The Haunting Gottfried Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein blows me away. An oil painter in photorealism, he strikes to a core. The technical and conceptual brilliance of his work is utterly married together and phenomenal. When I think of the word ‘inspiration’ I tend to think of other words like ‘upbeat, positive, encouraging, adventurous…’ but examining the character of his aesthetic I am inspired to get pretty damn real about life, like let’s not waste time here. He hits me hard. I love it.

 Now, I have stared at Picasso’s Guernica, 1937  and Ruben’s Massacre of the Innocents, 1612   and wept about our beastliness, and inhumanity. No joke, those works are powerful. This is different. The feeling of goose bumps move from skin to way way way back inside me and scorches the tips of what I also know to be human: anxiety, physical suffering, fear, victimization. Helnwein brings this kind of emotional reality into a concrete…WOW.

Gottfried Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein

Helwein’s creative gaze captures innocence, loss, powerlessness, unrest, the ‘un-protected’ by forces of safety. When I first saw his work I immediately thought of my daughter. So right there, my insides were turned.  It is like I can see something in the young girl from my own body, to the effect of  ‘ surrender to what I can’t control, a kind of abandonment of will and maybe something will keep me alive’ kind of feeling. I began to probe that maybe the instinct to survive comes in the exact moment after the loss, or victimized feeling that washes over the body?…whatever that feeling is…HOLY CR&^%&!


Gottfried Helnwein

Inexplicable torture – Is this to feel? to penetrate numbness? Our culture does a very good job at keeping us trapped in a kind of delirium. Contemporary artist Paul McCarthy defines that for us in his filmic installations. The psychological terror here scares the heck out of me when these expressions stare back. It’s pretty darn literal.

Gottfried Helnwein hyperrealism

Gottfried Helnwein

The purity and then it leaves…

Gottfried Helnwein- The Child series

Gottfried Helnwein

When I see and feel this image I think of- “If I close my eyes maybe the pain will all go away. I just want to not see for a sec…” and ” maybe I can wish for help to come …”

Gottfried Helnwein

Gottfried Helnwein

A dark dark presence to reckon with and at the same time there might be a way out…?

Gotta take a breath here. Whoosh!

Below is to show you the ‘average’ scale of his work. Pretty flippin’ large.


Gottfried Helnwein

The artist himself. He is Austrian born, now an Irish citizen, studios in Los Angeles and Ireland, and lives in a castle with his large family. His models are family members. He paints, does costume and theater design, installation works, performance, a draftsman…

He is more than goth, he is Gothic.


Photo Gottfried Helnvein

Up close to Gottfried Helnvein-



Burning man art

Colossal sculpture EMBRACE at the Burning Man 2014

Burning Man art


Burning Man colossal sculpture

Burning Man sculpture ‘Embrace’  by The Pier Group 2014

'Embrace' at Burning Man

Preparing ‘Embrace’ by The Pier Group and volunteers

Embrace sculpture at Burning Man

Muggy and grim Black Rock City with  ‘Embrace’ at Burning Man

Embrace at Burning Man

Embrace at night

Burning Man sculpture

A smokey ‘Embrace’ at Burning Man

Embrace the burn

Burning ‘Embrace’

Burning Embrace at Burning Man

Burning Embrace -a feeling of loss

Sculpture burns at Burning ManEmbrace burns at the Burning Man TOTALLY HOT

Full burning at the Burning Man

Totally Consumed


Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69

Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69, The Adoration of the Magi


While I have just stepped into examining KINGS already there are more than a few to admire. One of my favorites is  Peter Breugel the Elder, 1520-69, The Adoration of the Magi. The Magi are presented here as individualistic, peculiar, grotesque and sophisticated all at the same time. Hieronymous Bosch lurks in the postures. They are exaggerated in an illustrative way; elongated, appearing wise and carrying peasant worn faces of the Flemish Renaissance.  Robed in their own elegant style, their dignity overrides the bustling younger community around them.  Mary caped in sky blue welcomes the 3 strangers with open arms, as she clearly knows they have traveled to Bethlehem following a miraculous star, which has lead them to this nativity scene. Jesus is indulged by their presence and smiles back at them. Their fashion flows between jester, royalty and native non-western ceremonial attire painted in the classical palette of reds, blue, van Eyck green and soft warm whites. Within the ordinary the extra-ordinary (our ‘star’)  guides us. How would you cast the remarkable in your life?

