Wednesday, 13 July 2011

As American as Apple Pie

I'm now back from enjoying the 40 degrees heat of the Sunshine State (Florida) and well rested for what should be a busy couple of months ahead (fingers crossed).  

One of the many highlights of my trip was visiting the Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg where the largest collection of his work, outside Italy, resides - a collection belonging to the Morse family who spent over 25 years buying the artist's work.  Dali passed away in 1989 and one of the most revolutionary things about his art was that it was limitless, his thoughts had no boundaries and were often inspired by dreams - full of hidden messages and symbolism which gives you an insight of what was going on in his mind.  He was both an artist and businessman as he sold most of his work and made sure he could reap the awards whilst he was still living.  

Take a look at some of my favourites below:

Gala contemplating the Mediterrananean Sea which at twenty metres becomes a portrait of Abraham 1976 
A long title for this piece which shows the figure of Gala (Dali's wife) looking out of the window with the sun in the scene showing a symbolic image of Christ from one of Dali's previous paintings.  At a distance this scene morphs into an image of Abraham Lincoln - this piece is often compared to Andy Warhol's iconic images of faces made up of dots but is in fact a representation of pixels on newspaper print. 

Portrait of my dead brother 1963
Dali's younger brother died from meningitis months before his 2nd birthday.  All his life Dali felt he was the living shadow of his younger brother who shared the same name, this remained with him psychologically throughout his life and was often illustrated through his work. This piece is filled with symbolism - the head turns into a crow symbolising death, the dots making up the face are cherries which he often used to represent his brother, the war scene at the bottom is a reference to another artist's work appreciated by Dali.

The Hallucinegenic Torreador 1968
One of my favourite pieces - the entire scene is set in a bullfighting ring.  Filled with metaphors Dali's work is often described as an iceberg where most people only touch the surface of his hidden messages.  The figures of Venus on the right are draped in spanish flag coloured cloth, the upper left is an image of Dali's wife Gala (a dominant subject throughout his work), the series of dots on the bottom left draws attention to the dying bulls head, the figure of Venus is represented 27 times - Dali was inspired by an image of Venus he saw on a box of pencils on a recent visit to New York before creating this.

I could go on describing more highlights from my trip here but instead I thought I'd debut my photography where I've experimented with an SLR to try and capture my time away.  The photography focuses on commercialisation, nature and some great 'typically american' scenes.  

Enjoy xoxo

St Petersburg
Dali inspired bench in the grounds of the museum

Idyllic grounds of Downtown Disney
Outside the Lego store
Iconic school bus
Coca-cola - one of the most striking and recognisable liveries.

Retro disused gas stations provide the perfect feature for this bar 

Alligators are protected species in Florida and they are present in most lakes across the state

Local country singer who performs every weekend - you guessed it, he's Glenn

Lake Wales airboat taking you to the tip of the Everglades

10 month old alligator - they can grow up to 13 feet

Florida's most northern point before the Everglades 

It's interesting how many people from different states travel across America to come to Florida - I captured as many different state registration plates to reflect this and love how each state represents something.

Friday, 1 July 2011

The journey not just the destination...

It's been a while since my last post mainly because I've been busy in the world of advertising whilst also working on my website (I realise I keep mentioning this in my posts but Tubberfly Vintage will be going live in July).  

I have recently been reading Kelly Cutrone's first book 'If you have to cry, go outside', it was given to me for my 27th birthday a few weeks back and I haven't been able to put it down.  Since watching both The Hills and The City (yes the semi-scripted US reality TV shows) Kelly's been somewhat of an idol of mine - she's honest, confident, direct and ruthless - I'm not saying I mirror these qualities but I think these traits are definitely important.  It became more apparent from reading this book and also looking at successful businesses, brands and  people around me that success is not defined by the destination but rather the journey you take to reach your goals (I realise I sound philosophical here but it's quite simple really).

After reading her book and recently taking a flight out to the US (giving a more literal meaning to my post) this notion stuck with me as I explored some of my favourite iconic brands and people, especially how their ongoing journey has defined there success by evolving with the world around them.  

Levi's was one of the first advertising campaigns I learnt about (I was about 12 years old) I always remember how well it captured the american dream especially with their TV ads.   

1950's America - Hardwearing for the hardworking

1970's - Celebrating rock 'n roll

2009 - American summer dream

 Levi's 501 TV ad 1986 

One of the most iconic British brands...

1824 Cadbury's early packaging

1900 cocoa as currency promotion

Cadbury's 2009 'eyebrow' ad costing £3.7million - another visionary piece even after the iconic Gorilla advert

It's hard to not mention Madonna who's arguably gone through the most iconic metamorphic journey with music and fashion that stars are trying to compete with decades afterwards...

Aged around 8 or 9 here
Her famous Material Girl phase which is still recognised in popular music history
Her 'rebellious' era and the crop comeback - check out this vintage tee!!
Vogue suddenly has a brand new meaning.  

 Secret 2006 - One of my favourite Madonna tunes

Happy reading and I'll make sure I don't leave it too long til my next post.