Monday, November 24, 2014

Featuring Artist Julia Tema Contacessi

Introducing artist Julia Tema Contacessi and her fine works of abstract expressionism. Please enjoy our interview and the art she has presented in this article. I think that you will find it as inspiring and mesmerizing as I do!


Julia, tell us about your early years and your beginnings in the world of art and creativity.

When I was about 3 years old my mother joined a playgroup with other mothers that had toddler age children.  The structure for the playgroup was a craft or art project, snack and playtime. When craft time was over the norm was that all the children ran over for snack, except me. It was known by all that I wanted to keep working on my project, and so I did. I think this is the best way to describe my approach to art and creativity. I love it, am focused on it, and can be perfectly content to do it all the time.

Are you a self-taught artist or where did you take art courses?

I got my BFA in 2000 after 4 years of study at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. At the time my focus was on graphic design, illustration and photography. After graduating, I went on to work as a designer and eventually a Creative Director, all the while painting for myself. It wasn't until just about 15 months ago that I left my full-time job in marketing to pursue painting full-time. I have never looked back!

Changing Winds

Were you encouraged to pursue your dreams and did you have a mentor or artists who inspired you?

I am very lucky. I have two very supportive parents that encouraged me to pursue my dreams — whatever they may be.

So many artists inspire me. My very first inspiration was my mother. She is an artist, designer and teacher and encouraged my creativity in all forms & mediums. Helen Frankenthaler is another. Her belief that there is “no formula” and the artist should “let the picture lead you where it must go,” are principles that I embrace.

I was lucky enough to study under Charles Goslin for 2 years at Pratt. He was a wealth of wisdom and I translated much of his advice into action, not only in art but life. I think this quote from Goslin helps to sum up much of his philosophy, “You can help heal a world full of hurt and violence, with the beauty and grace it so desperately needs.”

 The fabulous work of art by Julia makes this area of a room sing!

How does painting make you feel? How would you describe your artistic style?

Some days creating can be a battle, but then there is that moment when I layer on the paint just right — so that it dances in time and space. The canvas yields to my will, and I know I’ve just begun to capture something meaningful. That‘s when I have to catch my breath. It’s fascinating and wonderful, while at the same time, a struggle. That’s why I paint. My style is single-minded and focused on the simplicity of beauty in the moment. My goal is to drown out the noise and clutter to find a sense of calm. The end result is clean, fresh and modern.

Waking Dreams

What else inspires your works of art? Do you work plein aire, from photographs, or from the images in your own mind?

Color, usually from organic elements in nature, is a huge inspiration of mine.  I often obsess over color palettes, which I plan well in advance of any paint hitting the canvas. Also finding beauty in the contrasting nature of things, for example rough gritty texture layered with glossy metallic.

And although I carefully plan out my color palette, I let my paintings’ composition; lines and structure develop and evolve as I work. Not working from photos or images in my head, but instead building upon the canvas before me. Sometimes the hardest part is laying down the first brush stroke. 

Where can our readers find your works of art and do you have any upcoming exhibits?

My work is sold in the following design shops and galleries:
In addition to the above locations, you can see all of my work on my site There you can sign-up for the mailing list to get a sneak peak at the latest work, plus updates on events and promotions.

Julia Tema Contacessi

Finally what words of wisdom would you impart to the aspiring artist of any age?

Do what you love, and tell everyone about it. If you want to do your art as a living, don’t be shy about it and don’t keep it a secret. Surround yourself with like-minded creatives and help one another to succeed in your goals. Peers are  just as important as mentors.

Julia thank you so much for this enlightening interview. Your passion for your art shows so beautifully! 

Dear readers, a work of original fine art is the perfect gift for couples to give one another, or to acquire for oneself at the Holidays. Please do consider art at the top of your Gift List!

Thank you to my Friends, Family and Followers who continue to support The Arts

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Lastly leave a comment as they truly make my day!

The Arts by Karena

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thomas Fuchs Creative Collections and P & G's The Children's Safe Drinking Water Initiative

When I read this description on Thomas' Biography and saw his neo-classical works I knew that this is a designer that  I had to feature at The Arts by Karena! 

"Art—in all of its infinite forms—is the catalyst for what Thomas Fuchs does. He’s a furniture designer, creator of stunning Venetian glass, an avid painter…and so much more. Art—is his passion. And that passion passes on through his work." 

