YOUR input here. By prose or by verse, please write a caption for our newest Shutter INK photo. (Photo: K. Cecchini)
Tonight at Dawn just reached its 1st year anniversary and 200th article on Sunday (2.22: “Tonight at Noon“). To celebrate, we are presenting our largest (& favorite) milestones from the last 365 days. Thanks for taking the ride and stay with us as we evolve!
Tonight at Dawn: Favorite Posts by the Month
February: TaD’s 1st live coverage “The Man Behind the Curtain: Covering the VH1 Superbowl Blitz”
March: Japanese rainbows “Shinjuku, Block no. 2 (新宿二丁目)”
April: Live wire Lews Black Rants On: 7 Pieces of Advice
May: Get educated The Nigerian School Project
May (Indecision!) Montclair Film Festival Series
June: What’s threatening our democracy? Justice Reform Series
July: International collaboration Economy Decoded: Kesariya Baalam, Padharo Mhare des!
August: Give me the RED Light…District
September: Eco-tacular Meeting the 1st female prime minister of Ireland at NYC’s Climate March
September: (Indecisions, again!): Meeting Senator Cory Booker
October: Music reviews from @kraltunes make our stats POP! Pearl Jam (& my favorite @kraltunes piece)
November: The doctor is in! One of Dr. Nina’s “What you to need to know…”
December: ART! Margeaux Walter Has Got Heart (or a FAMNIG HJÄRTA)
January: “One small step for (wo)man” Peeing in the Shower (& Other Eco-Friendly Moves I’m Not Ready For)
February: Armchair activism via John Oliver: #Jeff We Can! #Jeff We Can! #Jeff We Can!
What’s next for TaD? More of everything! More @kraltunes, travel, Dr. Nina, live event coverage and real, current social and environmental issues. The next interview piece will be a sobering but hopeful conversation with a TED Talks speaker.
Introduction and Interview by K. Cecchini
After my husband and I purchased our condo, we were hard pressed to find affordable furniture made of, as silly as it may sound, real solid wood. Why? Simply because we wanted pieces that we would not need to replace in a dozen years or so (or less).
After unsuccessfully scouring used venues for furniture to resurface and almost giving in to buying an engineered board living room set, I finally found Campion Table Company’s Etsy store and we have since populated our space with 7 pieces of furniture that Campion has designed or adapted to fit our needs.
Kevin Treanor -now Campion’s sole owner-is local, responsive, honest and, most importantly, a quality craftsman; we are truly pleased with our tables, nightstands and entryway bench. As we have been extremely satisfied with his work, I wanted to highlight Kevin’s work with an interview post.
Tonight at Dawn (TaD): How did you develop your interest and skills in woodworking?
Kevin: My father is a carpenter by trade so it is something that I have been around for as long as I can remember. My father’s workshop is located at my childhood home and I was always rooting around his shop as a kid. Those early experiences were definitely the leading factor for my interest today.
Growing up, there was always scraps of wood lying around and I just started working on small projects for myself, learning as I went along through trial and error. Luckily my father was always there to provide guidance and feedback, so I was able to get an understanding of the basics of woodworking.
The real way you develop and improve skills, however, is by doing the work itself. I started off making simple things like shelves, keepsake boxes and picture frames, and each successive project drew from skills I developed from my previous projects. I started using different tools for different applications, becoming more precise and advanced in my work as I put in more hours of practice.
Once you become confident in specific skills and applications, it really opens a lot of doors in terms of designing furniture because you can get a good sense of how hard to push the limits and what you can take from a sketch to a tangible object. I’m still working to grow and hone my skills today to continually broaden my capabilities.
TaD: Where does your name, Campion, come from?
Kevin: Campion is actually the name of my freshman year dormitory at Fairfield University. After graduating in 2012, I made several coffee tables for friends who were moving into new apartments. I decided I would start a small side project making and selling furniture to people on Etsy and the first piece that I promoted was a coffee table. At the time, I was living with two roommates who also lived in Campion Hall with me and we decided to go in together. Since we were just making tables at the time and all had a connection to Campion Hall, we decided on Campion Table Company.
This is an exciting time for me because I see a change in the furniture industry where customers are becoming more and more interested in buying custom furniture with a unique style as opposed to reproduction furniture from big-box stores that was commonplace a few years ago.
