18 May 2013

Matte Stephens

Every once in a while, you run across an artist who's art seems to connect directly to your brain synapses, and their work just stays in your head. Well, that's what happened to me the first time I saw Matte Stephens' work. Matte has a style that is, simplified complexity...

Mattes compositions, color choices, shapes, and even the textures, speak a much louder story than just the image you physically see drawn or painted. He has a way of focusing you on an emotion with each image. Whether the illustration is a simple background with a single character in a larger foreground focus, or it's a fairly busy land/city scape, he knows how to use the surroundings to express his thought. Many times I find that I've been captivated by the story, and never noticed the supporting scenes around the main characters or situation until I force myself to analyse the whole piece as a painting. I've also found myself feeling more like I've just finished a short, but well written book. Rather than looking at a painting.

To me, Matte's color and texture choices, are like the distant sounds in a sunny city park, while his characters, are the interesting new acquaintance that you want to listen to intently. Listening to every emotion that they express. This makes each piece of Matte's work a very personal experience.

While it's clear that not all of Mattes themes, images, shapes, or color schemes are iconic-ly Mid-century*, every piece of Mr. Stephens would fit perfectly into the most retro* or MCM* environments. Though he's not a kitch retro*/Mid-Century artist*, he definitely does have Mid-Century design* running in his veins. It's easily found in his sculptures, abstracts, house, and furniture choices. Not only is he a very talented illustrator, but a very astute study of Mid-Century graphics and design*.

Even though, Matte has had the opportunity to work for some very well know companies, he still continues to offer works for ever budget level. His works can be purchased in form of sculpture, print, book, or paintings. Within each of these categories, there are generally various options to choose from.  To get an idea what's available, and their price ranges, you can check out his blog here and his Etsy site here. I really encourage you to do so, if you haven't yet.

17 May 2013

Mid Century Modern Pottery Ceramic Collection - 2011 P9152794 copy

If wood is my favorite material for home decor and construction, Glass or Ceramics would have to be my favorite adorment for the house. Between the two, I always have an internal fight a bit about which is more favored.

I hate to say it, but I think, even as much as I love glass work, ceramic works when a couple points more in my favored list. Here's a couple brief reasons why.

-Ceramic works to me, have more natural texture than glass. Even the smoothest pieces so ceramic work has a slight orange peel texture, and that appeals to me.
-Contrast possible on the same piece. I mean, that you can glaze the top part, and leave the bottom unglazed, and that adds a completely different feel to a piece.
-Ceramic pieces tend to have a bit more asthetic weight to the art/object. Being opaque, light is not allow to aluminate the interior of a ceramic piece like it does a glass piece. Making the Ceramic piece visually feel weightier.

While there are a huge range of ceramic art objects to choose from, I'll live you with a general search for today. Later we'll get into designers and kinds available.

Architecture in the 20th Century. TASCHEN Books (TASCHEN 25 Edition)

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Architecture in the 20th Century. TASCHEN Books (TASCHEN 25 Edition)

 I find that books are not only a great deal better to look at than a computer screen. And they look good in the house. So, I'm constantly looking at new book to put on my list to buy. Well, it seems that I may just have found one. This photo (the one above), is from a book call "Architecture in the 20th Century"*, is an indication of my it's now on my list.

While this book* is not, by any means, a Mid-Century* only book*. It does seem to hold a few good examples. Also, I'm a avid fan of architecture in a wide range of facets, and books like this allow me to enjoy much of what I like about each of the architectural styles that I find interesting.

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As far as this particular book* goes, I've found that there are few aspects of it that really catch my eye. One for instance, is that this book* takes you thru a chronological order of the architecture of the 20th century. This is interesting to me, because I like to know the who's, how's, and why's of design. When you see things put together in a chronological order, as this book says it's done, you also start to notice the influence that different styles have had on one another.

Taschen also says that this book* has works from the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright* to Antoni Gaudí* to Frank O. Gehry* to Shigeru Ban*, and many more. Plus, it uses "hundreds of large-format photos as well as a plenitude of drawings and floor plans" to help you understand the progress of architecture thru the 20th century.

Besides the photos and the floor plans, there is an appendix for each of the architects represented in this book. This appendix is in biographical form. So, I'm convinced that there is much to learn from this books.

If you're interested, take a spin to the Taschen site here. There is also a sample index here for those who would like to see what else is in the book.

16 May 2013

Oyler House...I Just Stumbled Across It...

The Oyler House: Richard Neutra's Desert Retreat - OFFICIAL TRAILER from Mike Dorsey on Vimeo.

