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Art in Ann Arbor

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Shoot the Moon

The moon was quite bright and nearly full once again, making it perfect to capture on it's own or as part of a larger picture.

We can't wait to see what's in store tonight for the partial eclipse of the Strawberry moon. See you tonight.

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A New Attitude

How was your holiday weekend? Ours was fabulous! We've been doing some minor rehaul in the design and branding department. It has become pretty apparent that we're uber busy doing lots of things but it really comes down to two parts: art and photography (with lots of sub categories under those umbrellas). We're happy to nail down the nitty gritty of what we do and we drew it up in a slightly new design.

This will be for our updated business card later this summer, similar to the square orientation we've been using all along but with pared down text. We wanted a striking aesthetic in the first two seconds we handed them out. People don't let the fact that it's not the standard 2" x 3.5" orientation throw them off. In fact, they embrace it and give us smashing reviews.

What do you think?

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Event: Art Lecture at Ann Arbor District Library

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Ann Arbor District Library last night about the ins and outs of starting a collection and what to look for when purchasing paintings, prints and drawings.

Collecting should be an art unto itself, pieces thoughtfully chosen for their content rather than for their complementary qualities to the furniture in the room. My main points included looking at genre (style) of art, mediums, value and how to make collecting relevant for you. Attendees had great questions and seemed to have a firm grasp of the direction of the art scene. We also got to speak with a few collectors about the things they were wondering about in their home.

By the end of the evening, I was happy to share my personal collecting mantra:

Thank you, Ann Arbor District Library and Cecile for your partnership and efforts!

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Ralph 101

Ralph Williams is a retired English professor from the University of Michigan, and one of the most interesting humans I'll ever know. In winter of 2004 I took Williams English 401: The English Bible (Its Literary Aspects and Influences). It was there this young photo student watched one of the most animated lecturers alive and focused more on the logistics of a photo shoot than his studies. A few short weeks later I had chosen a venue, secured the lighting and, most importantly, scheduled Ralph Williams for the shoot.

This was before I knew much about lighting and long before I had worked with and directed many subjects. For many reasons this shoot shouldn't have taken place. But it did. And it could not have gone better. The reason for my success was that I didn't know I couldn't do what I wanted to.

There are many ideas that go to waste because people get bogged down with what they think is needed for a project. Not enough money or not enough time are such examples. Whenever I feel limited, I look at these images of Ralph Williams and remember that a broke, ambitious photo student took these pictures.

-N-

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Edward: A Working Man

Our great friend Ed is full of personality. When he asked to have a new professional head shot taken, we jumped at the chance to shoot him in his element: jacket, button up and a whole lot of panache.

Pretty dapper, wouldn't you say? So we veered a bit from the typical corporate shots but we got those too. If you need professional photos and aren't afraid to laugh and kick back, give us a holler.

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Larger-than-life: A sculpture by Tim Péwé

Saturday morning we met artist Tim Péwé at our home. He brought along a friend that he needed N to shoot.

From the cherry head to the pine appendages, Armature of a Giant was larger than life and stopped traffic. Literally.

Tim's been working in wood for the last eleven years and shows his work regionally. This particular piece will be highlighted at the upcoming exhibit titled "Creature" at The Gallery Project in Ann Arbor and is available for purchase. We can't wait to see it at the opening and see people's reactions. Thank you, Tim for sharing your exceptional sculpture with us!

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Ramen, Tako and Kara-Age: Photo shoot at Tomukun

Tomukun Noodle Bar is one of the most popular restaurants in town and for good reason. With their diverse menu of Asian specialties such as pork buns, pho and green curry udon, it was hard to focus on shooting without gobbling all of it down. The owners, Noe, Tom and Victor were on hand making sure that their food was represented in the best light (no pun intended). We brought our equipment set up and got started right away, capturing some spontaneous shots in the front kitchen.

And an unusually quiet moment in the dining room.

We got warmed up with a few apps.

Then came the main acts.