Both of my previous partners have since moved away to pursue other career goals and since I don’t actually specifically specialize in tables, I am currently considering a few new company names that I feel better match my direction and brand identity as a furniture designer. This is an exciting time for me because I see a change in the furniture industry where customers are becoming more and more interested in buying custom furniture with a unique style as opposed to reproduction furniture from big-box stores that was commonplace a few years ago. Designs and consumer preferences are constantly evolving but the quality of handmade furniture is hard to match on a broad scale, so I am working on ways to align my company name with specialized, high-end custom furniture.
TaD: How and where do you source your materials?
Kevin: I source almost all of the wood I use from a local lumber yard in White Plains, NY. They have a great selection of wood so I can generally find whatever I need from them. Like any lumber yard, they let you pick out the specific boards you want, which is very important because it lets you have full control over what the piece will look like.
For materials besides lumber, I use a combination of a few other places. My father’s workshop is down the street from a local hardware store, which is great for finishing supplies and is really handy for basic hardware. I like to give them the business when I can seeing as they are a local, small business like mine.
Sometimes, however, they don’t have very specialized things I may need so, in those circumstances, I use Rockler and Woodcraft, who both have anything and everything to do with woodworking.
TaD: Being that the tables we commissioned were built by you within a short drive of my home, it’s obviously fair trade construction and Eco-friendly because it was locally made and transported. Is there anything else within your process, from sourcing materials through to delivery, that can be considered fair trade or Eco-friendly?
Kevin: As previously mentioned, I source all my lumber locally and I use sustainable wood species, primarily Ash, Maple and Fir. I avoid using plywoods and veneers, which contain volatile glues and adhesives, and whenever possible, I prefer to use natural finishes such as raw tung oil or boiled linseed oil. These sustainable materials are much better for the environment than their man-made counterparts but also give each piece an authentic, natural feeling. To me, it’s a win-win.
These sustainable materials are much better for the environment than their man-made counterparts but also give each piece an authentic, natural feeling. To me, it’s a win-win.
A vast majority of the furniture that people buy from big-box stores such as IKEA, Target, and even higher-end places like Pottery Barn, contain a surprisingly small amount of solid wood in their furniture. For the most part, they rely on engineered materials, such as MDF, covered with a thin layer of wood veneer. This is great for keeping costs down for the consumer but is unnatural to a degree and undermines the craft of woodworking to a large extent.
As I noted above, however, I think the average consumer is beginning to trend more towards natural wood products and begin to shy away from low-quality imitation furniture. There will always be a place for furniture that looks nice and is on the cheaper side, but I take pride in fully handcrafting each piece from solid wood and feel that it is a much better, sustainable market.
There will always be a place for furniture that looks nice and is on the cheaper side, but I take pride in fully handcrafting each piece from solid wood and feel that it is a much better, sustainable market.
Text by K. Cecchini
Come As You Are: Art of the 1990’s
Montclair Art Museum (MAM): Now-May 17, 2015
If Pearl Jam, Wu Tang and, of course, Nirvana, are now considered classics, then I suppose the nineties is now ripe for retrospect. Alexandra Schwartz takes on the decade through art created between the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and 9/11 (2001). As Montclair Art Museum’s first contemporary art curator, Schwartz brings the prestige of debuting an exhibit to the New Jersey suburb that is not only ambitious in its scope but is also hailed as the “first major historical survey of art of the 1990’s”.
Come as You Are
Graduating from high school in 1997, the nineties was my coming-of-age period. I was seeking out my identity while steeped in the decade’s “sense of melancholy and loss” as described on the placard for Elizabeth Peyton’s elegy painting of Nirvana’s Kirk Cobain.
Now, steeped in nostalgia as a thirty-something, I was excited to examine the art of my era at MAM Member’s Preview on Saturday night. Having confronted the culture through other media at the time, it felt as if it was rounding out my own appreciation for the decade Schwartz refers to as “watershed” while perusing the pieces.
Borrowing its name from the Nirvana’s 1991 hit, Come as You Are is divided chronologically into 3 sections that each wrestle with love and angst on three fronts; the politics of identify, globalization and the digital revolution. Ultimately, the exhibit provides insight into how artists were reflecting and reacting to the social, political and economic upheavals at the wrap of the millennium.
Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be…
Come doused in mud, soaked in bleach, as I want you to be
As a trend, as a friend as an old memoria, memoria, memoria…”
Partly because I was a teenager seeking out my own identify during the nineties and partly because I was hyperaware of friends and other contemporaries struggling with identities inherently outside the mainstream, I was particularly fascinated by this thread in the exhibit.
