Busy, busy bee!

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It’s been awhile since I blogged, I know. It’s been on my mind everyday. It really makes me cringe that I have let my blog go for almost a month. But sometimes life throws you opportunities when you least expect it!

I got a job! A great job. A job that I have only had for 2 weeks, but have learned so much! I’m able to do what I love…blog!

So coming up with content for 2 blogs can be a lot of work. I haven’t really figured out how I’m going to tackle this. But it got me thinking…

I first started blogging at The Modern Grad, but I stopped doing it because I didn’t have enough content to post. Since then I have had a ton of people asking about The Modern Grad.

I’m thinking about bringing it back, but as a sub category on Several Starry Nights. It would focus on career tips for the unconventional, start up companies, and creative industries.

Any thoughts about this? Comments? Let me know what you think!

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Side Street Studio Arts :: Edgy & Modernism Meets Elgin

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Side Street Studio Arts is very similar to the 90s film, Pleasantville. Do you remember that film? When Pleasantville is nothing but black and white and all of a sudden things out of the ordinary start to happen and the town becomes more colorful? Side Street Studio Arts has successfully lit up Ziegler Court in Elgin and I’m super stoked to tell you all about it!

Side Street Studios opened their doors last Friday with an exhibition curated by Steven Lockwood, “Reveal: 10 Essentials,” including ten Chicagoland artists:

posterThe gallery was at full capacity Friday night with people sipping on wine or beer while chatting with other art enthusiasts. The energy in the room was remarkably high. Not a single person wasn’t having a good time enjoying the artwork, meeting the artists, and congratulating Erin & Tanner for their big success. Curator, Steven Lockwood kept busy all night talking with friends and family while taking pictures with the artists. It was wonderful seeing such outstanding support from the community and really welcoming SSSA to Elgin with great enthusiasm.

Side Street Studio Arts

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By no means am I choosing favorites, but featured artist Chris Hodge has some massive talent. His ink drawings were beyond impressive so I had to snag one of his prints to take home with me. Click here to check out his featured piece, Deux Ex Machina, and other work. I encourage you all to check out the exhibition ASAP before it leaves April 13th.

Chris Hodge

Art lovers viewing artist Chris Hodge’s featured ink drawings.

Side Street Studios Arts, a non-profit art organization, was founded by Tanner Melvin and Erin Rehberg. I had a chance to meet Tanner on opening night and noticed right away his motivation and energy. He’s ready to push things forward and see where Side Street Studios Arts will take them. It’s definitely more than just a gallery to them, but a community where people and talented artists can come together and express their passion for the arts in Elgin. Side Street Studio Arts will also work as a space for performing arts including, but not limited to dance classes and workshops for kids.

(left to right) Tanner Mag, James Jenkins, Erin Rehberg, John Caruso, Virgina Melanson, Jim Kirkhoff, Steve Sherrell, Rita Grendze, Ana Zanic, Alyce Van Aker, Brad Pogatetz, Chris Hodge, and Steven Lockwood (center)

(left to right) Tanner Mag, James Jenkins, Erin Rehberg, John Caruso, Virgina Melanson, Jim Kirkhoff, Steve Sherrell, Rita Grendze, Ana Zanic, Alyce Van Aker, Brad Pogatetz, Chris Hodge, and Steven Lockwood (center)

To learn more about SSSA and the featured artists, please check out the SSSA website and follow on Twitter & Facebook.

To learn more about artist and curator Steven Lockwood, please visit his website and Facebook.

Portlandia Puts a Spin on Conceptual Art

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This clip from Portlandia is another reason why I’m such a fan of the show. I was catching up with some of my shows the other day and I have to say episode 8 of season 3 (you can watch the full episode here, but only for a limited of time) is by far the best episode of Portlandia. The City of Portland is practically being taken over by art projects and of course Fred and Carrie get caught in the mist of it all. Carrie’s purse gets stolen, but no need to worry – it’s an art project. Fred is all bewildered by a cop making senseless street commands, but it’s okay because…it’s just an art project.

If you work within the art industry or visit art exhibitions, I assure you that you’ll be laughing hysterically. This skit is so dead on, it’s almost embarrassing…

What’s your favorite Portlandia episode?

Crossing Over The Vltava River

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Can you tell I’m ready to take another trip soon! This weather is starting to really kick my butt. I seriously can’t wait to bust out my Spring wardrobe, check out the local farmer’s markets, and visit some flea markets once the weather starts to warm up.

I’ve been focusing on my career lately and ready to move forward to bigger and better things. This is all very exciting, but unfortunately there hasn’t been much time for travel. Hopefully once things start to calm down and my busy schedule opens up – I’ll be ready to start planning a trip. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Boston soon!

