Sunday, January 20, 2013

How's the Tom Sawyer in you?

The name of this blog comes from a book that I discovered one afternoon in a tiny, 'hippy' bar during my travels in Japan. I fell instantly in love with this inspiring, beautiful book. 

Love and Free by Ayumu Takahashi is essentially a travel journal. After marrying his wife, Sayaka, Takahashi impulsively decided to resign from his job and travel the world with his soul mate. They took off with no real plans and this book documents the many streets of the world that they traveled together. Through a bunch of notes, poems and photos the book is filled with special moments and profound thoughts on life, love and people.


As someone who is always thinking about her next big adventure this book fills me with great ideas about things I'd like to do and the places I'd like to visit and explore.

Australia, Southeast Asia, Eurasia, Europe, Africa, South America, North America and Japan: Takahashi reveals snippets of conversations, beautiful photos and words that inspired him on his travels. He opens his book with a question: How's the Tom Sawyer in you? He invites us to think about ourselves as adventurers and explorers as he shares his many wonderful experiences. 

I love this book for it's simplicity, the short bursts of thought combined with stunning photography are endlessly heartening. It makes me think about the incredible adventures I've already had and of the hundreds of exotic, wonderful places that are still out there just waiting to be explored! 

 So... how IS the Tom Sawyer in you? What exciting adventures do YOU have planned? Tell me, I'd love to hear about them! ♥

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Journey to the Yellow Pumpkin

Quite simply one of the most thoughtful (not to mention generous)  Chistmas presents I have ever received.

Ever since I laid eyes on the work of Yayoi Kusama I have been obsessed with her work. As an avid lover of all things polka-dot, Kusama's artwork embodies everything that I love about art! Bright, psychedleic colours, bold and fun, her art work is captivating and quirky.

In the summer of 2012 I was lucky enough to have the chance to visit the island of Naoshima in the Kagawa district of Japan. It was a place I always wanted to visit when I lived in Japan (those that live in Japan or have ever visited will appreciate how awkward it is to get to the island), so to have a second chance to go there was a dream come true! The island is famous for its many contemporary art museums and the island itself is peppered with amazing pieces of artwork, including giant scultpures and the sensational Art House Project.
One of the houses at The Art House Project

Of course, my main draw to this island is the fact that it plays host to some of Yayoi Kusama's most famous art sculptures. As you pull into Naoshima harbour you are greeted by the enormous Red Pumpkin (I can't tell you how excited I was when I saw it, it was unreal!) The best thing about this sculpture is that the pumpkin has many polka-dot windows and a door cut into it. It's almost like the pumpkin is inviting you to come and play inside it! And of course, it would have been rude to refuse such an invitation!

On the opposite side of the island to the Red Pumpkin is the almighty Yellow Pumpkin. The sculpture I have dreamt of seeing for so long! We hired bicycles and cycled all the way around the island to make it to this incredible masterpeice. I can't tell you how happy I felt when I saw it! It was just as amazing as I expected it to be and naturally I took the opportunity to have about ten million photos with it... here are just a few:

Interestingly pumpkins are a trademark of Kusama's artwork. Apparently her fascination with them began during the war when Kusama's hometown, Matsumoto, managed to escape much of the destruction of the war. Her family were into the wholesaling business and her house was always full of pumpkins! The round, bulbous shape of the pumpkins epitomise Kusama's obsessive inclination towards dots.  If you'd like to read more about Yayoi Kusama then I found this article pretty interesting. 

Yayoi Kusama is, without doubt, one of the greatest living artists of our time and this is something which Louis Vuitton (thankfully) has recognised. Now anyone that knows me knows that I'm not massively into designer labels, I'm not saying I don't like them, I guess it's just an area of fashion I've never explored. However, the sheer delight and happiness that overcame me when I walked passed a Louis Vuitton window display FULL of Kusama inspired bags, purses and accessories was something that couldn't be ignored! 

As it turns out Louis Vuitton wanted to pay tribute to the artist he regarded as "uncommon" and someone who he greatly admired. Consequently he has reinterpreted her greatest works of art into a whole range of wonderful fashion items. Shoes, bags, purses, accessories and jewellery all mirroring the artwork that I love so much Alas, with great works of art comes a great price! So despite my adoration of everything in the Louis Vuitton shop, window-shopping was my only option!

So, you can imagine how I felt on Christmas morning when I ripped open my Christmas present from Karl to discover a Yellow Pumpkin inspired Monogram Vernis leather Louis Vuitton bag! Oh yes! Amazing. Incredible. Priceless. I really do adore this bag, it's peculiar pattern is meant to represent the New York skyline. Kusama moved to New York in 1958 where she quickly became a member of the avant-garde crowd (Andy Warhol etc.) and much of her art work followed the trends of pop-art and environmental art. Vuitton describes her art as "characteristically sequential and unfailingly surprising"- I couldn't have said it better myself!
Thank you Karl!

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