We had a blast shooting. Thank you, Tomukun, for a successful and high-energy shoot. Make sure you check out their menu and their selection of Asian beers and sake. See you there!

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Crafted Caffeine: The Espresso Bar

We had the pleasure of meeting Sandy and Foster, the owners of a new local espresso bar, aptly named The Espresso Bar, in the last couple days. My first experience there was a heavenly affogato, a delicious espresso topped with a dallop of Zingerman's gelato. But all of their drinks are carefully crafted with keen attention to the details. There's no rushing the experience here. And believe us, you wouldn't want to.

From the deliberate temperature of the steamed milk (if done properly, it lends a sweetness with no need for sugar) to the thoughtful designs of the froth, a visit to The Espresso Bar is to be savored.

If you're at Kerrytown, cross the street over to Braun Court and treat yourself. Thank you, Sandy and Foster. We'll be back soon!

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Delicious Photography

Just a quick one today on a much loved aspect of our business for many reasons - food photos. We can't always eat what's stuck with toothpicks, sprayed or been sitting out for hours. But we do love scrumptious looking results. Food photography is an entire genre unlike product or editorial. Each crumb has its place and each noodle has to sit pretty. And we get to shoot some more very soon.

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Exploring: Ross Art Collection

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan (known as Ross) is an impressive institution for many reasons. In 2004, a $100 million contribution was made by Mr. Ross and included with the new building came the promise of an expansive art collection. Over 250 works line the halls including two larger-than-life metal horse sculptures by Deborah Butterfield in the lobby. We had walked by and peeked at the Butterfields many times but we finally made a concerted effort with our great friend, Chris Johnson, owner of Johnsonese Brokerage a couple weeks ago. We were engaged by the breadth of mediums from photography to sculpture to prints. Here are some highlights.*

Reserve at least two hours to find treasures on every floor. If you love visiting the UM Museum of Art, you'll certainly appreciate the contemporary collection at Ross.

*These were taken with a point + shoot.

-Y-

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Digital Drawing: A Modern Alphabet

A lot of people have asked me how I create my drawings digitally so today I'm going to give you a quick tour of how it's done. I have to preface this by saying that I love drawing with pencil and paper (nothing compares to it) especially when you're doing life drawings of nudes and still life. That said, the mouse has become a great tool for illustrating the concepts I have in my mind in a hyper-realist way that prints in rich, saturated colors, lending a quality of manufactured perfection that I adore in fashion magazines. But it's a process like everything else and while changes are a "click of a mouse" away, sometimes it's more laborious than traditional drawing. For most projects I use Adobe Illustrator and sometimes Adobe Photoshop. Both are integral to our company's success and everyday function. My latest project sparked from our obsession with mid-century furniture and objects. We're heavily into everyday objects of that era and earlier. I couldn't get over my need to illustrate the shapes and lines of some of my favorite pieces so I started drawing the Diamond chair by Harry Bertoia (1915-1978), an icon of Modern era pieces. With its curved chrome rods contouring to the body and guiding the eyes back and forth, it's the perfect marriage of form and function. The idea of illustrating struck immediately as I saw the finished chair (second from the top left, in place of the "B").

Once a piece or designer comes to mind that I want to recreate, I bring in a digital photo to help me shape the outline.

I literally use the mouse and "draw" with it on the mousepad.

With a computer, instead of using an eraser (although there's one of those too), I click to straighten, curve or reposition each line segment individually. Above, I'm fixing the angle of a line that I drew previously. (I think this takes longer than drawing with a pencil)!

I'm making final adjustments so that all letters and furniture pieces are balanced using the graph and ruler tools. I think this project took me about twenty hours to create.

The final poster is printed on heavyweight archival photographic paper with professional grade inks. It's 18 x 12 inches and I'm incredibly  proud of this limited edition run of 50. I can't wait to get one framed and hang it in our home too! If you're in the area, we'll be offering the poster (A Modern Alphabet, $65) along with other custom works at our opening at June Moon Furniture on May 3rd. I'll be on hand signing prints and giving advice on framing, hanging, collecting and more!

-Y-

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