characterization in 1874. The history of clowning itself dates back to the days of the Egyptian Pharaohs wherein the role of clown (or jester) was also considered as high advisor and sometimes priest. To become a full fledged clown, academies exist that will train amateurs in the art of Auguste, White Face (grotesque, neat, European), Harlequin, Rodeo, and Tramp. When a clown performs, his act is referred to as his framework. It was not until my uncle joined the Shrine Circus that I realized circus clowns have a rich academic history. A clown has always played a major part in social histories as a respite from wars, depressions, and the hardships of daily life. Austrian- born, American sociologist, Peter Burger, writes in his book Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience that “It seems plausible that folly and fools, like religion and magic, meet some deeply rooted needs in human society”.  The clown also plays an important part in the history of vaudeville, physical comedy, and acting techniques.

So how does the melancholy, mystery, humor, and colorful behavior of clowns translate into a room?

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