Tag Archives: people

Happy Birthday Andy’s Soups!

Warhol's Soup Cans

Andy Warhol is definitely an icon of popular culture – after all, he and his artist contemporaries spawned the era of pop art in the 1960’s. He redefined the nature of art, specifically painting, and became an icon who would be celebrated and revisted generations later. Today, at contemporary art auctions, Warhol’s works still fetch hefty price tags and are sought out by collectors worldwide.

Portrait of Andy Warhol

Image via Fireplace Chats

Pop art was revolutionary in that it brought the contemporary reality of the 1960’s to the forefront and made it the subject of art. It was, in a way, a representation of what real life was like, and not an idealized picture conjured from imagination.

Warhol’s art was profoundly influenced by his experience of reality. He didn’t want to escape it, and instead put it on the canvas, repeating the images as if to mimic the notions of what it meant to live life the way he experienced it.

The paintings, which are part of the Museum of Modern Art’s collection, are usually displayed stacked covering an entire wall. The first time they were exhibited at Ferus Gallery however, Warhol lined them in single file, as if they were sitting on the supermarket shelves.

Soup cans on exhibit

Image via The 60's at 50

Today the cans are an almost ubiquitous symbol of popular counterculture and can be seen on any imaginable type of merchandise.

Campbell's Tomato Soup as Pendant

Image via Ephemeraology

Campbell's canvas tote

Image via Privatewerken

Campbell's soup tee

Image via The Masked Gorilla

Campbell's Andy Warhol 50th Anniversary Cans

Via Hypebest

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the soup paintings, Target released limited-edition cans featuring labels designed to mimic Warhol’s iconic screenprinting technique. This wasn’t the first time they’d done it – another run of cans was previously produced in 2006.

Image via IDS News

Needless to say, Warhol’s fame has exceeded his predicted 15-minute run, and from the looks of it, it will be safe to assume that it will continue to stretch on for a while more.


Posted in Culture, Design | Tagged , ,

Lea Salonga’s Roles

Lea Salonga with George Takei. Image from Allegiance - A New Musical's Facebook Page

How can you follow George Takei (which I do) and not know about Allegiance – A New Musical? What makes it even more exciting is that it also stars Telly Leung, who is one of my fave Warblers on the TV musical Glee, and Lea Salonga of whom I have been a fan for as long as I can remember.

Three of the cast members of Allegiance: Telly Leung, Lea Salonga, George Takei. Image from Allegiance - A New Musical's Facebook page.

Image via Lea Salonga's Facebook page

Lea Salonga is a Filipino singer and actor who started her career in showbusiness when she was a little girl, recording hit songs, appearing in television shows, commercials, movies, and stage musicals in the Philippines, all the while doing really well in school and getting into the pre-med program in the best university in the country. She had it all, and did it all. She was my idol. I wanted to be her, especially when she got to perform and hobnob with Ricky Martin back when he was still a gangly member of the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo (swoon!). And this was before she achieved phenomenal success in West End and Broadway, getting all those roles and awards, and providing voice for Disney princesses.

Lea as a teenager, with the boys of Menudo. That's Ricky Martin she's holding on to.

Lea’s voice is a finely honed instrument that makes such a beautiful, sweet, and clear sound. And she uses it how she wills; she can load it with whatever emotion or character the role demands.

So anyway, there I was, watching her perform a song from Allegiance on YouTube, when I saw all those other related videos. Before I knew it, I got sucked into a full-blown Lea Salonga retrospective.  It reminded me why I was such a big fan, and still am. It was such an awesome trip, that I’m doing it again, and taking you, dear readers, with me.

Lea as Kei Kimura in Allegiance

First up, the video that got the ball rolling. Here are Lea and Telly performing “Gaman”, a song from Allegiance — A New Musical.

Lea as a Little Girl

This was one’s a classic, and one of her earliest recordings.

Lea as Kim in Miss Saigon

Here’s a video that follows her journey from her audition to snippets from the rehearsals. She was only seventeen when she auditioned. She went on to play the lead role, and won the Laurence Olivier award, and eventually a Tony when Miss Saigon came to Broadway.

Lea as Fantine in Les Miserables

Notice that she was holding a Les Mis playbill during her Miss Saigon audition? It is amazing how it foreshadowed that she would get to play Fantine in the musical, and Eponine too.

Lea as a Disney Princess

Lea provided the singing voice of my favorite Disney Princess, Mulan. She also sang Princess Jasmine’s songs in Aladdin.

Lea as Bride

I just had to throw this in here. I normally find it really corny when people sing some sappy love song during their own weddings. But this is Lea Salonga after all.


Posted in Culture | Tagged , ,

Yayoi Kusama Retrospective
Whitney Museum of Art, NYC


Image by Renee Alfonso

This past weekend I had the opportunity to see the retrospective exhibition of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. The exhibit traveled from the Tate Museum in the UK, which curated and organized the show. It is on display now and will run until the end of September this year.

Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc. Via Whitney Museum.

Kusama might very well be Japan’s foremost and most prominent contemporary artist. Her career took off in the 1960’s parallel to modern movements in Western art, and she boasts being contemporaries with the likes of Andy Warhol and Donald Judd. While many people around the world might know Warhol and Judd, there will certainly be a number of people who might be encountering Kusama for the first time during this show.

