me too, shep

Jonathan Alcorn
Shepard Fairey photographed in his studio by Jonathan Alcorn

On Obama and "Hope"

Written by Shepard Fairey
September 27, 2010 for The Huffington Post

As the artist who created the image and poster of then-candidate for president, Barack Obama, with first the word "Progress," and then later, and more appropriately, "Hope," I am frequently asked for my opinion on his presidency so far.

I generally avoid commenting about Obama's performance because I have found that the mainstream media tends to reduce my views to a simplistic position of being either "for" the President or "disappointed" or "against" him. So when I was interviewed last week by an established publication, I spent almost an hour talking to the reporter and trying to articulate my views on Obama and his Presidency to date. It is important to me that my words not be distorted or taken out of context to avoid Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing media attack machine creating a false storyline.

Yet that is exactly what happened. Sadly, my position was again reduced to "Obama 'Hope' poster artist, losing hope," which is not my opinion. As with millions of other Americans, young and old, my position is far more complex.

Let me state as simply as I can my views on President Obama. I support President Obama. I believe he is an intelligent, compassionate person, with many good policy ideas. If Obama runs for reelection in 2012, I will support him.

And while I wish he was more bold in action on issues of most concern to me -- health care, global warming, the war in Afghanistan, Wall Street reform, education, immigration reform -- I realize he is trying to do the best that he can given the obstructionist, "just say no to anything," opposition he faces from the Republicans in Congress.

And for the record, I have not lost "Hope," in President Obama, even if the change he ran upon is not coming as quickly as many of us thought or hoped it might.

I realize Obama was handed the worst economy and political climate facing a president in modern history and that it will take time for our country to recover and begin to move in the right direction. I also realize the Republican party and its leaders have no intention of being constructive partners in trying to solve the difficult problems facing our nation. Unfortunately, the tough economy has created wide spread frustration among Americans resulting in many people looking for a scapegoat. Ironically, Obama has often been the scapegoat when the policies of those who oppose Obama are responsible for many of the hardships the nation is currently facing.

What is also frustrating to me is that the media wants to give readers a narrative of high drama instead engaging them in a broader and richer debate about the issues at stake. The quality of a discussion is determined by the depth and quality of information available to people. As Americans and as readers we have to hold our media as accountable as we hold our elected leaders.

The National Portrait Gallery Hangs Shepard Fairey’s Portrait of Barack Obama photographed by cliff1066™
The National Portrait Gallery Hangs Shepard Fairey’s Portrait of Barack Obama
photographed by cliff1066™


it's 'take back' day

No, not the shoes you didn't need. Not the nasty comment you made. Although neither one of those is a bad thing to take back. Actually, today is National DRUG Take-Back Day. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency says we've got an epidemic and it's happening in our own medicine cabinets. Fact is, the fastest growing drug problem in the United States is from all the legal stuff found right in our own homes.

So today Saturday, September 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m The DEA and EPA are coordinating drug take-back events at thousands of sites around the country. Expired, unwanted, or unused solid over-the-counter and prescription medicines may be dropped off at any of these locations to be disposed of safely. Save your kids, your pets and your planet. Okay?

Find a collection site near you

Read more about the prescription drug epidemic

Take Back every day of the year

finished cabinet by Anna @ D16, on Flickr
Door Sixteen: Medicine Cabinet

Remodelista: Cappellini Cross Cabinet
Remodelista: Cappellini Cross Cabinet

Apartment Therapy: Aurélie Mathigot's bathroom
Apartment Therapy: Aurélie Mathigot's bathroom

Graham and Green: Bathroom Medicine Cabinet
Graham and Green: Bathroom Medicine Cabinet

Restoration Hardware: Pharmacy Bath Cabinet With Drawers
Restoration Hardware: Pharmacy Bath Cabinet With Drawers


rest hard

or labor soft, as my case may be

Restoration Hardware
Restoration Hardware's Klismos Table

What can I say about Restoration Hardware and it's owner-of-the-hour, Gary Friedman, that hasn't been said already, except - Gary, how many kids do you want? The fact that I am beyond child bearing age is entirely beside the point. I will do anything to furnish my million dollar doublewide with your merchandise, darling. I'm sure the father of my trailer will understand. Michael would only ask that I shout his name. I'm so in love with Restoration Hardware I have even considered getting a part time job there for the employee discount. Never mind that I got out of retail eons ago because of a back injury that won't let me stand for more than 20 minutes a stretch, but we must keep our pri-or-i-ties, you know.

Restoration Hardware
Restoration Hardware's Baluster Chandelier

Seriously, I've been wanting to say something about Restoration Hardware (years ago I'd write "Rest Hard" on my shopping list) without sounding frivolous. Oh what the hell. If Cote de Texas and The Style Saloniste can wax rhapsodic, so then, can I.