For instance, Catherine Opie’s early nineties’ photographs documented figures who asserted their countercultural identity through body piercings and tattoos before body art became more ubiquitous and less “alternative”.
Although, “alternative” was a cultural notion that was prized in lifestyle and music and represented in style, it became commercially popularized and repackaged. Whether focused on the alternative styles of the era or other stereotypes, some of the curated artwork provokes typecasts.
A dominating piece, Lockhart’s large-scale chromogenic print features a young man standing before a window that reflects his high-rise hotel room and overlooks an urban landscape that lacks any indication of place; his generic surroundings appear to simultaneously echo and contrast his ‘alternative’ grunge style.
Appropriately, in this photo from the opening, the bean bag sitting area in front of Alex Bag’s video is layered in a reflection on the photo frame’s glass. In it, the artist assumes various typified roles reflective of her recent experience in art school that with a nod to the “‘head and shoulders, confessional shots'” that was infused into the emerging reality television genre.
Furtheirng the push back on conventions, Nikki S. Lee not only defied perceptions based on physical appearance but extended the conversation to more hardened stereotypes. In her late nineties self-portraits, the Korean-American artist costumed herself to match a variety of American typecasts including a pierced and dyed punk, a bikini-topped Latina and a white trash women under a Dixie flag. “By morphing through these disparate identities, Lee examines issues of gender, race, and class, while demonstrating the arbitrariness of these stereotypes.”
Given the dialogue and smart phone photographs around it, was Mendi + Keith Obadike’s “Blackness for Sale”, may have been the most popular piece of the night. Among one of the first viral phenomenon on the internet, Obadike infused a provocative conversation starter on racism into Ebay’s digital, global marketplace. Within the “Products Description,” the seller guarantees a Certificate of Authenticity and provides pointed “Benefits”: i.e.
7. This Blackness may be used for securing the right to use the terms ‘sista’, ‘brotha’, or ‘nigga’ in reference to black people. (Be sure to have certificate of authenticity on hand when using option 7).” and “Warnings” such as “1. The Seller does not recommend that this Blackness be used during legal proceedings of any sort.”
Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend, as an old enemy
Take your time, hurry up, the choice is yours, don’t be late…
Of course, I may be biased, but this is a fascinating retrospective. Come for the art, come for the history or come for the bean bags chairs…
Text by K. Cecchini/Images by Margeaux Walter
Do commercial objects act as props in our life stories or are we Becoming them? Margeaux Walter continues an exploration of our relationship with the commercial world via an interactive public art project in Queens and her solo exhibit at Chelsea’s Winston Watcher Gallery.
“Keep Calm & Get Jiggy”
14×48’s latest billboard by Margeaux Walter: Greenpoint Ave & 46th Street, Queens, NY
Tweet your Keep Calm message #keepcalm14x48
First conceived of as World War II propaganda, the “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters encapsulated the British crown and the stolid personality of his subjects.
Seventy-five years later the slogan has been appropriated with fill-in-the-blank varieties ad nauseam for advertising campaigns, T-shirts, mugs and a myriad of memes on social media. Each version purports everything from self-empowerment to a celebration of the utterly mundane.
So what did Ms. Walter do?
By way of 14×48.org, she bombarded a Sunnyside, Queens billboard with an image that crams layers of ‘Keep Calm’ slogans. Its composition reflects the slogan’s wear and tear; the photograph is literally littered with ‘Keep Calm’ bills pasted over more tattered bills and a pasted photograph of a figure that lies in relief under them as if suffering death by the chaos of calm.
Some of the posters Ms. Walters designed for her photograph include these fill-in-the-blank messages: “…Test On,” “…Blog On” and my favorite, “Follow the White Rabbit”.
It is particularly apropos that 14×48.org repurposed the vacant ad space into her canvas as Ms. Walter is interested in sparking conversations about how advertising language infiltrates our interpersonal communications. With this constant barrage from the advertising world, we are constantly perceiving ad information on a subconscious level and, as is the aim of advertising, the messages pervades our lives at every level.
To further engage the community in the dialogue, people are invited to tweet their own ‘Keep Calm” slogans to #keepcalm14x48; the adapted slogans are printed on postcards that are to be available across the street at Ave Coffee House for the duration of the display.
Ultimately, the artist hopes people will not only be able to “see how their own words fit into that template of advertising language,” but at the same time “kind of subvert it in a way to create their own messages”. In other words, it’s an opportunity to shape the words into a campaign representing the individual rather than the consumer.
