Rapid Reviews: street art, fashionistas & aphrodesign

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Street art, fashion and design – just part of the extensive collection of visual arts books available at the Tauranga City Library to open your eyes to what is, what was and what could be.

Photo0350carla zampatti 50 years of fashion:,Harper Collins Publishers,Australia 2015                   This is a large and heavy book and an acknowledgement of the creativity of Carla Zampatti and her contribution to the Australian fashion industry.

you read Vogue” squeaked a young lawyer as I deposited my thickly iced chocolate cake on the table of their office as my morning tea contribution. As post-war child I was brought up to cook and make jam and sew my own clothes. As a teenager I was given that portion of “the family benefit” attributable to my anti-social existence and I created an entire winter wardrobe, including a pair of black kid wrist length buttoned gloves. I adored fashion . Any Vogue Marie Claire or Harper’s Bazaar I’ve acquired over the years is the bottom layer of the shelving in my family room. And Carla Zampatti – she was a style icon. Simple, sophisticated, sleek European designs from that cosmopolitan drawcard “Australia”. Last trip a month or two ago I found a Carla Zampatti shop in a Queensland mall. Enduring, classic chic.

The family of Carla Zampatti are now the second generation engaged in “the business” Daughter Bianca Spender has a design role with other children involved in aspects of management.

This would be a great book to have around over this Christmas-New Year period if (as often happens) the New Zealand Christmas weather forgets it’s summer. The images are beautiful and for those of you of my generation a review of one aspect of antipodean style. For my children and grandchildren – look at this.

Photo0349Hippie Chic, Lauren D. Whitley, MFA Publications, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2013                The collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, include more than 45,000 examples of textile and fashion arts, ranging from ancient Egyptian to contemporary and drawing on cultures around the globe. These objects, found at the confluence of art and utility, offer an intriguing way to explore a society’s tastes, traditions and aspirations.” A highly coloured, multi-images book giving just a taste of the internationally influenced “counter-culture” clothing of the late 1960’s and 1970s. You’re wearing it now; find out where it came from. And take a look at the vibrantly patterned vehicle: the precursor of today’s patterned and painted holiday vans?

Photo0348The Art of British Rock: 50 Years of Rock Posters, Flyers and Handbills, Francis Lincoln Limited, London 2010              “In every local music scene – from almost any era since 1966 – visual artists have been part of the scene. Local bands hire their friends from art school, to make their posters, handbills, badges, picture sleeves and adverts. It all springs from the same source. Music and the graphic arts complement, and in many ways, need each other.” Dennis Loren

More than just pictures and posters – it’s a historical insight. Cold glass of wine sit in the shade and look over these vibrant and evocative images.

Street Art Contemporary Prints Rikki Kuittinen, V&A Publishing, London 2010                      Our built environment is increasingly covered with images. Sprayed Stencils, stickers, paintings and doodles are everywhere embellishing the city. Graffiti has evolved into a rich and democratic visual expression that we now call “street art”   Mount Maunganui has just concluded its first street art festival.  We’ve an article in the queue with some images of the great work being done there and The ARTbopSHOW could possibly do a walthrough of the finished works.. There are street art and “graffiti” events in other New Zealand centres. We’ve also reviewed a catalogue of Melbourne Street art. Here this uncontrolled equivalent of the Katikati mural trail has become a specific tourist feature and I suspect the same thing is going to happen in at “the Mount”.

Photo0351REMIX, Decorating with Culture, Objects, and Soul, Jeanine Hays & Bryan Mason founders of AphroChic, Photographs by Patrick Cline, Potter Style, US, 2013                    It wasn’t till I got this home and had a read that I discovered this is a book by African-Americans – from Afrocentric to Aphrochic. :Ethnic culture and modern design are not mutually exclusive ideas. In fact, they are even better together”. Perhaps because of the presence of Maori and Pacifica art, clothing, style all around me, particularly in South Auckland, and the multi-cultural extended family I was part of, I’ve taken for granted the inclusion of multi-cultural creativity. For me this book is another delightful look into urban middle class life-styles. Yes the family photos are of “black” people and there are some affirmative action prints “Stay black and stay proud” but if this book confirms anything at all it is the eventual homogeneity of international urban style. I wondered if less successful and decorative black families would read this book in the same way I peer into the pages of bookworthy homes anywhere and hordes watch “houseporn”* I think they would. It also provides a huge contrast to the bling, bling, mega-money lifestyles of supposedly media-worthy. It’s a nice book and worth a look.

(*”houseporn” a phrase from the lips of Bryan Bruce at his late talk at the Wesley Centre about child poverty and inequality in NZ).

photo0414_001Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

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