Photograph by Tom Powel, courtesy Whitney Museum

This is not surprising, considering that Kusama’ entire life and career seems to have been affected and literally dotted with her struggles. She came from a conservative, traditional Japanese family, that looked down on her creativity and shunned her desire to make art. As a woman, she was definitely considered as minority in her homeland– as well as in the United States of the 1960’s. As she struggled to promote her art overseas, her Asian heritage set her apart from the rest of her western contemporaries.

These struggles however are what enrich her art and give it a unique voice unlike any other. Her art allows you to take a glimpse into her mind, and showcases how it copes with the challenges it encounters. Each of her pieces is a rich composition that combines experience, imagination, and environment.

Image courtesy Whitney Museum via Huffington Post

As an art history student I was introduced to Kusama’s work from a very specific period in her career, beginning with her breakthrough in the 1960’s. It was a rare opportunity to see her development as an artist as well as the struggles she encountered in order for her unique perspective and voice to be recognized.

Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio, Inc. via Huffington Post

What makes Kusama so unique is that she constantly, innately challenges boundaries, and these ideas and concepts all come from her fantastic imagination. She says in a documentary about her work, “I painted patterns from day to night. As I painted I suddenly would see the patterns spill out of the canvas and into the surrounding spaces. This is how I became an environmental artist.”

Photo by Jason Schmidt, courtesy Whitney Museum

I unfortunately didn’t get the chance to see the famed Fireflies on the Water piece, one of Kusama’s immersive environmental pieces. Thankfully though the piece is on display longer than the exhibition as it is in the Whitney’s permanent collection, so I think I will definitely make an effort to go back and try to see it before it is put away again.


Posted in Culture | Tagged , , ,

Extremes in TV Cooking Competitions

The kids competing in Junior MasterChef Australia

Contestants in Junior Masterchef Australia Season 2. Image via Star World.

I’m a sucker for cooking shows.

I remember tuning in to this Chinese cooking show when I was a little girl, and how I loved the clatter, the sizzle, the knifes flashing at kung fu speed, though I understood not a word. Even then, cooking shows fascinated me — watching people cook, in general, fascinate me. Cooking to me is magic, and seeing it happen gave me endless thrills.

The cooking show genre has its own heartthrobs and bombshells, as evidenced by hotties such as Rocco and Curtis, Giada and Nigella. (I did write about hottie chefs before.) Add a little reality, a little competition, and you’ve got a sub-genre that can be totally addictive! There’s Iron Chef (Japan and America), MasterChef, Top Chef, The Next Food Network Star, Throwdown with Bobby Flay… and a whole slew of others.

But there are two that I’ve been watching the past couple of weekends that I feel stand at either end of the cooking competition gamut. At one extreme is the high adrenaline action-suspense-thriller type, Hell’s Kitchen, and at the other end is Junior MasterChef — a cotton candy sweet, children’s-educational type of show.

Hell’s Kitchen (USA)

This show is definitely not for the faint-hearted. I get headaches and get palpitations from this one. It’s like watching 24 sometimes. Tough-talking, potty-mouthed Chef Gordon Ramsay is as in-your-face as it gets, and the contestants take their cue from that and project their own versions of it — whether they have the skills and talents to back it up or not. There’s lots of cursing and swearing, lots of fast-paced action, and lots of alliances that fall apart as fast as they’re made. It’s a vicious, dog-eat-dog, throw each other under the bus kind of environment. And some foodies get a kick out of that.

Chef Ramsay

Image via Star World

Junior MasterChef (Australia)

This one is the antithesis of Hell’s Kitchen. Junior MasterChef Australia is comparatively laid back and relaxed. And where rage, tension, and terror reign supreme in Hell’s Kitchen, in this show from down under, it’s all about friendship, inspiration, positivity, and really adorable and talented kids! Everybody’s really, really nice! The judges are just as critical, but much less harsh. The contestants are sweet and supportive to each other, but no less competitive. It’s all sunshine and rainbows, but in its own way, it’s just as entertaining as the doom and damnation of Hell’s Kitchen.

Greta from Season 2

For more on kiddie cooks, check out Midori’s post about Kids in the Kitchen.


Posted in Food | Tagged , ,

Greentea Design On The Steven And Chris Show

What a way to kick off the New Year!  We are so excited to announce that Greentea Design will be featured on the popular lifestyle and design series The Steven and Chris Show!

7 Foot Red Asymmetrical Shelf

Today’s episode features Greentea pieces, like the Red Asymmetrical Shelf pictured, styled following Feng Shui principles that are believed to augment the good energy of your home. Red itself is auspicious, symbolizing happiness, and is a good colour to use for attracting fortune.

Greentea Design's Feng Shui Compass

Learn more as the talented Laura Morris shows you how to follow some simple guidelines.  The New Year is the perfect time to give our homes a facelift by simply shifting our current pieces, and if good fortune follows – what a great bonus!

Style and design gurus Steven and Chris have been making design accessible to a huge audience for twenty years now hosting several design shows to international acclaim, airing in over 80 countries.   Additionally they’ve published their book Designer Guys: Finding Your Personal Style and now have their own home décor line.  Their current popular series, syndicated across Canada and the US is a lifestyle show focusing on everything from interior design to entertaining and cooking.

Tune in today at 2pm on CBC in Canada and we will be sure to include video highlights soon!

Big Happy New Year to all from everyone here at Greentea Design and The Design Tree!  We hope 2012 will be truly magical for you.