Restoration Hardware
Restoration Hardware's Aviator Chair

But today is especially appropriate because Restoration Hardware is opening its exqusite doors to something even more exquisite - as if revamping the entire store a year ago wasn't enough. It's a new show room in San Francisco's design district. What a shame I can't attend. I know my invitation was lost in the mail - it's not your fault, Gary, I understand. Anyway, I have to work today but you go ahead and have a fabulous time without me, okay?

Melanie Renn

I stopped by your store in Corte Madera a few weeks ago, to drool, perchance to dream and possibly take a few photographs for the blog. I managed to take one good one before that silly sales girl told me you don't allow photographs. I guess you haven't told her about us. Well that's okay, you were just being discreet. I guess my Canon Digital Rebel wasn't. Oh dear.

Melanie Renn

I also got a nice shot of the entrance. Actually I was shooting the horsetail
in the landscaping. (The plant is prehistoric and I've loved it ever since I was a kid. No I am not prehistoric. I loved popping its sections apart and putting them back together like pop beads. Remember pop beads? Maybe I am prehistoric. Look how it's used as a low hedge here. Brilliant.) I must say, The Village really is a beautiful outdoor mall. Restoration Hardware is in fine company there with shops like Anthropologie and Pottery Barn.

Hmmm... the store is hiring for Christmas...


million dollar trailer

Will wonders never cease. Apparently there is an interest in my million dollar mess of a remodeling project, so to make it easier to follow along and watch my progress (progress? really?) I'm adding a photo button over on the right. Clicking on it will lead you to this post which will have links to every other post about my house. I'll update it as I go along, but here are three to get you going. Thanks for taking an interest. It's appreciated!

posts about the doublewide
posts about the porch
flickr photo album

Melanie's million dollar mess


see for free

Reed and Delphine Krakoff | Vogue
An iconic 1930s Jean-Michel Frank sofa beneath Line Vautrin mirrors.

Years ago, I think 1980, when San Francisco's Academy of Art opened their very first class on interior design (the prototype that led to over half the school's curriculum on interior design) I enrolled in the class. I was already at the Academy on a full grant I had won for being sort of talented and sort of cute. As far as I could tell, the grant was unlimited as long as I appealed to them, but I lost my hots for them first and stopped showing up. I was sort of stupid too.

Anyway. In their first ever decorating class the instructor told us to disregard magazines like Architectural Digest because they only publish the homes of very wealthy people and no normal person could possibly live like that. I disagreed and still do. True, you and I can never afford an Alexander Calder mobile in our living room, but why can't we make one? Isn't creativity what it's all about? We just need to know the basics of design to make that creativity effective. Everything I know about design I've learned by studying pictures over and over until I see, really see, every element of a room - the colors, the light, the patterns, the textures, the shapes, the lines, the form, the function, the mood and the interaction of it all. The big league designers aren't big for nothing. They're in hotshot magazines because they're smart. If we're smart, we can learn from them. Why learn from mediocre designers when we can learn from the best? Whoever we choose to study, whether in magazines, books, or now on the Internet, it all costs the same. Nothing.

Here's an outrageous example. Vogue's online article about Reed and Delphine Krakoff's 18,000 sq ft Upper East Side Manhattan brownstone. Big place. Filled with museum quality pieces. What could we possibly learn from that? Well, try this on the sliding scale of our own pocketbooks or should I say coin purses:

Throughout the house, the juxtapositions of furnishings, art, and objects of all periods are giddying and exciting. "I think that's why our collection's interesting, because you see so many layers," says Delphine.

The research process is what fuels Reed's collecting. "What's interesting," he adds, "is learning about different periods and what happened in terms of design. It's a never-ending experience, and it really is a historical map for any period."

"That tension is what makes a collection personal as opposed to encyclopedic and disciplined," says Reed. "We collect with our hearts."

Cracking advice for cracking design. Now let's have a look at the pictures and see which elements we can transfer to our own homes. Theirs might be worth a fortune, but the basic principles of its design could apply to a uh.. trailer.

Vogue : Reed and Delphine Krakoff : Design For Living

Reed and Delphine Krakoff | Vogue
Delphine Krakoff, wearing Reed Krakoff, with her daughter Lily. Al Held's Black and White VII painting and Marc Newson's 1986 Lockheed chaise longue.

Reed and Delphine Krakoff | Vogue
Alexander Liberman's dot painting hangs above Garouste & Bonetti's console and chairs and a flock of Lalanne sheep in the entrance hall.

Reed and Delphine Krakoff | Vogue
In the living room, Joris Laarman's 2006 translucent chaise sits on a c. 1940 Cogolin rug designed by Henri Gonse.

