City Design Itineraries: Chicago and San Francisco

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Whenever I visit a new city, I tend to approach my itinerary with design in mind — What are the city’s most beautifully designed hotels, restaurants, and attractions? Where can I shop for art and design-centric items? For those travelers who do the same, I’ve created a few weekend itineraries for Paste, starting with Chicago and San Francisco. Stay tuned for more city guides.

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Herb Parker.

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I talked to installation artist and sculptor Herb Parker about dumpster diving, his studio space, and his strangest discoveries.

An excerpt: “In the late ’80s, I was working as a day laborer tearing down an old warehouse with a sledgehammer. I punched a hole through a wall, looked in, and saw hundreds of figures of adults and children hanging from the roof. It was a surreal moment, beautiful and eerie. They were old plaster mannequins from the ’40s or ’50s. I saved a truckload, but the others were destroyed with the building.”

You can read the full profile in Charleston Magazine.

Sign Language.

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For this week’s City Paper cover story, I tracked down some of Charleston’s old-school sign painters. This was no easy task, because many of the painters have retired.

Created by a small and informal guild of specialty artists, these signs represent an art form that’s slowly fading away as its practitioners settle into retirement. Business was better for them years ago when hand-painted signs dominated the streetscape, but these days they’re in the minority — and they’re becoming increasingly rare. Most modern businesses opt for cheaper and easier vinyl lettering and digital printing, but there are still a few painters who work to keep the old methods alive. And they hope to pass their skills on to a new generation when they finally do hang up their paintbrushes.

You can read the full story here.

(P.S. The article was inspired by this highly recommended book/documentary.)

Karen Ann Myers.

ImageI got a chance to interview one of my favorite Charleston artists in her home studio last week. Karen Ann Myers is known for her intimate paintings of women in their bedrooms (though actually, they’re in Karen’s bedroom). A bit about her process:

In the right-brain-dominated art world, she’s a bit of an anomaly. The self-professed control freak doesn’t like to draw. Instead, she meticulously plans out every piece on her computer, pulling from a digital archive of photographs and images she’s collected over the years. “Every time I start a painting, I look through my collection of photographs that I have taken of rugs, photographs of bedding, wherever,” she says, pointing out a chair in one painting that she spotted in an Athens hotel room. “That’s my version of a sketchbook … I’m the weird person in a restaurant saying, oooh, this chair’s really awesome, and getting up and photographing it from an aerial perspective.”

Here’s a link to the full article.