Catherine the Great of Russia

Catherine II by J.B von Lampi 1780

Voltaire called her “STAR OF THE NORTH”. Catherine the Great was a strong proponent of European culture, of art, literature, the education of women and expanded the Russian Empire in western ways. My kind of King in Queen form. Gorgeous decadent color combinations in her attire. However, in her own words on fashion “I did not make beauty or finery the source of my merit, for when one was gone, the other became ridiculous, and only character endured.”  I get it but my mum was ‘royal’ and to her from style your character was born so I will lovingly disagree.

Diego Velasquez- Philip IV in armor

Velasquez- Philip IV in armor

 Look at his unusual  luscious lips, boyish hair and significant nose! A dandy underneath hard exteriors. Mean to Jews, expelled them from France, a nepotist, not a big fan. A fabulous portrait of light, flesh and color, however. Say no more.

Ferdinand VII by Goya

Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes
portraiture of the King of Spain- Ferdinand VII

Something went wrong here. Head and body aren’t connected, his flesh discolors from face to hands, feels like he hopped into some fancy clothes without showering. Can smell his odor, even. Better to have a standin. The formalities of duty call for the ‘pose’ and back to  lordship we go. The background seems unfinished, the legs of the horses on the right are cut off, perhaps two paintings merged into one? Bloated with conceit Ferdinand loves himself, a power that had to pop. Definitely disconnected from his environs. Not impressed.

Portrait of a King- by sam tk

Portrait of a wounded king- by sam  tk

So forget all the grand posturing, really, who are we kidding? I protest! Acknowledge all the wounds that lie herein, I bring thee the opportunity to face them. Yes, we are wounded by our histories, of all our failures, of all our melancholia that forced us to bore into the earth and retrieve something new over and over again. All strata of society and culture need a cathartic release from all this bruising. Let time collapse our tragic past from all kinds of domination.

Instead, let’s turn towards the royalty we are. Inhabit our grandeur within, sing to it with all our heart, let it store within us like a long lasting preserve, a delicacy of profound sweetness. Measure ourselves with the grace of the small, for they smooth all our hard edges and ask us to dance with the gods.





He’s a dude for sure: floral and royal, a reversal and universal, and as fine from a gold mine…

More pics and video coming soon!

his kingship- stk vimeo



(White lace underwear for men by Versace 2013)

 “Chantilly Lace”

Hello baby yeah this is the Big Bopper speaking ha ha you sweet thing

Do I what? will I what? oh baby you know what I like
Chaintily lace and a pretty face and a pony tail hangin’ down
A wiggle and a walk and a giggle and a talk made the world go round
There ain’t nothing in the world
Like a big eyed girl to make me act so funny make me spend my money
Make me fool real loose like a long necked goose
Like a girl oh baby that’s what I like
(Ulyana Sergeenko f/w 2013)
The intricacies of crafting with lace imagery and other fragile floral references is celebrated here through various mediums such as paper

(Rogan Brown paper art- organic forms)

in porcelain


(Skull porcelin sculpture)

 in men’s lace underwear from Versace’s winter/fall collection of 2013


(Black lace underwear for men by Versace winter/fall collection 2013)

 in blouses that could come from translucent sea life

Balenciaga Sping 2006

(Cream lace from translucent sea- Balanciaga 2006)

 Under black taffeta blazers with knee high black combat boots


(Men’s Black lace under couture, Versace winter/fall 2013)

in the draping marker line of every moment

John Franzen morph-2

(Each Line One Breath- John Franzen drawing)

 in circling and joining up with the most fragile black finery


(Emanuel Ungaro)

in strong tribal gladiator underarmor

Versace lace for men

(Winter/fall brunettes in Versace lace, 2013)

and in the complexities of 3-Dimensional sculpture

Chihyun Shin's sculpture

(Chihyun Shin’s sculpture)


What’s that honey?
Pick you up at 8 and don’t be late
But baby I ain’t got no money honey
Oh alright baby you know what I like!