Here are a few photos of Prague I took a few years back. *Sigh* if only I was walking the Charles Bridge now. These photos will just have to do:

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Picasso & Chicago

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Last Wednesday, the special Picasso & Chicago exhibition opened at The Art Institute of Chicago. Did you know that The Art Institute was the first to museum to display work from Pablo Picasso in the country? This is why I love my city so much – so rich in art history.

I attended the exhibit last Saturday with Brian and took a few photos. The last day is May 20th, but if you have a free weekend coming up, I encourage you to check it out. There’s a ton of interesting sketches and studies from the studio of Picasso. You really feel as if you are taking a tour through Picasso’s mind. I love learning about the process rather than just viewing the final piece. I find the stories behind paintings, drawings, and sculptures more intriguing than the technical skill of it all. It’s probably because I’m a writer, not an artist, but that’s what I love most about art history – the personal stories that come along with them.

image (1)Le Fou, 1905, Bronze

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imageThe Bull period

 

What is your favorite Pablo Picasso piece?

Guest Blogger :: Emily Luxton :: Five Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Marrakech

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Emily Luxton is a fabulous writer and blogs about all things travel. I was first drawn to her website not only because of her eye-catching photographs, but her well written posts about the places she has been. She seemed like such a fun blogger to know so I reached out to her. She came up with this wonderful article and I’m delighted to share it with you. I love how she focused her experience around good food and relaxation:

Five Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Marrakech

1. Dine in Style at the Djemma el Fna

Djemma el Fna

The highlight of Marrakech is, without doubt, the Djemma el Fna. During the day, this large square in the city centre is largely empty, besides the crowds of tourists drawn towards snake charmers, henna artists, and story tellers. As the sun sets, though, the square fills up with stalls, barbecues, and some of the best sales people on the planet! Don’t try to resist the charmingly insistent banter, instead just plonk yourself down at a table and get stuck in to a big plate of barbecued meat skewers or a bubbling bowl of tagine.

2. Take a Moroccan Cookery Class

Take those fabulous flavours home with you by learning a few Moroccan recipes at a cookery class. Many local riads run these daily, often starting with a tour of the market to show you the best spices to use. Take back a jar of Ras el Hanout – a blend of the seller’s finest spices – and you’ll soon be impressing your friends with a tasty tagine recipe.

3. Escape the City at the Cascades d’Ouzoud

Cascades d'Ouzoud

A set of stunning waterfalls high in the Atlas Mountains, a visit to the Cascades d’Ouzoud really shouldn’t be missed. From the top you’ll have some breathtaking views of the mountain scenery, while down in the valley you’ll be face to face with these spectacular falls and the near-constant rainbows around their base. You may also meet some very friendly Barbary monkeys – try not to have food on you as they can get a little grabby – and if there’s time you can stop off a the nearby argan oil cooperative to find out how the stuff is made, and pick up a very cheap pot of this beauty miracle!

4. Relax at Les Jardins Majorelle

Jardins Majorelle

There are quite a few gardens and parks in Marrakech, which is just as well as all that red stone and dust can start to overheat your senses. The best place to refresh is Les Jardins Majorelle, designed by French ex-pat Jaques Majorelle in the 1920’s and 30’s. Part botanical gardens and part artist’s landscape, the Majorelle gardens are filled with stunning plants, an impressive cactus collection, and numerous exquisite ponds which are home to some very cute tortoises. What really makes the gardens magical, though, is the brightly coloured paint splashed onto every available surface: electric blue walls, flower pots in neon yellow and orange. All that colour is a sure-fire way to refresh the mind!

5. Revive with a Moroccan Hammam

Hammam Ziani

If all that sun and sight-seeing leaves you feeling a little strung out, head to a local hammam to have your skin revitalized and your muscles relaxed. You can find hammams all over the medina, as well as more upmarket spas in many of the hotels in the Nouvelle Ville. After a long session in the steam room to open your pores, you’ll be hand-washed and rinsed with buckets of water, before being scrubbed down with a ghassoul which will shed so much skin you’ll feel baby soft! Many packages also finish up with an argan oil massage, leaving your skin dreamy soft and your shoulders thoroughly de-tensed! The perfect way to round off any trip to Marrakech.

Emily Luxton is a writer and travel lover currently based in London. She runs travel blog www.emilyluxton.co.uk, which she uses to satisfy her wanderlust while she saves for a round the world trip. 