On a side note, Ms. Walter identified “Keep Calm & Get Jiggy” as her favorite contribution because it made her smile as it is the most unusual one to emerge from the worn out template.
Now – FEBRUARY 28, 2015
Winston Wachter Gallery
530 W 25TH ST
NEW YORK, NY 10001
“Keep Calm” is among the images in Margeaux Walter’s solo exhibit which opened in January. Each of the 6 photos and 9 lenticulars perpetuate the dialogue on how we as individuals are “consumed” by objects and our environment much in the same vein as her MFA thesis show.
Variants of another iconic campaign, “I❤️New York,” mummifies a new victim in T-shirts. Some of the shirts offer more simplistic messages like “I❤️MOM” or clever graphics – “I❤️Sushi” (with chopsticks sticking out of the heart), while others imbibe an ad within an ad such as “I (Adidas logo) ADIDAS”.
The lenticulars alternate between a stereotypical scene to a “psychological rendering of what is actually happening” or the characters being consumed/overwhelmed by the objects in the scene. For instance, one image portrays a family birthday celebration that morphs into a candy coated nightmare – and, incidentally, the dedicated artist’s apartment.
Additionally, the individual versus consumer commentary is quite poignantly presented in “Sunday Best,” which Ms. Walter shared was inspired by watching someone preoccupied with Snapchatting. With this in mind, the lenticular oscillates between a young woman who is posing for a selfie in her closet mirror and the woman knocked over by an avalanche of her own clothing.
Continuing her Becoming theme, Ms. Walter’s still photographs capture figures disguised in a natural setting such as a birch tree forest. At first look, it seems as if the image celebrates a union with nature but, upon reflection, it appears to be more of a reflection of our more stilted relationship with our environment. Ms. Walter’s clarified her conception, “The camouflaging is (us) trying to fit into an environment we no longer fit into,” and her use of faux nature props -like craft store birch tree peelings- in these images speaks to our level of disconnect with the Earth.
As always, Margeaux Walter orchestrates complex scenes in which she deftly plays most of the roles through costumes, her extensive wig collection and a range of expressions. With each series she appears to be fine-tuning the conceptual foundations in her exploration of the personal, the social and the cultural. So, if you want my advice, Keep Calm and Follow the Artist:
The official Margeaux Walter art site or Twitter: @xomx
Text by K. Cecchini @tonightatdawn/Images by WNYC’s New Tech City
Tonight at Dawn is growing and I am thrilled. All the same, I’m at odds with the process. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to grow TaD more, while another is to have less screen time.
I’m an oxymoron.
So, I welcome your ideas for the war on both fronts, while I share some of the things I am trying here:
📌Bored & Brilliant. This is for all of us who spend so much time in proximity to our phones that it begins to feel like a security blanket; I simply leave it at home sometimes when I go for a walk or at least leave it in the other room. With all the other devices. It helps me wean myself off of them and, according to WNYC’s New Tech City “Bored & Brilliant” challenge, it leaves more space in my brain for creativity.
📌Watched stats never grow. It’s motivating to see your own progress and reach, but just because I’m idle doesn’t mean I have to check stats or any of the other streams on my phone – Facebook, Twitter…I’m looking at you. A break, should be a break.
📌No screen-time before bedtime. There has been plenty of data that points to how viewing a screen before bed disturbs healthy sleep patterns. By the same token, although I use my phone as an alarm, I don’t need to do anymore with it than to shut it up when it wakes me up.
📌A little bit of the old school goes a long way. I am starting to grow my ideas more and more on paper-discarded notebooks-before moving to the computer. Not only does it reduce screen time, for me, it seems a change in medium helps to break my writer’s block. Perhaps paper and pencil also supports better developed planning as a 2008 Princeton journal study included evidence that people plan their writing more when given a paper task rather than a computer task.
📌Attack of the apps. Deleting apps, from games to the social media varieties, has helped free me from the screens; I am not a gamer so why am I getting sucked into Words with Friends on my phone? Also, if I have to log into sites such as Facebook, I know I am so much less likely to whittle away the minutes on it as opposed to having it ready on an app.
📌Push off. Push notifications irritate me. On that note, I’ve always only allowed them for text messages and telephone calls. Most of the apps that offer it are providing notifications of the most non-urgent updates. Not for nothing, Tonight at Dawn will survive even if I don’t respond to a comment for 2 hours. Forgive me, dear readers.