I don't remember how, or particularly why, but yesterday, I searched something and found a treasure trove of cool videos. Now, while these videos may not teach you anything particularly new or amazing, to hear them from the Mr. Oyler, is still very cool. Plus, to see old 60's home videos is always fun.

Yeah, we've all heard of the famous Oyler House. If you haven't that's ok too. That just means your still learning, and we all started off there at some point. However I ran across this article on curbed LA somehow isn't the important thing. Finding them is. There I found an interesting video on Vimeo, and then I began to find other cool videos to take a peek at.

So, being the nice guy that I am, I figured I'd let you enjoy, not only one of the videos, but all that I found on the Oyler House by Richard Neutra*.

The Oyler House - Outside Inside from Mike Dorsey on Vimeo.

Oyler House - Drawings from Mike Dorsey on Vimeo.

Oyler House - Rock Pool from Mike Dorsey on Vimeo.

Oyler House - Neutra's Camel Table from Mike Dorsey on Vimeo.

I think that there are one or two more videos that you can watch about the Oyler house by Mike Dorsey on his vimeo. Just click on any of these videos to go to his vimeo site and look for the links at the bottom of the page.

If your inspired by these videos and would love to live in your own Neutra house, then you should skip on over to It's really an interesting read.

Also, if your trying to find out more about Richard Neutra* as an architect, then you should check out these sources too.

George Perrou

Watch Retro Modern with George Perrou on PBS. See more from KOPB.

If I was still aspiring to be a professional mid-century styled artist, this video of George Perrou would just about be my motivational breakfast for each day. It's great! It's honest and simple, but not cheesy. Plus, it looks like a fun life.

Instead of creating and painting... I'm, well... writing. That's just the way my cookie seems to crumble. Therefore, I look at George's works a lot. His work wakes me up with a jolt of energy. Looking at one of his pieces is like having your finger plugged into a 240v socket. Still, it's as soothing as having a creamy latte. This mix is what draws me to his works. Retro/Mid-Century modern in spirit, yet bright and bold with contrasting colors and super clean sharp lines work together to make this awaking and soothing contrast.

One things for sure though, his work is definitely worth checking out. It seems that he's never going to run out of ideas. Honestly, I hope he never does. By going to his site, you can find out more about his work and see his portfolio. Plus, you can find out how to purchase his works. Another good source is

15 May 2013

DIY: The Mid-Century Way

Talking to people today about DIY (Do-it-yourself) projects is kinda funny. It's funny because, everyone I talk to gets upset if they can't find the right project on

Yeah, I get it... We live in the modern era, but honestly, have you every tried to watch an online tutorial about something you have to do outside? It's not the worst thing ever. However, it can get to be a bit of a sticky wicket.

So, how can we solve such a problem? Well, let's revert a bit to simpler times and use a good ole fashion book. That's right... A book. You may ask, but where can I find such a book? Well, the good ole Interweb has all you might need. However, I'm not going to just throw you to the wolves, as it were. I'm going to help you.

Do you see that image at the top of this post? Well, that is a book that I had wanted for a long time. A while back, I finally bought it. You know what? I LOVE IT! ABSOLUTELY! It's great. It has cool ideas, cool art, and it's easy to understand. Plus, it uses my favorite material. Plywood... Also, if you haven't noticed, it's for everyone. It's says so right in the title. So it has to be true. Well, I'll take that back. It's not for people who don't want to build with plywood, or those who don't want to do wood working projects at all. However, if you DO want to, then it really is for you. In fact, I have found a copy of if for sale for you. Check below. If it's sold by the time you get to the link, search from time to time on the web, or on Ebay*, and another copy will pop up. For a book that's been out of print for some time, it sure keeps coming around. Any way, it's worth the purchase.

When Did Mid-Century End...? Or Did It?

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No... No... We're not about to get into a long debate over what year, what design, color scheme, or material marked the end of Mid-Century design. Still, there are moments when I ponder:  
"Taking the physical limitation of a year number or the machinery used out of the equation, can we really say that mid-century design ever ended?"
I know... I know... We're getting back to that every obvious and never ending debate again. Really though, have you thought about the question posed, seriously?

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Don't worry, like I mentioned before, I'm not getting all philosophical, or anything like that. Well, not to much so at least. However, while I was looking thru my RSS feeds, I did run across a feed from Dwell.

As you know, it's not unusual to find MCM mixed in amongst more contemporary modern. Plus, you find that, throw back to the retro age, stuff. Design that is as close to a copy of original mid-century pieces without stepping on the toes of patent law. (Not complaining, it's always good to have retro/vintage/mid-century remakes.)