(Ladies in black lace gowns- Elie Saab 2012)



bombers on the bike

bikes and bombers

Got my cap n’ tee just preppin’  for a ride

T-shirt heart logo

a tee with my heart illustration silkscreened by hand

motorbike culture

motorbike and bombers

girl and motorbike

sleek, hi-fi motorama- but why the gun? We often associate ‘power and cool’ with popular high tech movies, one day we will evolve…

While the western world goes hype on motorbike aesthetics and design which can be fun by the way, the non-west motors with  utilitarian intentions. Needless to say both seem to be missing one key item. My bomber caps! Bombers and motorbikes are the quintessence of adventure. Only because I love my caps and think anyone can wear them. To be clear they are a luxury, mind you one that will last a long time, and they are also obviously not safe for highway driving.

mb 12

Got the denim blues

Dog meat is a healthy choice to eat

Dog meat has medicinal benefits according to the Chinese-

Now I love to try new things because I do consider myself full of adventure, but dog meat is stretching it. I eat meat and I am an animal lover, can’t do dog. Definitely a cultural difference.  Motoring across town with them? – why how else would you do that?

egg motorbike Viet Nam

My bombers have reached as far as the UK, but I wonder if Viet Nam would wear a bomber ?- a plus against urban noise!


World’s rarest motorbike

vintage bike with vintage bomber …hmm…definitely a possibility

motorbike travel no head gear

3 on a motorbike in Tehran

 Very focussed, all together , on a mission are they going to make it??? They would move faster with one of my bombers of course…


Viet Nam carriage

Both of these images are just darn impressive.


A balancing act

Think these forms above are being carried by a bicycle or a motorbike? Do you know what they are? (conical fishing baskets)


Women’s Micro-Financing world

Business as usual. These ladies are juggling many tasks between work with micro- financing initiatives, family and building a prosperous community. Motorbikes make their life a little more convenient and free. As the saying goes “My cap (hat) goes off to them. “


6 on a motorbike

In India having fun after attending the baths. Motorbikes tend to have that attitude.

taking a break with my bomber

S’AMUSE bombers and motorbikes

 S’AMUSE bombers are comfy, colorful and considerately kool.

For the sake of adventure and quality design how about giving them a try?

Visit, SAMUSE on or call to order 802.224.6878














Guess the Garment

guessing garments

Deconstructing garments

Lately I have been in the throes of deconstructing a particular kind of garment. I need this material for my next art installation this coming October 24th at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT. Look closely at the following imagery and see if you can guess what the kind of garment is. For example is the fabric in the imagery coming from women’s lingerie? You need to be as specific as you can with your guess. If you guess correctly you win 50% off of a S’AMUSE scoodie purchase. Scoodies are a hat n’ scarf combo made with eco friendly materials, reversible and one of a kind. They can be seen here- scoodies.  I only have 32 scoodies left!


Textile Abstractions


Stacked against the odds

guess the garment

The art of deconstructing a garment-

Laying here for a reason…

Fabric cuts, straight edges, shifting lines, interrupting patterns, monochromatic tones…can you see what these fabrics reference?

Have fun guessing!

