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We are big fans of small at the republic of less. We just are. So we keep our eye peeled for little joys in every season and every where.

                

Above little guys are were found in a local store specializing in things Scandinavian. From Kosta Boda, maker of eye-catching things in glass since 1742. More here.

Big time artists have been known to work at times on a small scale, particularly in three dimensions. Above is a little dancer sculpted by Edgar Degas, found here.

Aristide Maillol is the man behind those large bronzes lying around in unexpected poses in the gardens adjacent to the Louvre. Not far away is the Musée Maillol, a great little museum with lots to like, including the small figure above we saw there.

This we found closer to home base. It is a lovely small figure by Antoniucci Volti (1915 1989) that lives at Vancouver’s Gallery Jones.

In our view, no artist of the 20th century was bigger than Alexander Calder in either imagination or output or playfulness.  He too could work small, producing amazing portraits in wire and, as a present for his wife Louisa, a swell set of miniature mobiles in a cigar box, seen here .

Making art large or small is not a modern invention.  Humans have been at it for ages.

This pre Columbian terracotta cutie was found in Columbia and is said to date from ca. 600-1200 AD. She’s about 5 inches tall in her bare feet.  See more here.

Strike up the band: these little fellas are from Cyprus and they are even older–600 BC. They are now performing at the MET in NYC. We first featured them in a post called  Small is. 

What’s cuter than a doll?  Well, a doll created by the guys and gal at Winnipeg’s own Royal Art Lodge, gone but never forgotten around here.  Top group done by Michael Dumontier and Drue Langlois (see here) and lower group by Mr Langlois single handed. Small wonders.

Another doll, no less sweet for being made of clay, we found at the 2011 Venice Biennale.  It was part of an exhibit by sculptor Dominik Lang which he called The Sleeping City, a tribute in part to his father Jiri.

Small scale objects have a special quality, and so do those little unexpected moments when the universe tells you things are pretty good.  Such as  when you tell a stranger at an art installation in Venice that you have a blog, and he hands you a complimentary crimson drink, which you get to enjoy while sitting at the edge of a canal.
No big deal, maybe, compared to lots of other things in Venice and in life, but it felt like a little moment that would mean a lot for a long long time.

Sometimes you spend time looking at children’s books because there is a child in your life that you want to please, and sometimes you just want to please yourself.   Above is from an edition of the Wizard of Oz illustrated by Lizbeth Zwerther seen here.

Happily, books are alive and well in stores for kids, and  if  you go looking,  you will find in these little books the work of some of the most gifted and imaginative artists/illustrators/cartoonists from around the world. Above is from a recent book called ICE written and illustrated by Arthur Geisert who is very fond of little pigs, as are we. Read more here.

Above three books are just a sliver of Mr Geisert’s shelf of wonderful work, which has plenty of pig tales, but plenty of pigless wonders  too.  See more here.

Once you start down this path you will find yourself with a lot more than you bargained for.  If you could only have one, how would you choose between a pig tale by Arthur G or a rabbit tale by Komako  Sakai?

Ms Sakai is certainly something special.  Her simple stories and beautiful way with line and colour will fill your eyes and pinch your heart.  She has worked in the textile industry in Japan, they say. More about her books here.

Bears of course have a solid place in children’s stories too.   Thanks to Jon Klassen, there’s a new bear on the block and he wants something.

Nice review of Mr Klassen’s book in the NYT here

Along with creatures of the farm and the woods, book artists have found plenty of inspiration among the critters that become part of the household.

Like the wonderful Max brought to life by the wonderful Maira Kalman.  Go here

People who love picture books love them as much as other people love chocolate or ABBA–i.e. totally.  There are many wonderful websites with tons of these books to show you, including Children’s Illustration, which you’ll find and feast on here.

To send you off, we selected Paul Thurlby an artist from England who, among lots of other things, has made an amazing alphabet, which you’ll find on his site here.  Books and pictures, sentences and pictures, letters and pictures, they all go together like summer and running through the sprinkler.

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Those of us who like to cook up a storm will lavish no end of attention on a meal. So it’s not surprising that the visual chefs of the world, the artists and designers, have turned their talents to the platforms we provide to serve up the goodies.  Picasso took to creating dishy plates fairly late in his career, and as usual he did it entirely his own way.  Above from him found here.

Mr P turned his hand to plate making over and over and generated a pile of amazing work, including this great one with a couple of dozen petit visages that was up for auction, reported by the London Telegraph. 

After he was done making all the plates, Picasso, always willing to help around the house, moved on to jugs like this cutie seen here.  (a previous RofL post had reason to present a fish jug by PP).

The creation and construction of wonderful plates for our food or just feasting our eyes has a long tradition and master practitioners in every era.  The above was made about 1460 somewhere in Spain and is now residing (see here) in the wonderful Musee des arts Decoratifs in Paris.

This swell bird (“Coq”) plate also lives in the Musee des arts Decoratifs (well worth a visit, we think). It is the work of Jacques Besnard in 1930. Find it here  and be sure to look around the site for much more.

You say plates, we say Fornasetti, namely Piero Fornasetti (1913 – 1988) the incomparable Italian designer who put his signature style–and often this particular woman’s face–on all sorts of household goods, including plates. They are still available and still much loved.  The three above can be had at Barney’s, go here.

Well, you take a current design star like David Chipperfield and ask him to create a line of dishes and cups for Alessi and here’s what you get: a lovely tribute to one of our favourite artists, Giorgio Morandi, seen here.   More on Mr Morandi in this NYT article.  More on Mr Chipperfield in the RofL library here.