Artist Christopher Stott: A Simple Nostalgia

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“It’s quite simple, really. I paint because it’s a creative challenge and there isn’t a better way for me to spend my time.” -Chris Stott

The Only Concern | 20″ x 20″ | Oil/Canvas | 2012 | Elliott Fouts Gallery

Christopher Stott is a Realist painter based out of Canada. He is currently exhibiting work in California. I’ve been following his work online for quite sometime now dying for him to exhibit in Chicago. He is such a talented painter. His work is so divine, simple, and nostalgic. A few years ago, I was delighted to find his work featured on the Anthropologie website. His recurring subjects include antique fans, books, typewriters, clocks, and vintage luggage. The subjects represent everyday objects that are more than just tangible things, but products of our lives. Without saying, these objects may hold significant stories about the individual owners, but it’s unclear to the viewer, leaving our imaginations to go wild. Did the pieces of luggage once belong to a world traveler who is no longer with us today? Did the books shape a young man’s mind? Do the clocks represent a significant time in the painter’s life? All this is unknown, making the objects open for discussion and appealing to the imagination.

Below is available artwork with links to their currently galleries. Please email the artist or the gallery for pricing details.

Christopher Stott | hello@chrisstott.com | Twitter | Facebook | Website

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Baggage VIII | 18″ x 36″  |  Oil/Canvas  |  2012 | George Billis Gallery

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The Italian | 20″ x 32″  |  Oil/Canvas  |  2012 | George Billis Gallery

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5:00, 4:00, 3:00, 2:00, 1:00 | 18″ x 36″  |  Oil/Canvas  |  2012 | George Billis Gallery

Which one is your favorite piece?

Valentine’s Day Homemade Rose Body Scrub

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Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! 

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share the Coconut and Rose Body Scrub with you. If your significant other surprises you with roses today, now you can save a rose and make a homemade body scrub. How fun is that?! I love this DIY because I’m going through a major obsession with coconut oil. And I just love the smell of roses – there’s nothing better!

Ingredients

Measurements are subject to change according to the size of your mason jar

1 1/2 Cups of Turbinado Sugar

1 Cup of Organic Coconut Oil

A tablespoon or so of Almond or Jojoba Oil

A Rose Petal (Pink or Red)

Instructions

1. First add the cup of coconut oil.

2. Add your rose petals from 1 rose

3. Add Turbinado sugar

4. Add a tablespoon of almond or jojoba oil (note: almond oil is much less pricey, but you could find either oils at the local health store). Let the oil sink through for a few minutes and add more if you wish. Just make sure you keep everything equals parts. Try to have as much sugar as you do oils.

5. Mix it up with a spoon and enjoy. Be sure not use it on your face if you have sensitive skin unless you know how your roses were treated at the floral shop.

Speaking of Valentine’s…what are your plans for the day?

A Look Back At Starry Night’s Featured Artists

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First of all I want to give a big thanks to all my new subscribers. It’s been a great couple weeks with new likes, new people, and a new blog layout that I’m finally happy with!

For all you fresh faces, I’d like to sum up some past artists that I’ve featured on my blog. Most of them I know personally and others I’ve been following online for years now.

Each artist is featured with links to their social media pages, please click around! You can spend hours looking through great images on all these artist’s pages. Most of the artists have artwork for sale on their official website!

Charlotte Jolly de Rosnay

France | Photographer | Official Facebook Page

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Catarzina – Art by Catie Barron

Saint Charles, IL | Painter | Website | Facebook | Blog

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Greta Bell

Batavia, IL | Painter | Website | Facebook Page | Twitter

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Danica Antich

Winfield, IL | Photographer | Website

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Sonja Barbaric

Painter | Official Blog – With lots of great images!!! | Facebook Page

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Katie Herman

Chicago, IL | Painter | Website | Blog

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Carisa Mitchell

Chicago, IL | Photographer | Website

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Shavana Smiley

Chicago, IL | Painter | Website

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If you like what you see, i encourage you to follow them on their facebook, twitter, or blogs. i’d love to hear which of these artists you favor.

Nostalgic for London

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London, Fall 2009

Ever since I got back from NYC, I’ve been feeling the urge to book another trip. My boyfriend and I are actually planning a trip to Boston this Summer, but in the meantime I’ve been feeling very nostalgic. I’ve been going through old pictures and reminiscing on my past journeys.

Here are a few pictures from London when I was studying abroad. I thought maybe a few of you were feeling some traveling blues. Especially if you’re in the Chicago area and dealing with cold, grey weather like myself. Maybe these will inspire you to start planning a trip soon!

Do you have any upcoming traveling plans? I’d love to hear about them!

All pics my own, please feel free to share. If you decide to pin, please pin back to this blog.

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Pictures of London

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