Expressions of ‘WATER’ -fashionable indeed

Nova Scotia beach line

Crescent Beach in Lahave, Nova Scotia

Crescent Beach in LaHave, Nova Scotia is a hefty stretch of sand and seaweed tides in the early and later parts of the day. With family this summer I resided quietly at a beach house not far from this pause of land and because I research into natural and cultural relationships, I felt inspired to find expressions of ‘water’ in a fashion world hell bent on artifice. As always some nuggets of interest surfaced.


wave of water


When you are on a coastline you can’t help but appreciate how powerful water is. Agreed? I find water arouses as much sublime terror as beautiful swimmable serenity. Remove water from its natural heritage or from seeing it as a precious global resource and we are ensconced in its particularities.  It fills and waves in a bathtub, it can drop slow to fast from a faucet, it is transparent and reflects color, it can drip to timeless insanity, it can freeze, bubble, boil, we can taste and wash with it, it trickles in melodious soundbites, and to witness one pearl of water is as golden as a rainbow in the sky. A babbling brook, pond, waterfall, ocean, or river manifests water’s changeability and its flexibility. Pretty remarkable indeed.  My ode to water is everlasting.


Many artists have recorded the power of water. Alexander McQueen saw relevance in using it to influence global issues in a fashion collection. The following images show his fondness for sea life and how he fused that inspiration with textile fabrication and couture.

fashion of Alexander Mcqueen

sea creature fashion of Alexander Mcqueen


alien shoes

I happen to wear these shoes everyday to work. Super comfortable for long distances. Seriously fantastic, boggles my mind in every warped dimension, omg! love them. Even tho we lost a great designer, Sarah Burton takes brand McQueen to incredible heights.


 What do you think of when you see this headwear?


Fabrics are skins, protecting, imitating and revealing.

 We can see the last collection of  Alexander McQueen here.

McQueen’s sea collection

The Great Wave of Kanagawa

Hokusai’s The Great Wave of Kanagawa, 1830’s

This is a very famous painting from ‘Images of the floating world’ of Ukiyo-e prints by Hokusai. Here he depicts  nature as menacing and relentless with its claw like wave against the vulnerability of human life. Life can feel like a constant struggle in opposition to larger uncontrollable forces.


 A drop of water in a real moment of time like we see above could hardly be repeated or captured in the exact same way again in another moment in time.

 water imagery

WATER  between late day and early night


Some designers prefer to leave Nature in the ground, which often springs some inventive means of expressing the ‘natural’ in artificial ways. Here water has playfully assumed a crystallized state in the fashion of Iris Van Herpen, 2010. To imitate water we have only the powers to deceive, nature is nature, done by nature. We can hope for an aesthetic effect when we imitate nature but so far no human endeavor I can think of will ever match Nature’s naturalness. Even tho we do a great job in destroying profound beauty all around us, she on the other hand can do away with us in no time at all. But this isn’t the point, I believe we have to get on board to seeing ourselves as part of an evolutionary process on this globe which is what artists, scientists, environmentalists, designers, and architects etc so often try to interpret and share.



Water dress- fashion designer Iris Van Herpen, 2013

natural waterfall

garden and waterfall

Another of Alexander McQueen that reminds me of a waterfall, draping white drops off the cliff as we turn around the corner bed of mountainous rocks and wooden debris.



We are interconnected to the elements, we are nature,  naturally perfect in all our shapes and sizes, perhaps to remind ourselves of this we need to dress up as them as well.







Silkscreening process with Michele Ratté



There is someone in my life whom I deeply admire for her craft and wisdom and that is Michele Ratté.  She is a master printer and I have had the privilege to work with her for the last year over two textile installations. Below is a look into her studio assisting me with my ‘donor perks’ for the fundraiser I ran last year on Hatchfund titled “Open, Sesame”. We are printing my anatomical imaginings of the heart onto organic cotton t-shirts. I am selling them at $38 from a limited edition.

silkscreening Open Sesame t-shirts

Silkscreening tees with Master printer Michele Ratté

Open Sesame silkscreening

Black organic t-shirts ready to be printed

MR 3

 Laying out the paint before 4 passes with a squeegee. Screens with just embedded designs are works of art. Part of the process for me is loving the design on the screen before it gets inked/painted. Hold them up to a window and they become paintings on their own.

