San Francisco: Street Art, July 2014

SF_07_123-sm[above] This was one of my favorite works of street art, directly across from a Blue Bottle Coffee outpost on a tiny Hays Valley alley that reminded us a lot of Tokyo.

SF_07_231-smSF_07_024-smSF_07_193-smSF_07_101-smFrom the bus

SF_07_102-smFrom the bus: colorful wall enlivens a low-income neighborhood

fence-art Mission-FamCntr

SF_07_096-smMaybe not technically street art, but architecture-art…


Art Galleries of Austin

Earlier this spring we bought a family membership to the modern art gallery in town, now rebranded as The Contemporary Austin. Its central campus, Laguna Gloria, is one of our favorite places in the city and reminds us of Villa Balbianello on Lake Como, Italy.  We take as many people as we can to visit its lush gardens and Italianate villa.







SLR-03_722-smWalking through this garden is a bit like stepping into a Rousseau painting.

The following photos were taken at The Contemporary’s downtown location.



SXSW Diary: Day 3

“If you’ve already bumped into James Franco while eating something with salsa on it and somehow have a fully charged phone, you’re doing this right.”

Sunday was another exciting day in Austin. We started with some Rainey Street sight-seeing and Blackberry testing. Ate some freezies, even though it was really too cold for freezies. We chased down the TaskRabbit van for some Amy’s Ice Cream. Still too cold for ice cream. Back to the house for some lunch and rest because directly after church we’d be heading to a very exciting Design Throwndown hosted by PointRoll. In this party, designers from the USA, Australia and France battled it out on a stage to tell the story of a banished Pluto returning to the Milky Way Galaxy through design and illustration. And all this to the soundtrack to some very cool DJs called RAC. I know, it sounds wacky, but it was really fun. But, a little cold. We were underdressed and longed for hot drinks and a fireplace.

On our way home, we crossed through the Republic Park (3rd/Guadalupe) and stumbled upon some cool interactive art installations. I hope they’ll be here all week.

Ice Cream

Design ThrowDown




[vimeo 61548889]

Design Battle

[vimeo 61548890]


Barcelona: art, design and dance

a gallery room in Vincon

Being a capital of European design, I (Amanda) had mapped several stores and galleries for us to visit. One is the fabulous Vinçon, an home-depot sized emporium of high-end home objects. The kitchen section alone comprised of 8 or 9 aisles. Upstairs is where the larger furniture lives, the 19th century details (mosaic-tiled flooring, crown molding). I could have just lived there. It was a perfect mix of user-friendly modern design set in traditional architecture. It’s nice to have the showroom set up like an actual flowing floorplan so you can see how everything integrates together. Graeme and my wheels were spinning. Is it possible to ship abroad?

the hockey player

Barcelona is full of interesting architecture, but we simply did not have enough time or energy to explore everything we could have. The city reminds me of a slightly more dirty and modern Paris. Architecture in Art Nouveau style and details unfound anywhere in Europe. Modern face-lifts and completely new projects all across the city.

One cool thing is the street lamps. Gaudi designed many of these himself.

Museo Picasso

Picasso actually spent much of his life here and much of his work is housed in this location. We got a little lost trying to locate it as with most things in the Old City are off a tiny, winding beaten path. We then got in trouble for trying to enter the line the wrong way. Once inside, I visited the bathrooms (always fun to see in museums and shops).We weren’t permitted to photograph inside, but trust me when I say it is one of the most impressive (architecturally) renovated museums. You can take a virtual tour on their website. It’s like modern castle with Andalusian details.  They’ve done a fantastic job matching the narrative of his life and journey with his work with several videos showing overlays of works he was inspired by and how he interpreted them in his experimental styles.


What would a visit to Spain be without a flamenco show! Graeme believed our dancer to be a flamenco history professor by day and Captain Intensity Flamenco dancer by night. The musicians were brilliant and the show was a lot of fun.