The Forgotten Charm of the Barbershop Occupation Mugs

Have you ever wondered why barbershops used to have their own personal mugs? It turns out that, in the 19th century, barbershops offered customers their very own mugs not just for a hot beverage, but to house a client’s soap and brush – to help prevent anything contagious being passed around between clients. Even more, these mugs were often personalised with the customer’s name or even an image that represented their occupation. And the most ornate and occupational mugs could cost them as much as a full day’s worth of wages! Today, these mugs are highly sought after by collectors, with some fetching thousands of dollars at auction. Read full article here

The Clean Room

In Richard Fleischer’s 1966 film “Fantastic Voyage,” the crew of the Proteus shrinks down to microscopic size and embarks on a mission to save a scientist. This film was a fascinating cultural hybrid of postwar American cinema and science. Its optimistic vision of a future where travel through both outer and inner space would be commonplace still resonates today. However, modern medical media often lack the artful creativity of Fleischer’s vision. An interesting exception is the growing sub-genre of online surgery, where laparoscopic broadcasts reveal a neo-psychedelic tumult, such as in the film “Foreign Body in the Rectum.” This film tempts viewers to bring contemporary questions about social practice and sexual identity to an otherwise abstract visual image. Read full article here

The Unnecessary Is the Only Thing Necessary in Art

In the current cultural climate, there is a strange focus on what is ‘necessary’ in fiction, such as sex scenes or violence. However, the ‘unnecessary’ parts of art are often the most enjoyable and meaningful. Art is our last space for us to explore, indulge and expand ourselves. Therefore, it is essential to not focus on what is necessary, but rather to appreciate the beauty and captivating nature of art. Read full article here

Why Do Kids Hate Music Lessons?

Bob Rafelson’s 1970 film Five Easy Pieces shows us how Bobby Dupea turned away from a promising career as a concert pianist to live life as an itinerant labourer. This is reflective of the experience of many children who take music lessons, where the emphasis on technical proficiency and memorization often leave little room for improvisation and imagination. Shinichi Suzuki’s method, which is now taught to 250,000 students in 74 countries, emphasises practice over anything else, beginning with “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and ending with Mozart’s Violin Concerto no. 4 in D Major. Read full article here

The best designers are artists

Designers are not all artists, but the best ones are. These talented individuals are able to infuse art into their work, allowing them to create something unique and special. This art is their secret weapon, as it is what sets their designs apart and makes them stand out. It is the little bit of meaning they inject into their work, and the personal feelings, experiences, character, and taste they infuse into their designs that make them so special. Read full article here

Why are so many African art fairs dominated by non-African dealers?

The seventh edition of Art X Lagos, which took place earlier this month, has highlighted an important conversation within the Black African art community: who is actually benefiting from the booming market for African art? While Black African experiences are finally being shared through an authentic lens, it’s often non-Black owned galleries and staff leading the charge and dominating the representation of Black artists. It’s clear that more needs to be done to ensure that galleries are committed to their African artists long-term, and to ensure diversity not only in terms of the artists shown, but also among the galleries showing them. Read full article here

I believe everyone can draw. Here’s a new way to start.

It may come as a surprise, but you can unlock your inner artist by simply finding your unique drawing scale. This was the case for one person, who, after being told she “couldn’t draw” by someone important, believed it and gave up on her dreams of making maps and graphics. However, 10 years later, she found a newfound appreciation for her art when she started doodling on a budget list during a News meeting. She discovered she could produce perfect drawings of tiny objects, and soon enough, these small sketches developed into more than 1000 painted illustrations. Read full article here

The Story of the Three Bears

British poet Robert Southey first wrote The Story of the Three Bears in 1837, before Goldilocks and the Three Bears became popular. The original protagonist was a nasty old woman; Joseph Cundall renamed her Silver-Hair in 1850 before Flora Annie Steele changed her to Goldilocks. According to literary critic Christopher Booker, however, it’s Goldilocks who’s the villain, not the bears. Perhaps it is time to revisit our childhood stories with a new lens. Read full article here

Jordan Peele Exists In A Space Of His Own

When was the last time you watched a movie solely because of the director? Jordan Peele, with his unique vision and style, is an anomaly in contemporary Hollywood. You can announce a movie with as little information as possible and still generate massive interest if you tack his name on the project. Take “Nope”, an upcoming film hyped up despite its sparse trailer. It showed the cast, the setting, and nothing else… until the 50-second mark, which revealed that it was being filmed by Jordan Peele. Read full article here

The Uncertain Future Of Glassblowing

Murano, Italy, has a rich history of glassblowing that spans 700 centuries and counting. However, it is in very real danger because of rising gas prices, made worse by the Russo-Ukrainian war. Part of the measures Murano’s glassblowers are taking to curb their gas bills is to cut down on the number of furnaces they use. While it’s worked out for them so far, their creativity is crippled in the process; for example, they can only use a limited number of colours for their pieces. Read full article here


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