Reed and Delphine Krakoff | Vogue
In the master bathroom, a pair of Louis XVI marquises made by Georges Jacob flank a 1930s Jean-Michel Frank vellum waterfall table. Serge Roche's 1955 mirror.

Reed and Delphine Krakoff | Vogue
Reed Krakoff in the living room, in front of Alexander Calder's 1971 wall mobile Two Black Discs and Six Others.


new toy oh ay oh

Arrows toggle photos. Square takes it full screen. It's in the houzz.


no pain, no gain

"The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in the mind." --Henry David Thoreau

My work week (the paid one) is over, my weekend is here, and once again I am sentenced to hard labor working on the porch project. Last week I spent hours sealing seams in the new paneling - turned upside down atop a ladder, squeezing with all my might the brutal trigger of a hard metal caulking gun. Set me back a bit. Sprained my hand. And my sciatic-ick back? Well, we won't even go there. But here I am, doing it again. Why? Because of that end image ingrained in my brain. This porch will be beautiful. If it kills me. heigh ho



Uh-oh. Another spiraling vortex to suck me in and waste my time. Described by The Washington Post as "the Flickr of design idea sites" I was hooked instantly. Highly addictive. Have a hit.


Brown Davis Interiors, Inc. contemporary staircase


Quran Burning Story: This Is How The Media Embarrass Themselves

Mark Morford: Damn You Muslims, Get Off My Lawn

President Barack Obama pauses during a moment of silence in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House at 8:46AM, Sept. 11, 2010, in remembrance of the time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center in 2001. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



If ever there were a time for Henry David Thoreau, it is now. Even at the beginning of the industrial revolution, he could see where it would take us. Although industry was meant to improve the quality of life for more people, in the wrong hands it has only made our lives worse to the point of extinguishing ourselves and the rest of the planet with us. I suppose it's never too late to learn. Henry David Thoreau's Walden has much to teach.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. To front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Henry David Thoreau's Cabin photographed by Maxine 2 / Vivian


not so thoreau

Architect: Robert Oshatz  Photographer: Cameron Neilson

The Wilkinson Residence

Architect: Robert Harvey Oshatz
Photographer: Cameron Neilson

Located on a flag lot, a steep sloping grade provided the opportunity to bring the main level of the house into the tree canopy to evoke the feeling of being in a tree house. A lover of music, the client wanted a house that not only became part of the natural landscape but also addressed the flow of music. This house evades the mechanics of the camera; it is difficult to capture the way the interior space flows seamlessly through to the exterior. One must actually stroll through the house to grasp its complexities and its connection to the exterior. One example is a natural wood ceiling, floating on curved laminated wood beams, passing through a generous glass wall which wraps around the main living room.

Architect: Robert Oshatz  Photographer: Cameron Neilson

Architect: Robert Oshatz  Photographer: Cameron Neilson


charcoal broiled

Coal House

You know, the search words "charcoal siding" can bring up some very unexpected results. I didn't mean for them to be taken quite so literally. What I expected to see was a particular shade of dark gray house siding, but this is as good a serendipity as I could have imagined. Only, I couldn't have imagined. Thank you, Internet, for bringing me charred houses.
Traditional Japanese homes commonly used shou-sugi-ban as external siding. The sugi was burned to resist rot and fire (it's harder for something already charcoaled to catch fire again). The result is a board that has a dynamic appearance. From different angles it can look black, silver, or dark brown.
How stunningly strange and beautiful. Too bad my trailer's a tin can.

Materia Designs : Shou-sugi-ban & Terunobu Fujimori

Dwell : Terunobu Fujimori

Pursuing Wabi : a family torchs their house

Remodelista : Shou-Sugi-Ban Wood Siding

Sebastian Mariscal : Architectural Studio

Sakuma Studio : House in Kajiyama

If not a house, how about : Notch Side Table

Materialicious : Shou-sugi-ban (burnt wood siding)

Japanese Craft Construction

Coal House 2

Coal House 10

Coal House


come to the dark siding, obi-wan

Pasadena craftsman by The Estate of Things
Pasadena Craftsman House photographed by The Estate of Things

Home of Louisa May Alcott photographed by Maxine 2 / Vivian
Home of Louisa May Alcott photographed by Maxine 2 / Vivian

via coco+kelley, on flickr
Sun porch photograph via coco+kelley

Hudson Valley Retreat contemporary exterior

sneak peek. basement edition by ethanollie
Photograph by ethanollie

James Benning | Henry David Thoreau Cabin
Replica of Henry David Thoreau's Cabin by James Benning

Jonathan Corwin House photo by David Humber
Jonathan Corwin House photographed by David Humber