Please enjoy our conversation and getting to know more about Thomas .

1)     Thomas, did you know from an early age that you were interested in being creative and the arts?  

        It was never a conscious thought.  I wish it was because then I could have stopped it and became a lawyer or banker.   Only kidding, I knew there was something in me pulling me but never put a name or function to it, I just always needed to create.

The fabulous Bollicine Chandelier

2) Would you tell our readers a bit about your background leading up to Thomas Fuchs Creative and Otium, your Lighting and Accessories Company? 

I was very fortunate to attend the Corcoran School of Art in WashingtonD.C. as well as the Art Student League and the National Academy of Design in New York City.

During my studies, I interned at C. G. Sloan, an auction house in Washington D.C., (this opportunity is an incredible education for a designer) after my graduation they hired me full time in the furniture department.  From there I went onto join Butterfield and Butterfield in San Francisco as an appraiser. After a few years, one of my client asked if I would move to LA to create a line of furniture, which I did.  I spent a few years in in Los Angeles but I got homesick for NYC. 

Lucky for me this happen to coincide with John Hutton, the Creative Director of Donghia requesting me to move back to New York and work with him.  Once back, John suggested we start working in glass, so they sent me to Italy where I worked closely with the factories to create our first collection.  When Donghia was eventually sold, I thought it would be a good time to leave and start my own lighting company, Otium.  That was a little over 10 years ago.   

The Disco Volante Candle Holder, Murano glass and 24 carat Gold Leaf 

3) Is travel one of your passions; I understand you spend a lot of time in MuranoItaly to oversee the art glass production. Where else do your travels take you?  

Travel is a big part of my life, both personally and professionally.  I always seem to fit factory visits in anywhere I go in the world especially if there is a glass factory within a 100 miles to where I am.  Being in a factory and working with the artisans is one of the best ways to learn about a culture, its beliefs, work mentality, etc.  My partner and I just returned from Africa which I love, I have been there a few times, in fact we visited 3 glass factories there, as well as the game parks and we “adopted” a couple of elephants in the sense that we made a donation to the game park.

The Lion Chandelier

4)   What inspired the new Butterfly Barware Collection which is making its debut at Saks Fifth Avenue this fall?  

I love the artistry of the precious and semi precious stone inlay done in India.  I thought a butterfly wing would lend itself to this craftsmanship.  I also tried to make the collection a little dark in spirit in that a butterfly spends so much time in the process of becoming a butterfly and then is only one for a short while.  But it is hard for people to see a butterfly as a dark subject matter.

The Butterfly Collection debuting at Saks Fifth Avenue this Fall

5) Who are some other artists and designers that you admire?  

Albert Hadley was not only a visionary I admired, I was also able to develop a friendship with him from a very early age.  I also love the kinetic energy a Calder sculpture creates and the realness of the texture Giacometti used in his work.   There are many, many more inspirations as well.

6) I was very excited to hear about your Foxware Glass Collection in the water wave pattern in collaboration with Proctor and Gamble.  Would you describe how this is going to benefit children in need?  When will this glassware be available to purchase and where? 

This collaboration is to benefit Proctor and Gamble's CSDW (Children's Safe Drinking Water) sustainability program. Clean water is the biggest commodity in the world. Enabling and supporting P&G's program by donation of funds through selling of these glasses will mean people will be able to get the kits to clean the water. This means women and children will not have to walk to wells daily freeing them time wise to be able to go to school.
Wave Glassware by Fuchs to benefit Children in need is in partnership with Proctor & Gamble. Every set of four glasses sold will bring $5 for the CSDW Program. Foxware is an artisanal home goods company  owned by Fuchs and creative collaborator Michou Mahtani. 

This special designed glassware will be available in Spring of 2015.  Please visit at that time and make a purchase to assist in this great endeavor.
The Glassware Thomas created for P&G

Thomas at the Hotshop (Glassmakers Studio)

Fuchs first approached Proctor & Gamble about their Children's Safe Drinking Water Initiative after  seeing how a small packet of powder developed by P & G scientists  could transform even the dirtiest drinking water into pure water within minutes. It removes parasites and arsenic, while destroying common waterborne bacteria  and viruses.