 After seeing the mid-century focus of Dwell's latest feature, I decided to see more about the article. By accident though, I ran across the Dwell On Design page, and then onto the Furniture page.

Evidently, Dwell On Design with the Furniture Society has put together a selection of furniture from 12 eceptional students from across the U.S. to participate in a competition to see who will win a band saw. These works, all 12 I understand, will be shown as part of the Dwell On Design trade show. This portion of the event, is what started me thinking.

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Granted, while not all 12 pieces are spitting images of Mid-Century design*, a number of them are really close in style. We all know that they have studied the famous and inspirational designers* designers of the mid-century era, and therefore, were influenced in their own design characteristics. At the same time though, some of these could really pass off in a mid-century home without someone as much as noticing that they were not an original mid-century piece. I'm talking about for a normally adjusted person, not us design obsessed fiends.

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This still makes me wonder, if the MCM designers of the past had been able to keep their youth and vigor up till today, would their designs be far off from those of contemporary modern designers? Or, if these new designers had lived in the Mid-Century era*, would the famous designers have considered them as contemporary, progressive, and inspirational? We will never know. When I see works like this though, it reminds me that new, original mid-century design is still being created. You see in almost all aspects. Architecture*, furniture*, graphics*, and fine art*. Honestly, I think it's a good thing too.

If you want to vote, you can do so on the page.

14 May 2013

It's Sold, But I'm Posting It Anyway...

Photo and sculpture by: Made By Gideon on
I know it doesn't make any since, but I don't care. For the past 3 days, I've been researching a topic that I really am enjoying. One that I hope to have posted real soon. However, everyday on my highway of research, I keep running into this AWESOME Mid-century looking sculpture. I LOVE THIS PIECE. Why? Let's see...

First, there's that awesome canterlever effect going on.
Second, it's wood
Third, I love it wen the bark is carefully cleaned and intergrated in a modern way to wood working.
Fourth, Just look at the two sculptured piece on top. Need I say more...?
Fifth and Final... That satin final coat is absolutely my favorite. I prefer satin over any other kind. It's super classy without making it look plasticy.

So, after having seen this piece a number of times, I just couldn't resist putting it up. And, there you go. By the way, did I mention, it's made of wood?

Ebay find

live edge cherry coffee table*

Chimay Bleue: Perspectives That Keep Me Intrigued

Some time back, when I was much more active on Flickr, I found a stream that followed with a keen eye. This stream belonged to Darren Bradley of Chimay Bleue fame. Chimay's, or Darren's, flickr was incredible to me, because every time I search a Mid-century topic on google or on Flickr, his photos came up very quickly. On top of that, they were really good.

A number of month went by with me watching Chimay's Bleue's photo stream, and I started to realize just how deep his interest in, and enthusiasm for Mid-century design went. This, his photostream. All the travel, detail, investigation, and hours of photo editing were done for one reason. Passion for design. That really impressed me. So, I decided to ask him to do an interview with me, and he did. Since that interview, some 2 (more or less) years ago, he's just keep on going.

So, a week or so ago, I asked our inspired friend to select some of his favorite photos for me to do another post with. I asked him to do so, because when it comes to Chimay Bleue's photos, I just can't seem to make up my mind which ones I like best. Well... It seems Darren is in the same fix. Being as such, he kindly went thru and selected some of his works, and even put them in a special set for Amidst Mod. A appreciated that very much. As that's the case, the photos you see on the post are all his, and they are spectacular!

Now, just a little information about Chimay Bleue (Darren) and his photos. While not a professional photographer, he takes his photography seriously. As you can see in the photos. Also, he does a good job of labeling his photos so that you know what you are looking at. You'll see that he has a number of William Krisel* homes featured and his own house is, indeed by Mr. Krisel*. However, he's not a architect snob. No... He has taken photos of any number of buildings and houses by the likes of Viljo Revell*, Albert Frey*, Risley and Gould, Lautner*, and many other Mid-century modern architects*. While you'll see a nice grouping in this post, that's not all there is to see. Check out more here. Also, don't forget to read the interview with Chimay Bleue here.

Toronto City HallFrey House IIBreezewayFondation SuisseGymnasiumUCSD Geisel Library
The National Arboretum Visitor CenterAuditorium Maurice-RavelMaison La RocheLa Jolla Real Estate Brokers Association (REBA)

Amidst Mod, a set by Chimay Bleue on Flickr.