I first met Allee Willis in the mid-nineties when we worked together on “Willisville”, a virtual world of 19 or so wildly amusing fictional inhabitants of a town by the same name, accessible only through the Internet. It was a grand experiment, funded by Intel, and like so many things that Allee creates, years before its time. Allee is one of the bravest, truest artists I know. Brilliant ideas come hurtling out of her faster than most of our brains can process. She seems to thrive teetering on the edge of either disaster or brilliant success, ready to leap fully into the next thing, forging ahead wherever her creative juices take her.
Recently Allee teamed up with recording artist Holly Palmer to create and publish their own music, skipping the established record labels all together. Their video It’s a Woman Thang was featured on YouTube and has had over 800,000 downloads to date. Allee is a grammy award winning songwriter, over 50 million songs sold, used to write a lot for Earth Wind and Fire, wrote a lot of the music to Beverly Hills Cop (remember Neutron Dance?). She co-wrote the music to the Broadway show “Color Purple”, produced by Oprah, based on the book by Alice Walker. I’ve always been awed and amazed by Allee Willis and am delighted that she agreed to be interviewed about what motivates her and the latest stage of her career:
See more photos in the Flickr photoset
Tucked away at the end of a long private road at the base of the jagged edges of Stags’ Leap cliffs in Napa Valley is the first, last, and only building in North America designed by Austrian artist Frederick Hundertwasser, the Quixote Winery. As a participant of the Taste3 conference, I recently had the privilege of touring this architectural delight. Here are a few highlights.
Hundertwasser was a singularly unusual man. An environmentalist, a nudist (he gave a press conference in the nude on at least one occasion), a ladies man (he died in his 70s on the QE2 on route back from Asia with his 20-something Japanese girlfriend), Hundertwasser was a wildly distinctive artist (think of mash-up of Klimt and Gaudi), whose works spanned from prints to public housing to postage stamps.
Rue Mouffetard, Paris, 1954
Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson died Tuesday at the age of 95. I first encountered his work at Symantec’s Norton office in Santa Monica. Peter Norton, founder of Norton Utilities, had at one time a large art collection in place in the offices there. Walking the halls everyday I would pass the photo above and stop for a few seconds to delight in the pure joy expressed by the boy in the photo. I had no idea who this Henri Cartier Bresson person was, but the photo so inspired me I wrote down his name for future reference. Later searches on the web revealed that Cartier-Bresson was one of the most influencial, renown photojournalists of the 20th century. The Peter Fetterman Gallery has an extensive collection of Cartier-Bresson’s works.
Artist Mary Temple finally completed her 1 million ellipsoid project, comprising several hundred orginal works. Drawn with one color of ink pen on a translucent vellum sheet, each work has 1000 to 5000 ellipsoids reflecting form and color in a thoughtful, yet playful and meditative manner. The works are sequential and took several years to get to the final millionth ellipsoid. I recently purchased this piece, which was completed near the end of the project. Everyone here loves looking at it.
Untitled (Hell’s Gate) 2001
Charcoal on paper