The Dutch de stijl movement from the first half of the 20th century continues to inspire designers.  The above set of plates borrows–or steals, say the designers, London retailer Darkroom–the strong colour and shape from the movement, which was also applied to textiles and paper goods.  Found here.

This nifty plate is from a design by Nikolai Suetin done in the so-called Suprematist style in 1905, auctioned recently, and reported here.

When the world was black and white and the smart set chowed down in the living room wearing the same clothes they wore to the office, plates came in lots of shapes and sizes and colours to handle the new trends, like fondue, crab dip, and miniature marshmallow/pineapple cube salad.  Go back here.

Jetting back to our own time, we seem quite comfortable dishing food out on both the exquisite and the goofball, sometimes in the same meal.  This swedish bear plate found here.  What do you think you’d serve on that?  Gumballs and goat cheese croquettes?

And this from our youth is a fine depiction of the  magnificent Hopalong Cassidy  on a plate by  Kimmerle Milnazik discovered at the unforgettable Plate Lady website.  No question what you’d serve up here: fresh carrots and sugar cubes, we reckon.

Just a few more in the cupboard.  Above jaunty thing is by a remarkable American artist Howard Kottler, found here.   More of him to be found at the Smithsonian Institute.

And we complete the meal with another American artist Molly Hatch who, among other things designs plates in groups so you only see the whole picture when they are all together–say on your large dining table or here.

If you care about food, we think you should care about what you put the food on, whether it is a blank white canvas or a handsome cowboy.  If we are what we eat, maybe we are also, a little bit, what we eat OFF.

White light has something that coloured light doesn’t.  For one thing, it contains all the other colours, as some of us remember from science class.  It’s the mother light, it’s got it all.  The trio above are maybe thinking about this as they hang out near a wonderful piece by artist Doug Wheeler found here.

It was learning about Mr Wheeler’s work (for above, go here) that got us looking at white light and wondering about it. We’re none the wiser, really, but it sure feels good–and not just on the eyes.

Doug Wheeler has been conjuring up moving encounters with white light all over the place for about 40 years. He had a solo show in New York in January/February 2012, and the lovely thing above is showing in France this summer and beyond, it says here.

Artist Robert Irwin has also been busy for years and years exploring the wonders of white light. Above (seen here) is a recent installation of a 1971 work now called slant/light/volume. Another view below, found at the site of the Walker Gallery–for whose opening back then the piece was originally commissioned–shows the scale of it.

And the above view, from the Walker as well, shows the work alone at last beaming like a slice of the moon.

James Turrell seems to have become the best known American artist working with light his primary medium.  While he has not limited himself to white light (he does things with blue that will make you forget who you are and why it mattered), when he does take on the mother light, he does a nice job.  Of course.

Top Turrell piece is called ALTA, find it here.  Lower is Afrum, presented recently in a group light show at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and picked up here.

It’s time to back slowly away from the white light before you find you can’t.  Let’s retreat in stages, by way of three more doses of Doug Wheeler’s light work.  All of these are found at the David Zwirner gallery.

Pssst–time to go now.  You can come back.  Meanwhile, there’s always the moon.

Here at less, we are fans of a lot of uncommissioned public art, namely the kind that 1) makes you smile 2) makes you admire how well it is made and 3) makes you glad no damage was done in providing you with this unexpected smile.  The category of u.p.a. that succeeds most often on all three scores is the kind that people stick on walls with paste.  Like this swell white rabbit.

As you can see he’s just a little guy on the run caught in full motion on a nice blue/grey wall, found here

Here’s a white dog or doggish creature  stuck on a wall in a lavatory in Melbourne, where quality public art of the non-commissioned kind seems to thrive.  This colour spewing critter is the invention of an artist named Ghost Patrol, who is said to be one of Melbourne’s most prominent artists.  See here.

According to the internet, at least, the top spots for really good stick-on art are Australia (Melbourne and Fremantle) and England (Bristol and London)

This fine little two dimensional shamrock green dachshund lives in London.  He was spotted by the keen-eyed, generous, prolific photographer mermaid99, bless her heart.  Find the pooch and much much more from the mermaid here.

Looking for the uni-coloured dachshund is this colourful kitty, another mermaid 99 find in London  here.

pretty weird squidman in Mexico City.

And here’s a lovely bird, a swallow stuck up in Rye, East Sussex England.  The artist goes by De Wilde when he’s outdoors.  See this fine woodcut and more here

The finders of this paste up, called “Hello Stranger”, on a lamp post in North Oakland CA, are Alex and Allison who rightly point out that it is equal parts pretty and sinister, as all good childrens’ tales should be, we think.

This is just swell, another one from Melbourne.  Thanks to we heart it 

Why is it that “Steve” is the perfect name for this little white dino?  Go here to meet Steve and other Fremantle sights.

These two bandits are having a lot more fun than Bonnie and Clyde.  Found here at a site called Oakown Art (“an exposé of cool public art & culture in and around oakland, california”).  The artist goes by “Get Up”.

Below, three finds of our own in Paris, 2011.

On this one old wall you’ll find a white paste up figure of indeterminate species grasping maybe a large slice of pizza and a coffee (?), a nifty green octopus attacking…Popeye (?), and a whole bunch of tulips.  Also way at the top, a space invader.

And here’s a dapper masked fellow with a rosy fleur for his sweetheart.

And here is another sweet little space invader eyeing/protecting a sweet little cafe.

Space Invader is all over Paris (and quite a few other places too).  These are also stick-up art but made of ceramic tile not paper so they last and last.  They have become part of the fabric of Paris, not a poke in the eye, but an unexpected treat for those who love the sight of children at play without supervision.  This image from here

Let’s give London the last smile:

Again thanks to mermaid99  for this fox. Find it here.  The artist is Surianii.