January 15, 2015 Getting to know London based street-turned-pop artist, Paul Insect.

I found Paul Insect while stalking around on Instagram. He is a London-based street artist-turned-pop artist, whose artwork Lou Reed’s manager once expressed was like "John Baldessari on acid". Paul gave me a tour of his latest solo show, previewing at the Allouche Gallery New York. His art is edgy, bold, colourful and totally out there. It grabbed my attention and turned me into an Insect groupie. I was dying to ask him some questions. Check it out! 

A: So how’d you get into this line of work?

P:  It's a long, and eventful story. I had been doing design for a long time, and the design work I was doing was becoming more art based. No one taught me how to paint, I'm self taught like a lot of today's artists. I've been painting on the streets since I was 16, but recently, I've been focusing more on making paintings in the studio.  But that does not stop me from going out and painting. I work a lot with Sweettoof in London, and if I'm in New York, I create all kinds of work with Brooklyn based artist Bast.

A: When was your first show?

P: 2003 in an East End pub in London. My next solo show was in 2007 and was called 'Bullion', held at the Lazarides Gallery in London. A show which was purchased before it had opened by Damian Hirst, and is now part of his Murderme Collection. 

A: What’s the symbolism of your current show?

P: The painting's in this latest show I feel represent were we are now, and where we could be in the future.  It displays our urge to leave the planet and find something different; but at the same time, our hidden fears of what is ahead of us. We are more and more hiding behind digital masks, we can hide behind a false portrait of ourselves. 

A: Except for the eyes and mouth, most of their faces are covered. 

P: This is a painting (photo) of a couple enjoying a night out watching a meteor shower. But there is a dark and sinister undertone to it, there expression's are telling, but telling you what? – 

A:  Is it meant to be comical? 

P:  Not with this work, this is a serious look at how we look at ourselves today. All my gallery work and some of my street work is a look at modern culture. The work I do on the street, or the work with bast is free, fun and sometimes quite comical. We use rubbish found on the street, things people throw out, and make almost carnival like characters and bring them to life, using stop motion. 

A: Anything cool you’re working on right now?

P: I'm going to take a few weeks off, its been a very busy year, ending with this show.Couture fashion label 'Cocurata' has a new range of clothes coming out this spring which have been inspired by two painting I made last year. 




December 22, 2014


December 3, 2014  Question... What is the best holiday gift I have ever gotten?

I was asked by The White House to design the Christmas trees and mantel piece for the Vermeil Room, which was Michelle's specific project. 

The Vermeil Room is located on the ground floor of The White House, in the official residence of the President ...chic!

There were few parameters other than keeping the ornaments and tree classic. And to remember that the Christmas trees are for the People of The USA ...tall order.

We decided to go with the concept of a couture mannequin.  It would be presented like it was in a fashion Museum. 

The body of the 2 trees was laden with spruce, covered with hand sculpted flowers, carved glowing pine cones and crystallized stars. The bodice was embellished with a necklace composed of pine cones and 1940's antique pins.The mantelpiece was decorated with birds, crystallized snowflakes and stars.

Overall it has a fantastical sensibility; a nod towards fashion with a dusting of classical references .

Hope you're all off to a great start to the Holiday (mine has kicked in to turbo mode)!



December 3, 2014 A Very Bittar Holiday

New York has always been an incredible backdrop for the month of December. The lights that sway from light pole to light pole, the tacky ornaments that used to be piled in the front yards of Bensonhurst, the sweet smell of chestnuts from a street vendor, the glowing angels that line the Boulevard towards the tree at Rockefeller Center, are just a few of the memories imprinted on my brain.

The emotional connection that I have for the holidays is rooted deeply into my childhood. Our family always had a Christmas tree which was decorated with antique ornaments. We also had an advent calendar that I was always impatient to open. I grew up Byzantine so the Christmas service was spoken in Arabic, Russian and, English.  I barely understood a word but I do remember the lush pageantry of the Christmas procession. This was followed by running home and an immense excitement in seeing what was under the tree. 

The Holidays still hold a warm, fantastical place in my mind. Even though I am grown up, a part of consumer culture, and a bit of a cynic; I still find there is a kindest that is generated, an anticipation of something magical, a shared love and a beautiful backdrop to imprint more memories each year.

Happy Holidays, Everyone.  I wish you good health and hope that you are all surrounded by love this season!

 Back to Top