Please do take some time to peruse Thomas's websites, Otium and Thomas Fuchs Creative. Enlarge the images so that you can see the incredible details of his works.

Much appreciation to Gwen Toline of GHT Communications for sharing this information about Thomas Fuchs and his artistry.

Thank you to my many friends and Followers who support The Arts!

The Arts by Karena

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Roxanne Lowit Photographs Yves Saint Laurent

  Book Cover Courtesy Thames and Hudson
All additional images ©Roxanne Lowit. Courtesy of Roxanne Lowit.
Forward by Pierre Berge'

The new release by Thames and Hudson of Roxanne Lowit Photographs Yves Saint Laurent tells the story of this iconic fashion designer, through the magical images of Miss Roxanne Lowit's innovative photography. She had a cherished quarter of a  century friendship with Saint Laurent. They met, along with Andy Warhol in 1978 atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 

Lowit was the first to photograph from behind the runway and capture the oh so  stunning backstage scenes of his couture collections and did so until the presentation of his very last collection in 2002.

YSL Opium Perfume Party 1978, Alya Chin

When the Metropolitan Museum of Art unveiled a retrospective of his work; honoring for the very first time a living designer, Roxanne recorded it through her lens as Saint Laurent's official photographer.

Vogue Paris 88' copy 1988, Catherine Deneuve

This fabulous book of high couture fashion includes contributions by Catherine Deneuve, Jerry Hall, Grace Jones, Paloma Picasso, Lucie de la Falaise and more.

Models_head_scarves Ready-to wear Spring 1981. Truly works of art!

YSL New York, 1983

Lowit seemed to appear out of nowhere, surprising  Saint Laurent, and presenting him with this cardboard replica of The Empire State Building as he was getting ready to board a flight to New York City in 1983 to present his collection for the first time in America.

1993_New Haute couture Spring 1993, Shalom Harlow

This luxe book is filled with glorious images of Saint Laurent's chic fashion designs, many being his mystical visions of the exotic and of color filled palettes. He was a master at imparting an intriguing, vibrant story through every new collection.

'85 Haute Couture Fall 1985 

Pink Ruffles Haute Couture Paris Spring 1993, Sonia Cole

Comment after comment reveals the charm of Saint Laurent. He was a quiet, gentle, fun-loving man. During the preparations for his fashion shows he always took the time to put jewels and accessories on his models; making last minute adjustments before sending them down the runway!

The most famous, glamorous and celebrities around the world who wore his designs felt a close affinity to this man, unlike no other, as he personally designed  their ensembles. His influence will be felt forever in the world of Haute Couture.

Jerry Hall, 1995 

Thames and Hudson provided me with the publicity copy of Roxanne Lowit Photographs Yves Saint Laurent. You can purchase this fabulously photographed and wonderfully enlightening book  about this master of creations for your fashion design library at Amazon or your local book seller.

Thank you to my Friends, Family  and Followers who support The Arts.

Please do leave a comment as they make my day!

The Arts by Karena

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Panache Chocolatier and Cafe on the Country Club Plaza

Last week I attended a reception at the newly renovated Panache Chocolatier and Cafe on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. The new owners Julie House and Erica Ismert have created a beautifully classic decor for their premier establishment.

For thirty five years Panache has been locally owned and the only chocolatier on the County Club Plaza. This fall in addition to the highest quality of artisanal chocolates, the new cafe is offering specialty drinks and specialty desserts; adding new European cafe items to enhance the experience of a respite at this fine locale. 

Always renowned for their Corporate Gifting, the owners and staff offer a very personalized experience that brings clients back time and time again.

They can create your company logo and offer a variety of truly artistic presentations. They also have the ability to ship nationally as well as offer local courier service.

The shop is a wonderful venue to reserve for hosting Meetings and Conferences, Office Parties and Events, Wedding Showers and more.

Some perennial favorites are the much desired Signature Turtles, variety of Chocolate Truffles, Choco-Poppo, Choco Flakes, Chocolate covered Oreo, and much much more; so many treats you will not find elsewhere.

Order online as well at Panache Chocolatier.  They are located at 418 Nichols Road, Kansas City Missouri on the Country Club Plaza. Telephone at 816-931-3191. The Panache staff will give you premier service and an unforgettable experience!

Thank you to my Friends and Followers who support The Arts.

Please do leave a comment as they make my day!

The Arts by Karena

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