Silkscreening in pink

pink paint on screens

Heart and neurons on a tea

heart imaginarium

A big heart print for everyone

Gotta have heart

Hearty wear
Heart tees are a tease

S’AMUSE heart tees

S’AMUSE is a tee-zer, switch it up!

Tee-zingers S'AMUSE t-shirts

Tees are solid in front

 For $38 you are getting a collectible item, a work of art, one of an edition and you can sport it around town, all season long, under or over other coverings, fancy or casual.

A true deal celebrating the heart inside us.

More pics soon!



In search for a KING

Buddha in red scarf

Reclining Chinese Buddha- amused by what he sees, likes to be seen in a decorative way, takes care of himself


“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

‘In Search for a King’ is my effort to create a healthy perspective about male identity. I am not interested in sharing about godly muscles and outwardly handsome fellas like the Greek ideal. I am actually more curious about how the pressures of social norms influence and direct the male psyche negatively which could be traced back to Greek’s bent on perfection. Equally true for women of course. There is a difference between ‘the status quo cultural/social male expectation’,  Robert Bly’s ‘Iron John’ and every other male composite in between. This issue is no doubt complex during the history of the earth. When we look at the positive and negative effects of the Industrial Revolution, capitalism, patriarchal structures, binary thinking we can get a glimpse about the cultural evolution of human identity. I am obviously not a radical feminist from the turn of the 20th or from the 50’s but I am deeply concerned as a mom to an 11 year old son, as a sibling to several brothers and as a wife to my husband and dear partner that we respect our gender differences because ultimately gender doesn’t matter, our differences do, and diversity is the way. So why bother than in search for a KING?

I have an art installation coming up in late autumn this year, a narrative about a KING ( the male authority in us) surrendering to larger forces than himself, and while he thinks he is descending into an unstoppable ‘hell’ he realizes this journey is a beautiful release and by this he gains every ‘jewel’ he ever wanted. It is a portrayal of  ‘humility’ as a sublime act, a royal transgression that is so un-stately for his kind yet absolutely necessary for social and environmental transformation. Yep, kinda dramatic.

Aside from working out logistics of budget, deadlines and managing assistants for this project I am in the throes of conceptual and material research.

For one, most often kings are presented standing or sitting, dressed in exquisite and cumbersome attire while exuding a strong sense of self, seriousness and power. Google portraiture of a king and you might find it amusing-

King portraiture

Louis XVI, King  of France and Navarre by Antoine-Francois Callet (1754-93)

Grand, self-assured, he’s got it going on.

 Secondly, what of a king reclining and showing off their garments and status? Thirdly, was Gandhi not a King so to speak?

My investigation in this post is to hunt for other possibilities of ‘being’ in my story of a king. So I am looking at reclining Buddha statuary and funerary art as a start.

Colossal size immediately triggers awe. To follow are profound images from the exotic Far East.reclining buddha ruins

Above we see a relic of a reclining 42 meter Buddha at Wat Lokaya Sutha  in Ayuthaya, Thailand aka ‘The Temple of the Earth’. This temple was destroyed when the Burmese took over the city of Ayutthaya in 1767. The significance behind reclining buddha statues is that this depiction of buddha in serene calm shows detachment from habitual cyclical desire. They are often portrayals of the attainment of Enlightenment just before death.

sarcophagus figures

Etruscan sarcophagus with reclining couple.

Early Etruscan Sarcophagus with reclining couple, from the Banditaccia necropolis, Cerveteri, Italy, ca. 520 BCE.  Painted terracotta, 3′ 9 1/2″ X 6′  7″.  Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia, Rome. Love this ! what a fantastic portrayal of human life animated while fully aware of our inevitable death. How do you read this piece?

water buddha

Reclining buddha in water-Luang Prabang-

 My thought is this reclining Buddha is seen here in a flood. The placement of the hand supporting the head indicates his passing. So peaceful, so gracious, so beautiful.

 Buddha Enlightenment

Reclining Buddha Head- Luang Prabang

But alas the search for a king must continue. Any direction will do…

“Curiouser and curiouser!”
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland