I recently attended the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Los Angeles. It was my first time attending this event, and my first time watching a polo match. The temperatures were pushing 90 on this very hot October day. In an attempt to stay cool, attendees were huddled under a sea of orange Veuve Clicquot umbrella’s as far as the eye could see. We tried our best to purchase one, but they’d quickly sold out. Thank goodness for the complimentary orange fans and the faintest summer breeze.
As the day unfolded, I began to glimpse familiar visions of moments I’d seen before in museums, namely impressionist paintings. It’s so odd to feel as if you’re living inside a painting, experiencing some sort of art deja vu. Impressionist paintings were inspired by everyday life, so why not this day? It was beautiful in every direction: polo ponies, orange umbrella’s, beautifully dressed people wearing the latest trends. To be honest, it was more fun watching the guests jockeying for photos ops at the branded photo stations, then it was actually watching the polo match.
However, as everyone stood for the National Anthem, I was both proud and humbled. I was also reminded of George Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte. The beautifully groomed jockeys on manicured polo ponies reminded me of Edgar Degas’s Racehorses. And when a sea of women took to the field at half time to stomp the divots… and of course take a few selfies, I was reminded of Claude Monet’s Woman with a Parasol. It’s amazing how much life changes, and yet stays the same. Maybe we all dream the same dream. To see. To be seen. To make a difference. And to look absolutely fantastic while we do it.
Halloween in Hancock Park is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. If you’re not familiar with Hancock Park, and neighboring Windsor Square, it’s because it’s one of LA’s best kept secrets.
The affluent neighborhood was founded in the early 1920’s by developer – philanthropist George Allan Hancock, and includes roughly 1200 homes. The homes tend to be architecturally significant, sitting on palatial lots, frequently with guest homes and pools tucked behind them. And when it comes to Halloween, these magnificent homes are frequently decorated to the nines. Why? Because trick or treaters come flocking to these homes by the thousands… and I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen it first hand year after year.
The magic starts at sundown, with the youngest goblins strolling in. As the moon rises in the night sky, the streets get more and more crowded. The lines outside each home can be 50 to 100 deep, with zombie cheerleaders, biker babies and little mermaids filling their bags with some of the best candy south of Melrose avenue. One of my clients who lives in the neighborhood told me he spends on average of $500 a year, or more, on candy. With numbers like that, maybe I should be donning a mask and making the rounds too… kidding. Seriously tho, It’s so much fun to see so many happy faces making the rounds, awed by the Disney-esk mansions. Maybe someday when they’re older, they’ll come to truly appreciate theses grand Mediterranean and Spanish Revival homes for their architecture… but for now, it’s all about the Candy.
I LOVED the recent art exhibition of Michael Muller and Sage Vaughn. I’ve been aware of Sage’s paintings for years, but I’ve never had the opportunity to see his work in person. This recent exhibit featured Vaughn’s painting over the photographic images of Michael Muller. Most images were 48″ x 60″ and some as large as 60″ x 90″, ranging in price from $16,000 – $22,000. I was elated to see so many red sold dots on the pieces.
Over the last decade Sage has had multiple solo shows, from New York to London to Germany and Geneva. There have also been several group exhibitions from Los Angeles to London, San Francisco to Belgium… it’s safe to say, Sage is everywhere. I wish I would have known about his work a decade ago, as it might have been a bit more affordable. But that’s what drives prices up: the international solo shows and a list of top notch collectors.
As an artist, I’ve been very enamored by Sage’s use of the Butterfly, combined with his drip paint technique. Below you can view a YouTube mural making video that I created in 2014 inspired directly by his paintings. I have no idea if he’s ever seen my work, but I do hope that he would be flattered and not offended by my interpretation of his beautiful fine art.
Here’s some inspiration for your Halloween table ensemble, with an upscale vibe. I’ve been collecting gorgeous goodies for years, and it’s so fun to pull them out and mix and match them.
I started with a black brocade table cloth made from two yards of fabric from International Silks and Woolens at 8347 Beverly Blvd, LA, Ca. 90048. Next up I used a vintage Silver Tray from my mother’s estate, dating from the early 1970’s. I love this vintage tray and use if for all of my parties. It also makes a great serving tray for bottles of wine, or chilled bottles of sparking water.
I picked up the rectangular vase at GM floral for about $20, and filled it with roses from Trader Joes, cropping the stems to about 3 inches. On the foreground of the tray are two Skull Christmas ornaments by Kurt Adler, each retailing for $15. I also used 3 vintage Art Deco tumblers filled with tea lights from Ikea. And lastly on the tray are black sparkly butterflies also from GM Floral.
For a little height on the table I used two skull candle sticks by DL & Co., each about $90, with gold candlesticks from Target. I also used two Reed and Barton Martini glasses to serve colorful M&M’s and Candy Corn. Two other items on the table that I absolutely love, include a Versace wine decanter with frosted medallions and a smashing bowl by Alessi known as the Cactus Bowl. I frequently use this bowl as a fruit bowl, however, with colorfully wrapped candy, it adds so much sparkle to the table (about $120). The glass votives on the table I picked up at Marshall’s or TJMaxx for about $2 each.
The secret to this successful ensemble was mixing and matching items of the same color, either chrome or silver. By doing this, it allows all of the colors from the candies and flowers on the table to totally pop. Some items are certainly more upscale and expensive than others, but it’s the art of mixing and matching that make this Artful Living at its best.
The 79th Annual Chinatown Moon Festival was a happy accident for me. I’d recently gone to LA’s Chinatown to do a little research on Chinoiserie Architecture, when I noticed that many of the buildings were trimmed in neon. I can only imagine how much work it must have taken to do that, so I promised myself I’d come back the following Saturday right after work, so that I could see the neon at dusk. Well, when I arrived there were signs and banners everywhere for a festival. I asked the parking attendant ‘what festival’? The Moon Festival he exclaimed. Ugh, I thought. So many people everywhere… maybe I’ll come back another day. I’m so glad that I decided to stay.
As the evening progressed, it got more and more enchanting. Children were everywhere laughing and screaming, throwing confetti into the air. There were performers on stage including a contortionist. Food trucks were parked along an alley way, so I dove into a rice and raw salmon burrito wrapped in a paper thin shell. Overall I spent nearly nearly 2 hours at the festival, soaking in the pure joy of it.
Have you ever heard of the book The Artist Way? It helps people get in touch with their creativity, and one of their exercises is to have an ‘artist date night’ with yourself. Well, the annual Moon Festival turned out to be my artist date night. There’s something so wonderful about being a silent observer, letting an evening evolve as it may. After I left the festival, I took the long route home through downtown LA, via Broadway. I finally saw the iconic Bradbury Building at 304 S. Broadway, an 1893 landmark with a skylit atrium. Next up was the recently restored Eastern Columbia Building at 849 S. Broadway. It’s a smashing 39 story blue terra-cotta structure that looks absolutely divine at night. I literally was stopped at the light and looked over and voila! There it was.
Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying then getting lost in your hometown, all by yourself. No rushing from place to place, just enjoying whatever pops up in front of you, letting the evening unfold. If you haven’t done this lately, I highly recommend it. You just never know what you might discover in your own city, or more importantly, about yourself.